SHOT DOWN OVER LAE
ON 25 MAY 1942
USAAF B-25C Mitchell, # 41-12450, of the 90th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group based at Charters Towers, Queensland was part of a flight of eight Mitchells from the 13th Bomb Squadron and the 90th Bomb Squadron of the 3rd Bomb Group that attacked Lae on the 25 May 1942.
It was shot down after bombing Lae. The pilot of the aircraft was 1st. Lt. John E. Hesselbarth, 0-403850. The Wireless Operator / Belly Gunner was R.A.A.F. Sgt. Lloyd Maxwell Bailey (405710), who was killed on this raid. Some sources have incorrectly indicated that this aircraft failed to reach its destination.
Diary of 90th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group:-
"Lt. Wilson's and Lt. Hesselbarth's ships were shot down almost immediately, Capt. Lowery and Lt. Rulison (both 13th.) ships quickly followed and about twenty miles out of Lae. Lt. Shearer was forced to crash land in the water. The remaining three ships were attacked continuously until they reached Salamaua where the flight lost them in the clouds."
R.A.A.F. Sgt. Thomas Marsh (411504), was shot down on an earlier raid, on the 23 May 1942, also attacking Lae. Sgt. Marsh was Wireless Operator / Belly Gunner in B-25C, # 41-12462 piloted by 1st. Lt. Henry A. Keel.
R.A.A.F. Sgt. John Arthur Gibson (405549), Wireless Operator / Belly Gunner aboard B-25C, # 41-12491, piloted by 2nd. Lt. Wesley E. Dickinson, was killed on the 23rd. May raid.
R.A.A.F. Sgt. Arthur Ian Friday (408805), Wireless Operator / Belly Gunner aboard B-25C, # 41-12466 piloted by 1st Lt. Arden M. Rulison, was killed on the May 25th. raid.
R.A.A.F. Sgt. Trevor A. Wise (408201), Wireless Operator / Belly Gunner flying with 1st. Lt. Irvine H. Shearer on the 25th May raid, aboard B-25C # 41-12498, was the only one, of the five R.A.A.F. members seconded to the U.S.A.A.F., to survive these two raids.
This information can be verified from the casualty report files for relevant R.A.A.F. personnel. These files have been digitised by the National Australian Archives and are in the public domain.
NOTE:- Peter Nielsen's book, "Diary of WWII - North Queensland" indicates this aircraft was #41-12490.
SOURCE:- Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia
Crash: No. 68
Position: 20.04 - 146.17
Department of Aviation Chart No: 3234
I'd like to thank Andrew Wise, son of Sgt. Trevor A. Wise, for his assistance with this home page.
"Diary of WWII - North
Complied by Peter Nielsen
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© Peter Dunn 2007
This page first produced 7 February 1999
This page last updated 30 March 2013