|Pilot 2/Lt William Raymond Barker, O-417932 (KIA, BR) OK
Co-Pilot 2/Lt Earl S. Ripley, O-431518 (MIA / KIA) KS
Crew Sgt Raymond E. McGill, 6287828 (MIA / KIA) AR
Gunner Sgt William C. Krueger, 16027708 (MIA / KIA) WI
Gunner Sgt Edward R. White, 6925238 (KIA, BR) LA
Crew Sgt W. Hill (survived)
Ditched April 24, 1942
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army serial number 41-129??, the last two digits are unknown. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
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 the group jettisoned
their bombs into the sea.
Ditch near Mariawate into Mullins Harbor. along
with B-25C "Chattanooga Choo Choo". Further to the east ditched B-25C "Salvo
Sadie". Several bombs had stuck in the bomb bay and this aircraft
blew up when it ditched, with only Sgt Hill surviving
the explosion. He spent the night in the sea and washed ashore on a small
Nixon reported the ditchings to ANGAU officer, Captain
'Mac' Rich, who sailed from Samarai aboard the Marek, and arrived and
met them. The next day, Rich, and native people searched the area but found
the water murky and one of the unexploded bombs. Two bodies were recovered, those of Barker and White. The rest
of the crew were never located. Rich then departed to look for B-25C "Salvo
returning with their crew on May 1, 1942 to the Fife Bay area.
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.
The two recovered crew are buried at Manila American Cemetery. Barker was officially declared dead (in error) on October 24, 1942. His was buried at Plot A Row 16 Grave 74.White was officially declared dead on April 24, 1942 and is buried at Plot D Row 1 Grave 130. The other members of the crew: Ripley, McGill and Krueger were officially declared dead the day of the mission and are all memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Earl S. Ripley
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond E. McGill
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William C. Krueger
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell piloted by Barker
Flightpath Magazine "Underwater Trio" by Michael Claringbould
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November 8, 2018