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  F4U-1 Corsair Bureau Number 02602  

Pilot  Major Reynold George Tomes, O-006903 (MIA / KIA) NE
MIA  September 2, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to squadron VMF-123 "Flying Eight Balls". No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.

Mission History
On September 2, 1943 took off from Munda Airfield on a mission over Kahilli Airfield on southern Bougainville. During the mission, this Corsair strafed barges south of Ballale Island, then flew around the northeastern side of the island passing the northern end of Ballale Airfield runway when small arms fire and 20mm anti-aircraft fire opened up from the island below. This Corsair exploded and crash onto the island from a height of approximately 50'.

Fellow pilots Lt. Cantrell and Lt. Rathburn both observed the crash and immediately departed for home. Flying in the vicinity five minutes later, VMF-213 pilots Captain Scott and Captain Dyer flying at 5,000' observed smoke on the ground before returning to base. When this Corsair failed to return, Tomes was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Tomes was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Gold Star and Purple Heart, posthumously. Tomes is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. He also has a memorial marker at Saint Patricks Catholic Cemetery in Utica, NB at section 1, row 6, lot 126.

Patricia Tomes (daughter of Reynold George Tomes)
I am the daughter of Reynold George Tomes (USMC have his name spelled Raynold). Unfortunately, I have no further information but am looking for information on F4U-1 Corsair Bureau Number 012602."

VMF-215 Mission Report - September 2, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raynold [sic] George Tomes

FindAGrave - Maj Reynold George Tomes, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Maj Reynold G. Tomes (memorial marker photo)

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info

1 Missing

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