|Pilot Lt(jg) John B. Haskett, O-106015 USNR (MIA / KIA) Alhambra, CA
Crew Lt(jg) Kenneth R. Johnson, O-121454 USNR (MIA / KIA) MN
Crew Ensign Duane L. Beaman, O-156373 USNR (MIA / KIA) CA
Crew AMM2c Clarence C. Dodson, 3603777 USN (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew AMM2c John H. Harr, 6221572 USNR (MIA / KIA) MI
Crew AMM2c Alvin P. Harrow, 2073724 USN (MIA / KIA) CT
Crew AMM2c Merle W. Hinshaw, 3288742 USN (MIA / KIA) MN
Crew AOM3c Henry F. Lohmeier, 6105801 USNR (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew ARM2c Lloyd R. Morgan, 3566308 USN (MIA / KIA) OK
Crew AM2c Norman M. Ostroff, 4050403 USNR (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew ARM2c Eric B. Bolling, 4050403 USNR (MIA / KIA) PA
Observer Lt. Donald H. Shiley, O-083362 USNR (MIA / KIA) IL
MIA July 17, 1943
Built by Consolidated. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-15-CO Liberator serial number 41-24084.
Assigned to the U. S. Navy USN as PB4Y-1 Liberator bureau number 31952 to Bombing Squadron 101 (VB-101). On July 17, 1943 operated by a crew from Bombing Squadron 102 (VB-102).
On July 17, 1943 at 1:28am took off from Carney Field on Guadalcanal piloted by Lt(jg) John B. Haskett on a predawn bombing mission against Kahilli Airfield (Buin) on southern Bougainville. Aboard was observer Lt. Donald H. Shiley who volunteered to fly the mission in hopes of experiencing combat even though he had already received orders to be transfered home.
The formation included six PB4Y-1 Liberators: three from VB-101 plus three from VB-102 (including this bomber) with one aborting. For this mission, this bomber was temporarily assigned to squadron VB-102.
Over Kahilli Airfield (Buin) the bombers dropped cluster bombs from 12,000'. Returning both VB-102 PB4Ys were attacked by enemy night fighters. Witnesses aboard another PB4Y reported this bomber as shot down in flames. When this PB4Y-1 failed to return by the estimated time of arrival, it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Japanese side of the mission
A pair of J1N1 Irving night fighters from the 251 Kōkūtai took off from Ballale Airfield at 2:25am. One piloted by Okado with observer Satoru Ono sighted a "B-24" flying in the opposite direction and made three attack run against the plane. At 3:47am observed it going down in flames. Both night fighters landed safely after the combat.
Afterwards, searches revealed no sign of this bomber or the crew.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on January 7, 1946 The entire crew is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.
Haskett earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Evergreen Cemetery in Republic, MO at section B, row 1, plot 9.
Jim Wright (nephew of Lloyd Morgan)
"The south end of Bougainville was an area of much action in and around 1943 and could, I feel yield a number of MIA finds. My uncle is one of those missing. He was a radioman in a B-24 that was shot down July 17, 1943 while bombing Kahili Airfield. Lloyd Morgan was his name. No trace has ever been found. "
Navy Serial Number Search Results - PB4Y-1 Liberator 31952
"31952 (ex USAAF B-24D 41-24084, VB-102) shot down by enemy fighters Jul 17, 1943 South Pacific. 11 MIA"
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-15-CO Liberator 41-24084
"24083 to Navy as PB4Y-1 31952."
Diary of James Claire Nolan - July 17, 1943 (Saturday)
"Six planes out on the night strike over Kahili last night (three of our ours in three of 102’s). One of 102’s planes were shot down in flames by a Jap night fighter off Buin. The first time I’ve ever heard of the B-24 going down in flames. (Also the first Jap night fighter success in this area.)
The other crews that saw it, said they saw a stream of tracer, then a small fire, which slowly blossomed into a roaring mass of flames as the plane dove towards the harbor. The wreckage floated and burned for a short while in the water. That’s two for 102 in two weeks. They’re beginning to understand what we’ve been up against for the past six months."
Kodochosho, 251 Kōkūtai, July 17, 1943
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John B. Haskett
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth R. Johnson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Duane L. Beaman
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Clarence C. Dodson
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John H. Harr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Alvin P. Harrow
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Merle W. Hinshaw
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Henry F. Lohmeier
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lloyd R. Morgan
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Norman M. Ostroff
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Eric B. Bolling
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald H. Shiley
FindAGrave - LtJG John B Haskett (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - John Beverly Haskett (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Kenneth R. Johnson
We Flew Alone covers this loss
The Search That Never Was: The Untold Truth about the 1948-49 Search for World War II American Personnel Missing in Action in the South Pacific by J. L. Wright
Thanks to Minoru Kamada for Japanese translation and Jim Sawruk for crew details
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December 22, 2018