Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  PBY-5 Catalina Bureau Number 08428  
USN
VP-52

Commander  Lt John M. Arbuckle, 85153 (POW, survived) State College, PA
Crew  Lt(jg) Raymond B. Thompson, 129779 (POW / MIA) Seattle, WA
Crew  Ensign John F. Ryder, 157076 (POW / MIA) Keene, NH
Crew  Ensign Phillip K. Phillis, 251356 (POW, executed 1-17-44) Pointsville, KY
Crew  ARM2/c George E. Furman, 5522326 (MIA / KIA 11-23-43) Florence, SC
Crew  ARM1/c William S. Hamilton, Jr., 4050885 (POW / MIA) Conneautville, PA
Crew  AOM1/c James J. Kirk, 2439049 (POW executed 4-12-44) Philadelphia, PA
Crew  AMM2/c Arthur R. Bradbury, Jr., 6141636 (MIA / KIA 11-23-43) OH
Crew  AMM2/c Paul M. Mannon, 6603207 (POW / MIA) Oakland, CA
Crew  AMM2/c Carl L. Morgan, 2583530 (POW / MIA) Annapolis, MD
Crew  AMM1/c Richard Blanchard, 2016689 (MIA / KIA 11-23-43) East Providence, RI

Ditched  November 22, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the US Navy (USN) to squadron VP-52. No known nickname or nose art. On November 20, 1943 this Catalina arrived at Namoia Bay on Sariba Island near Milne Bay.

Mission History
Took off from Namoai Bay on a night mission against the Japanese shipping. Off New Ireland at 23:00, this Catalina discovered a small coastal vessel and strafed it, meeting no return fire. An escorting ship opened fire on this aircraft igniting parachute flares aboard and causing a fire in the aft to the navigator's station.

Fearing that the bombs might explode, Arbuckle ditched in St. Georges Channel roughly 12-15 miles off New Ireland at roughly Lat 3.30 Long 151.50.

Fates of the Crew
The entire crew managed to swim away from their burning aircraft together but were unable to deploy their life rafts because they were burned in the fire.

Due to exhaustion, the crew split up. The three men last seen in St. Georges Channel were: Blanchard, Bradbury, and Furman. These men either drown or had an unknown fate.

The next day, Arbuckle, Thompson and another crewmen and encountered a group of dolphins that they mistook for sharks. They managed to reach the shore at 11:00am on November 23 and attempted to locate Australian Coastwatcher on the island, by trekking into the jungle and avoiding paths that might be in use by the Japanese.

Later, they encountered an elderly native man and spoke with him in Pidgin English. He offered to take them to the coastwatcher, but on the same trail encountered a group of Japanese with rifles who took them prisoner.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the crew also made landfall on New Ireland and were also captured by the Japanese and became prisoners.

The crew were transported to Kavieng in two groups and later taken to Rabaul where they were reunited. In total, eight of the original crew were taken prisoner: Arbuckle, Thompson, Hamilton, Kirk, Mannon, Ryder, Phillis, and Morgan. Together, they were held as prisoners by the Japanese 81st Naval Guard Unit.

Seven members of the crew were reportedly put aboard a ship, but they were never heard from again. Possibly, they were executed at Rabaul during late 1943 or early 1944.

On January 17, 1944 Phillip was executed. Postwar, his remains were recovered.

On February 17, 1944 Arbuckle was one of six Allied prisoners transported aboard a G4M1 Betty bomber from Rabaul to Truk, and then onward to Japan. He survived captivity in Japan and was freed on October 8, 1945 from Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku).

Memorials
Blanchard, Bradbury, and Furman were officially declared dead on January 11, 1946. All three are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

Phillis was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 8, site 5270-A interred on March 5, 1951. Kirk is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot Q, grave 1295.

References
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - John M. Arbuckle
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Raymond Barrell Thompson
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - John Francis Ryder
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Phillip K. Phillis
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - William S. Hamilton, Jr.
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - James Joseph Kirk
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Paul Monroe Mannon
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Carl L. Morgan
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - PBY Catalina Bureau Number 8428 [sic 08428]
Black Cat Raiders of WWII pages 177-180
The Siege of Rabaul page 20-21
VP-34 Mishap Summary Page references by Michael Moskow related to 08428
FindAGrave - James Joseph Kirk (grave photo)
Combat Connected Naval Casualties, World War II
National Archives Australia "Arbuckle Report" postwar letter from Lieutenant Commander John M. Arbuckle to Commander Walter W. Finke, Director of the Dependents Welfare Division, USN, concerning the fate of Arbuckle’s crew (found in RAAF Casualty File A 705/15 (Item 166/42/42), for Flight Officer Geoffrey H. Vincent of No. 8 Squadron RAAF

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech InfoPBY

MIA
MIA / POW
8 Prisoners
3 Missing

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram