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  B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12470  
USAAF
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS

Former Assignments
ML-KNIL

Click For Enlargement
Damien Parer
July 2, 1942

Pilot  1st Lt. Ralph L. Schmidt, O-403818 (MIA / KIA) Greenville, IL
Co-Pilot  F/O Edward Tompson Mobsby, 407799 RAAF (MIA / KIA, BR) Toorak Gardens, SA
Bombardier  T/Sgt. Robert L. Barlow, 6922345 (MIA / KIA) OH
Turret Gunner  Cpl. Walter N. Cook, Jr., 6973551 (MIA / KIA) GA
Radio  Cpl. Richard M. Wallace, 7002908 (MIA / KIA) TX

Crashed  July 26, 1942
MACR  00752

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California, the 37th B-25C built by the factory. Delivered to the U. S. Army on February 17, 1942. This B-25 was purchased by the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) for the Militaire Luchtvaart (ML-KNIL Army Aviation Corps of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army).

Assigned ML-KNIL serial number N5-127. After being test flown at Inglewood Airport, flown to the Chicago & Southern Airlines modification center in Memphis, TN for final outfitting and had the NEI national insignia and ML serial number were painted.

Wartime History
On February 26, 1942 flown to West Palm Beach, CA. On March 5, 1942 flown to Sacramento Air Depot. On March 9, this B-25 was scheduled to depart for Australia, but remained in California. On March 26 at Hamilton Air Depot.

On April 12, 1942 ferried across the Pacific to Australia by a Royal Air Force (RAF) Ferry Command aircrew. Delayed en route before arriving in Australia on May 6.

In Australia, transfered to the 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron during April 1942. No known nose art or nickname.

On July 25, 1942 during the afternoon took off from Charters Towers Airfield on a flight to 7 Mile Drome, to stage for a bombing mission the next morning.

Mission History
On July 26, 1942 one of five B-25s that took off 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a mission to attack enemy seaplanes anchored off Gasmata. This B-25 was leading five B-25s from the 13th Bombardment Squadron and 90th Bombardment Squadron. Each aircraft was armed with twelve 100 lbs. bombs.

Meanwhile, nine A6M Zeros from Tainan Kōkūtai of the Sasai Chutai took off from Lae Airfield on a patrol mission over Buna. The first Chutai was led by Lt(jg) Jun'ichi Sasai with wingmen FPO1c Toshio Ota and FPO3c Masuaki Endo. The second chutai WO Tora'ichi Takatsuka with wingmen FPO3c Noboru Sato and F1c Yoshio Motoyoshi. The third chutai was led by FPO1c Saburo Sakai with wingmen FPO2c Masayoshi Yonekawa and FPO3c Yoshio Mogi.

At 8:15am, the Zeros spotted the B-25 formation and attacked. The B-25s believed they were under attack by approximately 10-15 enemy fighters and immediately jettisoned their bombs, aborted the mission and turn back for Port Moresby.

This bomber was last seen going down on fire from nose to tail with F/O Mobsby attempting to escape from the top hatch. Also shot down was B-25C "Aurora" 41-12792 (two survived, four killed).

The other three B-25s were damaged and chased by Sasai, Ota and Sakai back to Port Moresby. Over 7 Mile Drome, Sakai strafed a P-40 Kittyhawk from 76 Squadron before the trio withdrew at 8:50am. Afterards, all nine Zeros landed safely at Lae Airfield and claimed three enemy bombers shot down.

Wreckage
During early 1943, American Graves Registration (AGRS) located the wreckage of this aircraft and B-25C "Aurora" 41-12792. The American units field report (undated) is somewhat confusing, but it appears that Mobsby's remains were located about 1/4 mile north of Usogi village. The report mentions five other cadavers located in the vicinity of Higitura.

Afterwards, they notified the 15th Australian Graves Registration and Engineering Unit of their find and the fact that they recovered the remains and identity disc of F/O Edward Thompson Mobsby, as well as three other sets of remains in aircraft wreckage over a distance of 800 yards. In the final section describes B-25C 41-12792 but doesn't clarify which remains it is associated with. The report appeared to have been prepared by SSgts Halpin and Seaton, who were to go from the site to Popondetta for extraction. Australian authorities contacted Fifth Bomber Command in late May 1943 to inquire about their classification of the American crew members of Mobsby's aircraft and received an emphatic response that they were still considered MIA.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on the day of the mission. The Amercian crew members Schmidt, Barlow, Cook and Wallace are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

After the recovery of remains from the crash site, Australian Mobsby was buried at Soputa Cemetery on May 7, 1943. On November 11, 1946 he was permanently buried at Bomana War Cemetery at grave A.7.B.26.

The four American crew members were likely recovered by the U. S. Army during 1943. All four remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Cook also has a memorial marker at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Barrow County, GA.

Relatives
William W. McCollum (nephew of Walter N. Cook):
"I am the nephew of the gunner cpl Walter N. Cook who remains MIA. In a newspaper article about a May 15 mission in which my uncle's gun jammed and it was discovered after landing that a Japanese bullet had gone down the barrel of his 50 caliber and fused with a bullet."

References
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12470
Missing Air Crew Report 00752 (MACR 00752)
Kodochosho, Tainan Kōkūtai July 26, 1942 [Action Report, Tainain Air Group]
National Archives of Australia Mobsby Casualty File, 57 pages, using the search term "Morbsby" [sic] The file was indexed under the incorrect spelling of his surname, but has since been corrected (NAA: A705, 163/45/182).
RAAF Survey of Aircraft Wreckage, Papua New Guinea, page 8
"#294 | Lat 08.15 Long 147.54 | Buna Area | USAC Mitchell B-25C 41-12470 | wreckage recovered approximately 40 miles N.W. of [Buna area]"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12470
"Early NAA B-25C Mitchells of the ML/KNIL, February 1942-June 1942" by Dr. P.C. Boer 2009, rev 2014 page 1-3, 26
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ralph L. L. Schmidt
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert L. Barlow
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Walter N. Cook Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard M. Wallace
CWGC - Edward Tompson Mobsby
FindAGrave - 1Lt Ralph L L Schmidt (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - TSgt Robert L Barlow (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Walter N Cook, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Walter N. Cook, Jr (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Corp Richard M Wallace (tablets of the missing photo)
RAAFDB - Edward Tompson Mobsby

RAAFDB - North American B-25C Mitchell 41-12470
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 213-214
Thanks William McCollum, Edward Rogers, Larry Hickey and Daniel Leahy for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
MIA
4 Missing

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