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  B-25H-5 Mitchell Serial Number 43-4513  
13th AF
42nd BG
100th BS

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Ray Fairfield 1972

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Alfred Kirkland 1997

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Phil Bradley 2001

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Bill Lusty 2006

Pilot  Captain Charles R. Wolfendale (survived)
Force Landed  September 3, 1944
MACR  none

Crew History
Wolfendale served as the 42nd Bombardment Group operations officer. He flew a total of 95 combat missions, until grounded by Col. Harvey who commented: "Anyone with 95 missions ought to stay on the ground." He was later promoted to Major and rotated back to the United States He died during 1945 in a B-25 test flight accident at Eglin Airfield.

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 100th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On September 3, 1944 one of three B-25 strafer/bombers that took off from Stirling Airfield on Stirling Island on a mission against the Rabaul area to attack targets of opportunity. Reaching New Britain's coast, the three strafers flew low and skirting breakers along the coast and headed south-west. Recent sweeps in the same area by the Group had proved negative, and crossing Open Bay, the flight passed over Kalai Plantation.

As they peered downwards, the crews observed little there, save a wrecked wharf, derelict plantation buildings, and several beached barges which had been destroyed in previous missions. They attacked a tug boat.

This B-25 was damaged by small arms fire. One of the engines on this aircraft failed, and due to the second one over-heating, the pilot elected to make an emergency landing at Talasea Airfield near Talasea on the Willaumez Peninsula. When it touched down at high speed, the nose wheel tire blew out, and the nose leg collapsed, and the aircraft skidded to a halt on its nose. It was pushed off the runway, and serviceable components were later salvaged.

This B-25 remains in situ where it force landed. Today, it is one of Papua New Guinea's better known, easily accessible and intact aircraft wrecks.
Sadly, in 2006, the left outer wing was removed by scrappers, but stopped by local people.

John Curran visited the wreck in 1969:
"At one time I visited the B-25H at Talasea. It was remarkably untouched inside. I was amazed at seeing an enormous heavy cannon mounted on the underside. In the cockpit there was an A4 size card showing in graph form trajectories etc. B25H was on the top of the card. I took this card but unfortunately it has disappeared somewhere. I was surprised at how this card had remained in the cockpit since - I guess about 1944."

Cecilie Benjamin adds in 2006
"The wing hasn't been removed but cut off near the engine and lying in the grass. The aircraft no longer looks as good as it once did. We heard people were in the process of removing it when they were interrupted by local people."

Are you a relative of a member of this aircrew? Contact Us

PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25 43-4513
FlyPast "Last of the Ship Bsters" by Brian Bennett pages 18-19
Flightpath "The Talasea Mitchell North American B-25H-NA #43-4513" by Michael Claringbould page 81-84
Pacific Ghosts CD-ROM profiles this aircraft

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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