Navigator 1st Lt Grant W. Erwin (POW, survived) B-24J "Bugs Bunny" 42-73222
The B-24 Liberator of which I was the navigator was shot down on Dec. 1, 1943, near Bassein, Burma. I had never heard of Inye, Burma, but I now know that it is less than a mile from Bassein. There certainly were banana groves where I landed. I was with a crew that included pilot Carpenter. The entire crew, except for myself, had just arrived in India and was on its first combat mission. Its regular navigator had the good fortune to contract malaria in Cairo, where the crew stopped en route from the States. Most of the crew I had been flying with were dead so I filled in here and there. Our colonel introduced me to the two pilots the morning of that mission but I never heard the names of the others in the crew, except the bombardier, Clyborne, the only other crew member who bailed out, to my knowledge. He died that same month in Bassein, having been severely injured when he landed (because his parachute had been set afire by incendiary bullets from a Japanese fighter plane). None of the rest of that crew ever turned up. Assuming that crew list you have is correct, and I have no reason to think otherwise, then Bill Fetterman was indeed on that B-24.
The mission that day was to bomb Rangoon's railway marshalling yards, which we did. It included 50 B-24s, of which ten were shot down. We were supposed to be escorted by P-51 fighter aircraft but missed our rendezvous with them. They caught up with the B-24s after most or all of the ten were already shot down. One P-51 was shot down and its pilot, Allen DuBose, ended up in the same cell as I was in in Rangoon. Just before Clyborne and I bailed out, there was a tremendous explosion in the cockpit. The nose gunner (already dead) and the bombardier and I were in the nose, ahead of the cockpit. I looked back through the astrodome and saw the cockpit windows were gone and no pilots at the controls. I knelt down beside the nose wheel intending to go back to the flight deck and help out, having done just that on an earlier mission, but discovered this time that the entire fuselage from the flight deck back was a roaring tunnel of flames. I ordered Clyborne to bail out and then did so myself. By then we were at an altitude of about 200 feet so I landed pretty hard but not nearly as hard as poor Clyborne. The B-24 continued its dive, disappeared over a low hill, and then exploded as it hit. There should have been eight bodies but it is possible that the flames and the explosion consumed or scattered three of them.
I do not know what "M-PI" means, probably "Missing--Presumed I------" but I cannot guess what the "I" stood for. In the telegram my father received after I was shot down, the USAAC used the phrase "Missing, Presumed Dead." Most of our B-24s had some name painted on them but the flight crews did not pay much attention to these names. We flew whatever planes were patched up enough to fly. The one we were in was not necessarily the one Carpenter's crew brought with them and in any case I never knew what name was painted on the one we were in that day. So I am not much help, but you now know all I know about Bill Fetterman. All I can say about that crew was that from my vantage point it performed like veterans; the pilots kept formation beautifully, the guns kept firing, the conversations on the intercom sounded very professional. Hope this helps a little.