After being hit, at least two members of the crew managed to bail out, and both were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Captain Benton H. Daniel and Major
Jack W. Bleasdale.
Bailed out on January 5, 1943. Captured at Tol with Bleasdale, then transported to Rabaul. On March 2, 1943 interrogated about technical aspects of the B-17 Flying Fortress. Afterwards taken to Kavieng. Fate unknown, likely executed by the Japanese.
Bailed out on January 5, 1943. Captured at Tol with Daniel, then transported to Rabaul. Interrogated by the Japanese at Rabaul on February 26, 1942. Fate unknown, likely executed by the Japanese. Not present at Rabaul as a prisoner as of middle of July 1943. Nippon Times article mentions him as "Major X X".
Nippon Times "U.S. 'Flying Fortress' Is Claimed Mediocre; Unbeatable Bomber Nothing But 'Sitting Bird'" January 19, 1944 0 via R. Dunn - includes reference in the sub-section "played minor role" and "Lost in Jungle" refer to Major X X" [Bleasdale] including a summation of his wartime service and capture.
ATIS Intelligence Report No. 14 - Supplement Interrogation Report on AMERICAN airman, Feb 26 1943 via R, Dunn - describes capture of Major and interrogation
ATIS "The B-17 and Its Armament, March 2, 1943" via R. Dunn - interrogation of a Captain at Rabaul about B-17 technical details.
MACR 15459 memorandum 1949: News of Walker's death (page 4):
"...The same pilot told me that they heard a at the Field [7-mile Port Moresby]
a Japanese broadcast announcing that General Walker had been captured. This came
about three days after the mission. I have checked to discover that Far East
Headquarters announced the loss of one plane in the January 5 mission, but did
not give the names of the occupants of the plane. However an announcement [American?]
was give on January 11 that Walker was missing."
Lee Van Atta, war correspondent states (page 5):
"We knew the details of the death of Brig. Gen. Kenneth Walker commander
of the 5th Bomber Command, too. We learned them from one of the surviving
crew members of his plane."
Finally, It is noted that (page 9)
"Nor has any enemy record been found which would substantiate the death
of General Walker or the capture of Beasdale. [Note: Beasdale was indeed captured]"
2nd Lt. Jose Holguin Rabaul Prisoner of War:
first heard Walker was missing in action as of January 5th, 1943 during
a bombing attack on Rabaul. At
this time I was with the 43rd BG, 65th BS flying from Port Moresby, New
Guinea. In June of the same year, I was shot down over the
same target area [June 26, 1943 as navigator aboard B-17E "Naughty But Nice" 41-2430]. I was finally captured on July 17, 1943
and the Japs attempted to interrogate me. One of the first things they
asked me was the name of the commander of the 5th Bomber Command. Not
wanting to give them this information, they presented me with a book
containing some information on Major Beasdale and General Walker. They
said it was no use trying to lie; that they knew General Walker was
dead and Major Beasdale captured; therefore they wished to know my
New commander's name. From what I could gather, General Walker was
killed while still in the air, after his plane was hit by Jap Zero
fighters. The plane caught fire and Major Beasdale managed to get
out somehow. General Walker being dead aboard the ship had to go down