Subject:     43rd BG B-17s
Date:              Wed, 21 Apr 1999 17:37:31 -0700
From:            "Michael Moskow" <steelydanman@worldnet.att.net>

Michael G. Moskow - 54-12 Revere Road - Drexel Hill, Pa. 19026 - U.S.A.

Hello Mr. Dunn,

Greetings from Drexel Hill, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I'm an amateur historian with an interest in the Army Air Corps in WW II. I've visited your web site several times, and have been very impressed with the variety of information and images found upon it.

Well, this message is about a subject that may be among your interests: The 5th AF's 43rd Bomb Group. In particular, I'm researching the Allied aviator POWs imprisoned at Rabaul, New Britain, during WW II, among whom were several members of the 43rd. These men were captured during combat missions during early through mid-1943, and imprisoned at POW camps run by both the Japanese Navy (81st Naval Guard Unit) and Kempei Tai. Some of these men survived their captivity and returned to their homes at the war's end. Sadly, most did not.

My basic intention in doing this research is to compile a highly detailed list of the Allied aviator POWs at Rabaul, perhaps for eventual publication in the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society. (When?! Between my job and everything else, I wish I knew! But...!) Nothing that elaborate - just something very accurate.

I'm sending you this message because I'm looking for information about planes and crews of the 64th, 65th, and 403rd Bomb Squadrons lost during late '42 through June of '43, when (I think) those squadrons began to operate B-24s. In particular, did those squadrons loose any B-17s or crews during missions to New Britain (Vunakunau & Rabaul) during January and February of 1943? (I already know about all 63rd BS B-17 losses.)

Presently, I know about the loss of the "San Antonio Rose" of the 64th BS (B-17F 41-24458), on Jan. 5, 1943. This is the aircraft on which Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker, of Glendale, Ca., flew as an observer. MACR 15359, pertaining to this aircraft, is surprisingly vague, containing only the statement: "Departed on mission 4L, at 0848/L flying B-17F, 41-24458, to attack shipping at Rabaul. Last seen going into clouds, closely pursued by four (4) to five (5) Zeros. Left outboard engine seen temporarily smoking."

Besides General Walker, the other men on this B-17 were: Major Allen Lindbergh, Pilot; Capt. Benton H. Daniel, Co-Pilot; 1 Lt. John W. Hanson, navigator; 2 Lt. Robert L. Hand, Bombardier; Capt. Jack W. Bleasdale, Observer; T/Sgt. Dennis Craig, Flight Engineer; Pvt. Quentin W. Blakely, Radio Operator; and Gunners Sgt. Leslie A. Stewart, PFC William G. Fraser, and Pvt. Leland W. Stone.

I guess, of course, that your interests center around military activity in and near Townsville and northern Australia, as opposed to New Guinea and New Britain. But on the off chance that you know something-or-other about the 43rd BG, I thought I'd send you this message, anyway.

Well, I know this has been a very long message, so that's all for now. Any help you can give me would be very (very) greatly appreciated! Thank you, again.


Michael G. Moskow



Subject:    43rd BG & your web-site
Date:             Sat, 24 Apr 1999 14:54:43 -0700
From:           "Michael Moskow" <steelydanman@worldnet.att.net>

Hello Peter,

Many thanks for your reply to my "letter". It's really appreciated.

I've corresponded a little with Mr. Frank Hohmann, who has information on your web-site pertaining to the 19th and 43rd BGs. Turns out he lives not too far from me; perhaps an hour away. Interesting how coincidences work out!

Anyway, I really appreciate your plan to some day post my message on your web site.

Thanks again,
Michael Moskow


Subject:      F-4 lost over Rabaul
Date:               Sat, 24 Apr 1999 14:55:13 -0700
From:              "Michael Moskow" <steelydanman@worldnet.att.net>

Hello Peter,

I came across your reference to a Lockheed F-4 which disappeared over Rabaul after leaving Townsville. Maybe I can help a bit...

Given the time frame and location, I'm pretty certain you're referring to an F-4 belonging to the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Photo Reconnaissance Group, of the 5th Air Force.

