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  B-17E "The Daylight Ltd" Serial Number 41-2621  
5th AF
19th BG
93rd BS

Pilot  Captain Kenneth Casper
Sgt Arthur L. Richardson
Crew  Sgt Penwarden (WIA)

Crashed  August 26, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 93rd Bombardment Squadron operating from Mareeba Airfield on April 16, 1942. Nicknamed "The Daylight Ltd".

Mission History
On August 26, 1942 one of eight B-17s that took off from Mareeba Airfield at 4:00am piloted by Captain Kenneth Casper on a bombing mission against a Japanese convoy off Milne Bay. Weather inbound to the target was horrible with a ceiling of only 2,000' or less. Between 6:30am to 7:45am the formation bombed from roughly 1,500' and experienced accurate anti-aircraft fire from the ships.

This B-17 dropped its bombs individually on a cruiser and a transport with no results apparent, the bombs impacting within 40' to 200' of their targets. Over the target, this B-17 was hit five times by anti-aircraft fire in the wings and fuselage, disabling the hydraulic system, puncturing a tire, damaged two engines and the flaps. Aboard, crew member Sgt Penwarden was wounded. During the attack, B-17F 41-24354 received a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire and crashed near the convoy.

Returning from the mission, this B-17 was difficult to handle and circled Mareeba Airfield before landing. Unable to apply the breaks or flaps, one of the wheels broke off causing the bomber to spin to the right into a ground loop and impacted a tree. Although smoking, the B-17 did not catch fire but heavily damaged and written off.

Cleora Richardson (wife of Arthur L. Richardson)
"My husband, was with the 19th Bomb Group in the Philippines and Australia in 1941 and 1942. He flew on 51 bombing missions in the Pacific and walked away from four crash landings. One of them was the "Daylight Limited" Sgt. Richardson was one of four most decorated men in the Pacific during this period. He died in 1961 while on active duty at Wakkanai Air Base in Hokkaido, Japan. After his death a theater on Wakkanai Air Base was named the "Arthur L. Richardson Memorial Theater". He made many friends among the local people.

Richardson often talked about a flight that took numerous hits and that the person on the side gun received injuries to the eye, possibly losing it. He (Richardson) would have normally been in that position but had been pulled to act as radio operator. He felt very lucky that he was spared. I notice one of the men (Penwarden) in the group picture I sent earlier wearing an eye-patch.

Sgt. Richardson had received a previous Purple Heart for injuries sustained in an enemy ground strafing at Mindanao. The wounds he sustained to his legs were not very serious but would account for the picture his buddies painted of him being evacuated on a Dutch freighter in a pair of bloody coveralls with a big cigar in his pocket. This was his worldly goods at the moment. Everything else had been left behind at Clark Field. So many left much, much more; their lives and in one case, a buddy of his left a wife who was a nurse. He was frantic, not knowing what was happening to her. I don't know when, or if, he ever found out. I have been told that only about 15% of the men in his group got out of the Philippines. So many things you wonder about, the questions never stop.

Fortress Against The Sun pages 169, 240-241, 387, 430 footnote 51
Echoes From an Eagle page 38 (photo)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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