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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2421  
USAAF
5th AF
19th BG
435th BS

Former Assignments
7th BG
14th BS

19th BG
40th BS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1942

Click For Enlargement
Richard Rudd 1980

Pilot  Major Clarence E. "Sandy" McPherson, O-22396 (KIA, BR) Sandpoint, ID
Co-Pilot  
1st Lt. Lucius G. Penick, O-413487 (KIA, BR)
Engineer
 MSgt Louis T. "Soup" Silva, R-45343 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  SSgt Marvin C. Bond, 6912315 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Sgt Walter F. Schofield, 6581360 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  MSgt Walter W. Weisner, 6754182 (KIA, BR)
Passenger   Sgt William C. Wood, 6914948 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  SSgt Charles B. Baxter (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Richard W. Purcell (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Sgt John Stevenson (KIA, BR)
Passenger  1st Lt. Albert McCabe Hart, O-346934 104th AAA (KIA, BR) WY
Passenger  Pfc Rufus B. Humphries, 20467589, 20467589 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Phillip R. Mills, 34102201, 34102201 HQ, 104th Coast Artillery Battalion (KIA, BR) AL
Passenger  Pvt Albert Washington Moore, 34102085 104th Coast Artillery Battalion (KIA, BR) Sylacauga, AL
Passenger  T/5 Atwell E. Moore, 20487595 (KIA, BR) AL
Crashed  July 16, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2232. On November 17, 1941 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2421 at Boeing Field. On November 26, 1942 B-17 took off from Boeing Field piloted by Lt. Maurice C. Horgan on a flight to Salt Lake City. Later, departed Hamilton Field on a ferry flight to Hickam Field.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, 14th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. During January 1942, this B-17 operated from Hickam Field flying patrols around Hawaii. Ferried overseas from Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

In Australia, assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 40th Bombardment Group. Possibly, nicknamed "G. I. Issue".

Steve Birdsall adds: " I've never seen evidence of the nickname 'G.I. Issue' for this B-17."

Royce Mission
During early April, took off from Batchelor Field near Darwin piloted Lt. David G. Rawls and co-pilot Jones arriving at Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao to participate in the Royce Mission. On April 12-13, 1942, took off from Del Monte Airfield on bombing missions against Japanese targets in the Philippines. Afterwards, returned to Australia.

On a June 9, 1942 during a bombing mission, the top turret "ran away" rotating out of control and firing, damaging the tail and rudder.

On June 19, 1942 took off from Longreach Airfield piloted by 1st Lt. Gilbert E. Erb on a local flight to practice night landings.

During the middle of June 1942, assigned to the 435th Bombardment Squadron.

Mission History
On July 16, 1942 took off from Coen Airfield bound for Horn Island Airfield. Aboard were five U. S. Army passengers from the 104th Anti-aircraft Artillery AW Battalion plus a salvage crew and replacement parts including landing gear, propeller blades, brake assembly and tools to repair B-17E "Sally" 41-2633 that was damaged on July 4, 1942.

While attempting to land in windy conditions near dark, this B-17 was lining up to land on the wrong side of a flare path. Realizing the error, the B-17 attempted to pull up quickly and the heavy replacement parts inside that were not properly stowed to shift, causing the bomber to dive into the ground killing the entire crew on impact. This B-17 was officially stricken from the register on October 31, 1944.

Wreckage
Remains of this B-17 still remain on Horn Island including an undercarriage leg in 1980.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, the remains of the crew and passengers were all recovered. They were initially buried on Horn Island. Later, exhumed and reburied at the U. S. cemetery at Townsville on April 1, 1943. Reburied at the U. S. cemetery at Ipswich on July 14, 1945.

Postwar, the remains of the crew were transported to the United States for final burial. McPherson, Penick, Schofield, Silva, Weisner and Wood are buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 site 426A-B.

Baxter is buried at Knoxville National Cemetery at section B, site 6276.

Purcell is buried at Plano Cemetery in Rexburg, ID.

Stevenson is buried in an unknown location, presumed to be buried in private cemetery in his hometown.

Two were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Hart is buried at at section F site 1189. He was the first U. S. Army Chaplain killed in World War II. Albert W. Moore at A-6.

Humphries is buried at Ebenezer Cemetery in West Point, AL.

Mills is buried at Patillo Cemetery in Autauga County, AL. He also has a memorial marker at Billingsley Church of God Cemetery in Billingsley, AL.

Atwell Moore is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Holland Gin, AL.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2421
"2421 (19th BG, 40th BS) overshot and burned out Horn Island Jul 16, 1942. w/o Oct 31, 1944 and converted to components."
Gilbert E. Erb Flight Log - July 1942
104th Anti-aircraft Artillery AW Battalion, Headquarters, July 16, 1942
"On July 16 the Battalion suffered its first casualties. Chaplain Albert M. Hart, T/5 Atwell E. Moore, Privates Albert W. Moore, Rufus B. Humphries, and Philip R. Mills were flying from Coen to Horn Island when the B-17 in which they were riding crashed while landing at Horn Island, killing all nineteen of the occupants instantly."
FindAGrave - Clarence C. McPherson (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lucis G. Penick (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Louis Thomas “Soup” Silva (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Marvin C Bond (group burial)
FindAGrave - Walter Fred Schofield (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Walter W. Weisner (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - William C. Wood (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT Charles B Baxter (date of death listed as August 21, 1942 grave photo)
FindAGrave - Richard Wesley Purcell (date of death listed as July 14, 1942, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Albert McCabe “Chaplain” Hart (grave photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Rufus B Humphries (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Phillip R Mills (grave photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Phillip R Mills (grave Billingsley Church of God Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Pvt Albert Washington Moore (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Pvt Atwell E. Moore (grave photo)
Forty of the Fifth page 21
Horn Island: In Their Steps 1939-45 page 196-197
Australia @ War: 16 July 1942 - Crash of B-17E Flying Fortress at Horn Island
Echoes From an Eagle page 52
Fortress Against The Sun pages 221, 384

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Last Updated
October 22, 2018

 

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