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  B-26B "Liberty Bell" Serial Number 41-17584  
USAAF
5th AF
38th BG
70th BS

Pilot  Lt. Fred W. Durbin (WIA, survived)
Co-Pilot  Lt Richard S. Evans (WIA, survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. William J. Winemiller, Jr., O-742106 (KIA)
Radio  Sgt Benjamin A. Arnold (KIA)

Crashed  July 3, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Martin in Baltimore, MD. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26B Marauder serial number 41-17584. This bomber was paid for by citizens of Philadelphia as part of a war drive and nicknamed "Liberty Bell" at the factory on April 20, 1942.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 70th Bombardment Squadron. This bomber was flown from California to Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Mission History
On July 3, 1942 took off from Hickam Field on Oahu piloted by Lt. Fred W. Durbin as part of of "A" Flight on a flight bound for Christmas Island Airfield with a reduced crew and two 250 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks in the bomb bay. Shortly after take off the right engine caught fire and pilot Durbin attempted to ditch offshore, but struck a camouflaged observation tower on the beach shearing off the left wing causing the bomber to disintegrate. During the crash, Durbin and Evans were tossed from the plane severely injuring both men. Winemuller and Arnold were trapped in the burning wreckage and killed.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the bodies of Winemuller and Arnold were recovered.

Memorials
Winemuller is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at row M, grave 844. Arnold is buried at Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery in Lawrenceville, GA.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26B Marauder 41-17584
Bombs Away! A History of the 70th Bombardment Squadron (M) in Early World War II, Harold V. Larson, SeaCliff Press, Manzanita, OR, 1998
FindAGrave - Benjamin Alton Arnold (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Joseph Winemiller, Jr (grave photo)
Thanks to Gregory Boeser for additional information

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Last Updated
May 11, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-26
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