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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2404  
11th BG
431st BS

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AP March 7, 1942
Pilot  Lt James P. Van Haur (survived)
Co-Pilot  1st Lt. Arvid W. Anderson (survived)
Navigator  1st Lt. Sydney I. Darden (survived)
Bombardier  Sgt Constantine A. Rusesky (survived)
Engineer  TSgt Joseph Gagnon (survived)
Radio  Sgt Richard P. Anderson (survived)
Waist Gunner Cpl James H. Hosegood, 16003291 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Waist Gunner Cpl Lucien D'Amour, 6149937 (MIA / KIA) Beverly, MA
Tail Gunner  Pvt Virgil L. Murray (survived)
Ditched  September 12, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2215. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2404. No known nose art or nickname.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group (11th BG), 431st Bombardment Squadron (431st BS). This bomber was possibly nicknamed "The Spider" or "Jitter-Bug". During early 1942 operated from Hickam Field on Oahu.

On May 31, 1942 took off from Hickam Field piloted by Captain Clarence P. Tokarz with an extra bomb bay fuel tank as one of ten B-17s on a flight to Midway Airfield on Eastern Island arriving in the late afternoon in anticipation of the Battle of Midway. The crew included: pilot Captain Clarence P. Tokarz, co-pilot Lt. E. T. Furchner, Lt. Richard Lehr, Lt. L. G. Fisher, Sgt Michel Russel, Sgt Lavern Bechtel, Sgt Gorst Handrow, Mark Roberts and Bill Hanford.

Battle of Midway
On June 3, 1942 at 4:30am took off from Midway Airfield on Eastern Island piloted by Captain Tokarz as a precaution against a possible Japanese air raid and returned by 8:25am and were refueled. Informed the Japanese fleet had been spotted, the B-17 crews were told to wait until the exact location and composition of the force was known.

At 12:30pm took off again piloted by Captain Tokarz armed with four 600 pound bombs and a bomb bay fuel tank on a mission to attack the Japanese fleet. The formation of nine bombers was led by B-17E 41-2409 and divided into three elements of three bombers. This B-17 was part of the second element included Captain Tokarz, Captain Payne and Captain Sullivan. At 4:23pm the formation spotted the Japanese fleet roughly 570 miles west of Midway Atoll. During the bomb run, the second element was flying at an altitude of 10,000' when they bombed. Returning, the formation encountered severe weather roughly 400 miles west of Midway Atoll and the formation broke up with all bombers flying back individually and returned to Midway Airfield after roughly a eight hour mission.

On June 4, 1942 took off from Midway Airfield on Eastern Island at 4:05am piloted by Captain Clarence P. Tokarz with gunner Sgt Handrow armed with bombs and a bomb bay fuel tank on a patrol mission to bomb the Japanese fleet. The formation of fifteen bombers divided into five elements of three bombers. The third element included Captain Tokarz, B-17E "Yankee Doodle" 41-2463 and B-17E piloted by Captain Sullivan. Flying westward towards a group of transports, the formation was instructed by radio to change course to attack the carrier force spotted by a PBY Catalina at 5:45am roughly 145 miles northwest of Midway Atoll. Encountering thick clouds between 1,000' to 18,000', Sweeney ordered the formation to climb to 18,000' above the weather with one B-17 aborting the mission. Arriving over the area where the carriers were spotted by 7:32am, the B-17s circled for nearly forty minutes before the carriers were spotted by B-17E "Yankee Doodle" 41-2463 and notified Col Sweeney by radio as the elements attacked individually. During the bombing run, this element experienced intense anti-aircraft fire. This B-17 was hit in the no. 4 engine, and Tokarz ordered the element to circle around for another bomb run while he attempting to restart his no. 4 engine then observed Kaga and all three bombed claiming three hits on the flight deck and four near misses. Returning, intercepted by A6M2 Zeros then returned to land at Midway Airfield.

By June 10, 1942 this B-17 departed Midway Airfield flying back to Hickam Field. Afterwards, flown across the Pacific to the South Pacific. During August 1942 operated from Espiritu Santo flying missions over the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal.

