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G. Short August 3, 1943
|Pilot Lt. Alden W. Thompson, Jr., O-727804 (survived) WV
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt George W. Cagle, Jr., O-734189 (survived) TX
Bombardier 2nd Lt. John R. Yarborough, O-732479 (WIA, MIA / KIA, BNR) SC
Navigator SSgt Lawrence B. Davis, 34333036 (WIA, MIA / KIA, BNR) AL
Radio-Gunner TSgt Walter A. Malone (survived) MT
Engineer-Gunner SSgt George A. Mottern (survived)
Ditched July 13, 1943
Ditched into the sea roughly 10 miles off Salus village south of Tambu Bay near Salamaua. On landing, this B-25 broke into two pieces at the rear fuselage. Yarborough was unable to escape as the bomber sank and went down with the aircraft. When lost, this bomber was the 345th Bombardment Group's first combat loss.
Fates of the Crew
Above, the B-25 piloted by Cooper lingered in the area to protect them, and flew towards friendly lines and dropped a message to an Australian Army position about the downed crew and attempted to send a native canoe to the scene, but it got swamped in the heavy seas. When the crew was reported lost when the formation returned back at base, Col. True took off without fighter escort to drop a life raft to them, but was unable to locate them. The crew saw the circling B-25, but had no way to signal it.
After ten hours at sea, the crew managed to swim ashore around dark but found themselves roughly two miles behind Japanese lines. Between the four surviving crew, they had only a single .45 pistol. Together, they avoided the enemy and made their way towards Allied lines before finally reaching an Australian Army outpost and were returned to duty three days later.
Pilot Thompson's replacement aircraft was nicknamed "Jelly Belly 2nd" after the loss of this bomber. On September 9, 1943 three members of this crew: Thompson, Cagle and Malone were killed aboard B-25D "Jelly Belly 2nd" 41-30516.
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