|Crew 2nd Lt. Thomas H. Fletcher, O-810641 (KIA) Marion, IN
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Robert W. McDowell, O-721828 (KIA) Wooster, OH
Navigator 2nd Lt Carl F. Copeland, O-811318 (KIA) MA
Radio Sgt Charlie A. Donnelly, 11117634 (KIA) Newton, MA
Engineer T/Sgt James E. Wilson, 35677218 (KIA) Middletown, OH
Crashed January 9, 1945 at 10:30am
Built by Douglas. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 375th Troop Carrier Group, 57th Troop Carrier Squadron. No nose art or nickname.
When lost, engines R-1330-92-41 serial number (left) CP 3578938 (right) R-41-1600.
Took off from Boroke Airfield on Biak on a flight bound for Peleliu Airfield.
Weather was a heavy overcast with a ceiling at 1,000'. Elsewhere, the sky was clear. After take off, this C-47 made a turn to the right instead of the left with the rest of the formation at 10:30am. C-47 piloted by Lt. Bingham tried to contact this aircraft by radio but got no reply.
McDowell plot F row 8 grave 66. Copeland plot A row 3 grave 171. Copeland plot A row 3 grave 171. Donnelly plot F row 3 grave 52.
When this aircraft failed to arrive, other American aircraft were informed to search for this missing plane but failed to find any trace. Plus, Air-Sea Rescue plus C-47s from the 375th Troop Carrier Group searched for this aircraft.
On March 11, 1945, this C-47 was found in a swamp on the north side of Biak. The crash site was inaccessible aside from pack mules.
Recovery of Remains
The remains of all the crew were recovered and buried at Bosnek #1 Cemetery (USAAF) on March 12, 1945.
remains of the three crew members were recovered in 1945 and two of which
are buried at Manila American Cemetery.
Crashed after take off on Biak.
Fenstermaker visited the crash in 1987:
"From what I remember
is - the 375th converted to C-46 aircraft late in 1944 but
this aircraft, albeit war weary was not retired at Biak but was
being still used. I believe this aircraft took off with two other aircraft
from the group/squadron but rather than turning the direction of
the other aircraft after take off, did not and for unknown reason
crashed near the north west of Biak. A note on geography is
that Biak is actually divided into two parts - Biak island to the
S/W and Superior is the local reference to the N/W portion separated
by a narrow isthmus. The crash site is located in the lower Biak
area itself but to the N/W near the coast area - inland. I had
gotten the MACR on this aircraft at about the same time as many others
- about 1986 for future surveys of Biak itself. In 1987 I took a
small boat up around the N/E coast
area of Biak stopping periodically to survey known /unknown/ unreported
crash sites along the Biak coast. This crash site was an added Datum
point to cross check the accuracy of the MACR report and location
itself. The info was correct and it added to my experience of surveying
and investigating sites. I also wanted to see if recoverability
of remains was related to dynamic forces and destruction of the aircraft
since the remains of the crew was recovered."
ABMC lists the crew members as one rank higher, possibly posthumous promotions
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 5, 2018