|Pilot 1st Lt John Cunningham, O-727419 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Charles R. Thomas O-795512 (MIA / KIA, BR) FL
Turret Gunner S/Sgt John A. Manconi, 12125576 (MIA / KIA, BR) NY
Radio S/Sgt Edward L. Kearney, 32418090 (MIA / KIA, BR) NY
Crashed November 2, 1943
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers 41-29066 and 41-31975.
On November 2, 1943 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a a bombing mission against Rabaul. After attacking shipping in Simpson Harbor, believed to be lost due to enemy anti-aircraft fire. Witnesses thought they saw the left engine burning, wheels down and losing altitude, headed on a course of 140 degrees. The plane appeared to be under control when last seen.
In fact, this B-25 crashed near Kokopo. Catholic nuns held as prisoners by the Japanese recovered the bodies from the crash site and buried them at Takabuo.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, this crash site was investigated and graves exhumed by American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). The remains of the crew were transported to Manila then transported to the United States for permanent burial.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, Cunningham, Thomas and Kearney were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in a group burial at section 34 site 4529-30. Manconi's burial is unknown, presumably in his hometown in New York.
Missing Air Crew Report 1013 (MACR 1013)
FindAgrave - John Cunningham (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Charles Thomas (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John A Manconi
FIndAGrave - Edward Kearney (grave photo)
Thanks Edward Rogers for additional information.
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January 5, 2018