|Pilot 1st Lt. Chester Lowe, O-528997 (KIA / BR) MacBeth, WV
Co-Pilot MSgt George I Soptic (KIA / BR) Kansas City, MS
Radio TSgt William E. Allen, Jr. (KIA / BR) Flushing, NY
Engineer TSgt Farrel C. McMahon (KIA / BR) Chapman, NB
Asst Engineer SSgt John D. Davies (KIA / BR) New York, NY
Passenger SSgt James F. Svojtek (KIA / BR) San Mateo, CA
Passenger TSgt Lyle W. Dorr (KIA / BR) La Fargeville, NY
Passenger James Jollie, Jr., Honeywell Representative (KIA / BR) SC
Passenger Captain John W. Moore (KIA / BR)
Passenger Captain William H. Graham, O-902357 (KIA / BR) Omaha, NB
Crashed March 20, 1944 at 3:00pm
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Flown overseas from Hawaii on a ferry flight to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron.
Nicknamed "The Dorothy Anne" in yellow on the left side of the nose. Later, the nose art of a woman was added with the nickname "Not In Stock". This B-24 flew at least twenty bombing missions. Later, assigned to the 403rd Bombardment Squadron. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers unknown.
On March 20, 1944 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby on a non-operational flight bound for Nadzab Airfield. Aboard were five crew and five passengers, including a civilian representative from Honeywell. This bomber was observed in a steep spiral dive before crashing at 3:00pm near Rouna Falls near Sogeri due to possible engine failure or other mechanical failure.
An Australian observation post observed this B-24 to fall into a steep spiral dive resembling a spin for unknown reasons prior to crashing. On the ground, this B-24 crash was observed by members of the 1st Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) including Sgt Yates. Also, several people at the N. G. F. training school.
At 3:45pm, a patrol from the 1st Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) followed a column of smoke rising from the impact to reach the crash site. The group consisted of 34 Papuan soldiers, 2 native medical orderlies, 1 Australian medical orderly, 4 Australian Sergeants led by Australian Lt. R. D. Newman. The group took stretchers, rations and departed by vehicle towards the site, then proceeded by foot and split up into two groups to search a wider area. One group proceeding through Uptanoon found a native who witnessed the crash and guided them, reaching the crash site by 7:00pm near Wyanumu.
Simultaneously, and unaware of the PIB search, another group from the N.G.F. training school including Major Kent Hughes of 47 Australian Camp Hospital and a wireless set was also sent to search, but were unsuccessful and returned at dark. A follow up search on March 21 was also unsuccessful, unaware the plane had been found by another search group.
This B-24 impacted a large tree then fallen into a large sloping rock and slid down the rock, lodging itself against another rock and burned and scattered over an area of at least 200 yards. No survivors were found at the site, and suspect but burnt human remains were located, believed to be six crew members. The lower portion of a leg was found some distance away. The search was suspended at dark and the party setup camp along a nearby road and was joined by the other search party.
On March 21, 1944 both groups continued to search the crash site. The bodies were still smoldering and too hot to touch and were left in place, to be recovered at a later date. The searchers recovered an identification folder with a photograph of technical representative James Jollie, Jr., aircraft identification tag, written orders and a wrist watch. The group departed and returned to their headquarters. The scattered remains were buried in a shallow grave and marked with a cross.
Recovery of Remains
During the afternoon of March 21, 1944, a team from US Army American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) met with the search group who provided details on the site and the materials collected. On March 22, 1944 another group including an Australian and 12 natives with the Americans return to the crash site to recover the remains of the crew.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the crew were transported to the United States for permanent burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 81, sites 301-302.
Jollie has a memorial marker at Mayers Memorial Park in Mullins, SC.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 42-41093
FindAGrave - Chester Lowe (grave photo)
FindAGrave - George I Soptic (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt William E. Allen, Jr (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Farrell C McMahon (grave photo, news)
FindAGrave - John David Davies (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James F Svojtek (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lyle W Dorr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James Jollie (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James Jollie (memorial photos)
William H Graham (grave photo, news)
FindAGrave - John W Moore (grave photo)
Some sources incorrectly list the date of loss as March 20, 1945
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February 14, 2020