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  B-26 "Sally Rand" Serial Number 40-1492  
USAAF
5th AF
22nd BG
2nd BS

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Pilot  1st Lt. Harry O. Patteson (WIA, survived) Midlothian VA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Duncan S. Hughes, O-726170 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew  2nd Lt. B.D. Davis (WIA, survived)
Crew
  2nd Lt. Hefstroe (WIA, survived)
Crew
  Sgt Berry (WIA, survived)
Crew  Sgt Goldman (WIA, survived)
Crew  Pvt Williams
(WIA, survived)
Ditched  August 13, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Martin. Delivered to the U. S. Army.

Wartime History
During March 1942 assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group, 2nd Bombardment Squadron with crew chief Anderson. Nicknamed "Sally Rand".

On March 29, 1942 piloted by 2nd Lt. Clarance E. McClaran took off from Hickam Field as part of a three plane formation on a ferry flight bound for Australia led by B-26s piloted by Konopacki with B-26 piloted by 2nd Lt. Crosson flying via Palmyra Airfield and Canton Airfield and Nouméa before reaching Amberley Field on April 2, 1942. Afterwards, took off from Amberley Field and flown northward to Garbutt Field near Townsville.

On April 8, 1942 took off from Garbutt Field piloted by McClaran during the afternoon on a flight northward to 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby to stage for a mission the next morning.

On April 9, 1942, one of four B-26s that departed during the mid morning from 7 Mile Drome on a bombing mission led by Lt. Rchardson against Rabaul. Each bomber was armed with either nineteen 100 lbs demolition bombs or four 500 lbs bombs. Their targets were Vunakanau Airfield and shipping inside Simpson Harbor.

Over the target, the formation claimed they were intercepted by four to seven enemy fighters. Aboard this bomber, McClaran's gunner Pvt Hugo H. Speier claimed a "Zero" shot down. In fact, three A5M4 Claudes intercepted but none were shot down and this bomber escaped without damage. The B-26 safely returned to base at 15:50, but 20 minutes later an air raid warning at Port Moresby forced them to take off and circle down the coast until the threat passed. The next day, the B-26s returned to Garbutt Field during the late afternoon.

In total, this bomber flew fourteen combat missions before it was lost.

Mission History
On August 13, 1942 one of a five B-26s from the 2nd Bombardment Squadron that took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby to attack a Japanese convoy off Gona. Upon reaching the target area at 3:15pm, the Marauders split up and conducted individual bombing attacks from 7,000' against the Japanese convoy, none of which scored any hits.

The Marauders had not yet regrouped into formation when they were attacked by escorting A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai led by Lt. Joji Yamashita. Three different Zeros made frontal attacks against Patteson's aircraft, damaging the right engine.

Patteson ducked the plane into the nearby clouds and escaped to the east-southeast flying down the coast, knowing he could not get over the mountains back to Port Moresby with a bad engine. After flying about sixty miles, this bomber broke out of the clouds at 1,500', and the Patteson attempted to land on a stretch of beach, but instead ended up ditching in shallow water just off a sandbar inside Porlock Harbor.

The initial impact with the water tore away the radio compass housing below the navigators compartment, causing the engineer and navigator to be sucked out of the plane when the floor was ripped away beneath them. The engineer came up in the bomb bay.

Bombardier Hughes surfaced in the water behind the plane, naked. Likely his clothes were torn off during the impact or he removed them attempting to free himself from the wreckage. One of his legs was sheared off and he had several lacerations on his body. Patteson found him and dragged him ashore where he quickly died from shock.

The entire crew had sustained injuries spent the night on the sandbar next to the wreckage of their plane. They were hemmed in by a dense mangrove swamp along the shoreline.

Rescue
On August 14, 1942 at dawn, an Australian coastwatcher arrived with a group of natives and transported the crew in native canoes to a nearby village and reported their condition by radio.

Meanwhile, at Mareeba Airfield, a 19th Bombardment Group B-17 Flying flew the 22nd Bombardment Group flight surgeon, Captain Halperin to Cairns Airfield landing at 5:00pm, to meet the RAAF Catalina that rescue the crew. That night, Halperin performed surgery to treat the wounded crewmen. At dawn, the Catalina took off again and landed at Townsville around noon where the crew received additional medial treatment.

Memorials
Duncan was officially declared dead on August 12, 1942 (incorrect, he died August 13, 1942). He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Wreckage
The wreckage of this B-26 remains in shallow water.

Heroic Rescue Wins Medals for 2 Fliers - Trapped Crewmen Saved in U.S. Bomber in Sea Off New Guinea:
"The plane's bottom was ripped off in landing, causing the navigator, bombardier and radioman to be sucked under through the hole. The engineer was trapped in the rear bomb bay and the turret gunner was pinned in the rear compartment."

Don Fetterly reports:
"I dove this wreckage with Rod Peace. The wreckage was broken up from the crash, not much left to see with a lot of silt."

Relatives
Christy Kucinski (granddaughter of Stanley J Kucinski):
"He was the radio operator of the 22nd Bomb Group 2nd squadron. He served from 1936 - 1944 when he was sent home due to some terrible accident. This accident affected him greatly having contributed to his suicide when he was 76. The thing is we in the family have no further information about his service or experience and we would really like to know more.

I have photos of my Grandfather. He is in front of a B-26 with the number 11 clearly visible and then a name scratched in. His badge on his bomber jacket exactly matches that of the Sally Rand crew. The name is barely visible but appears to be Sally Rand though Rand has an e on the end in this photo. I have another photo with my grandfather and his crew mates in front of this same plane. I know that my Grandfather was stationed out of Brisbane somewhere flying the B-26 as the radio man and after an incident he was sent home. He had severe mental issues after this and finally shot himself several years later as result of that incident. The military has provided a payment of disability to my Grandmother ever since. What I don't have are names of any of the crew or exact knowledge of the incident but the incident suffered by the Sally Rand as described here would fit however my Grandfather's name is not on the crew list. Ideas?

This is most of what I have. I'll attach also the photo of Sally Rand - I don't know if it was taken in CA before the planes were shipped to HI and re-assembled then re-assigned or what. I know my Grandfather was there, have the photos and discharge papers and whatnot which prove it we just can't figure out where exactly and with what plane at what time and with what crew. My husband is out of town but when he is back he can help me get bigger photos if you need.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1492
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1492
"Heroic Rescue Wins Medals for 2 Fliers - Trapped Crewmen Saved in U.S. Bomber in Sea Off New Guinea" May 3, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Duncan S. Hughes
FindAGrave - 2Lt Duncan S Hughes (tablets of the missing photo)
Revenge of the Red Raiders page 49, 67-68, 110, 118 (map), 122, 128-129, 175-176, 202, 316, 475, 469, 491

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

Last Updated
May 11, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-26

SCUBA
1-5m

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

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