Shane Elliott 2008
|Pilot Captain Robert H. Richards, O-395292 (KIA) Indianapolis, IN
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Robert H. McGhee, O-428441 (KIA) Gary, IN
Navigator 2nd Lt. William F. B. Morris, O-431796 (KIA) Armel, CO
Bombardier SSgt Charles E. Bayer, 6911387 (KIA) Covington, OH
Engineer Cpl Otis O. Black, Jr., 18037748 (KIA) Fort Worth, TX
Asst Engineer Cpl Yvon W. Bailey, 657875 (KIA) San Pedro, CA
Radio Sgt Hugh M. King, 7000804 (KIA) Shivers, MISS
Gunner/Armour Cpl Peter Charuk, 6150144 (KIA) West Hartford, CT
Gunner Pvt William Omanoff, 12022594 (KIA) Bronx, NY
MIA September 8, 1942
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group, 42nd Bombardment Squadron.
On September 8, 1942 took off from Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield on a patrol mission over the Solomon Sea area. When the B-17 failed to return, it was presumed it had been lost at sea near Rendova Island.
In fact, this bomber had intercepted a Japanese four-engined H5K2 Mavis flying boat at approximately 1,000' but was itself shot down, exploded and crashed on Rendova Island. This combat was observed by coastwatcher Sgt Harry Wickham, who reported the crash to coastwatcher Donald Kennedy at Segi.
This B-17 crashed on Rendova Island. When it impacted, bombs aboard and exploded causing a large crater. The wreckage was found days after the crash, and investigated by Wickham and natives, who found body parts of eight individuals and buried them.
Reverend J. R. Metcalfe, a Methodist missionary based at Roviana with loyal natives a few days after the crash, finding five dog tags and a piece of paper.
MACR 16202 states:
"A report was received on 14 October 1942 stating that information had been received from coast watcher that a B-17 airplane had crashed on Rendova Island and that the remains of the men in the plane were unrecognizable but were thought to be those of five men. Identification tags of Lt. Morris, Sgt Bayer, Cpl Black and Cpl Bailey were found and an immunization card of Captain Richards were also found. Other papers were burned.
After the Allies occupied this area, the crash site was investigated on July 21, 1943 by Lt. Marcott of the 43rd Recon supported by 2nd Marine Air Wing, to recover remains with Lt. Rhodes, coastwatcher on Rendova.
On July 22, 1943 natives turned over two photos and papers from the crash site and sent to Kennedy. During their visit to the site, a Japanese sniper fired one shot at them.
Declared dead on October 13, 1943. Recovered remains were temporarily stored at Manila Mausoleum, and officially declared dead on April 5, 1946. Postwar, the entire crew was permently buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a group burial at 1009- F.
Jim Rench (cousin of SSgt Charles E. Bayer)
Diana & Freeman Morris (niece & nephew of 2nd Lt. William F. B. Morris)
Vera & Harold Hartford (sister and brother-in-law of Cpl Peter Charuk)
Dennis Murphy (cousin of Pvt William Omanoff)
On December 7, 1941 pilot Captain Robert H. Richards was the pilot B-17C "Skipper" 40-2049 and force landed at Bellows Field during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 16202
Fortress Against The Sun, page 265
The Tragedy at Egolo-Rendova by Reverend J. R. Metcalfe
All My Father's Children: A Personal Journey by Margaret C. Metcalfe
Thanks to Jim Rench, Shane Elliott and Minoru Kamada for additional information
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November 13, 2017