|Pilot 1st Lt. Marvin Davis, O-670847 (MIA / KIA, BR) San Antonio, TX
Co-Pilot 2nd. Lt. Walter H. Williford, O-683708 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Radio Cpl Charles L. Ebers, 16060628 (MIA / KIA, BR) MI
Engineer TSgt Marshall P. Starks, Jr., 38089258 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Asst Engineer Cpl Gent E. Bogle, 16150702 (MIA / KIA, BR) Lansing, MI
Passenger Cpl Vincent A. Garnot, 32589432 (MIA / KIA, BR) Wappingers Falls, NY
Elmer W. Schoff, 35579600 (MIA / KIA, BR) La Port, IN
MIA July 9, 1944
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 9567. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47A-30-DL Dakota serial number 42-23705. Ferried overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 375th Troop Carrier Group, 57th Troop Carrier Squadron. Nicknamed "Shakes All Over" painted in white with the nose art of a Hawaiian girl wearing a leis and a grass skirt with one hand behind her head and the other on her hip. Nose number X163 painted in white to the rear of the cockpit window and on the front of the nose. When lost, engines R-1830-92 serial numbers 42-107748 and 41-16404.
On July 9, 1944 took off from Saidor Airfield at 3:37pm on a flight to transport cargo and personnel to Nadzab No. 4 Airfield (APO 713, Unit 1). Aboard were Browning .50 caliber M2 machine guns being transported for servicing. After take off, this C-47 circled to the left and then proceeded on to the west-northwest direction bound for Dumpu. The weather was 1 to 2 at departure and 3 to 4 en route. When this C-47 failed to arrive, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
On July 11, 1944 two search sorties were flown searching for this aircraft. The first by a single C-47 piloted by Captain Clarence L. Shaw made a 3 hour 15 minute flight from Nadzab to Saidor and returned with nil sightings. The second C-47 piloted by 1st Lt James E. Taylor made a 4 hour flight searching the eastern side of the Finisterre range without results.
On July 12, 1944 four search sorties were flown. The first C-47 piloted by 1st Lt. Kennedy made a 3 hour 40 minute flight from Nadzab to Saidor and returned with nil sightings.
The second C-47 piloted by 1st Lt. Harold E. Townsend made a 3 hour search over the Cromwell Range and Rawlisen Range to the west of the Finisterre range. The third C-47 piloted by Major Benjamin King made a 3 hour 15 minute search over Astrolabe Bay to Madang and the Finisterre range. The fourth C-47 piloted by Captain David Stelliugwerth searched 8 hours Nadzab to Saidor.
This C-47 crashed at roughly 7,400' elevation in the vicinity of the Saidor Gap. During 1948, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) located the wreckage and recovered the remains of five of the crew.
Richard Leahy adds:
"I visited a C-46
44-78490 not far from this wreck in the 1970s. This Sgt left an
inscription on the main door (on the outside) of this aircraft to the
effect that he was working for the AGRS and that he had recovered the
human remains from this site in 1948. My guess that this same man also did a partial
recovery on 42-23705 at around the same time.
I visited the site courtesy of CILHI,
specifically U.S. Army Captain Paul Royal and Army anthropologist Alec
Christienson. I guess
that they took
me along to show them where it was. The locals have made no reference to anyone visiting 42-23705
prior to our arrival on Sept. 18th. This means to me that all who
were alive at that time have now gone.
painted on left hand side of forward nose section; X163. Under that is
the word painted diagonally SHAKES then a large depiction
of a fully clad woman, then the follow on from SHAKES, the words, ALL
OVER. We counted 24 half inch (50 cal) Browning machine guns which
were being taken to Nadzab for repair and return. They would have been
either P-47s and or A-20s and or B-25s. They were (are) all fixed guns.
This information was sourced for me by aviation historian
and author, Robert Piper."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the recovered crew members were transported to the Philippines and United States for permanent burial.
Ebers was buried at Manila American Cemetery at Plot L Row 7 Grave 81. Ebers also has a memorial marker at Greenwood Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI at plot P-97E-8.
Four of the crew: Davis, Bogle, Garnot and Starks are buried at Zachary Taylor Cemetery in a group burial at section E site 258.
Buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery is Williford at section R site 10.
The grave of Schoff is unknown, but presumed to be in his hometown in the United States.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47A-30-DL Dakota 42-23705
"23705 (MSN 9567) delivered May 20, 1943 - 5th AF Brisbane Jun 24, 1943 - With 375th TCG) lost Jul 9, 1944. MACR 7541. Wreckage located near Saidor on northern coast of Papua New Guinea Sep 18, 2003 [sic]."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - C-47 Dakota 42-23705
Thanks to Richard Leahy for additional information
FindAGrave - Lieut Marvin Davis (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Walter H.
Williford (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Charles L. Ebers (memorial marker)
FIndAGrave - Marshall P Starks, Jr (group burial photo)
Gent E Bogle (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Vincent A Garnot (group burial photo)
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Vincent A. Garnot
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Elmer W. Schoff
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March 4, 2018