B-25C, #41-12910, "Suicide's Flying Drunks" of the 405th Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group, on its way to Port Moresby, was written off after it nearly collided with an RAAF Kittyhawk at Horn Island on 25 September 1942.

There were no Air Traffic Control facilities at Horn island. The only semblance, was the raising of a yellow flag in the event of an air raid. All aircraft were required to keep away from Horn Island when an air raid was in progress.

Bill Pittman, the pilot of "Suicide's Flying Drunks", attempted to take off in a hurry when they saw the yellow flag go up. As they hurtled down the strip they realised that an RAAF Kittyhawk had taxied onto the runway. To avoid a collision, Pittman pulled back on the stick and lurched the Mitchell over the top of the Kittyhawk and then fell back down to the runway very heavily. The B-25 veered across the runway into an upward rocky slant, and then went much further into some woody scrub.

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"Suicide's Flying Drunks"


The undercarriage was torn backwards and the B-25 came to a halt amongst a cloud of dust. The crew were shaken but not injured.   The B-25 was wrecked. When the rescue teams arrived, they found Pittman and his crew leaning against the bent wing or sitting on the ground. Pittman was standing with his hands on his hips looking bewildered.

In shock, the Kittyhawk pilot shut down the engine of his Kittyhawk in the middle of the runway. He had to be lifted from his aircraft, incapacitated through shock. His aircraft was then towed away to clear the runway.

Guess what? It was all in vain. There was no air raid. It was a false alarm!



The Forgotten Fifth
A Classic Photographic Chronology of the
Fifth Air Force in Action in the Pacific in WW2

By Michael Claringbould


38th Bomb Group Association


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 13 June 1999

This page last updated 30 August 2015