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  B-24D-13-CO "Bombs To Nip On" Serial Number 41-23942  
5th AF
90th BG
400th BS

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Click For Enlargement
90th BG c1942
Pilot  1st Lt. Paul R. Larson, O-023854 (KIA, BR) IL
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Herbert R. Bassman O-0725576 (KIA, BR) MS
Bombardier  2nd Lt. David C. Muething, 726929 (KIA , BR) OH
Navigator  William F. Sipple, 791004 (KIA , BR)
Engineer  Ernest I. Irving, 6116757 (KIA , BR) MA
Assistant Engineer  Lewis A. Diotti, 35376226 (KIA , BR) WV
Radio  Alex J. Halgren, 12033336 (KIA , BR)
Assistant Radio  William J. Dee, 16067297 (KIA , BR) IL
Tail Gunner  Harry L. Patty, 33166690 (KIA , BR) Murrysville, PA
Gunner  Lester L. Picker, 35258447 (KIA , BR) IN
Photographer  Claude D. Red, 18063101 (KIA , BR) TX

Crashed  November 16, 1942 at roughly 12:00am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Bombs To Nip On" with the nose art of the upper half of a nude woman wearing a shawl.

Mission History
On November 16, 1942 shortly after midnight at Iron Range Airfield B-24s of the 90th Bombardment Group were taking off on their first bombing mission against Rabaul. This B-24 was the eleventh in line for take off from Gordon Runway.

Dust from prior B-24s taking off dimmed the runway lights that were spaced too far apart. During take off, this B-24 veered off the runway, crashed, caught fire and the bomb load to exploded. The explosion also destroyed B-17F 41-24522, killed eleven personnel and damaged three other bombers including B-24D 41-23765, B-24D 41-23812 and B-24D "Big Emma" 41-23751 (all three were later repaired).

Officially, this B-24 was written off on November 16, 1943. Likely, this was a clerical error and should have been 1942.

Steve Birdsall adds:
"There's a bit of confusion about the date - the 90th [BG] was taking off shortly before midnight on November 16, according to my sources. The accident cost "three B-24s and one B-17, one gas dump and 12 men" according to one eyewitness, but there are quite a few variations on this."

Th entire crew was officially declared dead November 17, 1942. The remains of the crew were recovered and buried at the U.S. Cemetery Townsville on November 19, 1942.

Postwar, the crew's remains were exhumed and transported to Hawaii and the United States for permanently burial. Four of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Larson at plot C, row 0, grave 396. Bassman at plot B, grave 8493. Muething at plot A, grave 134 Diotti at plot N, grave 83.

Ernest was originally buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). In 1949, his mother requested he be exhumed and buried in Fern Hill Cemetery in Hanson, MA.

Dee was buried on March 2, 1948 at Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst, IL at section A , lot 356, grave 3.

Patty was buried on March 3, 1948 at Murrysville Cemetery in Murrysville, PA.

Picker is buried at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Cemetery in Millhousen, IN.

Red is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, TX at section R, site 228-F.

The burials of Halgren and Sipple are unknown, he is presumed to be buried in a private cemetery in the United States.

On April 25, 2007, a memorial plaque about this crash was dedicated at Iron Range Airfield (Lockhart River).

Note, this B-24 has previously been listed incorrectly as "Bombs For Nippon" or "Bombs to Nippon", and date of this incident listed as November 15, 1942
Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) - B-24D Liberator Serial Number 41-23942
FindAGrave - 1Lt Paul R Larson (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Herbert Robinson Bassman (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt David C Muething (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Ernest Venterlip Irving
FindAGrave - Corp Lewis A Diotti (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt William Just Dee (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Harry Lloyd Patty (obituary, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Cpl. Lester L. Picker (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Claude Douglas Red (grave photo)
Oz@War - 16 November 1942 crash of a B-24 Liberator at iron Range 4 aircraft destroyed 11 men killed
This shouldn't happen to a dog: an examination of the crash of "Bombs to Nip On"
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Michael Claringbould for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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