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Justin Taylan 2003
|Pilot 1st Lt. Harry O. Patteson (WIA, survived) Midlothian, VA
Bombardier 2nd Lt. Duncan S. Hughes, O-726170 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew 2nd Lt. B. D. Davis (WIA, survived)
Crew 2nd Lt. Hefstroe (WIA, survived)
Crew Sgt Berry (WIA, survived)
Crew Sgt Goldman (WIA, survived)
Crew Pvt Williams (WIA, survived)
Ditched August 13, 1942
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1492.
On March 29, 1942 piloted by 2nd Lt. Clarance E. McClaran took off from Hickam Field as part of a three plane formation on a ferry flight bound for Australia led by B-26s piloted by Konopacki with B-26 piloted by 2nd Lt. Crosson flying via Palmyra Airfield and Canton Airfield and Nouméa before reaching Amberley Field on April 2, 1942. Afterwards, took off from Amberley Field and flown northward to Garbutt Field near Townsville.
On April 9, 1942, one of four B-26s that departed during the mid morning from 7 Mile Drome on a bombing mission led by Lt. Rchardson against Rabaul. Each bomber was armed with either nineteen 100 lbs demolition bombs or four 500 lbs bombs. Their targets were Vunakanau Airfield and shipping inside Simpson Harbor.
Over the target, the formation claimed they were intercepted by four to seven enemy fighters. Aboard this bomber, McClaran's gunner Pvt Hugo H. Speier claimed a "Zero" shot down. In fact, three A5M4 Claudes intercepted but none were shot down and this bomber escaped without damage. The B-26 safely returned to base at 15:50, but 20 minutes later an air raid warning at Port Moresby forced them to take off and circle down the coast until the threat passed. The next day, the B-26s returned to Garbutt Field during the late afternoon.
In total, this bomber flew fourteen combat missions before it was lost.
The Marauders had not yet regrouped into formation when they were attacked by escorting A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai led by Lt. Joji Yamashita. Three different Zeros made frontal attacks against Patteson's aircraft, damaging the right engine.
Patteson ducked the plane into the nearby clouds and escaped to the east-southeast flying down the coast, knowing he could not get over the mountains back to Port Moresby with a bad engine. After flying about sixty miles, this bomber broke out of the clouds at 1,500', and the Patteson attempted to land on a stretch of beach, but instead ended up ditching in shallow water just off a sandbar inside Porlock Harbor.
The initial impact with the water tore away the radio compass housing below the navigators compartment, causing the engineer and navigator to be sucked out of the plane when the floor was ripped away beneath them. The engineer came up in the bomb bay.
Bombardier Hughes surfaced in the water behind the plane, naked. Likely his clothes were torn off during the impact or he removed them attempting to free himself from the wreckage. One of his legs was sheared off and he had several lacerations on his body. Patteson found him and dragged him ashore where he quickly died from shock.
The entire crew had sustained injuries spent the night on the sandbar next to the wreckage of their plane. They were hemmed in by a dense mangrove swamp along the shoreline.
Meanwhile, at Mareeba Airfield, a 19th Bombardment Group B-17 Flying flew the 22nd Bombardment Group flight surgeon, Captain Halperin to Cairns Airfield landing at 5:00pm, to meet the RAAF Catalina that rescue the crew. That night, Halperin performed surgery to treat the wounded crewmen. At dawn, the Catalina took off again and landed at Townsville around noon where the crew received additional medial treatment.
Heroic Rescue Wins Medals for 2 Fliers - Trapped Crewmen Saved in U.S. Bomber in Sea Off New Guinea:
I have photos of my Grandfather. He is in front of a B-26 with the number 11 clearly visible and then a name scratched in. His badge on his bomber jacket exactly matches that of the Sally Rand crew. The name is barely visible but appears to be Sally Rand though Rand has an e on the end in this photo. I have another photo with my grandfather and his crew mates in front of this same plane. I know that my Grandfather was stationed out of Brisbane somewhere flying the B-26 as the radio man and after an incident he was sent home. He had severe mental issues after this and finally shot himself several years later as result of that incident. The military has provided a payment of disability to my Grandmother ever since. What I don't have are names of any of the crew or exact knowledge of the incident but the incident suffered by the Sally Rand as described here would fit however my Grandfather's name is not on the crew list. Ideas?
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