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|Pilot Captain Raymond T. Petersen, O-022087 C.O., 90th BS (MIA / KIA) Woodbridge, NY
Co-Pilot P/O Robert Murray Wilson, RAAF 406122 (MIA / KIA) Mount Lawley, WA
Gunner SSgt Julian J. Champagne, 11019142 (survived)
Radio/Gunner Sgt James Campbell Graham, RAAF 405732 (survived)
Crashed November 24, 1942
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructors Number 82-5631. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number 41-12996. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS). No known nickname or nose art.
On November 24, 1942 took off from Port Moresby piloted by Captain Raymond T. Petersen on a bombing mission over the Vitiaz Strait. Aboard was Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) co-pilot P/O Robert Murray Wilson. This B-25 crashed into the sea in the vicinity of French Harbor off the north coast of New Guinea. Pilot Petersen and co-pilot Wilson were killed in the crash and remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
After the crash, gunners Champagne and Graham survived the crash and after a length escape and evasion returned to duty.
The two crew Petersen and co-pilot Wilson were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Petersen was officially declared dead the day of the mission and posthumously promoted to the rank of Major. He earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. Petersen is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Wilson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is commemorated at the Lae War Cemetery on the Lae Memorial, panel 6.
Champagne survived World War II and continued to serve in the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and served in the Korean War. He passed away September 6, 1999 at age 77. Champagne is buried at South Cemetery in Brooklyn, CT.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Julian J. Champagne
WW2 Nominal Roll - Robert Murray Wilson
WW2 Nominal Roll - James Campbell Graham
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C Mitchell 41-12996
"12996 MIA Nov 26, 1942"
P/O Wilson's Casualty File (NAA: A705, 163/178/475)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Raymond T. Petersen
FindAGrave - Maj Raymond T Petersen (obituary, tablets of the missing)
CWGC - Robert Murray Wilson
FindAGrave - Pilot Officer Robert Murray Wilson (Lae Memorial)
FindAGrave - Julian Joseph “Joe” Champagne (grave photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Daniel Leahy for additional research and analysis
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