Mission History
On September 12, 1942 took off piloted by Lt James Van Haur on a mission and ditched out of fuel into the sea. On September 18, 1942 Hosegoo and D’Amour died of exposure and are listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Officially, this B-17 was administratively condemned on June 15, 1944.

On September 19, 1942 the remainder of the crew were rescued, seven days after ditching.

Hosegood and D’Amour were officially declared dead on September 18, 1942. Both earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Both are memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing, court 7.

Note, some sources list the nickname of this B-17 as "The Spider". An article published June 11, 1942 states this B-17 was nicknamed "Jitter-Bug".
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James H. Hosegood
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2404
"2404 delivered Salt Lake SAD Nov 24, 1944. Assigned to 431st BS, 11th BG Mar 4, 1942. Named "The Spider". Ditched at sea Sep 12, 1942. Survivors rescued 7 days later. Officially condemned Jun 15, 1944. MACR 16547."
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-17E 41-2404
The Lincoln Star "Yanks, Back From Midway Battle Term Japanese Fleet A Pilot's Dream" by Frank Neill June 11, 1942
"...'It was a pilot's dream', said C. P. Tokarz, 26 year-old Captain from Port Richmond, VA. 'We caught them with their pants down. We socked a fat Jap transport with everything we had and in three minutes it seemed like a thousand Japs were swimming back to Tokyo.' That was the description of this young Flying Fortress pilot of his baptism of fire off Midway. Capt. Tokarz's plane also was credited with sinking one Japanese carrier and damaging a cruiser. 'It was good clean fun,' added Tokarz. 'We were mad as hell when we had to come home.'
Capt. Tokarz was still bleary-eyed after flying 54 grueling hours in three days when he related the role that he and his bomber crew of eight played in the Midway engagement.
Flying in their B-17 bomber which they affectionately call “Jitter-Bug,” the nine men braved the heaviest anti-aircraft barrages and battle doff hordes of deadly Jap Zero fighter planes to make three attacks on the Nipponese fleet in two days.
‘We scored two direct hits on that fat transport on June 3,’ Capt. Tokarz, who looks like a young Clark Gable, told this correspondent.
‘The ship was flaming from stem to stern. It was a beautiful sight seeing those heavy bombs hit the bullseye.
Connect 4 Times On A Carrier ‘The next day we connected four times on a carrier and once on a cruiser.’ ‘Jap anti-aircraft shot away one of our motors and we fought through the last day on three engines. Shrapnel peppered the plane and Zeros machine-gunned fancy designs in our ship, but we got home without a single casualty.’ When the astounding individual account is jig-sawed into a coherent picture the Midway route becomes a masterful feat that will live forever in the annals of war. For 90 percent of the American airmen that action was their baptism of fire and they all emerged heroes.
None of Crewmen Over 24 Years Old None of the crew aboard Capt. Tokarz’s plane was over 24 years of age. They included Lieut. E. T. Furchner, of Grant’s Pass, Ore., the co-pilot; Lieut. Richard Lehr, of Cleveland, Lieut, L. G. Fisher, of Arkadelphia, Ark., Sgt Michel Russel, Birmingham, Sgt Lavern Bechtel, Dallas Center, Ir. [sic IA, Iowa], Sgt Gorst Handrow, of Sheboygan, Wis. Mark Roberts of Bridgeport, Conn., and Bill Hanford of Houston, Tex."
Boston Globe "5 Bay State Army Flyers Listed Killed" November 28, 1942 page 18
"Corp. Lucien D'Amour, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward D'Amour of 16 Charnock St., Beverly, was reported killed in the Pacific. He had been stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii, when it was attacked Dec. 7 by the Japs. He was serving as a bombardier."
Grey Geese Calling (1981) mentions this loss
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 180 (May 31, 1942 flight to Midway), 181-183 (June 3, 1942), 184-189 (June 4, 1942), 384 (notes nickname "The Spider" [sic])
Steve Birdsall adds: "I would not be willing to guarantee that it was named 'The Spider'."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James H. Hosegood
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lucien D'Amour
FindAGrave - Corp James Henry Hosegood (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Lucien D'Amour (obituary, court of the missing photo)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
March 4, 2021


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