|Pilot Lt. John F. Bartholf, Jr., O-014325 (MIA / KIA) FL
Crew ? (MIA / KIA)
Crew ? (MIA / KIA)
MIA February 14, 1944
Built by Gumman. Assigned to the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Group 11, VMTB-233. No known nose art, nickname or squadron number.
Took off fromTorokina Airfield on Bougainville for a mission to
to drop an aerial mine into Simpson
Harbor near Rabaul. Over the target at 800' flying at slow speed, this Avenger was shot down over Simpson
total of six Avengers went down that day: TBF 47506, TBF
24264, TBF 24340, TBF 25327, TBF
Bartholf was officially declared dead on April 15, 1945. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Henry Sakaidia adds:
"A "1/Lt Bartoff,
USMC", was executed at Rabaul, date unknown. He could be J.F. Bartholf
Phil White adds:
"There were, according to other sources, several planes shot down in Simpson
Harbor that night, one plane from the first wave of eight, two from the second,
and three from the third group of eight. Captain Bartholf [this aircraft] and Lt. Cornelius [TBF Avenger 47506] planes
were observed by others to be shot down inside the harbor; “The planes
piloted by Lieutenants Boyden, Sherman, Fowler, and Hathway (also) failed to
return to base.” The report in my possession also states that the remains
of Lt. Cornelius and Lt. Sherman were found buried among the unknowns recovered
from Prisoner of War cemeteries in the Tunnel Road vicinity of Rabaul. An additional
identified person’s remains, those of PFC Duane St. Germain, were also
found, suggesting to the report’s author that “perhaps more of the
personnel in the above flight may have reached shore safely and have been buried
among the unknown recovered from POW cemeteries in the Rabaul area.” This
would suggest that actually five were shot down and one plane “escaped” from
the harbor but did not return to base.
Thanks to Phil White and Henry Sakaida for information.
USN / USMC Loss List microfilm might list Bartholf
as Bartoff or Bartof
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October 29, 2012