|Pilot Captain Frank Peter Bender, O-392735 (survived)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Glover (survived)
Crew S/Sgt T. Coward (survived)
Gunner S/Sgt Arnold M. Thompson (survived)
Gunner Sgt C. V. Hastie (survived)
Gunner Cpl. R. A. McNamara (survived)
Ditched April 24, 1942
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army as serial number 41-129?? the last two digits are unknown. Ferried overseas via Hawaii across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Salvo Sadie".
On April 24, 1942 took off from Charters Towers via Cairns as one of three B-25s bound for Port Moresby to fly a combat mission planned for the following
day against Lae. The group reached the New Guinea coast, headed west, but unable
to find Port Moresby, and
turned around to fly east. At dusk and short on fuel they jettisoned their
bombs into the sea. Ditched near Baibara Island east of B-25C "Chattanooga
Choo Choo" and B-25C "Tojo's
Nitemare" that ditched into Mullins Harbor.
Fates of the Crew
The crew made their way ashore and were rescued by Mr. Eglestaff, a
Captain 'Mac' Rich of ANGAU located them on April 30, 1942 and took them by truck
back to Fife Bay where they boarded his ship the Marek, and continued
to search for any of the other crew from B-25C "Tojo's
and attempted to salvage the wreckage of B-25C "Chattanooga
Choo Choo" 41-129??.
The survivors of the triple ditching left the area
on May 3 aboard the Marek to Milne
Bay, where they held a memorial service for the crew of "Tojo's
Nitemare". On May 4, 1942 departed aboard MV Matoma traveling westward via Abau Island before arriving at Port Moresby ten days later and were sent back to Australia.
Later on July 26, 1942 Captain Frank Peter Bender bailed out of B-25C
"Arora" 41-12792 after being shot down by Zeros.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell piloted by Bender
Flightpath Magazine "Underwater Trio" by Michael Claringbould
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June 29, 2019