CRASH OF A B-25D MITCHELL
INTO THE CORAL SEA
BETWEEN PORT MORESBY AND CHARTERS TOWERS
ON 31 DECEMBER 1942

 

A USAAF B-25D Mitchell, possibly #41-29733??, "Hell's Belles" (See Note 3), of the 13th Bomb Squadron of the 3rd Bomb Group, based in Charters Towers, failed to arrive at Charters Towers on 31 December 1942 on a flight from Port Moresby. It is believed to have gone down somewhere in the Coral Sea during some bad weather. 

There were no survivors. Eleven service personnel were killed in this accident as follows:-

Captain Neville D. Blakemore (0-360793), Pilot
2nd Lieutenant Harold A. Heinbuch (0-789161), Co-pilot
Captain Leonard A. "Doc" Hymes (0-381202)
Captain George S. Thomas (0-409063)
2nd Lieutenant Francis I. Wallace (0-660424)
Sergeant Wallace O. Cloy (14014540)
S/Sergeant Carl E. Collins (14045361)
Sergeant Glenn F. Crawford, Jr. (14047825) Radio Operator/Gunner
Sergeant Eugene J. Esposito (11016171)
Private Alexander J. Gow, Jr. (32185486)
Corporal John M. Lucas (35050736)

 

NOTE 1:- Sergeant Glenn F. Crawford, Jr. was born in Carroll County, Georgia, and reared near the town of Bowdon.  He enlisted in the Army  April 1, 1941; spent 9 months in Orlando, Florida; then to Nevada to gunnery school; then to duty in San Francisco. He left for Australia in the Summer of 1942. In a letter to Glenn's parents informing them of their son's MIA status, squadron leader Maj. Harold Maull states: "I regret that I am unable to give any more information about your son, Glenn, than the War Department has released. Much as I regret to say it, I know that he is not a prisoner of war.  There is perhaps one chance in a million that he's alive, but do not pin your hopes on that."

Bob Crawford the brother of Sergeant Glenn F. Crawford, Jr. told Dan Patrick that he was only 9 years old at the time of his brother's death and knew very little about his brother's service. He said that someone who was flying in another plane witnessed the mishap, and that that person had made contact with the family. It was reported that the pilot of Glenn's plane flew into a violent downdraft of a large thunderstorm, which caused the aircraft to go down.

 

NOTE 2 :- The "Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia" List and the book "Diary of WWII - North Queensland", shows the above aircraft as being #41-39733. According to Michael Claringbould of Aerothentic Publications there was no such B-25 Serial No.

 

NOTE 3 :- The following web site indicates that 41-29733 was a B-24H Liberator called "Rhapsody In Junk".

http://www.458bg.com/crew36kovich.htm

Yet this following web page shows the following entry:-

http://www.worldmilitair.com/company/naa.pdf

Msn         Version                                                        Serial No.    Owner
87-7898   North American B-25D-NC Mitchell (NA-87)     #41-29733     United States Air Force

So is #41-29733 a B-24 or a B-25?

 

SOURCE:-   Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia

Crash:         No. 21

Position:     20.04 - 146.17

Department of Aviation Chart No:       3234

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank Mike Stowe for his assistance in providing a copy of the MACR for this accident.

I'd also like to thank Dan Patrick for his assistance with this web site. Back in 2007, he had been assisting Bob Crawford, the brother of Sgt Glenn Crawford who was killed in this crash.

I'd also like to thank John G. Johnson for his assistance with this web page. He is a cousin of Harold J. Heinbuch from Massilon, Ohio, who was killed in this crash. There is an entry for him on "Find A Grave".

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

In Memoriam, 13th Bomb Squadron Association, The Devil's Own Grim Reapers

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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This page first produced 7 February 1999

This page last updated 27 Jan 2014