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  B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12455  
USAAF
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS


via Mark Wilson c1994
Pilot  2nd Lt John J. Keeter, Jr., O-404019 (KIA, BR) TX
Co-Pilot  Capt Glenwood G. Stephenson, O-23128 (KIA, BR) WI
Navigator  Lt Eugene T. Tisonyai (KIA, BR) Coshocton, OH
Bombardier  T/Sgt William H. Lancaster, Jr (KIA, BR) Nashville, TN
Engineer  S/Sgt James P. English, 7000452 (KIA, BR) TN
Rear Gunner  Sgt George C. DeArmond (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Sgt Jimmie Dale Morris (KIA, BR) LA
Crashed  April 21, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood as the twenty-second B-25C Mitchell manufactured. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number 41-12455. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On April 6, 1942 assigned to the 3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS). No nose art or nickname.

Royce Mission
On April 11, 1942 took off from Batchelor Field near Darwin piloted by Wilson with co-pilot Keeter on the Royce Mission as one of nine B-25s with three B-17s on a flight 1,500 miles northward to Del Monte Airfield on Mindanao in the Philippines. On April 12, 1942 and April 13, 1942 one of nine B-25s plus three B-17s that bombed Cebu and Davao. Afterwards, flown back to Batchelor Field.

Mission History
On April 21, 1942 took off piloted by 2nd Lt John J. Keeter, Jr. on a search mission to locate the Japanese fleet prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea. While returning in heavy clouds, this B-25 crashed into Mount Bartle Frere in Queensland. Everyone aboard was killed in the crash. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). This aircraft was the first combat loss of the 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS).

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the mutilated bodies of the crew were buried in temporary graves on Mount Bartle Frere. During early December 1942, Australian Ted Richards, took a pack of mules to the crash site and recovered the remains of the crew who were temporarily buried at Townsville Cemetery on December 14, 1942. Postwar, the remains of the crew were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Wreckage
The crash site remains in situ on Mount Bartle Frere. During 1994, members of the Australian Army, RAAF and civilians visited the site as part of '"Exercise Relic Search", an operation which intended to locate the wreck for the potential future recovery of parts for the Australian War Memorial (AWM).

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Keeter is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at Plot Q Row 0 Grave 625. He also has a memorial marker at Throckmorton Cemetery in Throckmorton, TX.

Stephenson is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at Plot E Row 0 Grave 841

English is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at Plot A Row 0 Grave 544.

Tisonyai is buried at South Lawn Cemetery in Coshocton, OH.

Lancaster is buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

DeArmond was buried in 1946 at Ponchatoula Cemetery in Ponchatoula, LA.

Morris was buried at Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, LA at plot E grave 52.

References
Australia @ War - Crash of a B-25 Mitchell on Mount Bartle Frere, Qld
Australian Army Newspaper "Diggers take on mountain of death" by Noel Gilby 1994
FindAGrave - John J Keeter, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut John Keeter, Jr (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Capt Glenwood G Stephenson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Eugene T Tisonyai (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Henry Lancaster, Jr (photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt James P English (grave photos)
FindAGrave - George C DeArmond (photo)
FindAGrave - Jimmie D Morris (grave photo)
Thanks to Mark Wilson and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
July 2, 2021

 

Tech Info
B-25
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