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  B-25C "Spook II / Onkle Rafe" Serial Number 41-12969  
USAAF
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS

Former Assignments
13th BS


3rd BG c1943

Pilot  Major Edward L. Larner, O-382601(KIA)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Frederick H. Ensminger, O-726762 (KIA)
Navigator  2nd Lt John J. Clarke, O-789455 (KIA) IL
Upper Gunner  S/Sgt Colombus G. Pelham, 6925229 (KIA)
Radio  S/Sgt Vernon Moore, 6973069 (KIA) GA
Engineer  Sgt Berj Manuellian, 11023263 (KIA)
Asst Engineer  Sgt Robert L. Fecitt, 11024132 (KIA)
Passenger  Captain Albert F. J. White, QX4778 AIF (KIA) Annerley, QLD

Crashed  April 30, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Spook II" by Edward L. Larner (C. O.). "Spook" was his wife's nickname. Previously, "Spook" was the nickname of previous aircraft assigned to him, A-20A "Spook" 40-109. Later, this B-25 was modified as a strafer and reassigned to the 90th Bombardment Squadron, prior to the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. The aircraft was also nicknamed "Onkle Rafe" (pronounced Uncle Rafe).

Mission History
On April 30, 1943 took off from Doboudra. Aboard was Australian Army Captain White from the New Guinea Force Air Liaison Group. After take off, this B-25 buzzed the fighter strip, and pulled up to break away but then fell off on one wing from 200' altitude and crashed, caught fire and was completely destroyed. Everyone aboard died in the crash.

Wreckage
After the crash, the wreckage was investigation revealed the left engine had cut out and caused the crash, and there was insufficient altitude to recover.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.
Two of the crew are buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) John J. Clarke is buried at Plot N Row 1 Grave 284. Vernon Moore is buried at Plot C Row 0 Grave 540.
Australian White is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at A1. C. 23.
Larner is buried at San Francisco National Cemetery at plot 33 OS, 5.
Ensminger is buried at Fultonham Cemetery in Fultonham, OH.
Fecitt is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, MA at plot M, lot 236, grave 1.
The burial of Pelham is unknown, presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.

References
13th Bombardment Squadron History notes this B-25 is noted as "969"
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12969
FindAGrave - Edward L Larner (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Frederick H. Ensminger
FindAGrave - Lieut John J Clarke (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Vernon Moore (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Lawrence Fecitt
CWGC - Albert Frederick John White

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

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