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February 1945 via Webb
Walt Webb May 2005
|Pilot 1st Lt. Nathan Margolies, O-806295 (stayed with plane MIA / KIA) Brooklyn, NY
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Arthur R. Chaffee, O-755518 (bailed out, survived) Seattle, WA
Navigator 1st Lt. Edwin E. Scranton, O-685742 (bailed out, MIA / KIA) Alliance, OH
Bombardier 1st Lt. James M. Meredith, O-889303 (bailed out survived) Wichita, KS
Engineer TSgt Stanley P. Sadloski, 11010475 (stayed with plane survived) Hartford, CT
Radio Operator TSgt James F. Nelson, 32086547 (bailed out survived) Brooklyn, NY
Asst Engineer SSgt Edward Reed, 11090457 (stayed with plane KIA, BR) Fall River, MA
Gunner SSgt Kenneth W. Herald, 39559281 (bailed out, survived) Pomona, CA
Gunner SSgt Leo Moriarty, 31285901 (stayed with plane, survived) Ware, MA
Gunner SSgt John E. Cunningham, 14147628 (bailed out, MIA / KIA) Atlanta, GA
Ditched March 24, 1945
Built by Ford at Willow Run, Michigan. Constructors Number 4462. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24L-10-FO Liberator 44-49607. Ferried overseas to India.
Assigned to the 10th Air Force (10th AF), 7th Bombardment Group (7th BG), 9th Bombardment Squadron (9th BS). Tail number 28. No nose art or nickname. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers CP 317484, CP 317181, CP 317436, CP 31 79???. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers listed in Missing Air Crew Report 13435 (MACR 13435).
On March 24, 1945 took off from Pandaveswar Airfield in India piloted by 1st Lt. Nathan Margolies on a bombing mission against Bridge Q633 on the Burma-Siam Railway built by Prisoner Of War (POW) forced laborers. The weather was good with a visibility of 8-10 miles.
As the formation was departing India, this B-24 developed an engine oil leak followed by multiple engine malfunctions. Breaking formation, this bomber reversed course over the Ganges River delta swampland. Even after salvoing the bomb load, the extra bomb bay fuel tank and other heavy removable equipment, it continued to lose altitude. Pilot Margolies issued the command to the crew to bail out. Six of the crew bailed out at less than 1,000' and four others ditched with the bomber into the Ganges River delta.
Fates of the Crew
After bailing out, both Scranton and Cunningham had parachutes that failed to open in time and both were likely killed on impact and remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). After ditching the B-24, pilot Margolies was trapped inside the cockpit as it sank and remains listed Missing In Action (MIA). Reed died after reaching shore and his body was found and buried by locals. The other six crew bailed out successfully Chaffee, Meredith, Sadloski, Nelson, Herald and Moriarty.
The next day, the six survivors were rescued.
Recovery of Remains
Afterwards, the remains of Reed were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
The three crew members remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA) Margolies, Scranton, and Cunningham. All three were officially declared dead on March 25, 1946. All three are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Margolies earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery. In May 2005, he also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery in memorial section F site 46-D-12.
Scranton earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker on his parents grave at Alliance City Cemetery, Alliance, OH at L 122. In May 2005, he also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery in memorial section F site 46-D-13.
Cunningham earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery. In May 2005, he also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery in memorial section F site 46-D-14.
Reed was buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot H-9054.
Surviving crew member Chaffee passed away on August 1, 1977. He is buried at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline, WA at section M, Row 3119, Grave 3.
Herald passed away on June 22, 1989. He is buried at Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, CA.
Surviving crew member Sadloski passed away September 3, 1998. He is buried at West Meadow Cemetery in Newington, CT.
On May 26, 2005 the three Missing In Action (MIA) crew members: Margolies, Scranton, and Cunningham were given a military honors and a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery. Eighteen guests from all three families attended the ceremony which included some 70 Army personnel, a seven-horse caisson team with flag-draped mock casket, escort platoon, pall bearers, brass band, and color guard. The service was conducted by both an Army chaplain and a civilian rabbi--the latter for the pilot's family. Following a three-volley gun salute and taps, three folded flags were presented to the next of kin from the families. Researcher Walt Webb, cousin of Lt. Scranton, organized the event.
Nelson passed away October 27, 2009. He is buried at Saint Marys Cemetery in Washingtonville, NY.
Meredith passed away on October 25, 2000. He is buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Lenexa, KS.
Moriarty passed away on February 15, 2010. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Danielson, CT at section F, grave 91.
Walt Webb (cousin of Scranton)
"Ed Scranton was my cousin, although I never knew him. I researched his brief military career and the accident for about 20 years. Using official documents and the eyewitness recollections of several living crew survivors, I've managed to recreate what I believe is the B-24's return leg and the rough locations of both the bailout and ditch sites."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edwin E. Scranton
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James M. Meredith
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James F. Nelson
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Leo Moriarty
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24 44-49607
"49607 (7th BG) lost Mar 24, 1945. MACR 13435."
Missing Air Crew Report 13435 (MACR 13435) created March 30, 1945
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Nathan Margolies
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Edwin E. Scranton
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John E. Cunningham
FindAGrave - 1Lt Nathan Margolies (photos, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1LT Nathan Margolies (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Arthur Richard Chaffee (grave photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Edwin Ely Scranton (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Edwin Ely Scranton (Arlington National Cemetery memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Edwin Ely Scranton (photos, Alliance City Cemetery memorial marker photos)
FindAGrave - Stanley Sadloski (grave photo)
FindAGrave - James F. Nelson
FindAGrave - Sgt Edward "Ted" Reed (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Kenneth W. Herald (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Leo Moriarty (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - SSgt John E Cunningham (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - SSGT John Edward "Jack" Cunningham (photo, memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Walt Webb for additional information and photographs
March 24, 1945
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