Driscoll April 19, 1943
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Edward H. Morrison, O-425036 (WIA, survived) Oakdale, CA
Co-Pilot Kipp (WIA, survived)
Navigator 2nd Lt. John K. Burns, O-724013 (WIA, survived)
Radio Cpl George T. McGraw, 14031554 (WIA, survived) Winston County, MS
Crashed April 19, 1943
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26B Marauder serial number 41-17576.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 70th Bomber Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
This B-26 was directed by operational order 109a
to be piloted by 2nd Lt. John M. Washington on a ferry flight but before take off switched to 2nd Lt. Harold V. "Swede" Larson.
On June 2, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field pilot 2nd Lt. Harold V. "Swede" Larson, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Richard M. Thorburn, navigator 2nd Lt. Everett R. Lewis and radio/engineer Cpl George T. McGraw as part of "A Flight" (Flight A) with auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the bomb bay and a reduced crew on a ferry flight to Hickam Field on Oahu to join the Hawaiian Defense Command.
On July 3, 1942 took off from Hickam Field piloted by Harold V. "Swede" Larson as part of of "A" Flight on a flight bound for Christmas Island Airfield then to the South Pacific.
During late 1942 until April 1943 this B-26 flew 25 missions in the Solomon Islands and South Pacific before it crashed taking off on its 26th mission.
On April 19, 1943 took off from Narewa Field on Fiji piloted by 1st Lt. Edward H. Morrison as one of three B-26s on a flight bound for the New Hebrides. After take off, one engine failed causing this B-26 to crash hitting a palm tree at the edge of the runway and impacted into a the ground that ripped the bomber apart with the nose rolling up into the nose with trees tearing off the wing tips and the engines tore off with the rear fuselage breaking ahead of the top turret. The wreckage came to rest in three sections and did not catch fire. The entire crew survived the crash with injuries. Afterward, was written off. Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped.
Fate of the Crew
After the crash, the crew were injured but still conscious. Pilot Morrison suffered a broken ankle, another had a compound leg fracture, another a slash and another a head injury. The entire crew was rescued and transported to the hospital for treatment and all recovered afterwards.
Afterwards, Morris was treated in Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California and later transfered to Hammond General Hospital in Modesto, California. While recovering in hospital, he was awarded the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster.
Note, some sources list this aircraft as assigned to 38th BG, 69th BS.
Photos by SSgt Driscoll have the date of crash with the caption "B-26 crackup Nandi, Fiji 6/8/43".
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records -
Edward H. Morrison
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George T. McGraw
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26B Marauder 41-17576
"17576 (70th BS, 42nd BG, 13th AF) in takeoff accident at Narewa Field, Fenton, Fiji Islands Apr 19, 1943. All crew survived, but aircraft was destroyed."
April 1943 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports - B-26B 41-17576
"430419 B-26B 41-17576 Narewa Fld, Nandi [APO 913]"
Diary of 1st Lt. Conrad A. Ray - April 19, 1943
"Received radiogram ordering us to pick up members of the outfit in N. Hebrides who are on way from Auckland. Art, Ed and I were each flying a ship. We took off early and climbed on course to 5000’ to find that Ed was missing. We were called back to the field to find he had crashed on take-off. One engine went out and he tried for a field near Nadi and hit palm trees on edge. It hit the ground and [?] into the bank about three feet high. Bank tore the plane to pieces rolling the nose under plane up to pilots seat, trees tore off ends of wings, engines were torn out and left behind, plane was broken in three pieces the bottom and pieces were scattered from back at the tires. She didn’t catch fire. Ed, Burns and Kipp were thrown clear. Radioman McGraw was pinned in and took him half hour to cut him out. All were conscious when found. Ed has badly smashed ankle, Kipp compound fracture of leg, Burns badly slashed leg, McGraw head injuries, all were badly cut. Hospital says all will recover O.K., which is a miracle. I hope no further complications appear. Afraid Ed’s ankle may be [?]. He did a fine job flying it in. Their escape was a miracle."
News "Oak Leaf Cluster Is Presented To ExOakdale Man" 1943
in "Lieutenant Edward Morrison" 1943
"Lieutenant Morrison got a furlough from the army hospital in Modesto where he is undergoing treatment of his left leg which was severely inured when motor failure caused a crackup of the big ship as it was taking off on its 26th mission. He said he expected to be out of the war the better part of a year.
Safely passing through 25 mission, Skipper Morrison and his crew were just taking off on the 26th when one of the motors failed. The big ship was unable to gain altitude and crashed through a grove of palm trees and crashed. Fortunately, he said, the gas tanks were ripped off so there was no fire. The entire crew was injured but none fatally.
Edward suffered a compound fracture of the left ankle and due to complications the injury has proved serious. He wears a cast and is able to get around, but he will be laid up for a long time yet."
News "Captain Ed. Morrison to Quit Service" 1944
"Captain Morrison was seriously injured when his plane crashed in the South Pacific, more than a year ago, and he has since been under treatment at various army hospitals. He has now recovered the use of his leg and is able to get around without a cane."
Bombs Away! A History of the 70th Bombardment Squadron (M) in Early World War II pages 9, 24-25 (June 2, 1942 ferry flight), 28, 36, 43, 46, 55, 83, 93-94, 149, 153, 158-160 (operational order 109a piloted by 2nd Lt. John M. Washington but switched to Harold V. "Swede" Larson prior to take off), 174 (index Morrison, Edward H.)
Edward H. Morrison 70th Bomb Squadron, 38th/42nd Bomb Group (photos, news)
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Greg Boeser for additional research and analysis
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September 30, 2018