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  B-25D-1 "Axis Fate" Serial Number 41-30053  
5th AF
345th BG
500th BS

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345th BG c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. Cecil O. Jones, O-734240 (KIA, BR)
Engineer  S/Sgt John P. O'Neill, 32427527 (KIA, BR)
Radio  Cpl Simon C. Labatt, 14053711 (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Sgt Gerald W. Bingham, 19123429 (KIA, BR)
Gunner  T/Sgt Walter C. Schroeder, 35258868 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt. Henry A. Just, 33193152 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Cpl. Edward Kempsey, 32519325 (KIA, BR)

Crashed  September 29, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Constructors Number 87-8218. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30053. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 345th Bombardment Group (345th BG) "Air Apaches", 500th Bombardment Squadron (500th BS) during March 1943 to pilot Corder with crew chief Schroeder. Nicknamed "Axis Fate" on the left side of the nose with the nose art of a dwarf wearing a hat with a long white beard from the animated movie Walt Disney "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937). Converted into a B-25D-1 strafer at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville. A score board was painted below the cockpit on the left side of the nose with at least three bomb markings indicating missions flown.

Mission History
On September 29, 1943 took off from Port Moresby on a training mission. This aircraft crashed into the sea near the wreck of the SS Pruth. The cause of the crash is unknown, the entire crew was killed in the crash and their remains were recovered.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Postwar, the remains of their remains were transported to the Philippines and United States for permanent burial.

Two of the crew are buried at National Memorial Cemetery if the Pacific (Punchbowl) Just at section F site 16. Schroeder at section B site 382. Labatt is buried at Alexandria National Cemetery section c site 275A. Jones is buried at Danville National Cemetery, VA section K site 1549. Bingham is buried at Custer National Cemetery section D site 9. Jones is buried at Danville National Cemetery at plot K site 1949. O'Neill's burial is unknown, likely he is buried in a private cemetery.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D Mitchell 41-30053
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30053
Warpath Across The Pacific (1996) pages 51, 72, 366, 391
Wrecks & Reefs (1994) page 218
FindAGrave Gerald W. Bingham (grave photo)
FindAGrave Cecil O. Jones (grave photo)

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Last Updated
December 5, 2020


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