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Pilot 1st Lt. Melvin L. Power, O-933431 13045th AFBU (MIA / KIA) CA
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Horace J. Gabbart, O-769790 13045th AFBU) (MIA / KIA) TX
Radio Pfc Eugene F. Ryan, 17134187 13045th AFBU (MIA / KIA) Webster Groves, MS
Passenger Captain Roy W. Corley, O-1587766 Corps of Engineers (MIA / KIA) San Antonio, TX
Passenger 1st Lt. Harry Chan, O-877552 744th AFBU (MIA / KIA) Oakland, CA
Passenger 1st Lt. Donald Dutton, O-1118713 AGRS (MIA / KIA) Lynwood, CA
Passenger 1st Lt. Henry E. Derbyshire, O-1116766 AGRS (MIA / KIA) Chambersburg, VA
Passenger SSgt Glen F. Cox, Jr., 36961684 AGRS (MIA / KIA) Danille, IL
Passenger Sgt Warren R. Haines, 42083730 AGRS (MIA / KIA) Medsford, NJ
Passenger Cpl. Wallace J. Davis, 33551295 AGRS (MIA / KIA) Orange, VA
Passenger Lt. Commander James T. Campbell, O-205425 (MIA / KIA) IN
MIA May 17, 1946 at 5:30
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 25569. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47B-1-DK Skytrain serial number 43-48308.
Assigned to Air Transport Command (ATC), 13045th Army Air Force Base Unit (13045th AAFBU). No known nickname or nose art. Also referred to as "8308". When lost, engine serial numbers at the time of loss were not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 15043 (MACR) 15043.
On May 10, 1946 this C-47 and its crew from the 1304th Air Force Base Unit: Power, Gabbart and Ryan were sent to Singapore. On May 15, 1946 this aircraft and crew were placed on temporary duty with American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) assigned to the U.S. Army detachment in India (APO 465).
On May 17, 1946 took off from Rangoon Airfield in Burma piloted by 1st Lt. Melvin L. Power on a flight bound for Barrackpore Airfield in India. The flight crew were from the 1304th Air Force Base Unit. The passengers were personnel from American Graves Registration Service (AGRS).
Passengers Dutton and Derbyshire were en route to a conference and had in their possession complete information on aircraft crash sites, Japanese executions and isolated burials obtained after weeks of investigations in Rangoon (Yangoon) in Burma (Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), Malay, Java and Andamn Islands. Also aboard was the personal baggage of the crew and passengers, two life rafts plus eleven parachutes and an unknown number of life vests.
In addition, this aircraft was transporting twelve cases containing the remains of 37 individuals (other sources state 38 individuals) from the Rangoon POW Prison, plus five unidentified sets of remains exhumed from an isolated location, (crew members of B-24 "Bugs Bunny" 42-73222).
Remains aboard included:
Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery
SSgt Albert I. Malck, 6942456 died November 28, 1943, grave 96
Sgt Elias E. Gonsslves
Sgt Harold B. Cummings
1st Lt. Robert L. Kavanagh died June 22, 1943 pilot B-24D Liberator pilot Kavanagh
TSgt Edward R. Bodell
TSgt Urvan A. Aubuchon
SSgt Thomas S. Hopes
SSgt Francis B. Jordan
1st Lt. John C. Kelley
TSgt Charles A. Pittard
F/O Gene Gambale
1st Lt. James M. Grey
Sgt Norman E. Albinson
SSgt Frank Rodriquez
Cpl Julius F. Yackie
Captain Wayne R. Westberg
2nd Lt. Everette E. Briggs, Jr.
SSgt Jack R. Sheets
Sgt J. Brown, died ?, grave 219
Plus 13 bodies (unknowns) believed to be the remains of the following:
2nd Lt. Joseph C. Rich died in captivity September 13, 1944 navigator B-24J "Maxwell House III" 42-73245
1st Lt. Joseph F. Zialavsky
Captain William "Bill" Wright pilot of B-24J 42-73055
Captain William R. Gilousen
1st Lt. Robert D. Drummy
1st Lt. Burdett C. Goodrich
2nd Lt. Burdette H. Baker
Captain Armin J. Ortmeyer, Jr.
