Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  B-29-20-MO "The Life of Riley" Serial Number 42-65241  
20th AF
504th BG
398th BS

Aircraft Commander  Major Jack B. Riley, O-393200 (MIA / KIA) Santa Monica, CA
Co-Pilot  Lt. William G. "Billy" Weber, O-813621 (MIA / KIA) GA
Bombardier  Lt. J.G. Kelly, O-667303 (MIA / KIA) Chicago, IL
Navigator  Capt. Walter W. Homer, O-432164 (MIA / KIA) NB
Engineer  Lt. Ralph E. Worthington, O-864101 (MIA / KIA) Hobart, IN
Right Gunner  Cpl. Alfred J. English, 34674889 (MIA / KIA) Rocky Mount, NC
Radio  Sgt. William R. Bass, 18180265 (MIA / KIA) Denison, TX
Left Gunner  Cpl. James J. Dannaher, 11095138 (MIA / KIA) Hartford, CT
Central Fire Control  Sgt. Carl J. Trulove, 39387393 (MIA / KIA) Albany, OR
Tail Gunner  Cpl George R. Ellis, 42103564 (MIA / KIA) NJ

Crashed  March 24, 1945
MACR  13380

Aircraft History
Built by Martin-Omaha. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-20-MO Superfortress serial number 42-65241.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force, 504th Bombardment Group, 398th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to Major Jack B. Riley. Nicknamed "The Life of Riley" after Riley in Kansas prior to ferrying the bomber overseas to Tinian. When lost engines R-3350-23A serial numbers 42-121127, DW-201554, DW-202029 and DW-201726.

Mission History
On March 24, 1945 took off from North Field (Runway No. 1) on Tinian piloted by Major Jack B. Riley on a bombing mission over Nagoya. After dropping their bombs, the B-29 reported by radio their position to be 28 miles southeast of Guguan with "engine on fire" and "we'll keep you informed". The radio message was heard by another B-29 and a ground station on Tinian. When this bomber failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

After being reported missing, the 313th Bomb Wing's Air & Sea Rescue searched for this B-29, without result.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

Kenneth Moore (nephew of Weber)
Patricia Lane (widow of Weber)

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-20-MO Superfortress 42-65241
"65241 (504th BG 398th BS) crashed on Alamagan Island, Marianas due to engine fire Mar 24, 1945 while returning from mission to Mitsubishi aircraft engine plant at Nagoya, Japan. MACR 13380. All 10 crew killed."
MACR 13380 (MACR 13380)
Moores Marauders "Finding The Life of Riley"  claims this bomber was on a solo top secret mission to bomb Pagan Airfield. During 1998, Moore traveled to Alamagan Island and reportedly found a seat, several radios, a Browning M-2 50-caliber machine gun and a Gibson Girl were found underwater in the lagoon. According to this webpage, the weapon serial numbers were illegible, but six of the eight serial numbers off the radios were legible. So too were those on one of the engines.

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
March 22, 2020


Tech Info

10 Misisng
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram