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  B-25J-10-NC Mitchell Serial Number 43-36161  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
500th BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. William P. Simpson, USAAF O-552551 (WIA, survived) Oklahoma City, OK
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Richard J. Lewis, USAAF O-8224497 (survived) Indianapolis, IN
Bombardier / Navigator  2nd Lt. Jack A. Williams, USAAF O-704112 (survived)
Engineer  Sgt Clyde W. Kline, USAAF 33598085 (survived)
Radio Operator  Cpl Charles S. Spurlock, Jr, 20820388 (MIA / KIA) Hillister, TX
Armourer  Cpl Donald G. Conner, 35754706 (MIA / KIA) WV

Ditched  January 6, 1945
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Aircrew Report 14225 (MACR 14225).

Mission History
On January 6, 1945 took off from Tacloban Airfield on Leyte on a combat mission over Fabrica Airfield on Negros Island. Leaving the target, this B-25 was hit in the navigator's compartment or bomb bay, causing the main landing gear to drop down roughly a third of the way, likely due to a loss of hydraulic pressure. Roughly ten seconds later, flames appeared in the forward end of the bomb bay and navigator's compartment, causing the turret to become red hot. Fifteen seconds later, the right engine was feathered and successfully ditched at roughly 150 mph, landing smoothly and did not break up.

Afterwards, four of the surviving crew were observed atop the B-25 waving and had successfully deployed their life raft. One B-25 dropped a life raft to them. The B-25 formation circled for roughly 20 minutes and notified air-sea rescue. Several B-25s dropped their life rafts to the crew.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the surviving crew members were rescued. Spurlock and Conner likely died in the crash and were declared Missing In Action (MIA). Simpson was later lost aboard B-25J Mitchell 43-27888.

Memorials
Spurlock and Conner were both officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the Manila American Cemetery.

Spurlock also has a memorial marker at Magnolia Cemetery in Woodville, TX.

Relatives
John Hout:
"Donald G. Conner was my uncle and his birth date is 12/5/1924"

References
Note, some sources incorrectly list this aircraft as "43-86161" which is not a B-25 serial number
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles S. Spurlock, Jr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald G. Conner
FindAGrave - Corp Charles Stewart Spurlock (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Charles Stewart Spurlock, Jr (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Donald G Conner (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for his assistance with this profile

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

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-25

MIA
MIA
2 Missing

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