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|Pilot Captain Charles K. Taylor, Jr., O-432268 (POW, survived) MS
Crashed December 23, 1943 at 1:30pm
Over the target at 26,000', the F-4 Lightning piloted by Lt. Murphy began taking photos and became separated from the two escorting Lightnings. Murphy then made a photo run over Rapopo Airfield and radioed his escorts to join him. After completing the run, Murphy's aircraft had some additional exposures remaining and made another photographic run over Simpson Harbor.
Departing the target, Murphy observed six Zeros climbing from 17,000' towards them and notified the escorts. The Zeros continued to gain on them, and Taylor radioed Murphy to accelerate. Lt. Holton became separated and headed back to Port Moresby alone.
Taylor was last observed in formation with Murphy at 26,000' at 260 mph on a course of 220° roughly 40 miles away from Rabaul. The two pilots were in radio contact. Believing Taylor was still with him, Murphy switched off his radio, because there was other traffic on the same channel. When he realized Taylor was not in his blind spot, he called for him on the radio, but recieved no answer.
Fates of the Crew
On February 17, 1944 Taylor was one of six Allied prisoners transported aboard a G4M1 Betty bomber from Rabaul to Truk, and then onward to Japan. He then became a prisoner at Omori POW Camp near Tokyo until the end of the war. He survived captivity and postwar returned to the United States.
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