Another long overdue response: MACR 16368
, 8 May 1943, B-25C, 41-12670; (“Lonesome Polecat”)
Bombardment Squadron, 341st
Ten bombers of the 11th
Bombardment Squadron targeted Tien Hoa Airport, Canton. While the formation was approaching the target the plane piloted by Capt Douglas Weaver exploded just as bomb bay doors were opening.
The remaining aircraft dropped all of their bombs in the target area scoring three direct hits on the main hangar. Large fires were observed in this area with billowing black smoke columns rising 10,000 feet into the air and visible for fifty miles. Several other fires were noted in the storage area with four to six enemy planes believed destroyed.
The cause of the aircraft explosion could not be determined, but was believed to have been premature detonation of the fragmentation bombs carried in the plane. All crew were declared KIA.
It is particularly tragic in that Weaver, Lyman, Frederick, and Kelly had been part of Crew #30 and Shirley was on Crew # 22 of the original cadre (Project 157). They had been flying combat missions in China since July 1942. S/Sgt Cave had shipped aboard the SS Mauretania in May 42, joining the Squadron and participating on missions in August.
Pilot Capt Douglas C. Weaver, O404102; KIA
Copilot 1Lt. John B. Lyman, O440064; KIA
Navigator 2Lt Frederick B. Lee, O789098; KIA
Bombardier S/Sgt Elden E. Shirley, 31027915; KIA
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt George A. Kelly, 16004674; KIA
Radio-Gunner S/Sgt Hubert F. Blades, 7008865; KIA
PhotoGunner S/Sgt Thomas H. Cave, 6576141; KIA