|Pilot 2nd Lt. William P. Simpson, USAAF O-552551 (WIA, survived) Oklahoma City, OK
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt. Richard J. Lewis, USAAF O-8224497 (survived) Indianapolis, IN
Bombardier / Navigator 2nd Lt. Jack A. Williams, USAAF O-704112 (survived)
Engineer Sgt Clyde W. Kline, USAAF 33598085 (survived)
Radio Operator Cpl Charles S. Spurlock, Jr, 20820388 (MIA / KIA) Hillister, TX
Armourer Cpl Donald G. Conner, 35754706 (MIA / KIA) WV
Ditched January 6, 1945
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) at Air Force Plant NC at Fairfax Field near Kansas City, KS. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers noted in Missing Aircrew Report 14225 (MACR 14225).
On January 6, 1945 took off from Tacloban Airfield on Leyte on a combat mission over Fabrica Airfield on Negros Island. Leaving the target, this B-25 was hit in the navigator's compartment or bomb bay, causing the main landing gear to drop down roughly a third of the way, likely due to a loss of hydraulic pressure. Roughly ten seconds later, flames appeared in the forward end of the bomb bay and navigator's compartment, causing the turret to become red hot. Fifteen seconds later, the right engine was feathered and successfully ditched at roughly 150 mph, landing smoothly and did not break up.
Afterwards, four of the surviving crew were observed atop the B-25 waving and had successfully deployed their life raft. One B-25 dropped a life raft to them. The B-25 formation circled for roughly 20 minutes and notified air-sea rescue. Several B-25s dropped their life rafts to the crew.
Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the surviving crew members were rescued. Spurlock and Conner likely died in the crash and were declared Missing In Action (MIA). Simpson was later lost aboard B-25J Mitchell 43-27888.
Spurlock and Conner were both officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the Manila American Cemetery.
Spurlock also has a memorial marker at Magnolia Cemetery in Woodville, TX.
"Donald G. Conner was my uncle and his birth date is 12/5/1924"
Note, some sources incorrectly list this aircraft
as "43-86161" which is not a B-25 serial number
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles S. Spurlock, Jr
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Donald G. Conner
FindAGrave - Corp Charles Stewart Spurlock (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Charles Stewart Spurlock, Jr (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Donald G Conner (tablets of the missing photo)
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for his assistance with this profile
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February 14, 2020