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  B-26B "Liberty Bell" Serial Number 41-17584  
5th AF
38th BG
70th BS

Pilot  2nd Lt. Fred W. Durbin (WIA, survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Richard S. Evans (WIA, survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. William J. Winemiller, Jr., O-742106 (KIA, BR)
Radio  Sgt Benjamin A. Arnold (KIA, BR)

Crashed  July 3, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Martin in Baltimore, Maryland. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-26B Marauder serial number 41-17584. On April 20, 1942 paid for by citizens of Philadelphia as part of a war drive and at the factory nicknamed "Liberty Bell".

Wartime History
During May 1942 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 70th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot 2nd Lt. Fred W. Durbin.

On June 2, 1942 took off from Hamilton Field piloted by 2nd Lt. Fred W. Durbin, Jr. co-pilot 2nd Lt. Richard S. Evans, navigator 2nd Lt. William J. Winemiller and radio/engineer Cpl Benjamin C. Navage as part of "B Flight" (Flight B) a ferry flight bound for Hickam Field on Oahu to join the Hawaiian Defense Command.

Mission History
On July 3, 1942 took off from Hickam Field on Oahu piloted by Lt. Fred W. Durbin as part of of "A" Flight on a flight bound for Christmas Island Airfield with a reduced crew and two 250 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the bomb bay. Shortly after take off the right engine caught fire and pilot Durbin attempted to ditch offshore, but struck a camouflaged observation tower on the beach shearing off the left wing causing the bomber to disintegrate. During the crash, Durbin and Evans were tossed from the plane severely injuring both men. Winemuller and Arnold were trapped in the burning wreckage and killed.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the bodies of Winemuller and Arnold were recovered.

Winemuller is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at row M, grave 844. Arnold is buried at Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery in Lawrenceville, GA.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-26B Marauder 41-17584
FindAGrave - Benjamin Alton Arnold (grave photo)
FindAGrave - William Joseph Winemiller, Jr (grave photo)
Bombs Away! A History of the 70th Bombardment Squadron (M) in Early World War II pages 24-25 (June 2, 1942 ferry flight), 30-32, 158-160 (operational order 109a)
Sun Setters of the Southwest Pacific Area pages 48-49 (July 3, 1942 crash), AIII-3, AIV-1 (photo)
Thanks to Gregory Boeser for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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