Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  B-17E Flying Fortress Serial Number 41-9014  
5th AF
19th BG
93rd BS

Pilot  Captain Weldon H. Smith (survived) San Francisco, CA
Crew  Lieut James A. Hilton (survived) Onida, SD
Bombardier  Lt. Everett "Stinky" Davis (survived) Eastland, TX
Engineer  Sgt Robert French (KIA, BR) FL
Crew  Sgt Glover J. Burke, Jr, 6936689 (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Sgt Bryson West (KIA, BR) MS
Crashed  July 1, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 2486. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-9014. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG), 93rd Bombardment Squadron (93rd BS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 30, 1942 took off from Batchelor Airfield piloted by Captain Weldon Smith on a bombing mission against Kendari Airfield in Celebes. Over the target, this B-17 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. After bombing the airfield and claiming three Zeros shot down, this bomber attempted to reach Australia.

On July 1, 1942 in the early hours of the morning, Smith feathered the no. 3 engine then the no. 4 engine failed, causing it to immediately crash near Noonamah and Hughes Airfield roughly twenty miles from Darwin. Three were killed in the crash: Burke, Bryson and French. The rest of the crew were injured. After the crash, Davis and Hilton aided in the rescue of the rest of the crew from the burning wreckage. Afterwards, the surviving crew were give medical aid for their injuries.

Recovery of Remains
The remains of French, West and Burke were buried at Adelaide River War Cemetery at graves 118-120. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanent burial.

For their actions rescuing the crew, Davis earned an oak leaf cluster for his Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Hilton earned the Soldiers' Medals. The entire crew earned the Purple Heart for their wounds, and posthumously for the three injured in the crash.

The three crew members killed in the crash were officially declared dead on July 1, 1942.

Burke was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot B, grave 379.

French was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Orlando FL at block 14.

Yvonne West (niece of Bryson West)
Robert Thornburg (nephew of Glover Burke)

Some references incorrectly list the loss date of this B-17 as August 12, 1942
FindAGrave - Sgt Glover James Burke, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Bryson West (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Robert A French (grave photo)
USAF Serial Number Search Results B-17D 41-9014 incorrectly lists date of crash as August 12, 1942
Oz@War "Crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress approx. 20 miles from Darwin near Noonamah near Hughes Airfield, NT on 30 June 1942
Fortress Against The Sun (2001) pages 217-218
Darwin's Air War (2011) page 77
Thanks to Bob Alford for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
November 1, 2021


Tech Info
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram