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  B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12478  
USAAF
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS

Click For Enlargement
Doan May 16, 1942

Pilot  2nd Lt. John D. Feltham (survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Hugh L. Turk (survived)
Crew  Sgt Dutrow (survived)
Crew  Cpl H. S. Taylor (survived)
Crew  Sgt Omar N. Ferguson (survived)
Crew  S/Sgt P R Ervin (survived)

Force Landed  May 16, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia arriving April 18, 1942.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On May 16, 1942 took off from Port Moresby on a morning bombing mission against Lae that was unsuccessful. During the afternoon, took off again on a repeat mission against Lae, but encountered solid overcast over the target and encountered intense but light anti-aircraft fire but encountered no enemy fighters. The formation successfully bombed from 2,400'. Returning, pilot Feltham diverted to strafe Japanese sea planes off Salamaua.

Returning to Port Moresby, Feltham became disoriented in overcast returning. About to run out of fuel, his crew spotted Aiyura Airfield. While landing, the nose wheel hit a hole and buckled resulting in much of the nose section being destroyed, but the crew escaped without any serious injuries. Back at base, this crew was initially reported as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fate of the Crew
While waiting for rescue, the crew pent the next couple of weeks resting and exploring the valley while waiting on a rescue. While waiting, the crew repaired an abandoned 1925 Spartan biplane and made a successful test flight from Aiyura Airfield.

On May 20, 1942 an A-24 Dive bomber piloted by Captain Rogers, C.O., 8th Bomb Squadron spotted the crashed B-25 from the air while flying over Aiyura. He landed and spoke with Feltham then continued to Wau. When he returned to Port Moresby, he ordered three of his crews to rescue them.

Rescue
On May 24, 1942 three A-24 Dive bombers: A-24 41-15822, A-24 41-15820 and A-24 41-15783 attempted to land at the strip to rescue the B-25 crew.

On May 25, 1942 A-24 41-15783 crashed on take off, killing pilot Holcomb died and wounded Rogers.

On June 18, 1942 Jerry Pendleton landed at Aiyura Airfield in a DH Dragon and flew Rogers out, stopping at Karina / Kerema before returning to Port Moresby. The same day, Feltham attempted to fly the Spartan biplane to Bena Bena Airfield but crashed towards dusk, suffering two broken legs. He was found trapped in the wreckage by members of his crew and several Australians. They splinted Feltham's legs and made a litter to carry him to Bena Bena.

The same DH Dragon piloted by Pendleton flew to Bena Bena Airfield to transport Feltham back to Port Moresby and returned over the next few weeks to rescue the remainder of the crew. A-24 pilot Doan returned to Charters Towers on July 15, 1942.

Wreckage
This B-25 was moved using natives labor to lift the bomber off its nose.

After the crash, native labor was used to place timber on the ground under the damaged B-25 in an unsuccessful attempt to move it. Later, native labor was used to lift the bomber off the damaged

Relatives
Are you a relative of Lt. Feltham or Lt. Turk or any of the crew members?
Contact Us

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25 Mitchell piloted by Feltham
Col. Oliver C. Doan diary and photo album made available courtesy of his Jean Doan
B-25C Mitchell 41-12478 rescue of the crew by Edward Rogers
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25
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