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Lindsay Nov 10, 1944

Pilot  Francis A. Thompson, O-765354 (rescued)
Crew  Kenneth I. Smith (rescued)
Crew  Jospeh Bechtel (rescued)
Crew  Ted A. Razook (rescued)
Radio  Cpl William B. Pearl, 16160851 (MIA / KIA) MI
Passenger  1st Lt. Harold E. Wahvel (rescued)
Passenger  1st Lt. Leon A. Glasser (rescued)

Ditched  November 10, 1944
MACR  none

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

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, CRTC (Combat Replacement Training Center) based at Nadzab Airfield.

Mission History
On November 10, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield as one of three aircraft (two B-25s and an A-20 Havoc) on a bombing mission against Wewak. Over the target, this bombers was hit by anti-aircraft fire and ditched into the sea. Before ditching, the radio operator managed to transmit an "S. O. S." before drowning with the sinking bomber.

Rescue
Hearing the crew's "S. O. S.", Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Catalina A24-92 piloted by Philip S. Lindsay of 8 Communication Unit arrived to rescue the crew, rendezvousing with eight DAP Beauforts from 7 Squadron that took off from Tadji Airfield and rendezvoused with the Catalina at 7:15Z at 4,500'.

The Catalina spotted the crew's life raft approximately a half mile southeast of Muschu Island. While conducting the rescue, the Beauforts (A9-507, A9-356, A9-595, A9-599, A9-471, A9-364, A9-412, A9-461) dropped bombs onto anti-aircraft positions on Cape Wom, Wewak Point and Cape Moem as part of a distraction around 4:30pm while the rescue was conducted.

Around 4:30pm, Catalina A24-92 made several circuits over the raft and landed on the sea roughly 200m from shore near Cape Wom to rescued the crew, two of which were wounded. Against orders, the crew shut down both engines to take the six aboard. The rescue was photographed using Philip Lindsay's camera, a gift from his wife. Before departing, one of the Americans sunk their life raft with his pistol. Safely aboard, the Catalina successfully restarted their engines and took off successfully. As darkness set in, this aircraft landed at Madang Airfield around 8:30pm. Afterwards, the rescued crew were taken to a hospital at Madang overnight. The next morning they were flown back to Nadzab.

Memorials
Pearl was officially declared dead the day of the mission and earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Wahvel passed away August 11, 1974. Leon Glasser died postwar.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - William B. Pearl
FindAGrave - Corp William B Pearl (tablets of the missing)
RAAF No. 7 Squadron Detail of Operation 1/11/44 - 30/11/44 page 372
Rescue at Wewak by Hilarie Lindsay, Ansay Pty Ltd 2000 incorrectly lists the Catalina's unit as assigned to the 111th Squadron Air Sea Rescue Unit, it was not assigned to that unit until January 1945
AWM P00120.001 and P00120.005 show the rescue, photos via Philip S. Lindsay captions eludes to four or five being rescued
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional research and analysis

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Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-25

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

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