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  B-29-45-BW Superfortress Serial Number 42-24754  
USAAF
20th AF
73rd BW
499th BG
878th BS

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Japan March 14, 1945
Pilot  2nd Lt. John K. Ellingston, O-739749 (KIA, BR) Stockton, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. John C. Terwilliger, O-771834 (KIA, BR) CA
Bombardier  2nd Lt. Gerald R. McDermott, O-783081 (KIA, BR) Brooklyn, NY
Navigator  2nd Lt. John M. Quigley, O-1288359 (KIA, BR)
Radio  Sgt John R. Schneider, 35218895 (KIA, BR)
Radar  Sgt Emmett R. Brieger, 13141405 (KIA, BR) New York, NY
C. F. C.  Sgt Leon Mecham, 39558676 (KIA, BR) Riverdale, ID
Engineer  MSgt Forrest C. Flarity, 36123085 (KIA, BR)
Tail Gunner  Sgt Merritt E. Bolner, 35882935 (KIA, BR) Howard County, IN
Crashed  March 13, 1945
MACR  13017

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing. Constructors Number 4415. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-45-BW Superfortress serial number 42-24754. Ferried overseas to Aslito Field (Isley Field) on Saipan.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 499th Bombardment Group (499th BG), 878th Bombardment Squadron (878th BS). No nickname or nose art. When lost, engine and weapon serial numbers are not listed in Missing Air Crew Report 13017 (MACR 13017).

Mission History
On March 13, 1945 at 6:46pm took off from Aslito Field (Isley Field) on Saipan pilot 2nd Lt. John K. Ellingston on a night incendiary bombing mission against Osaka. The weather was .8 cumulus cloud cover and visibility of 12 miles with surface winds of 18 mph to the northeast. The B-29 formation maintained radio silence and this bomber did not communicate with anyone and was not known to be lost until it failed to return from the mission. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Over the target, this B-29 was likely either damaged by Ki-61 Tony piloted by MSgt Tadao Sumi from the 56th Hiko Sentai who claimed several B-29s damaged with gunfire or was deliberately rammed by Kenji Fujimoto from the 246th Hiko Sentai who rammed a B-29 bailed out and landed safely. Damaged, this B-29 crashed into the downtown area of MInami-kuhouji town of Sakaisuji crossing Higashi-ku in Osaka. At least one crew member bailed out but was burned by flames and died on impact.

Wreckage
The next morning, the Japanese investigated and photographed the crash site.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, Ellingston's dog tag was found and the ashes of the crew recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.

Ellingston was individually identified and buried at Honolulu Cemetery (Punchbowl) at plot Q grave 292.

Eight of the crew are buried in a group burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at section 81 site 364 including Terwilliger, McDermott, Quigley, Schneider, Brieger, Mecham, Flarity and Bolner.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-45-BW Superfortress 42-24754

"24754 (499th BG, 878th BS) shot down by Ki-61 and crashed at Minami-Kuhouji near Higashi-Ku, Osaka, Japan while on mission to Osaka Mar 13, 1945. MACR 13017. All 9 crew KIA"
Missing Air Crew Report 13017 (MACR 13017) created March 15, 1945 does not note engine or weapon serial numbers and lists pilot incorrectly as Kllington [sic Ellingston]
B-29 Hunters of the JAAF page 90 (photo), 128
FindAGrave - Lieut John Kenneth Ellingston (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT John C Terwilliger (photo, group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT Gerald Robert McDermott (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT John M Quigley (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SGT John R Schneider (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Emmett R Brieger (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - SGT Leon Vail Mecham (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - MSGT Forrest C Flarity (group burial photo
FindAGrave - Sgt Merritt Eugene “Gene” Bolner (photo, group burial photo)

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Last Updated
March 14, 2020

 

Tech Info
B-29
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