The 8th PRS was formed at March Field, California, on Feb. 1, 1942. The squadron originally consisted of three Flights...A, B, and C...which were united in Australia after the unit left March Field, in March and February of 1942. "A" Flight arrived in Camp Pell, Melbourne on April 7, and departed for Camp Doomben, Brisbane on April 24. That flight left Camp Doomben for Townsville on May 2. "B" and "C" Flights arrived at Camp Murphy, Melbourne, on July 16, and departed for Townsville on July 27. All three Flights began a depature from Townsville on September 5, 1942, and by mid-October, the entire squadron was operating from Schwimmer Field, New Guinea.

The 8th lost an F-4 on May 2, 1942. The plane was flown by Captain Louis J. Connely, and was reported MIA over Lae, New Guinea. I don't think Captain Connelly survived.

The above information was found in the Historical Records of the 8th PRS, which I obtained on microfilm from Maxwell AFB.

Hope this helps.
Michael Moskow



Subject:     F-4 Lost from Townsville
Date:              Mon, 26 Apr 1999 21:22:34 -0700
From:           "Michael Moskow" <steelydanman@worldnet.att.net>

Hello Peter,

In answer to your questions...

The Web Page about the Lightning is at: https://www.ozatwar.com/4may42.htm

...and that page links back to: https://www.ozatwar.com/prangs1.htm

The Army Air Corps designated its photo recon planes with an "F" prefix, at least prior to 1947. ("P" stands for "pursuit".) So, by "F-4", I mean the reconnaissance version of Lockheed's P-38E Lightning. This was essentially a P-38 airframe from the the armament of four .50 machine guns and one 20mm cannon had been removed, and replaced with various combinations of cameras. The 8th PRS was equipped with both F-4s and F-5s, the F-5 being the recon version of the P-38G and P-38J.

The 8th was based at Garbutt Field during its residence at Townsville.

Based on the date, I'm convinced that Captain Connely (from San Antonio, Texas) took off from Garbutt Field. I can only assume that he was lost in bad weather, or encountered Japanese fighters.

About that B-17... As a matter of fact, you're right. The 64th BS was based at Mareeba, from Nov. 8, 1942, through Jan. 20, 1943.

Until "whenever"...type to you later...




Subject:    General Walker's Crew
Date:             Fri, 31 Mar 2000 22:56:22 -0800
From:           "Michael Moskow" <steelydanman@worldnet.att.net>
To:                "Dunn, Peter (Townsville at War)"

Hello Peter,

I got a "CC" of a message that Doug Walker sent to you today, I think regarding the crew aboard the San Antonio Rose when it was shot down. I got the impression that Doug wanted me to forward you a list of the crew. Soooo..... Here it is.


64th B-17F	41-24458		Jan. 5, 1943	MACR	15359	"San Antonio Rose"
Eleven in crew; at least two prisoners; no survivors.
Walker, Kenneth N.	Brig. Gen.	Observer		Glendale, Ca.
Bleasdale, Jack W.	Major	Observer		San Fernando, Ca.
Lindbergh, Allan	Major	Pilot		New York, N.Y.
Daniel, Benton H.	Capt.	Co-Pilot		Hollis, Ok.
Hanson, John W.	1 Lt.	Navigator		Missoula, Mt.
Hand, Robert L.	2 Lt.	Bombardier		Hampstead, x.
Craig, Dennis	T/Sgt.	Flight Engineer	New York, N.Y.
Blakely, Quentin W.	S/Sgt.	Radio Operator	Washington, D.C.
Stewart, Leslie A.	Sgt.	Gunner		East Chicago, Il.
Stone, Leland W.	Pvt.	Gunner		Oakland, Ca.
Fraser, William G.	PFC	Gunner		San Antonio, Tx.
Statement in MACR: Departed on mission 4L, at 0848/L flying B-17F, #41-24458, 
to attack shipping at Rabaul.  Last seen going into clouds, closely pursued 
by four (4) to five (5) Zeros.  Left outboard engine seen temporarily smoking.  


Actually, I may have included the crew list for this plane when I sent you some e-mail messages a while back (in '99?) but I don't remember for certain.

Oh, if and when you get a chance to reply... Is there any kind of master list of RAAF personnel (and Australian servicemen in general) who were POWs in the PTO and ETO? For the RAAF POWs, is there any list of men taken captive as a result of aerial combat, versus being captured "on the ground", early in the war? Nothing urgent; just curious.

Hope the web site is going well. I "stop by" and check it quite often.

Well, until next time!

Michael Moskow


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

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 Peter Dunn 2015


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