|Pilot 2nd Lt. Charles "Chuck" Howe (survived)
Force Landed April 16, 1943
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army. During January 1943, ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron operating from Charters Towers Airfield. Nicknamed "El Diablo III". This B-25 flew combat missions in New Guinea.
Afterwards, converted on strafer version at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville and returned to New Guinea during January to February 1943. Reassigned to the 90th Bombardment Squadron to pilot Robert D. Chatt who nicknamed the bomber "Chatter Box" with shark nose art.
This aircraft was flown extensively during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea and practice strafing and bombing runs against the Moresby Wreck (SS Pruth).
On April 16, 1943 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby at 9:00am to test the bomber's engines after a repair, and failed to return. The pilot had feathered the engine to be tested at low altitude and hit a tree, then force landed the B-25 in the Veimauri swamp at the base of a hill at roughly Lat 9.04 Long 146.52 to the west of Port Moresby. Officially, this B-25 was written off on May 6, 1943.
Fates of the Crew
The crew survived unhurt and walked towards 30 Mile (Rogers Drome). They were met by local villagers and taken to Australians with a radio, and were returned to 17 Mile Drome (Durand) the next day.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-13088
Forty of the Fifth pages 62 - 68
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February 4, 2018