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  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-2636  
5th AF
19th BG
30th BS

Former Assignment
93rd BS

Pilot  Lt. Paul Holdridge (survived) Apache, OK
Navigator  Lt. Perkins (survived)
Crew  Thomas B. Joyce (survived)
Crashed  July 14, 1942 around 3:40am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2447. On March 5, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2636 and the same day flown to Lowry Field. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 93rd Bombardment Squadron (93rd BS). Ferried from Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia arriving April 14, 1942. Next assigned to the 30th Bombardment Squadron (30th BS). No known nickname or nose art.

On July 13, 1942 took off from Cloncurry Airfield on a flight via Horn Island Airfield to stage a bombing mission scheduled the next day against Lae.

Mission History
On July 14, 1942 around 3:35am took off from Horn Island Airfield piloted by Lt. Paul Holdridge as the fifth bomber to take off take off during a tropical storm and crashed off the end of the runway into a mangrove swamp roughly 300-400m off Horn Island. During the crash, the right wing broke off from the fuselage and ripped a hole in the B-17. Aboard, two of the crew were killed. Previously, the fourth bomber to take off B-17E 41-2655 crashed into the sea off Horn Island.

The wreckage of this B-17 remains near the shore of Horn Island. One engine with the propeller intact is visible above the water at low tide, with the propeller blade visible at high tide. At low tide, more wreckage is visible.

Joyce passed away November 19, 1993 at age 74. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 8, site 10300.

Rusty Joyce (son of Thomas B. Joyce)

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2636
Fortress Against the Sun (2001) pages 177, 221, 387
Horn Island (2002) pages 197-198
Echoes From an Eagle (2016) pages 42, 118
Oz@War Crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress near Horn Island, QLD on 14 July 1942
FindAGrave - Col Thomas Byron Joyce (grave photo)
Thanks to Ken Bledsoe for additional information

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Last Updated
July 13, 2021


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