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  TBF-1 Avenger Bureau Number 06311  
MAG 11

Pilot  Lt. John F. Bartholf, Jr., O-014325 (MIA / KIA) FL
Crew  ? (MIA / KIA)
Crew  ? (MIA / KIA)

MIA  February 14, 1944

Aircraft History
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.

Mission History
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 Harbor.  A total of six Avengers went down that day: TBF 47506, TBF 06311, TBF 24264, TBF 24340, TBF 25327, TBF 25316.

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 of VMTB-233."

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 incorrectly.

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Last Updated
October 29, 2012


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