380th BG c1943
|Pilot 2nd Lt. Robert T. Neal, O-823712 (KIA, BR) OH
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Walter E. Scanlon, Jr., O-711027 (KIA, BR) South Braintree, MA
Navigator 2nd Lt. William G. Ward, Jr., O-2064690 (KIA, BR) OH
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Richard W. Walsh, O-777385 (KIA, BR) San Bernardino, CA
Mechanic Sgt Francisco Caballero, 38553915 (KIA, BR) Maverick County, TX
Radio Sgt. Sgt Gerald D. Sacre, 17122357 (KIA, BR) La Plata, MO
Crashed January 17, 1945
Built by Consolidated in San Diego between September 3-10, 1943 and delivered painted with olive drab upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. Constructors Number 2704. On September 14, 1943 this aircraft made a first flight. On September 16, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-15-CO Liberator serial number 42-73134. On September 21, 1943 flown to Tucson, Arizona to the modification center. On September 29, 1943 flown to Topeka, Kansas. On October 29, 1943 flown to Fairfield Airfield then departed via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia arriving at Garbutt Field on November 3, 1943.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 380th Bombardment Group (380th BG), 531st Bombardment Squadron (531st BS) based at Long Airfield near Darwin. Nicknamed "Milady" with the nose art of a nude woman sitting on a bomb and holding a pen and pad of paper. Crew chief MSgt William B. Camp.
On December 17, 1943 first combat mission (FEN III-39) piloted by Baptist on a reconnaissance mission over Selaru and Utoram. In total, this B-24 flew a 56 combat missions before it was lost. In total, this B-24 flew at least 12 combat missions. Afterwards, this B-24 was stripped to bare aluminum finish.
On January 17, 1945 took off from Long Airfield pilot 2nd Lt. Robert T. Neal on a practice bombing mission over Quail Island. This bomber crashed at Charles Point on the Cox Peninsula west
of Darwin, killing the entire crew. Officially written off on January 17, 1944. On April 3, 1945 officially stricken of charge.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew were recovered and buried in the Northern Territory then reburied at Rookwood U. S. Armed Forces Cemetery in Sydney. Postwar, transported to the United States for permanent burial.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.
Scanlon is buried at Saint Marys Cemetery in Randolph, MA.
Neal is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section C, site 1636.
Sacre is buried at La Plata Cemetery in La Plata, MO.
Ward was buried on March 30, 1948 at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section D, site 509.
Caballero is buried at Eagle Pass Catholic Cemetery in Maverick County, TX.
The crash site remains in situ. Over the years, many parts have been taken as souvenirs by visitors. This aircraft wreck was placed on the NT Heritage Register. A memorial plaque was placed at the site by the Northern Territory Government
to commemorate the crash.
Bob Alford adds:
"It was rapidly falling victim to the souvenir hunters until we had it put on the NT Heritage Register and thus legislatively protected. The local government offices took it's presentation and maintenance up as a project and the NT Government had the site interpreted with assistance of the 380th Bomb. Group Association in the USA. Items previously taken from the site were returned and many people visit the site annually. The very real potential for these sites now is the ever increasing interest in visiting the WWII heritage the Territory offers."
John Sauer adds:
"As of May 23, 2013 The access road is in bad condition and requires a good 4WD to access. There is a gate with no lock stating this is private property."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert T. W. Neal
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Walter E Scanlon, Jr
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William G. Ward, Jr
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Francisco Caballero
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Gerald D. Sacre
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24J-15-CO Liberator 42-73134
"73134 ("Milady") w/o Jan 17, 1945 in takeoff accident near Darwin, Australia. 6 killed."
King of the Heavies : 380th Bomb Group 1942-1945 (1983) page 156
Best in the Southwest (1995) pages 78, 234, 253, 260, 302, 475 (profile #12, photo #134)
Under the Southern Cross (1998) page 83-84 (photos), 130
The Flying Circus (2005) pages 163, 167
380th.org - B-24D 42-73134
380th.org - B-24D 42-73134 - Mission Record
Oz@War Crash of A B-24J Liberator on the Cox Peninsula, NT on 17 January 1945
NT Heritage Register - B-24J "Milady" 42-73134
380th BG Association - B-24J "Milady" 42-73134 aircraft card
380th BG Association - B24J "Milady" 42-73134 mission record
Darwin's Air War (Revised Edition) (2011) pages 140-141
FindAGrave - 2LT Bobby T Neal (photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Walter E Scanlon, Jr
FindAGrave - 2LT William G Ward, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Richard W Walsh (grave photos)
FindAGrave - SGT Francisco Caballero
FindAGrave - Sgt Gerald D Sacre (photos, grave photo)
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February 14, 2020