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  B-25J-11-NC "Apache Princess" Serial Number 43-28152  
5th AF
345ht BG
501st BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Ted U. Hart, O-771709 (POW, survived) Chicago, IL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Henry Gatewood, O-812542 (POW, survived) Holly Springs, MS
Navigator  2nd Lt. Karl L. Ehlers, O-1017008 (POW, survived) Newton Falls, NY
Engineer-Gunner  SSgt Robert E. Bever, 17054635 (KIA, BR) Powell, WY
Radio  Cpl Calvin C. Beck, 15364114 (POW, survived) Louisville, KY

Crashed May 27, 1945
MACR  14524

Aircraft History
Built by North American as a B-25J-10-NC Mitchell. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the Pacific. Modified as a B-25J-11-NC.

Wartime History
On October 22, 1944 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group 501st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Apache Princess". Assigned to pilot Ohnemus with crew chief Haller. When lost, engines R-2600-13 and R-2600-29 serial numbers 42-77302 and 43-32676. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR 14524.

Mission History
On May 27, 1945 took off from Clark Field (Strip #1) on Luzon in the Philippines on a low level bombing mission armed with 500 pound bombs against Ensui Airfield and rail yard on Formosa (Taiwan). Weather was intermittent rain showers with a ceiling of only 800' and six mile visibility. Due to a navigational error, the squadron missed the target and instead attacked a sugar refinery at Mizukami and Meiji and a brick plant.

At the start of the attack, this bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire causing the left engine to catch fire. After releasing the bomb load over the rail road yard, Hart feathered the damaged engine but the propeller ran away and a fire started in the bomb bay. The B-25 clipped trees before crash landing into a rice field and came to rest near a drainage ditch with the tail intact upward with the nose and front half on fire.

During the crash, SSgt Bever was trapped inside the aircraft and fatally wounded. The rest of the crew survived. After the crash, the downed B-25 was observed on the ground by B-25 piloted by 2nd Lt. Gordon McClain and reported. When this B-25 failed to return, the entire crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Fates of the Crew
After the crash landing, Hart was knocked unconscious. The rest of the crew located Bever who was badly injured and trapped inside with a fire burning. Unable to help him, the rest of the crew departed the crash and attempted to escape eastwards into the mountains. Following an irrigation trench for an hour, they spotted Japanese soldiers and civilians with farm implements approaching and decided to give themselves up with their hands raised and became Prisoners Of War (POW).

The aviators were taken to a nearby town were they were paraded as "war criminals" with crowds watching them, some spitting on them or hitting them with sticks. Afterwards, their hands were tied and bags placed over their heads and transported aboard several different trains over two before arriving at Taihoku (Taipei) city jail used as Kempeitai (military police) headquarters. The four were interrogated, stripped of their possessions and briefly questioned then placed into cells. In a nearby cell was Cpl John Shott radio-gunner aboard B-25J 44-30164.

On May 30, 1945 pilot Hart was taken before two officers seated at a table including Captain Yoshino Nakano with an interpreter Cpl Kiyomi Kawai. Hart was informed he was on trail and his answers would determine his fate. Giving only his name, rank and serial number, he was accused of "indiscriminate bombing" and to placate them told the details of the mission he was shot down, assuming they already knew about it. The officer began screaming about his "indiscriminate bombing" and the guards restrained Hart and he was given water torture (water boarding) with a towel placed over his face and water poured over top until he passed out, then he was revived and questioned further. Hart managed to wrestle free but was knocked unconscious, then handcuffed and tortured twice more and he requested to be killed. Captain Nakano drew his sword and placed the point on his neck, but instead resumed water torture until he fell unconscious again, until slapped awake until and vomited. The guards then water boarded him and jumped on his stomach until he vomited and he passed out for the sixth time. Major Kiyoshi Aoki entered the room and ordered the interrogation stopped and he was placed in front of the major. Broken, Hart gave a full interrogation and the Japanese were satisfied and placed back into his cell.

Afterwards, Hart was never interrogated again nor were any of his crew. For the remainder of the war, the crew languished in their cells until the end of the war. At the end of the Pacific War, he and other Allied prisoners were transported to a main camp then repatriated.

Bever was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, he was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell, WY.

Some sources incorrectly list this aircraft as serial number 44-28152
Missing Air Crew Report 14524 (MACR 14524)
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Ted U. Hart Taiwan POW Camp #1 (Taihoku) 25-121
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Henry Gatewood Dispatch Camp (Tokyo #3 - Kawasaki) 35-139
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Karl L. Ehlers Taiwan POW Camp #1 (Taihoku) 25-121
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Calvin C. Beck Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) 35-140
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert E Bever (grave photo)
Warpath Across the Pacific pages 326-329, 378, 399

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


Tech Info

May 27, 1945

4 Prisoner

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