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  B-24M-30-CO Liberator Serial Number 44-42431  
5th AF
22nd BG
2nd BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Lawrence R. Berry, O-831644 (MIA / KIA) Farmington, WV
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Howard A. Shellington, O-930715 (MIA / KIA) Freeport, MI
Navigator  2nd Lt. Benjamin R. Wirz, O-2065866 (MIA / KIA) Wichita Falls, TX
Bombardier  1st Lt. William R. Brown, O-768998 (MIA / KIA) NY
Engineer  Sgt Warren Allman, 19064236 (MIA / KIA) Sacramento, CA
Radio  Sgt George S. Horan, 19123773 (MIA / KIA) Great Falls, MT
Gunner  Cpl Gerald D. Carson, 38693335 (MIA / KIA) Durant, OK
Gunner  Cpl Eugene L. Farthing, 18193226 (MIA / KIA) Midwest City, OK
Gunner  Cpl Wayne J. Geltz, 37682093 (MIA / KIA) Keckuk, IA
Armour-Gunner  Cpl Richard S. Peyron, 39865198 (MIA / KIA) Tuscon, AZ
Ditched  June 25, 1945 at 11:30am
MACR  14925

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 6367. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24M-20-CO Liberator serial number 44-42431. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 22nd Bombardment Group, 2nd Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. This was a brand new aircraft lost on its first mission. When lost, engines R1830-65 serial numbers BP 460548, BP 460528, BP 466862 and BP 460591. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 14925.

Mission History
On June 25, 1945 took off from Pitu Airfield (APO 719) on Morotai piloted by 2nd Lt. Lawrence R. Berry on a bombing mission against Mandai Airfield on Celebes Island. Weather was ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU). Over the target, intercepted by Ki-43 Oscars and by anti-aircraft fire. Last seen by 2nd Lt. Robert F. Faire over Makassar Town. This B-24 crashed near Maros roughly 10 miles northeast of Mandai. Seven were killed in the crash.

Fates of the Crew
Six of the crew died in the crash and were buried by natives. Four of the crew were captured by the Japanese and executed. Afterwards, Shellington was buried in the Christian Cemetery in Maros by an Ambonese Doctor Tahaitu.

After leaving the target, the B-24 piloted by 1st Lt. Donald L. Evans started searching immediately and sighted a column of smoke and also flashes, possibly from a mirror at 11:24am at roughly 4° 57' S, 119° 52' E roughly 10 miles east-northeast of Mandai.

On June 26, 1945 the same B-24 piloted by 1st Lt. Donald L. Evans searched the same vicinity and no wreckage was observed. A column of white smoke was observed at roughly 4° 57' S, 119° 52' E, believed to be a grass fire and flashes from a mirror, possibly one of the crew signaling. Because the search aircraft was at a higher altitude, no one was visible on the ground. A follow up low level search was requested in the area.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) investigated this crash and recovered the remains of the crew.

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 14925 page 7:
"Information was obtained through the aid of Chinese, Ambonese and Timorese natives. A B-24 was shot down over Makassar on 25 June 1945, and crashed in the vicinity of Maros. From conflicting Jap reports and native reports and a visit to the scene of the crash, the following information was submitted: The only crew member who was identified was 2nd Kt. Howard A. Shallington. His name was found in his hat and he was buried in the Christian Cemetery in Maros by Doctor Tahaitu, an Ambonese. With an Indonesian Native from Maros by the name of Sultani as guide, we visited the grave of six other crewmen eight or nine miles beyond Maros where the plane crashed. It is necessary to get to these graves by going through rice paddies and nipa swamps. It was surprising with what care the natives had buried these men. Four survivors were reported from this crash. They said the men were being brought into Makassar from Maros under guard and disappeared; that the corpses of the four guards were found sometime later and it was presumed that the guards had murdered the four men then from fright of the repercussion had committed suicide. However, a native woman was interviewed who saw the truck carrying the four airmen blindfolded, traveling at a high rate of speed only three kilometers from Makassar. Takei-Tai, the local headquarters of the Japanese Naval Gestapo [sic Kempei Tai (military police)] was located in Makassar and it is believed that the four men were executed there.

After the recovery of remains, the crew was permanently buried in the United States.

Eight of the crew including Berry, Allman, Carson, Farthing, Geltz, Horan, Peyron and Wirz are buried in a group burial at at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 79 sites 451-453.

Shellington was individually identified and buried at Freeport Cemetery in Freeport , MI.

Brown is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, MI.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Lawrence R. Berry
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Howard A. Shellington

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24M-30-CO Liberator 44-42431
"42431 (22nd BG) lost Jun 25, 1945, SW Pacific. MACR 14925"
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 14925 created June 27, 1945
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list any of the crew as officially reported Prisoners Of War of the Japan, this is not uncommon for airmen captured in forward areas that were never sent to Japan or executed
FindAGrave - Lawrence R Berry (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Howard A Shellington (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Benjamin R Wirz (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT William Richard “Richard” Brown (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - George S Horan (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Gerald D Carson (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Eugene L Farthing (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Wayne J Geltz (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Richard S Peyron (photo, group burial photo)
Red Raiders - B-24s flown by the 22nd Bomb Group

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Last Updated
June 27, 2020


Tech Information

June 25, 1945

4 Prisoners
7 Missing
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