|Pilot Captain Charles W. Wolfendale (survived) Lynn, MA
Landed September 3, 1944
Built by North American. Constructors Number 98-21514. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25H-5 Mitchell serial number 43-4513. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific (SOPAC).
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 100th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On September 3, 1944 took off from Stirling Airfield piloted by Captain Charles W. Wolfendale as one of three B-25 strafers on a mission to attack targets of opportunity at Rabaul. Reaching
the southern coast of New Britain, the three B-25s headed southwest flying low over Wide Bay in search of targets of opportunity. Recent sweeps
in the same area proved negative.
the flight passed over Kalai Plantation, they observed wrecked wharf, derelict plantation
buildings, and several beached barges which had been destroyed in previous
missions before attacking a tug boat. Over the area, this B-25 was damaged by small arms fire causing one engine to fail and the other began overheating.
Damaged, pilot Wolfendale decided to make an emergency landing at Talasea Airfield near Talasea on the Willaumez Peninsula. When it touched down at high speed, the nose wheel tire blew out and the nose gear collapsed as the aircraft skidded to a halt on its nose. Afterwards, it was pushed off the runway and wriitten off with serviceable components salvaged.
This B-25 remains in situ where it force landed. Today, it is one of Papua New Guinea's better known, easily accessible and intact
Sadly, in 2006, the left outer wing was removed by scrappers, but stopped by local people.
Curran visited the wreck in 1969:
"At one time I visited the B-25H at Talasea. It was remarkably untouched
inside. I was amazed at seeing an enormous heavy cannon mounted on
the underside. In the cockpit there was an A4 size card showing in
graph form trajectories etc. B25H was on the top of the card. I took
this card but unfortunately it has disappeared somewhere. I was surprised
at how this card had remained in the cockpit since - I guess about
Cecilie Benjamin adds in 2006
"The wing hasn't been removed but cut off near the engine and lying in the grass. The aircraft no longer looks as good as it once did. We heard people were in the process of removing it when they were interrupted by local people."
Wolfendale was killed on November 9, 1951 in the crash of KC-97E Stratofreighter 51-0198. He is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Lynn, MA.
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NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles W. Wolfendale
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25H-5 Mitchell 43-4513
"4513 (42nd BG, 40th BS) force-landed at Talasea, Papua Sep 3, 1944 following combat damage."
FindAGrave - Charles William Wolfendale
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25 43-4513
FlyPast "Last of the Ship Bsters" by Brian Bennett pages 18-19 Charles W. Wolfendale
Flightpath "The Talasea Mitchell North American B-25H-NA #43-4513" by Michael Claringbould page 81-84
Ghosts CD-ROM profiles this aircraft
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August 10, 2019