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  B-24D-30-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40060  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
403rd BS

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Buchanan July 11, 1943

Pilot  Captain William R. Gowdy (survived)
Co-Pilot  Lt G. A. Putinan (survived)
Navigator  1st Lt John A. McMahon (survived)
Bombardier  1st Lt Walter E. Buchanan, O-726120 (survived) Ardmore, OK
Student Navigator  Lt A. R. Steward (survived)
Engineer  TSgt George W. Powell (survived)
Radio Operator  TSgt Wesley D. Cowan (survived)
Asst Radio Operator  TSgt Harold R. Peterson (survived)
Tail Gunner  SSgt Bruce O. Yawn (survived)
Waist Gunner  SSgt P. R. McNight
(survived)
Crashed  July 11, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 1137. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 403rd Bombardment Squadron as of May 31, 1943. No known nickname or nose art. This B-24 was officially written off as a non-combat accident on July 14, 1943.

Mission History
On July 11, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby on a non-combat flight. Aboard was Stewart, a student navigator on his first mission. After take off, this B-24 hit trees on a hilltop damaging the left main landing gear and jamming the landing gear door and damaging the bomb bay.

Pilot Gowdy pointed the B-24 southward towards the sea, set the plane on autopilot and ordered the crew to bail out. Unmanned, the B-24 turned around and nearly hit Gowdy as he descended in his parachute before impacting into the ground roughly 1.5 miles northeast of 7-Mile Drome (Jackson).

Fates of the Crew
The entire crew landed unhurt and immediately returned to duty. Afterwards, the entire crew was photographed holding their "D" rings from parachuting.

Wreckage
During the 1980s, the crash site was surveyed by PNG Museum curator Bruce Hoy who located the constructors number on part of the fuselage adjacent to the life raft compartment stowage area and the engine cowling. Also, traces of the serial number visible on both tail fins. This crash site is located near the Granville Speedway which is/was located to the northeast of Jacksons Airport.

Relatives
Walter "Buck" Buchanan, Jr. (son of Walter E. Buchanan)

References
Note: The B-24 was incorrectly reported to have crashed near Bootless Bay at 2:00am.
1st Lt Walter E. Buchanan Flight Log July 11, 1943 via Walter "Buck" Buchanan, Jr.
"11-Jul-1943 - B-24D - 8 hours - C [combat] - PM crash - left main wheel jammed. All personnel parachuted safely."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40060
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Walter "Buck" Buchanan, Jr. for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-24

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