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Best Nov 27, 1943
|Pilot Captain William L. "Kizzy" Kizzire, O-726787 (MIA / KIA) Greybull, WY
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Charles G. Reynolds, O-661563 (MIA / KIA) Bridgeport, OH
Navigator 1st Lt. Joseph W. Carroll, Jr., O-665898 (MIA / KIA) Dallas, TX
Radio SSgt Roy E. Showers, Jr., 18075424 (POW, MIA / KIA) Pampa, TX
Engineer SSgt Wilfred J. Paquette, 31127441 (POW, MIA / KIA) Northampton, MA
Gunner SSgt Fred D. Nightwine, 13085578 (POW, MIA / KIA) Slippery Rock, PA
Ditched November 27, 1943
MACR 987 / 1248
Built by North American. Constructors Number 87-8211. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as as a B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30046. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia. This aircraft was converted to a strafer version (B-25D-1) by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 498th Bombardment Squadron during March 1943 and piloted by Kilgore with crew chief Rustun. Converted to D-1 strafer by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.
On October 12, 1943 this B-25 participated in a parafrag attack against Vunakanau Airfield. On October 18, 1943 this B-25's gunners claimed a Zero over Rapopo Airfield. When lost, this B-25 had engines R-2600-14 serial numbers 41-285681 and 42-77464. Weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR).
On November 27, 1943 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Captain William L. Kizzire leading the formation of B-25s on a low level strike against Boram Airfield near Wewak. This B-25 was part of the third wave over the target and enemy anti-aircraft fire had increased. While strafing a small wooden vessel in the harbor, this B-25 was hit by 20mm anti-aircraft gunfire from a freighter anchored off Cape Moen. This B-25 sustained damaged to the right engine. Over the radio, pilot Kizzire was heard to state: "God almighty, I can't feather it... It hit the oil sump. I can't feather the engine."
Returning, this B-25 successfully ditched in Murik Lagoon, with the tail and rear fuselage remaining above the water. The crew were observed to get to ashore. Supplies and an escape map were dropped to them. The crew were observed until the next day.
On November 29, 1943, a U. S. Navy PBY Catalina from Patrol Squadron 11 was sent to the area to rescue the crew, guided by a B-25 from the 345th Bombardment Group piloted by Robinette who observed the crash. Three flares were observed from the ground, roughly three miles west of the lagoon. Before the Catalina was able to land, a Japanese bomber was spotted overhead, and the search was aborted and the Catalina returned to Milne Bay to refuel.
At sunrise the next morning, the same PBY Catalina returned and continued searching for an hour and a half but found nothing. An hour later, another PBY Catalina, escorted by eleven fighters returned to the area, circling for another hour and also found nothing. On December 1, 1943 in the morning, another Catalina was scheduled to search but the attempt was aborted when the fighter escort turned back.
Fates of the Crew
Although the crew was observed after the ditching, all six are officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day.
At least three of the crew were captured by the Japanese Army and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Showers, Paquette and Nightwine were named in Japanese radio broadcasts in English during in March 6–22, 1944 as prisoners at Wewak POW Camp (Kreer POW Camp). Likely, all three died in captivity or were executed by the Japanese.
Officially, only Paquette and Nightwine were officially reported as a Prisoner Of War (POW) by the Japanese. Both died in captivity with the last report date of January 22, 1945. This date is likely an administrative date only. Likely both died sometime between March 1944 or sometime prior to May 1945 when the Wewak area was liberated by the Australian Army.
Possibly, other members of the crew were also captured and executed by the Japanese. Alternately, they evaded capture and died of other causes.
The crew was officially declared dead on January 22, 1946. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Kizzire earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull, WY.
Carroll earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at memorial section C, site 34-L-1.
Reynolds, Showers, Paquette and Nightwine earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list any member of the crew as a Prisoner Of War (POW) which is not uncommon for prisoners of the Japanese detained in Wewak.
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Wilfred J. Paquette rank listed as Private incorrectly
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Fred D. Nightwine
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-5 Mitchell 41-30046
"30046 (345th BG, 498th BS, "Impatient Virgin") converted to D-1. Damaged by light AAA from a freighter and ditched into Murik Lagoon, New Guinea Nov 27, 1943. MACR 1248. 6 crew POW, all died in prison camp."
Missing Air Crew Report 1248 (MACR 1248)
Missing Air Crew Report 987 (MACR 987) related to B-25D 41-30056 includes page 14 related to this crew.
(Page 14) "5. The Prisoner of War Information Bureau, Provost Marshal General's Offices has informed this office the following broadcasts have been received:
a. Tokyo in English to Western United, received 6 Mar. 1944:
The name is Roy Showers, Box 1297, Tampa, Texas, and here's his mother's name too. Mrs. Roy L. Showers same address. That’s swell. Probably the Red Cross will have someone notify her that he is all right. They were all at Wewak in New Guinea. Like those fellows I told you about the other day. Leo, why don’t we keep a list of those fellows, every time a bunch of new prisoners comes to camp they always bring more information. Someone ought to keep track of it. Don’t worry about that, and I have a complete file they have another one in the officer’s quarters. Would you like me to repeat them to you? All right I will. The first new prisoner of war in Wewak in New Guinea is Roy Earl Showers, Box 1279 Tampa, Texas.
b. Tokyo in English to Western United States, received 17 March 1944:
Before we drop in on (Jack, Leo and Ben) this evening, how about jotting down a name or two? Just make a brief note of a couple new missing men then we will join the boys in barracks number 3. Now if there is a post card handy please address it to “And the second edition to our list of missing men is: Wilford Joseph Paquette of 117 Franklin Street, North Hampton, Mass. Notify Mr. Joseph Paquette of the same address that his son is alive and well, a prisoner in Wewak, New Guinea. And now with your good deed one for tonight let’s drop in on the boys.
c. Tokyo in English to Western United States, received 22 March 1944: Send a short note to Edna Irene Nightwine, of Water Street,, Slippery Rock, Pa., and tell her that Ted John Nightwine is now a prisoner of war of the Imperial Japanese Army in Wewak, New Guinea. He participated in a raid on Japanese positions in the vicinity of Madang [sic, Boram]: His fighter plane was brought down by anti-aircraft fire. Just let Mrs. Nightwine know that she need not fear for the safety of her son who is now a prisoner of war and no longer an active participant in frontline combat in the South Pacific. Inasmuch as these reports were not transmitted in the regular channels for reporting prisoners of war, they were considered unofficial and the status of the men herin under review means unchanged. Boram, the target on this mission, is located approximately 2 1/2 miles from Wewak on the northeastern coast of New Guinea. Karau Lagoon, the scene of the crash landing, is approximately 35 miles southeast of Boram, also on the northeast coast of New Guinea, and, at the time of the mishap, in the hands of Japanese forces."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William L. Kizzire
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles G. Reynolds
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Joseph W. Carroll Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Roy E. Showers Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Wilfred J. Paquette
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Fred D. Nightwine
FindAGrave - Capt William Lee Kizzire (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - William Lee Kizzire (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles G Reynolds (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Joseph W Carroll, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Joseph William Carroll, Jr (Arlington National Cemetery)
FindAGrave - SSgt Roy E Showers, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Wilfred J Paquette (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SSgt Fred D Nightwine (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-30046
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 37, 55, 63, 95-96, 367, 381
MIA / POW
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