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  B-17E "G.I. Issue" 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 Baxter (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Richard Purcell (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Sgt John Stevenson (KIA, BR)
Passenger  1st Lt. Albert McCabe Hart, O-346934 104th AAA (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pfc Rufus B. Humphries, 20467589, 20467589 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Phillip R. Mills, 34102201, 34102201 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Albert Washington Moore, 34102085 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  T/5 Atwell E. Moore, 20487595 (KIA, BR)

Crashed  July 16, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army at Boeing Field on November 17, 1941. Departed Boeing Field piloted by Lt. Maurice C. Horgan to Salt Lake City on November 26, 1942. This B-17 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 patrol around Hawaii.

Ferried overseas from Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia. Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group, 40th Bombardment Group. Possibly, nicknamed "G. I. Issue".

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. The rest of the crew are presumed to be buried in private cemeteries in their hometowns.

References
Headquarters 104th Anti-aircraft Artillery AW Battalion
"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 - Walter Fred Schofield (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Louis Thomas Silva (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Walter W. Weisner (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - William C. Wood (group burial photo)
Gilbert E. Erb Flight Log - July 1942
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 page 221
Steve Birdsall adds: " I've never seen evidence of the nickname 'G.I. Issue' for this B-17"

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

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