Lt. Gordon K. McCoun
Wilkinson, RAAF (rescued)
McCarthy, RAAF (rescued)
Ditched February 21, 1943
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number 41-12968. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 90th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Draft Dodger".
On February 21, 1943 took off
from Port Moresby piloted by 2nd
Lt. Gordon K. McCoun on a training mission to bomb the SS
Pruth off Port
Moresby. Armed with
U. S. Army 300 pound bombs with Australian fuses. Over the target, one of the 300 pound bombs exploded prematurely and
damaged both engines. The bomber salvoed the remaining bombs
and successfully ditched, 25 miles northwest of Port
Moresby near Idihi Island atop a coral reef southwest of Boera.
Fates of the Crew
The entire crew survived unhurt and were later rescued by a crash boat and returned to Port Moresby.
This B-25 remains in situ. Due to storms over the decades, the remaining wreckage is scattered over a wider area. During the crash, both engines broke off on impact. Over the years, the wings
and cockpit have detached.
At low tide, the engines and wheel struts are exposed above the water.
90th Bombardment Squadron History frame 190, microfilm A0572 frame 447 "Crashed into the water on a training mission. The tail surface of the plane hit the practice target and the plane crashed into the water."
Wrecks & Reefs pages 123-125, 218
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell piloted by McCoun
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December 5, 2020