|Pilot Harold H. Van Wormer, O-736424 (POW, survived)
Co-Pilot John M. Peurifoy, Jr. (POW survived) GA
Nose Turret S/Sgt John H. Mohr, 16099581 (POW)
Bombardier 1st Lt. Herman J. Dias, O-729959 (MIA / KIA) SF, CA
Navigator Lt. Charles H. Shaver, O-797085 (POW, survived) Lee, MA
Engineer S/Sgt Charles B. Schofield, 18120807 (POW survived) NM
Top Turret S/Sgt Stewart A. Anderson, 31145258 (POW survived) CT
Radio S/Sgt Walter K. Gomer, 11047714 (POW survived) MA
Tunnel Gunner S/Sgt Thomas J. O'Donnell, Jr., 12155037 (MIA / KIA) NY
Waist Gunner Louis J. Aiani, 16145097 (MIA / KIA) IL
Tail Gunner SSgt William F. Barbee, 18010876 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crashed January 19, 1944
Previously, Bombardier 1st Lt. Herman Dias and navigator Lt. Charles Shaver were assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Both survived the ditching of B-17F "Black Jack" 41-24521 on July 11, 1943 and were rescued and returned to duty. Afterwards, both were transferred to the 380th Bombardment Group, 529th Bombardment Squadron and joined Lt. Harold Van Wormer’s crew.
Built by Consolidated at San Diego, CA between September 10-21, 1943. Constructors Number 2757. On September 23, 1943 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24J-20-CO Liberator serial number 42-73187. On September 26, 1943 flown to the modification center at Tucson, Arizona. On October 4, 1943 flown to Florence, South Carolina. On October 17, 1943 flown to Fairfield, CA before being flown across the Pacific to Australia arriving at Garbutt Airfield on October 22, 1943.
In Australia, assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group, 529th Bombardment Squadron based at Long Airfield. This bomber's first combat mission was on January 17, 1944 took off piloted by Stevens on a reconnaissance mission over Manokwari and Noemfoor.
On January 19, 1944 took off piloted by Harold H. Van Wormer on
its second combat mission to bomb Ambon. Over the target, this B-24 was intercepted and shot down by Japanese fighters, 30 miles south of Ambon and "exploded upon contact with the ocean". Also lost was B-24J "Doodlebug" 42-73117 (KIA / rescued).
Fates of the Crew
The four crew: Dias, Aiani, O'Donnell and Barbee were killed in the crash and officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). All four are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Seven were captured by the Japanese: Van Wormer, Peurifoy, Mohr, Shaver, Schofield, Anderson and Gomer.
Charles Shaver was taken prisoner by the Japanese and transported to Japan where he was interned at Tokyo POW Camp Branch #2 (Kawasaki) at Tokyo Bay.
Steve Birdsall adds:
"The 380th Bomb Group website is an excellent source, but they had Shaver listed as "Shayer" until I worked out who it had to be, and Dias' serial number didn't quite match the one given in 43rd Group records."
King of the Heavies - 380th Bomb Group, 1942-1945 by Horton & Horton
380th BG Association / B-24 Paper Doll Data Sheet
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information
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June 29, 2019