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|Pilot 1st Lt. Duncan A. Seffern, O-431539 (KIA, BR) WI
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Robert R. Hatch (KIA, BR) NC
Bombardier 1st Lt. Lee A. Johnson (KIA, BR)
Radio Sgt Robert F. Jordan (KIA, BR)
Passenger 2nd Lt. Charles H. Humble (KIA, BR)
Passenger 2nd Lt. Antonio Morales, Jr. (KIA, BR)
Passenger SSgt Peter P. McGinn (KIA, BR)
Crashed January 10, 1943
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26 Marauder serial number 40-1495. Flown overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
During February 1942, assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG), 19th Bombardment Squadron (19th BS). Nicknamed "Diana's Demon". Assigned to pilots Maiersperger and Craft with crew chief Clark.
On April 29, 1942 took off from Garbutt Field near Townsville on a ferry flight to Port Moresby arriving in the afternoon to stage for a bombing mission the next morning.
On April 30, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 5:00am piloted by 2nd Lt. Christian I. Herron armed with 100 pound bombs along with B-26 "Dixie" 40-1496 and B-26 "Lil' Rebel" 40-1388 on a bombing mission against Lae Airfield. Arriving at dawn at 600' altitude, the bombers released their bombs over parked aircraft. Herron reported his bombs fell within 10' of the parked planes setting off explosions and fires. On the ground one bomber and four Zeros sustained shrapnel damaged, one Zeros destroyed and one Zero heavily damaged. Leaving the target, the formation was intercepted by seven A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kokutai but none of the B-26s were damaged and returned safely.
On January 10, 1943 took off from 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Duncan A. Seffern with co-pilot 2nd Lt. Robert R. Hatch on a flight bound for Iron Range Airfield. Aboard were two crews: Hatch's crew plus Seffern's crew, whose bomber had been commandeered by a senior officer.
During take off, one of the pilots apparently accidentally retracted the flaps instead of the landing gear causing the bomber to stop climbing and begin to settle as the pilots tried to reach nearby 12 Mile Drome (Berry) but instead crashed nose first into trees on the Bomana side of the Laloki River.
On impact, the bomber caught fire and destroyed an unoccupied anti-aircraft gun position. All seven crew in the front half of the bomber were killed in the crash. The eight in the rear survived the crash as the sole survivor. Afterwards, this bomber was written off and stripped for usable parts.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the dead crew members were buried in a mass grave at Bomana War Cemetery. Postwar, the crew were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Three are buried at National Memorial Cemetery (Punchbowl). Johnson at plot B, grave 1126. Jordan plot A, grave 543. McGinn at plot A, grave 1035. The other four are buried in the United States. Seffern is buried at Little Wolf Cemetery in Manawa, WI. Hatch is buried at Raleigh National Cemetery at plot 24, grave 1311. Humble is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at section C, site 473. Morales is buried at San Felipe Cemetery in Del Rio, TX.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26 40-1495
"1495 (22nd BG) crashed on takeoff Jan 10, 1943, Port Moresby, PNG. 7 killed, 8 survived"
FindAGrave - Duncan A. Seffern (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Robert R Hatch (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lee A Johnson (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Robert F Jordan (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Charles A Humble (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Antonio Morales, Jr (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Peter P McGinn (grave photo)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-26 40-1495
Revenge of the Red Raiders (2006) pages 82 (April 29-30, 1942 mission), 99 (photos), 170 (photo), 477 (January 10, 1943 crash), 495 (19th BS), 516, 607 (index)
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Keith Hopper for additional information
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