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  B-24D-80-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40636  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
31st BS

Pilot  Captain Andrew J. Hughes, O-663916 (MIA / KIA) NM
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Ashley F. Pritchard, O-736350 (MIA / KIA) NY
Navigator  1st Lt. Claude C. Talley, Jr., O-667451 (MIA / KIA) TN
Nav-Observer  2nd Lt. Orval G. McBride, O-683267 (MIA / KIA) MT
Bombardier  1st Lt. Lawrence Lipps, O-730801 (MIA / KIA) NY, NY
Engineer  T/Sgt William J. Lilley, 19096201 (MIA / KIA) WA
Asst Engineer  S/Sgt Albert R. Harmon, 14073998 (MIA / KIA) NC
Radio  T/Sgt Norman J. Fritz, 31067096 (MIA / KIA) CT
Asst Radio  S/Sgt Kristjan T. Vivatson, 37291830 (MIA / KIA) ND
Gunner  S/Sgt Charles M. Higgs, 34350913 (MIA / KIA) GA
Gunner  S/Sgt William C. Trout, 13043012 (MIA / KIA) MD

MIA  December 4, 1943 at 1000
MACR  1253

Aircraft History
Engines R-1830-43 serial numbers a) 42-40636 b) 42-63042 c) 42-62925 d) 42-62909. Weapon serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
Took off from Carney Feild a bombing mission against Chabai supply area. Weather was scattered clouds at 4-5,000'. On the way to the target, Huges indicated he might have some mechanical difficulty and began to emit smoke from the #1 and #4 engines, and fell behind the formation, but then the smoke ceased and appeared to rejoin the formation.

By the time the bomber returned to the formation, they started their bomb run, and experienced accurate anti-aircraft fire. Another B-24 crew reported that this bomber was hit between the cockpit and #2 engine, smoked and caused it to dive to the left of the formation. Two crew were seen to parachute from the bomber when it initially hit and went into the dive. One landed south of Chabai, the other in the Chabai area.

The B-24 leveled out over Bonis, and was now emitting gray smoke from either the #2 engine or fuselage but no fire was seen. Four or five more crew bailed out. One landed on the northern shore the others in the sea. The B-24 headed over the sea and went into a vertical dive and crashed nose first, two miles off the northern coast of Bougainville at roughly 5 degrees 23' S 154 degrees 47' E.

Search
Other B-24s from the mission circled the crash site, but could see no sign of life or signals. When the formation leader B-24s landed at Munda Airfield, they coordinated a search mission by two PBY Catalinas to searched the crash area, but made no sightings.

The next day, two B-24s from the 31st BS also search, but found nothing. They flew the following route: past Savo Island, to the Manning Straight and up the north coast of Choiseul, then over the north-east coast of Bougainville. Circled crash area twice at 40-100' then returned via the same route.

Memorials
The entire crew was declared dead on January 15, 1946. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24

MIA
MIA

Map
5 23' S
154 47' E

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