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No. 18 Squadron
|Pilot Sergeant-majoor Hendrik van den Berg, 95421 NEIAF (MIA / KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot Sergeant Vlieger Antonius Bouwman, 93090 NEIAF (KIA, BR)
Bombardier F/Sgt Ronald Lindsay Morrison, 401456 RAAF (KIA, BR) Black Rock, VIC
W/AG F/Sgt Thomas Edward Williams, 404148 RAAF (KIA, BR) Hill End, QLD
W/AG Sgt Gordon Francis Prichard, 414160 RAAF (KIA, BR) Charters Towers, QLD
Crashed June 2, 1943
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructors Number 94-12745. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C-10 Mitchell serial number 42-32337.
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 N5-150. 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 N5-150 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 18 Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. During 1942 until lost in early June 1943 this B-25 operated from the Darwin area in the Northern Territory flying combat missions.
On June 2, 1943 took off from Darwin piloted by Sgt Maj Hendrik van den Berg as one of four B-25s on a mission against Japanese shipping in the anchorage off Lautem (Vila Nova Malaca) in the northeast of East Timor at 3:52pm. The formation broke through low clouds at about 2,000' and made independent attacks from different directions on three Japanese merchant vessels and one warship - probably a destroyer. Although the attacking run of N5-150 was not observed its bombs were seen to burst near the destroyer and the aircraft was last seen heading through thick weather towards the mainland of Timor on a bearing of approximately 160 degrees. There was intense anti-aircraft fire from the ships and shore defenses two of the other B-25s were damaged. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
The next day, two B-25s searched the Timor Sea within visual distance of Timor but found no trace of any wreckage or survivors.
In fact, this aircraft crashed on land. Postwar, the Australian Army found the crash site.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of all five crew were recovered by the Australian Army, 16 Australian War Graves Unit and transported to Ambon War Cemetery for permanent burial. Only Morrison was individually identified. The other four crew were buried in joint graves: Williams and Prichard plus van den Berg and Bouwman.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The three Australians are buried in a joint grave at the Ambon War Cemetery. Williams and Prichard are buried in joint grave at plot 7 row A grave 11-12. van den Berg and Bouwman are buried in a joint grave at plot 1 row C grave 15-16. Morrison is buried at plot 3 row C grave 9.
John van den Berg (great nephew of Hendrik van den Berg
"Hendrik van den Berg is my granddad eldest brother. These days I am very busy to find more detailed information about his life."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C-10 Mitchell 42-32337
"32337 to NEIAF as N5-150 - lost in action 6/43"
B-25 Mitchell in Dutch Service N5-150
CWGC - Hendrik van den Berg
CWGC - Antonius Bouwman
CWCG - Ronald Lindsay Morrison
CWCG - Thomas Edward Williams
CWGC - Gordon Francis Prichard
Thanks to John van den Berg for additional information
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March 3, 2021
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