1st Lt. Amel Baldman, Jr. pilot P-38H 42-66986 MIA April 5, 1944 MACR 3998
1st Lt. Robert F. Angell
1st Lt. Paul E. Almand
2nd Lt. Thomas P. Hogan
1st Lt. Charles B. Listen
Remains from Catholic Cemetery, Yandoon
Lt. Col Everett C. Plummer, O-300365 (KIA December 9, 1943)
Remain from Maggion Cemetery, Burma
G. R. Murphy (KIA June 20, 1945 grave B-5)
Plus 5 unknown remains recovered from 11 miles south of Inye village in banana grove near rice field.
The last contact with the C-47 was over Akyab Island (Sittwe) and the pilot radioed in he was heading northeast over land en route to Barrackpore Airfield. The plane was never heard from again. When this aircraft failed to arrive it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
This missing aircraft was coded ATC 2-46. After being reported as missing, extensive searches were flown to find this aircraft by both RAF and USAAF aircraft between May 18 - 28, totaling 275 hours and 40 sorties. On May 29, the search was officially abandoned.
The crew and passengers (with the exception of Campbell) were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Campbell was officially declared dead a year later on May 18, 1947.
All crew and passengers are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Haines has a memorial marker at Medford Friends Meeting Cemetery in Medford, NJ.
The wreckage of this aircraft has never been located. The entire crew and remains aboard remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
On November 5, 2009, Clayton Kuhles claimed to locate the wreckage of this aircraft near Birmani Kami in Tripura in India. His website, MIA Recoveries - C-47B 43-48308 Expedition Photo Gallery [via Wayback Machine February 4, 2017] includes a photograph of a black stencil "14124 / 25569" but no context or additional photos are provided. Afterwards, he made a site report to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) for further investigation.
During late 2013, the reported wreckage was investigated by a team from JPAC including Dr. Bill Belcher. They concluded the wreckage was in fact the crash site of Convair CV-240-7 AP-AEG crashed March 14, 1953.
Lisa Phillips (niece of 2nd Lt. Joseph C. Rich):
"I am looking for information on my uncle 2nd Lt. Joseph C. Rich. His remains were placed aboard C-47 43-48308 that went missing carrying 38 remains on board from that prison."
Rob Donaldson (nephew of Wright)
"Our Uncle, Capt William "Bill" Wright from Commerce Texas, was a B-24 pilot with 7th BG 9th BS, operating out of the CBI Theater when they were shot down in December 1942. They became POW's at the Rangoon Jail, where he was killed in captivity. Supposedly his remains were recovered after the war, and in the process of being transported via C-47 43-48308 back to the US the plane crashed in the Burmese jungle."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47B-1-DK Dakota 43-48308
MIA Recoveries - C-47B 43-48308 Expedition Photo Gallery via Wayback Machine February 4, 2017 by Clayton Kuhles claims to be this C-47 incorrectly, rather the wreckage found is CV-240 AP-AEG crashed March 14, 1953. Photo panel 2 has a single photograph that claimed to show a black stencil with "141-24/25569", but no other photos of this stencil for other angles or wider views.
MIA Recovereies - C-47B 43-48308 Report to JPAC [PDF] claims to be this C-47 incorrectly, rather the wreckage found is CV-240 crashed March 14, 1953.
MIA C-47 Burma WWII via Wayback Machine June 21, 2017
Portland Press Herald Writer "Homecoming Long Overdue" by Meredith Goad November 9, 2005
FindAGrave - 1Lt Melvin L Power (photo)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Horace J Gabbart
FindAGrave - PFC Eugene F Ryan
FindAGrave - Capt Roy W Corley
FindAGrave - 1Lt Harry Chan
FindAGrave - 1Lt Donald C Dutton
FindAGrave - 1Lt Henry E Derbyshire, II
FindAGrave - SSgt Glenn F Cox, Jr
FindAGrave - Tec4 Warren R Haines
FindAGrave - Warren Roberts Haines (memorial marker)
FindAGrave - Tec5 Wallace J Davis
FindAGrave - LtCdr James T Campbell
Stars and Stripes "'So many questions': Botched recovery mission didn't follow JPAC's own protocol" March 6, 2014
MIAC47BurmaWWII.org presentation about the lives lost aboard C47B 43-48308,
Bring Home C-47 #43-48308 Fifty families search for their lost heroes website by Leslie K. Roane
Thanks to Lisa Philips, Bruce Fenstermaker and Clayton Kuhles for additional information
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