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  B-24D-130-CO "The Upstairs Maid" Serial Number 42-41088  
USAAF
5th AF
43rd BG
65th BS

Pilot  Lt John W. Taylor, O-797637 (survived) TN
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Patrick J. Freeman, O-743232 (survived) Gilberts, IL
Navigator  2nd Lt William E. Townsend, O-676174 (survived) Mena, AR
Bombardier  2nd Lt James C. Brown, O-676418 (survived) SC
Engineer  S/Sgt Patrick P. Steffanelli 12132191 (survived) NJ
Assist. Engineer  Sgt Joseph C. Keen Jr 35467991 (survived) OH
Radio  S/Sgt Robert E. Fitzgerald 31163118 (survived) MA
Asst. Radio  Sgt Joseph G. Bialy, 32452236 (survived) NJ
Gunner  Sgt Harry F. Huntington, 19087985 (survived) CA
Gunner  Sgt Louis O. Ball, 35342063 (survived) IL

Crashed  October 18, 1943
MACR  964

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego at a cost of $297,627.00 Constructors Number 2165. Delivered to the U. S. Army on June 29, 1943. Flown to the modification center at Tucson, AZ.

On July 14, 1943 flown to Love Field, TX and the next day to Biggs Field at El Paso, TX then to Lincoln, NB. On August 9, 1943 arrived at Long Beach, CA and three days later flown to Fairfield Airfield.

On August 17, 1943 assigned to "Left" (5th Air Force) and departed Fairfield Airfield on a flight to Hickam Field where it was further modified at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) including the removal of the Sperry ball turret and installation of ASV radar.

On August 24, 1943 departed Hickam Field on a ferry flight across the Pacific arriving in Australia on September 5, 1943. This B-24 was further modified at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville. Afterwards assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group on September 29, 1943.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 65th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "The Upstairs Maid" in white lettering, in reference to the popular song by Bing Crosby "The Waiter And The Porter And The Upstairs Maid" (1941). On the left side of the tail was a large pair of white dice, the 65th Bombardment Squadron motif.

When lost, engines R-1830-43 AAF serial numbers 42-88841, 42-88846, 42-87685, 42-88844. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report 964 (MACR 964) including nine .50 caliber machine guns and two .30 caliber machine guns serial numbers 71617 and 74536. Officially, this B-24 was condemned on January 6, 1944.

Mission History
On October 18, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby piloted by Lt John W. Taylor on a bombing mission against Rabaul. This B-24 was one of nearly eighty B-24 Liberators in a mixed formation of bombers from the 43rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Group and 380th Bombardment Group. This B-24 was flying as part of the second element, left wing position. The mission was the 65th Bombardment Squadron mission number 280 H.

Inbound to the target, the formation encountered bad weather and aborted the mission with some bombing the alternate target of Cape Hoskin. Returning from the mission at 8,000', as the formation entered a thunder storm.

At approximately 2:45pm, at roughly Lat 7.30 Long 148E the formation passed through a thunderstorm for approximately two minutes. At that time, this B-24 was observed to peel off to the left in a dive and come out of the dive at the right of his element when it was last sighted by other 43rd Bombardment Group B-24s in the formation including B-24D "Double Trouble" 42-41226.

After exiting the thunderstorm, last seen by B-24D 42-41086 approximately five miles to the right of the formation. Taylor's B-24 radioed asking what ship they were. Both the pilot and co-pilot answered, but did not get a response from Taylor. This B-24 was last observed on an approximate course of 205°  at roughly 10,000' and last at approximately Lat 8.40 S Long 147.40 E. Another wartime coordinate listed was Lat 8.56 S Long 147.18 E.

When this B-24 failed to return, it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In total, four B-24s were lost including this bomber, B-24D "Sky Lady" 41-24043, B-24D "Ben Buzzard" 42-40670 and B-24D 42-40885.

In fact, this B-24 became separated from the rest of the formation. Low on fuel and when three engines cut out the pilots placed the bomber into a turn and ordered the crew to bail out. All successfully parachuted out of the B-24 before it crashed into the ground.

Search
On October 19, 1943 at 9:30am, three B-24s took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a search mission for the missing B-24, flying over the area to Cape Possession, Morobe then down the coastline of New Guinea to Buna. All three B-24s searching made nil sightings and returned at 4:47pm.

Fates of the Crew
The crew of the B-24 successfully bailed out roughly 50 miles northwest of Port Moresby. Landing in two groups in two different valleys, the crew located each other and proceeded southward together. After 11 days in the jungle, they were rescued and by November 2, 1943 the entire crew returned to Port Moresby.

After surviving this crash landing, this same crew (with the exception of Freeman and Townsend) were killed flying aboard B-24J "Super" 42-73338 on April 9, 1944 over Hansa Bay.

Freeman flew a total of 60 combat missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He continued as a pilot, participating in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War and Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a member of the 440th Tactical Airlift Group of Milwaukee, then transferred to the 928th Tactical Airlift Group (TAG) at O'Hare Field in Chicago, IL and was promoted to both group and base commander. He retired with 33 years of service as a Brigadier General from the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Freeman died on March 8, 2008 and had a military funeral with the 126th Air Refueling Group at O'Hare Field. He is buried at Saint Marys Cemetery in Gilberts, IL at plot 11-D.

Townsend died on December 27, 2008 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.

References
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D Liberator Serial Number 42-41088
Missing Air Crew Report 964 (MACR 964)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41088
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Taylor
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James C. Brown
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Patrick P. Steffanelli
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph C. Keen Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert E. Fitzgerald
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph G. Bialy death date incorrectly listed as Oct. 9, 1944
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harry F. Huntington
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Louis D. Ball death date incorrectly listed as Oct. 9, 1944
FindAGrave - 1Lt John W Taylor (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt Patrick P Steffanelli
FindAGrave - SSgt Joseph C Keen, Jr
FindAGrave - TSgt Robert E Fitzgerald
FindAGrave - SSgt Joseph G Bialy (death date incorrectly listed as Oct. 9, 1944)
FindAGrave - SSgt Harry F Huntington
FindAGrave - Sgt Louis D. Ball (tablets of the missing photo, death date incorrectly listed as Oct. 9, 1944)
FindAGrave - Sgt Louis D. Ball (memorial marker photo, letter home, obituary)
"In October of 1943, Reatha Ball [mother of Louis D. Ball] received word that Louis was also now missing in action. Fortunately, Louis was found after spending eleven days in the jungle after he and the rest of his crew bailed out over New Guinea."
FindAGrave - Gen Patrick Joseph Freeman (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Edwin Townsend (grave photo)
Correspondence from Mr. Patrick Freeman to Larry Hickey 1992
Ken’s Men Against The Empire Volume 1 pages 11–14, 16–18
Thanks to Larry Hickey and Pete Johnson for additional information

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Last Updated
September 17, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24
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