|Pilot 1st Lt.
Billy B. Hollingshead, O-663730 (MIA / KIA, BR) Baird, TX
Gunner SSgt Leonard
H. Tilden, Jr., 6998469 (MIA / KIA) CT
Crashed June 29, 1944
Hollingshead flew a total of 37 combat missions. Previously he flew
B-24's and P-40's. He earned the Silver Star, Air Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster (postumously).
Built at Douglas. Delivered to the US Army. Shipped overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 312th Bombardment Group, 388th Bombardment Squadron during June 1944. Assigned to pilot Lt. Hollingshead, assistant flight leader. Nicknamed "Pistol Packing Mama". Tail letter H.
On June 29, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield, flying with the 386th Bombardment Squadron on a mission against Yakamul east of Wewak.
This A-20 disappeared after flying into heavy clouds and a rain squall minutes after take off
In May 1973, a villager named Lainisan discovered the wreckage while pig
hunting roughly two miles east of Kaiapit. He reported the discovery to Kiap (Patrol Officer) David
Pennefather, bringing a piece of the instrument panel and some .50 caliber bullets
Recovery of Remains
On May 22, 1973 Patrol Officer (Kiap) David Pennefather along with a group of seven locals
located this crash site. During early November 1980, a US
Army CILHI team recovered remains from this crash site.
David Pennefather add:
"At that time I was a Patrol Officer based at Kaiapit. I have before me the report I submitted to the district commissioner advising him of the discovery. The introduction to the report that I wrote is significant. It reads as follows: 'For about the past ten days I have been hearing reports of an aircraft crashed in the mountains North of Kaiapit Station. On Monday 14th May 1973 I sent two natives who knew the wreck to go and bring me back some form of identification. On the 17th May 1973 Councilor AMU of Samaran village and another Samaran man: Lainisan, delivered to me an aircraft instrument of American manufacture, a quantity of .50 caliber bullets and half a human skull, all found in the wreckage. Lainisan, myself and six other natives walked into the wreck site on Tuesday 22nd May 1973.
While at the crash site I recovered the remains of both men. Hollingshead is buried near Abileen, Texas. To the best of my knowledge no next of kin could be found for Tilden - this may be incorrect. I think Tilden was from Florida. In 1979 I had the pleasure to stay with Hollingshead's family in Texas and visit his grave. Such nice people. This wreck site was again visited by a US Army team from CILHI in Hawaii. The locals told them about it and human remains. The Americans were pretty upset when they got back having found nothing and then discovering that I had been there 10 years before. It is not an easy walk."
Brian Bennett adds:
in the area some years ago with JPAC on my investigation to hunt a P-40 that is missing a bit further inland. We got put on to this site that 'no one had been to'. As we headed out towards the LZ at the communications tower I had a feeling that we were being led to the Hollingshead site. A local came out of the bush with a engine panel. It turned out that there was a huge fight going on over this piece of land between two clans. This is the same site that that bunch of Americans from the midwest had been to with no research and had said they had a MIA site."
James K. Elum visited on December 22, 2007:
"Aircraft remains scattered. Much of the aircraft is destroyed by erosion and landslides. What still remains is half the body (including wings and cockpit), two engines, parts of the wing, one propeller (buried) bombs and guns."
Both crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. After the recovery of remains, Hollingshead was buried at Potosi Cemetery , TX. Tilden is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 34 site 1407.
Abilene Reporter "Posthumous Star To Baird Airman" October 17, 1944
Valley News "World War II Veteran Returns After 31 Years" March 31, 1974
FindAGrave - Billy B. Hollingshead (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leonard H Tilden, Jr (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - A-20G Havoc 43-21416
Bruce Hoy Diary 11 November, 1980
"Tuesday, drove out to the airport at 8.00am and met the CIL‑HI team arriving from Lae. I gave them the appropriate export certificates covering the remains collected from P-38H 42-66562, A-20G 43-21416 and C-47A 42-24215."
Rampage of the Roarin' 20s pages 135, 348, 361
Thanks to Bruce Hoy, David Pennefather, Brian Bennett and John Douglas for additional information
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April 21, 2020