B-17-F FLYING FORTRESS,  #41-24448

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Janice Olson ( has carried out significant research on the crash of "Taxpayer's Pride".
See the following information that Janice has prepared on the loss of Taxpayer's Pride:-


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B-17F  #41-24448

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on the morning of June 26, 1943, Taxpayer's Pride departed for Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea on a mission to bomb shipping in the harbor. The plane completed its bomb run and turned to cross back over the island of New Britain to begin its return journey to home base. Within minutes after the bomb run, a Japanese J1N1 Irving night fighter, flown by Superior Flight Officer Shigetoshi Kudo, had attacked and damaged the Flying Fortress to the extent that it burst into flames and fell to earth. One crew member, tail gunner Joel Griffin, managed to parachute safely away from the falling debris. The rest of the crew were killed in the crash.

In October 1995 I set out to find the remains of Taxpayer's Pride. I met a man who runs a parish office not too far from the old airfield of Vunakanau who told me he had witnessed the crash of the aircraft and had attempted to go to the rescue of the crew. He and others were intercepted by a Japanese guard which told them to stay away. The old man, whose name is Stanis, provided me with instructions on how to get to the crash site of Taxpayer's Pride.

The following pages reflect some of the highlights of the trek to the plane.  This memento is prepared especially for Frank Hohmann and Doug Leamon, who flew the plane themselves, or knew people who did, or both.

Died June 26, 1943:

Capt. Donald D. McEachran
1/Lt. Mortimer K. Smith, jr.
T/Sgt. John J. Barry
Sgt Otto Russell


Capt. John W. Scott
Sgt. Ralph H. Thomas, jr.
T/Sgt. Rodney J. Edwards
Cpl Homer G. Harper

The remains of these men now rest in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, 2/Lt. Sumner L. Beck, who was also on this mission, was not listed among the recovered remains until several years later.  The exact circumstances of his remains recovery and the location of his remains are unknown to me.

Janice Olson   11/97
Janice Olson


NOTE:  Stanis To Liman was an eyewitness to #41-24448's getting shot down.  He was living and/or working on the plantation at Viveran, and said he and others tried to get to the plane when it crashed, but the Japanese kept them away.  A short interview with Stanis is in Janice Olson's video collection.

Stanis provided directions to the crash site.


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 4 April 1999

This page last updated 05 September 2015