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  B-25C-10 Mitchell Serial Number 42-32319  
13th AF
42nd BG
75th BS

Pilot  2nd Lt Thomas O. Thompson. Jr., O-352317 (POW, executed April 12, 1944, MIA) TX
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Carl C. Clemons, O-742137 (POW, executed April 12, 1944, MIA) WA
Bombardier / Navigator  2nd Lt John C. Henderson, O-673075 (MIA / KIA) MA
Engineer / Gunner  S/Sgt Allen E. Cooperider, 35112902 (MIA / KIA) IN
Radio  SSgt William K. Baer, 31140766 (MIA / KIA) MA
Gunner  SSgt Ralph J Kirsch, 16046533 (MIA / KIA) WI
Crashed  January 12, 1944
MACR  1800

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 42nd Bombardment Group (42nd BG) "The Crusaders", 75th Bombardment Squadron (75th BS). No known nickname or nose art.

On July 10, 1943 this B-25 took off from Nadi Airfield piloted by Captain H. G. Miller took off to attack a Japanese submarine that had been reported off Fiji. At 10:30am, they spotted the submarine 18 miles off Round Island, flying over at 100' bombardier J. P. Ellis dropped their single 325 lbs depth charge on the crash diving submarine. After turning around the B-25 observed a 100' greenish oil slick was observed and dropped its two smoke bombs dropped to mark the target. Next, two B-26 Marauders from the 70th Bombardment Squadron patrolled the area.

When lost, engines: R-2600-13 serial numbers: left 43-24284 and right 43-22830. This B-25 had 12 x 50 caliber machine guns installed, plus 2 x 30 caliber machine guns, serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1800.

Mission History
On January 12, 1944 took off from Renard Field on Banika Island piloted by 2nd Lt Thomas O. Thompson. Jr. on a bombing mission against Rabaul. Weather was. Over the target, shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed near Tobera Airfield. Four men were seen to bail out. Observed to crash by 1st Lt. Otto R. Hartwits, Jr. aboard another B-25.

Fates of the Crew
Thompson and Clemons were captured and taken prisoner. Both were held by the 81st Naval Guard Unit (Keibitai) at Tunnel Hill POW Camp. Both taken away and likely executed on or around April 12, 1944.

Jose Holguin papers mentions:
"Two other prisoners – Ensign John Osborn [USN] and Lt. Clements [co-pilot of B-25C 42-32319], Army Air Corps, joined us briefly at the new camp soon after our arrival, but were taken away by Japanese Navy Military Police on or about April 10 [1944]. We never saw them again nor ever found out their ultimate fate."

The crew was officially declared dead after the crash. Baer, Kirsch, Henderson, Thompson was declared dead on January 17, 1946. Clemons was declared dead on April 12, 1944. The entire crew is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

This crash site was listed by U.S. Army CILHI lists this site as PNG #29. It is unclear if any search for this aircraft was ever undertaken.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C-10 Mitchell 42-32319
"32319 (42nd BG) lost Jan 22, 1944. MACR 1800"
38th BG "Report of Attack on Submarine" July 10, 1943 via Clay Fisher (grandson of Ellis)
Missing Air Crew Report 1800 (MACR 1800)

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Last Updated
October 28, 2021


Tech Info

2 Prisoners
4 Missing
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