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Major John Donald Ewing


Captain John Donald Ewing (0433364) from Carizo Springs, USA, made a forced landing on a mud flat near Garbutt airfield in Townsville in a Douglas A-24 at about 3:15pm on 22 November 1943. Major Ewing was awarded an Air Medal by Lieutenant General George C. Kenney, for "meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight over Hansa Bay, New Guinea, in April 1943."

Captain Ewing always carried a nickel plated semi-automatic .22 pistol with him in case they went down. He figured that they could at least find food with as little noise as possible by using the small calibre .22 pistol.

He was later appointed Chief Test Pilot by Colonel Bertrandias for Depot No. 2, at Mount Louisa near Garbutt Airfield effective 11 April 1944, and was qualified to fly the following types of aircraft; B-24, B-17, B-18, C-47, B-25, P-38, P-47, C-46, A-24, and AT-6.

He retired as Major John Donald Ewing, with an Honourable Medical Discharge due to Polio.

Bob Tupa, the grandson of Captain Norman Lawler, Adjutant of the 90th Bomb Group, is certain that Major John Donald Ewing was in the Battle of the Bismark, but he does not know the plane he flew. He knew Donald Singer, who was one of Major Ewings bombadier's. The 90th Bomb Group shot down more enemy planes than any bomb group in WWII in the Pacific or Europe.

It was once thought that Captain Ewing may have possibly flown the aircraft "Big Emma" #751 from the mainland USA to Hawaii. This would now appear to be incorrect. It is believed that he actually flew across in aircraft #915. Major Ewing's primary aircraft in the SWPA was called "Two Bob Tillie".


Photo:- Bonnie Dilworth via Susan Wolfe

"Two Bob Tillie" flown by Captain John D. Ewing


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Possibly the Wiltse crew
in front of "Big Emma"


During is military service Major John D. Ewing earned the following awards:-

Presidential Unit Citation
The Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
American Defense Service Medal
American Theater Medal
Victory Medal
Air Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross



Subject:    Military Photographs of WWII South Pacific
Date:             Sun, 18 Feb 2001 14:26:36 -0600
From:           "Susan Wolfe"

We have been thoroughly enjoying your "Australia @ War" site on the Internet. My brother-in-law located it, and my father, who has been deceased since 1969, was stationed at several ports. I have a picture with his squadron that left for Hawaii, and the Nose Art on it. We have never been able to find out any information on the Nose Art; we also have his Crew NO. 69-Y-3 B 24 D 41-23915 Flight Order No. F-196 Project No. Mk 11 Combat Pilot 2nd Liet. John D. Ewing (0433364)A.C. Is there a way I could get these pictures added to your web-site. It would mean a lot to me, to know he was up there with the best.

He was in the 320th Squadron, 90th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force. My husband put a marvellous book together for ME, of his flight records, showing the islands, the flight records, and pictures where he helped a pilot and crew get out of a plane that crashed. He too flipped a plane, and broke his neck, but pulled 2 others to safety. He was a Test Pilot as well for the B-17s.

If  you are interested in anything we have, I can scan to Web site with my scanner. It comes out fairly well, I am told. Battles included Papuan, New Guinea, Northern Solomons and Guadalcanal. Decorations and citations included, American Defense Service Medal, American Theater Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Presidential Unit Citation, Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with 4 Bronze Battle Stars and Air Medal.

Unfortunately he had to retire because of Polio when he returned to the States (and I was just born) and then he died at the young age of 53 from a massive heart attack. Therefore I never had much opportunity to get his information into web sites such as these.

Sincerely, his daughter Susan Ewing Wolfe




Subject:    Big Emma
Date:             Fri, 23 Feb 2001 14:13:51 -0600
From:           "Susan Wolfe"

Hey Peter,

I followed on through, and the 90th Bomb Group listed etc. under the first site has BIG EMMA, THE PLANE I HAVE WITH MY DAD IN FRONT OF IT. I am not sure he took it on to Australia, but he is definitely in front of that plane in Hawaii, before he left for Australia. Too bad he died so young. There are so many things we wanted to ask and never had the chance. I have a box of pictures, but I think most of them are from when he worked in Venzeuela in the oil fields. There is no writing on the back, my mother is out of it, she has had a stroke today, and doesn't know her own name most of the time, and its too late to ask anyone about these pictures. Thanks for getting this up, it really means a lot to me, you will never know how much we have searched for BIG EMMA, I wish now my Mom could understand the article and the nose art, and all that you have written about it. She just doesn't know who she is most of the time, we are slowly losing her.

Sincerely, Susan Ewing Wolfe



Subject:    Your WEB SITE
Date:             Wed, 7 Mar 2001 13:33:16 -0600
From:          "Susan Wolfe"

Hello AGAIN, I never cease to be amazed at how much you have put up on the WEB. How come there aren't more in the U.S interested in getting all of this up. The pictures are great, the stories are neat, and I am not a WWII history person. But this is a fabulous site to see where one's father was during the War. He never told us or showed us, or for that matter talked about anything. Since he died so young, its really great to see the pictures of what things looked like down there. He was in Australia and New Guinea, and I appreciate all that you are doing to help not only your own Countrymen, but the United States as well. You have done a really outstanding job on every page I have time to open.

Sincerely, Susan EWING Wolfe


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Letter from Merrelly Taylor, Major Ewing's Navigator 

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Letter from Merrelly Taylor, Major Ewing's Navigator - page 2


Letter from Merrelly Taylor, Major Ewing's Navigator - Page 3


Letter from Merrelly Taylor, Major Ewing's Navigator - Page 4


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90th Bomb Group 50th Re-union in San Antonio, Texas. They all graduated from Brooks Field, and the red bracket states that "All of the group from Brooks participated in the Battle of the Bismark Sea".  

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Minutes of the meeting of the 50th Reunion in San Antonio, Texas of the 90th Bomb Group Class of 42-A 

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Crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress probably on Horn Island

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Does anyone know the date of this crash and the location?


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B-17 crash site that matches the newspaper article "Austns. Rescue crew of Crashed Fortress."  This was probably in Jan. Feb 1944. Captain John D.Ewing is at bottom right in his underwear


Crash of a B-24 Liberator, probably #42-73120, in a sugar cane farm near Sarina, Queensland

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Story of the B-24 Liberator crash in the cane field


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Rest of the article


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Can anyone help me with more information ?



I'd like to thank Susan Ewing Wolfe, Bob Livingstone and Pete Johnston for their assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick


This page first produced 23 February 2001

This page last updated 09 October 2016