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No. 18 Squadron
|Pilot 1st Lt L. Bal, NEIAF (POW / MIA, BNR)
Co-Pilot Sgt F A Hoogeveld, NEIAF 93750 (MIA / KIA)
Fire Control Officer 1st Lt P Kruijne, NEIAF (POW / MIA, BNR)
Bombardier Ens A. B. Andela NEIAF (MIA / KIA)
Radio Sgt C Van Ginnel, NEIAF 92376 (MIA / KIA)
W/AG Sgt Reginald Peter Leehy, 412067 RAAF (MIA / KIA) Barraba, NSW
MIA May 21, 1943
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. At the factory painted with olive drab upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces and U. S. markings. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C-15 Mitchell serial number 42-32484.
Purchased by the Netherlands for the Militaire Luchtvaart (ML-KNIL) Army Aviation Corps of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army for use in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) as B-25C Mitchell serial number N5-144. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
In Australia, repainted in Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) markings with serial number N5-147 and the Dutch flag on the rear fuselage and retained the original U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) serial number on both sides of the tails.
Assigned to No. 18 Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. During 1942 until lost at the end of May 1943 this B-25 operated from the Darwin area in the Northern Territory flying combat missions.
On May 21, 1943 took off from Darwin piloted by 1st Lt L. Bal leading a formaton of three B-25s on an attack against Saumlaki (Saumlakki) on Yamdena Island (Jamdena) in the Tanimbar Islands.
Over the target, hit in the starboard engine by anti-aircraft fire while at approximately 8,500' causing it to catch fire and crash into deep water approximately 1.5 miles south west of the wreck off the western shore of Saumlaki Bay. At lease one of the crew was seen to exit the aircraft and deploy his parachute and landed in the sea about one mile west-southwest of the crash. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
Later, Japanese broadcast claimed the commander of this aircraft, likely 1st Lt L. Bal had been captured and became a Prisoner Of War (POW). Postwar interrogations suggest that two Dutch Lieutenants from this aircraft may have been captured. The fates of these prisoners is unknown. Likely they died of neglect or were executed.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Leehy is memorialized at Adelaide River War Cemetery on the Northern Territory Memorial, panel 10.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C-15 Mitchell N5-147
"32484 to NEIAF as N5-147. Shot down by AAA and crashed into deep water 1.5 mi SW of of western shore of Saumlaki Bay May 21, 1943"
B-25 Mitchell in Dutch Service N5-147
CWGC - Reginald Peter Leehy
POW / MIA
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