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  B-17E "R.F.D. Tojo" Serial Number 41-2627  
USAAF
5th AF
6th PRG
8th PRS

Former Assignments
19th BG
43rd BG

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1943 Via Bob Rocker
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December 26, 1943
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John Loughman 1969

Pilot  Colonel David W. Hutchison
Crew
  1st Lt William H. Fairbank Jr., O-453251 (survived) Glendale, CA
Crew  
T/Sgt Nicholas C. Laboda, 12033182
Crew
  Cpl Philip J. Lynch, 16013446 8th PRS (KIA, BR) Bay City, MI
Crew 
 T/Sgt George E. Manley, 31048318
Crew
  Pfc Robert C. McGee, 34141064 (KIA, BR)
Crew
  S/Sgt Thomas A Lane, 39381881
Crew
  Pvt Ernest E. Young Jr., 14053129
Crew
  Cpl Hector E. Rodgers, 19070579
Crew
  Pvt Alex Black, 33115534
Cameramen
  Captain Carter
Cameramen  S/Sgt Harbuan
Correspondents
 Raynor Morrison
Correspondents  Lennard
Correspondents  Taves

Crashed  December 26, 1943 at 5:53am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group and later to the 43rd Bombardment Group. No known nickname or nose art.

On January 5, 1943 one of six B-17s from the 64th Bombardment Squadron that took off from 7 Mile Drome armed with 500 pound bombs near near Port Moresby on a bombing mission against Rabaul. Over the target around noon at roughly 8,500' the bombers approached from the southeast between Kokopo and Rapopo and bombed enemy shipping. B-24s claimed hits on two ships and B-17s claimed hits on nine including a destroyer. In fact, only the Keifuku Maru sustained two near misses that caused her to sink. Bomb fragments did cause fires aboard other ships and inflicted 20 casualties. Bomb fragments did cause fires aboard other ships and inflicted 20 casualties. Lost returning from the mission was B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 (MIA, two POW).

Later during 1943 assigned to the 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. Nicknamed "R.F.D. Tojo". This B-17 was used for long range photographic missions and also as the squadron supply and as a transport aircraft.

Mission History
On December 26, 1943 took off at 5:50am from Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile) near Port Moresby during an intense fog and zero ceiling. Aboard were passengers bound for R&R in Australia. Shortly after take off, this B-17 crashed off the northwestern end of the runway near the Laloki River. Two aboard were killed in the crash and the bomber was written off.

Wreckage
Until the early 1970s, this B-17s intact tail section remained at the crash site.  Sometime afterwards, the tail wreckage was scrapped or otherwise removed.

Local people still recall the crash and the wreckage. During 2005, Thomas Rei discovered the dog tag of Philip Lynch at 14 Mile Drome in a dump area. This dog tag is displayed at his Schwimner War Museum.

Memorials
The deceased crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Lynch is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot B, grave 494.
McGee's grave is unknown, presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.

References
FindAGrave - Philip J Lynch (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2627

Contribute Information
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Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

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