|Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert A. Robbins, O-679120 (MIA / KIA)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Lawrence R. Purvis, Jr., O-684772 (MIA / KIA)
Navigator 2nd Lt. John A. Grant, O-685594 (MIA / KIA)
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Lionel A. Wolpin, O-679270 (MIA / KIA)
Engineer S/Sgt Lynn C. Warner, 32491528 (MIA / KIA)
Asst Engineer S/Sgt Jacob B. Clemmer, 14134750 (MIA / KIA)
Radio S/Sgt James M. McNutt, 39844564 (MIA / KIA)
Radar S/Sgt Dominick A. Moccia, 32466190 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner Sgt George D. Charette, 31163876 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner S/Sgt Samuel Morrell, 13031083 (MIA / KIA)
Weather Observer Major Samuel Conway, O-090035 (MIA / KIA)
Crashed April 1, 1944 at 1:55am
Built by Consolidated at Fort Worth as B-24D-5-CF Liberator. Constructors Number FW-54. Delivered to the U. S. Army May 21, 1943. Converted into a a radar equipped SB-24 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Assigned to Langley Field and converted into a snooper. Afterwards, this aircraft was ferried overseas to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 868th Bombardment Squadron "Snooper Squadron", directly under the command of 13th Bomber Command. Nicknamed "Sergeant Stripes... Forever!". When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: 1) CP-303540 2) CP-303731 3) CP-803839 4) CP-303809.
On April 1, 1944 took off from Munda Airfield and landed on Bougainville to refuel then proceeded on a bombing mission against Truk Lagoon. Returning from the mission, this B-24 was last sighted near Rendova at 0055L. Reportedly, observed to crash and explode on Rendova at 12:55am, the explosion was visible 160 degrees from Munda Airfield, two miles inland about two-thirds of the way up the ridge. The cause was undetermined.
A search by twenty men from the US Army 369th Infantry, departed for the site at 1300L on the day of the crash. Company "S" of the 369th initiated a search at 2200L. The crash was found on April 2, 1944 at 11:00am.
Shane Elliott adds:
"According to locals I talked to in 2008, another mysterious American had visited the crash site several years before, upon my return to the United States I found this American to former Professor Ronnie Day, whom I reckon would have been the first American to visit the wreck since WWII and myself being some years after in 2008."
Recovery of Remains
The remains of the eleven crew were buried and marked by Graves Registration. Later, the remains were exhumed for final burial.
Four of the crew are buried at Manila American Cemetery Moccia, Charette, Clemmer and Grant. The others are presumed to be buried in their hometowns.
Robert J. Robbins (son of pilot Robbins)
"My father, Robert A. Robbins, was the pilot of the plane."
Missing Air Crew Report 4102 (MACR 4102)
Thanks to Shane Elliott for additional information.
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April 24, 2018