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881st BS Oct 9, 1944
|Aircraft Commander Col. Richard T. King, Jr., O-149232 (POW, survived) C.O. 500th BG
Co-Pilot Major Robert Flood Goldsworthy, O-398709 (POW, survived)
Bombardier 1st Lt. Walter J. Patykuls, O-741413 (MIA / KIA) Trenton, NJ
Navigator 1st Lt. Benjamin Franklin Edwards, O-801445 (MIA / KIA / BR)
Engineer 1/Lt. Henry W. Warde, O-860976 (MIA / died Dec 4, 1944) Kearny, NJ
Left Waist Gunner Cpl Harold O. Schroeder, 16156864 (POW, survived) Appleton, WI
Radar S/Sgt. Carl T. Wells, 17046149 (MIA / died Dec 4, 1944) Portageville, MS
Right Waist Gunner Sgt. Thomas M. Goffrey, 12180664 (MIA / died 2-21-45) Ridgewood, NY
Central Fire Control Cpl. Robert E. Abel, 39691205 (MIA / KIA / BR) Taft, CA
Radio Sgt. John A. Wright, 31296777 (MIA / died Dec 4, 1944) Lynn, MA
Tail Gunner S/Sgt. James P. Corrigan, 13046433 (MIA / KIA / BR) Feeland, PA
Observer Col. Byron E. Brugge, O-19379 (MIA / died March 4, 1945) 73rd BW, HQ G-2
Crashed December 3, 1944
Built by Boeing. Constructors Number 4317. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-40-BW Superfortress serial number 42-24656.
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 500th Bombardment Group (500th BG), 881st Bombardment Squadron (881st BS). Assigned to crew #101. Nicknamed "Rosalia Rocket", but the nickname was not yet painted on the bomber. When lost engines R-3350-23A serial numbers 43-149334, 42-158248, 43-14973 and 42-158275. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR 10458 (MACR 10458).
On December 3, 1944 took off from Isley Field on Saipan piloted by Col. Richard T. King, Jr. on a bombing mission the Nakajima Aircraft Factory at Ota near Tokyo. This B-29 was leading a flight of twelve bombers flying at 32,000'.
After dropping their bombs, the formation was attacked by enemy fighters. At roughly 2:16pm an A6M3 Hamp came from high one o'clock, attack scoring hits on the no. 2 engine. Two large pieces of metal were observed flying off either from No 2 nacelle or inner wing. Shortly after this the lead ship feathered no. 4 engine, then unfeathered it and feathered No. 3, engine. By this time there was smoke mixed with gasoline trailing over left inner wing panel. As soon as No. 3 engine was feathered, the lead ship lost so much speed it fell behind the formation.
This B-29 was last seen over the northern part of Tokyo, at an altitude of 24,000'. The wheels were down, bomb bay doors open (possibly partial), black smoke was coming from the feathered engine on right side and either the No. 2 engine or the left inner wing funnel was aflame. The plane was in 30 degree dive, with five to twelve enemy fighters carrying on continuous attacks. Eight or nine of the crew were able to bail out. Unable to escape the burning bomber, three died in the crash: Edwards, Abel and Corrigan. Patykuls apparently bailed out, but his parachute was burned and died when he hit the ground or from burns.
This B-29 crashed into a rice paddy at Kamishiro village near Omigzwa in Chiba Prefecture. Between December 3-5, 1944 the crash site was investigated by the Japanese.
Fates of the Crew
Warde, Wells and Wright were severely wounded in the crash and were hospitalized in Chiba. All three died the next day and were cremated and buried in Chiba Cemetery.
King, Goldsworthy, Brugge and Goffery were captured and transported from Omigawa to Tokyo.
Goffery was was hospitalized for malnutrition and frostbite and died on February 21, 1945 and was cremated and buried at the Koishikawa army cemetery.
Brugge was interrogated by the Kempi-Tai and interrogated for a month, then severely beaten and hospitalized on February 28 and died on March 4, 1945. Cremated and buried at the Koishikawa Army Cemetery.
King, Goldsworthy were imprisoned at the Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku) and liberated at the end of the Pacific War. Schroeder was held at Omori POW Camp and liberated at the end of the Pacific War.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, Japanese authorities investigated the crash site and recovered three sets of cremated remains that were interred at the Military Mausoleum in Sakura-machi, inscribed, "3 December 1944 - Plane Type B-29 - Spirit of Unknown American Flyers". These three men were said to have been removed from the wreckage at Omigawa. On December 4, 1944 the Japanese discovered the remains of another airman. His body was removed but no one in the area knew what was done with the remains. On December 5, 1944 another body was taken from the wreckage and buried in the cemetery at Jindai-Muri.
Postwar, the body from Jindai-Muri was re-interred in USAF Cemetery Yokohama #1 as Unknown X-376 The three cremated remains from Sakura-machi were re-interred in USAF Cemetery Yokohama #1 as Unknown X-161, X-162, and X-163. On April 1, 1946 the remains of three men who were supposed to have died in a B-29 crash on 3 December 1944 were disinterred from Chiba by American Graves Registration Service (AGRS). According to the Japanese, these were the remains of "Wright, Wells and Wall". There was no member of the crew named "Wall" and likely this was "Warde".
Postwar, the remains of Edwards, Able and Corrigan were buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 82 site 62.
Warde is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 11 site 584.
Jen Bauer (great niece of Benjamin Edwards)
"Although the government closed the case and declared PFD (presumptive finding of death) pursuant to the then Missing Person's Act, Edwards remains were never found and questions still abound as to what indeed happened to him. If anyone knows something additional, please contact me."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-40-BW Superfortress 42-24656
"24656 (500th BG, 881st BS) rammed by Ki-45 over Matsudo Chiba, Japan Dec 3, 1944 while on mission to Nakajima aircraft factor at Ota near Tokyo. MACR 10458. 3 crew KIA, 8 bailed out and became POW."
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - Robert Goldsworthy
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - Richard King
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - Harold Schroeder
Crew of the Rosalia Rocket includes individual profiles on each crew member
Details on the Flight and Loss of Rosalia Rocket
US-Japan Dialogue on POWs - Robert F. Goldsworthy
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