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  B-24D-53-CO Liberator Serial Number 42-40359  
5th AF
90th BG
320th BS

Pilot  Lt. Edward R. Goff (KIA, BR) PA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Howard M. Hamill (KIA, BR) AL
Crew  2nd Lt. Raymond C. Keller (KIA, BR) Seattle, WA
Crew  2nd Lt. James H. Peterson (KIA, BR) NY
Crew  SSgt Gene F. Hock (KIA, BR)
Crew  SSgt Gordon C. Johnson (KIA, BR) CA
Crew  Cpl Anton W. Peifer (KIA, BR)
Crew  Cpl John H. Miller (KIA, BR) NY
Crew  Cpl James C. Roth (KIA, BR) Strausstown, PA
Crew  Cpl James H. Bond (KIA, BR) MA

Crashed  May 24, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at 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, 320th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On May 23, 1943 one of three B-24s that took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby on a night bombing mission against Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. Approaching the target, they met some B-17s returning from Rabaul.

Over the target, the B-24 unsynchronized their engines and circled to confuse the enemy before dropping their bombs. Returning on May 24, 1943 the three B-24s encountered a severe fog and a 400' ceiling over Port Moresby. Two B-24 circled until conditions improved. This B-24 requested permission to land from the south despite the weather. While landing, the left wing hit a tree on a hillside causing this bomber to crash and burn. The entire crew was killed in the crash.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission and their remains were recovered. Postwar, the entire crew was transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Goff is buried at Chester Rural Cemetery in Chester, PA at section M, lot 108.
Hamill is buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, AL.
Two of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl). Keller at plot B, grave 1112. Peterson at plot A, grave 85.
Johnson was buried on March 3, 1948 at Chico Cemetery in Chico, CA at section 26 Lot 2451 space 1.
Miller at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY at plot H, grave 8292.
Roth is buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA.
Bond is buried at Veterans Cemetery in Somerville, MA.
The burials for Peifer and Hock are unknown, presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.

Randy Roth (nephew of James C. Roth)
"My uncle was a crew member on a B24D-53-CO 42-40359 which crashed May 24, 1943. I was wondering if you knew why the plane tried to land in the fog and the others did not. Any information you might have would be awesome. The only pictures of him that I have he is a small child. On July 3, 2017 I visited my uncle's grave for the first time in a very long time, thought you might like to see the picture."

90th Bombardment Group Microfilm 80802, frame 1052 "B-24 crashed at 6 Mile gas dump."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-40359
Legacy of the 90th Bomb Group page 58
"On the 23rd of the month, the 321st placed in the air three airplanes which were to follow the B-17's from the 43rd Group to Lakunai Airdrome near Rabaul. Approaching Rabaul, they met some of the B-17's returning; and as they approached the target, Lt. George E. Elliottt and Lt. Edward R. Goff unsynchronized their engines and circled to confuse the Japs. After dropping their bomb with unobserved results, they returned to Port Moresby to find a 400 foot ceiling. Two of the planes circled in the area until the conditions improved before landing, but Lt. Goff requested permission form the tower to come in from the south in spite of conditions. As he banked to make his landing, his left wing caught a tree on a hill; and the plane crashed and burned. There were no survivors.
The other men on board the aircraft with Goff were: 2nd Lt. Howard M. Hamill,
2nd Lt. Raymond C. Keller,
2nd Lt. James H. Peterson,
S/Sgt. Gene F. Hock,
S/Sgt. Gordon C. Johnson,
Cpl. Anton W. Peifer, Cpl. John H. Miller, Cpl. James C. Roth and
Cpl. James H. Bond.
When Flaps, their cocker spaniel dog, appeared to be grieving itself to death, after a few days Sgt. Charles E. Turpin took it to a vet, who said the had a hole in its stomach, It died shortly"
The Jolly Rogers page 66, 196
FindAGrave - Lieut Edward Roland Goff (photo)
FindAGrave - Howard M Hamill (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Raymond C Keller (grave photo, obituary)
FindAGrave - Lieut James H Peterson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Gene F Hock
FIndAGrave - Gordon C. Johnson (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - John H Miller (grave photo)
FIndAGrave - Corp James C. Roth (photo)
FindAGrave - Corp James Henry "Brud" Bond (photo)
Thanks to Pete Johnson for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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