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|Pilot Captain Richard “Roy” R. Royall, Jr., O-388645 (MIA / KIA) Houston, TX
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Thomas C. Domville, O-420581 (MIA / KIA) Oak Park, IL
Navigator 1st Lt Herman E. Knauer, O-433110 (MIA / KIA) Jefferson County, MO
Bombardier 1st Lt Samuel T. Cleveland, O-432967 (MIA / KIA) Scranton, PA
Radio Cpl Stanley A. Zajewski, 13014398 (MIA / KIA) Clarence, PA
Engineer PFC Hyman W. Ostroff, 7024587 (MIA / KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Gunner Sgt John W. Evans, 13005409 (MIA / KIA) Coaldale, PA
MIA May 10, 1942
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1402. Assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG), 19th Bombardment Squadron (19th BS). No known nickname or nose art.
This B-26 was partially disassembled and shipped as cargo to Oahu then transported to Hickam Field and reassembled at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD). Afterwards, took off from Hickam Field on a ferry flight across the Pacific arriving at Archerfield Airfield near Brisbane on March 25, 1942 but suffered a gear collapse while landing. Afterwards, repaired. This B-26 flew two combat missions, the second when it went missing.
On May 8, 1942 took off on a combat mission.
On May 9, 1942 at 6:00am took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Royall armed with two 1,000 pound bombs on bombing mission (PM 1) as one of six B-26s on bombing mission (PM 1) to bomb a Japanese convoy reported to be roughly 60 miles from Rabaul in a position line off Woodlark Island. Before take off, B-26 40-1446 experienced mechanical trouble and did not participate in the mission. After take off, this B-26 returned due to engine trouble and returned to 7 Mile Drome.
On May 10, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Captain Richard “Roy” R. Royall, Jr. on a solo reconnaissance and strike mission the Japanese seaplane base in Deboyne Lagoon in the Deboyne Islands then was to fly southwest to land at Garbutt Field at Townsville. Over the target at low level, this B-26 was strafing enemy sea planes and was reportedly shot down by machine gun fire and crashed into the sea, possibly off Panapompom Island. It is believed the entire crew died in the crash. When this bomber failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Later intelligence reports with Japanese diaries as a source state that the aircraft was shot down by machine gun fire while strafing from a low level. Japanese records indicate that the strafing by the B-26s damaged two E13A Jakes, but remained in flyable condition. Machine gun fire from one of the E13A Jake crews W/O Matsuoka and S1C M Shimizu firing from the beach hit this bomber causing it to crash.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 4, 1945. All are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Royall earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Domville earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.
Knauer earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He also has a memorial marker at Woodlawn Memorial Park in De Soto, Missouri.
Cleveland earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Zajewski earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Ostroff earned the Purple Heart, posthumously.
Evans earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.
Patti Domville Hall (niece Domville deceased 2010)
Thomas R. Hall (great-nephew of Domville)
The co-pilot’s great-nephew, Tom Hall, offers his interpretation, March 2021
During the middle 1980s, Patti Domville Hall and Tom Hall took a trip to Deboyne Lagoon to search for this aircraft.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Thomas C. Domville
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Herman E. Knauer
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Samuel T. Cleveland
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Stanley A. Zajewski
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John W. Evans
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1402
22nd Bombardment Group mission summary for Mission PM 1 via Thomas Hall
Diary of Major Dwight D. Divine II, C.O. 408th Bomb Squadron [on May 19, 1942 promoted to C.O. 22nd BG] May 10, 1942 “Royall missing from a solo raid he was stupidly ordered to go on.”
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File does not list any member of the crew as official prisoners of the Japanese although some sources raise raise the possibility of capture.
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1402
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard R. Royall, Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas C. Domville
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Herman E. Knauer
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Samuel T. Cleveland
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Stanley A. Zajewski
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Hyman W. Ostroff
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Evans
FindAGrave - Capt Richard Royster Royall, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Thomas C Domville (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Herman E Knauer (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - LT H Eugene Knauer (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Samuel Tilden Cleveland Jr. (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Stanley A Zajewski (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - PFC Hyman W Ostroff (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John W Evans (tablets of the missing photo)
Los Angeles Times "Searchers WWII Bomber Lost in Jungle Is Seal Beach Woman's Grail" by Patrick Mott March 9, 1989 page 1
Revenge of the Red Raiders (2006) pages 49-50 (Royal ferry flight departing Hickam April 1, 1942 via Palmyra arrives Brisbane April 12, 1942), 88-89 (May 10, 1942 mission), 62 (map, 40-1446) 88-90, 472, 490, 599 (index)
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