MISSION REPORT - RESCUES - 24
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03 MAY 1945
Captain Lloyd R. Humphreys, pilot of "Daylight Four One", departed Morotai at 0615 hours, setting course for his orbit point off Cape Bajor, Borneo. Arriving at the rendezvous point at 1245, Captain Humphreys circled the area and then followed the bombers into the target to observe the results of the bombing of Mangarr. All bombs apparently fell in the target area as clouds of smoke and dust rose several hundred feet in the sky. While waiting for the bombers to return from their run, several more explosions were seen in the vicinity of the air base. There was interception by enemy aircraft and no anti-aircraft fire was encountered. All ships left the target area at 1300 and headed for home. The smoke from the burning target was visible from a distance of 50 miles.

At 1400, intermittent flashes of light were seen at 045'N, 11818'E, about ten miles distant. The rescue ship soon approached a native craft containing 13 men, four of whom appeared to be white. Captain Humphreys circled the craft, lowered the pontoons and in a graceful glide, landed on the glassy sea at 1410. The survivors were given food, water and necessary medical attention. They were suffering from extreme thirst, hunger, and exposure to the sun. The white men were without shoes and their feet were covered with cuts and open sores. Lieutenant Morton, commanding the allied patrol, stated that his party had landed on Borneo, just North of Tarakan some weeks previous with the intention of gaining information concerning Japanese activity in the area. However, during the night, they were attacked by a large force of Japanese soldiers. The Allied patrol, having been taken by surprise and greatly outnumbered, fled into the jungle with only their side arms and what effects they had in their pockets, losing all their supplies and equipment to the Japanese.

During the ensuing days they were hotly pursued by the Nips who were keeping in contact with them through information obtained from disloyal native scouts. In spite of the overwhelming odds, both from the days of suffering and anxiety concerning the disappearance of three members of their party, they again reached the coast. With the help of seven friendly natives, they obtained an abandoned boat and escaped from their enemy during the night of 30 April 1945. The seven natives, not daring to return to their village, accompanied them on their precarious water voyage. Leaving the shores of Borneo behind, they set sail for the Celebes across the Makassar Straight. Having to leave in such a hurry, they had no time in which to properly provision the boat with food and water. When picked up, they had been without food and water for two days and were suffering from the pangs of hunger and thirst. Their boat was leaking badly and it was only by continuous bailing and a calm sea that they were able to remain afloat. When rescued they were 45 miles from their point of departure and were making little headway due to the overloaded boat and lack of wind. Lt Norton was most grateful for their rescue, stating that unless help had come when it did, their craft would have capsized and the crew and all their secret information would have been lost.

While enroute to base, a message was received at 1445 stating that a B-24 had crash-landed off Schildoad Island in the Gulf of Tomini in the Togian Island Group at 030'S, 12150'E, Capt Humphreys replied that although he was running low on fuel, he would investigate. At 1630, a mirror flash directed his attention to a B-24 floating on the sea with men standing on the wings and in life rafts near the shore at 025'E. Capt Humphreys landed outside the reef at 1640, taxied through the shoals to the B-24, where all men were assisted aboard the rescue ship. Take-off was accomplished at 1700. The rescue ship arrived at Morotai at 2100. The survivors, several of which were injured, were given medical care by the Flight Surgeon and made as comfortable as their cramped and crowded quarters would permit.

Lieutenant Etheridge stated that while returning from a bombing mission over the Southern Celebes, 03 May 1945, his #1 engine caught fire and before it could be extinguished, the engine was so severly damaged it had to be cut off. The feathering mechanism was also damaged and he was unable to feather the prop. The windmilling of the prop created such a drag that they were slowed down to 132 knots. It was necessary to use additional power to maintain altitude which rapidly depleted their fuel supply. Knowing that they could not reach their home base, Lieutenant Etheridge elected to ditch his ship in the sheltered waters of the Gulf of Tomini. Instructing his crew to assume their ditching stations, he safely landed the heavy ship at 1500. The ship came to rest, almost intact, 200 yards from the beach. Several members of the crew received minor cuts and bruises but all escaped, bringing with them five dinghys and sufficient provisions to sustain them until rescued. The ship was still floating when we departed at 1710. The natives, as is their usual custom, did not go out to the ship at any time but remained half concealed on the shore as if anticipating the arrival of Japs and fearing to be caught showing any friendliness towards American airmen. A few of the bolder ones waved as the rescue ship departed. The crew was returned to Morotai and transferred to the 155th Station Hospital.

The successful ditching of the B-24 without serious injury to any of the crew is an excellent example of the skill and cool-headedness displayed by Lieutenant Etheridge and a tribute to the training of aircrews in ditching procedure. The rescue of 24 men established a new record of achievement for the rescue service and in distinct credit to the skill and judgement of Captain Humphreys.

See a newspaper story on this mission!

MISSION: Cover B-24 strikes on Borneo - timeline documented by the crew and submitted with Squadron History

0615: Take-off, Morotai.
1245: Arrived Cape Bajor, Borneo, orbit point.
1315: Watched bombing of Mangarr, headed for base at 1320.
1400: Sighted personnel aboard native boat, made landing and picked up personnel. 0045'S, 11818'E.
1445: Picked up message of crash landing at 030'S, 12150'E.
1510: Sent message to dispatch another Catalina because we were low on fuel.
1535: Message from base as to personnel that were first picked up.
1605: Infomed base who first survivors were.
1635: SIghted eleven (11) men in life rafts, B-24 crew.
1640: Landed to pick up survivors, all aboard and take-off at 1707.
1750: Radioed ETA and notified base of pick up of SNAFU.
2105: Landed, Morotai.
   
RESCUED: Lt. Robert Morton (NZEF); Lt. W. Dwyer (AIF); Sgt B. Dooland (AIF); Sgt B. Horrocas (NZEF); Sgt B. Day (NEF); Pfc Sabu Kondoy (NEF); Pfc Dus Konday (NEF); Natives from Senipah area: Saak; Oesop; Keri; Eaep; Salab; Soloman.

B-24 #033 370th Bomb Sq.- 307th Bomb Group, : (P) Lt Henry H. Etheridge; (CP) R.W. Harasen; (N) J.L. Chamberlain; (B) T.F. Heles; (E) Cpl P.F. Dixen; (AE) Cpl J. Rancons; (R) Sgt J.P. Conder; (AR) Cpl P.V. Collins; (G) Pvt W.E. Thomas; (G) Pvt N.N. Wilierette; (F) S/Sgt J.L. Hewett

Download the actual mission report taken from the microfilm


AIRCRAFT:
PBY-5A
NAVY BUREAU NO:
Bu48401   
CALLSIGN:  
"Daylight 41" 
 
CREW:
(Pilot) Captain Lloyd R. Humphreys, (Co-Pilot) Lt. Colonel Wallace S. Ford, (Navigator) 1st Lt. Delos H. Burks, (Flight Surgeon) Major Donald W. Corlett, (Engineer) Corporal Alfred Chieca, (Radio) Staff Sergeant Albert A. Kurto

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The narrative of these rescues was compiled and published in April 1946 from logbooks of pilots, notes, letters, and other
information by secretary Marina G. de Guzman in Pampanga, Philippines.

  * Aircraft produced at Canadian Vickers Ldt, Cartierville, Quebec, Canada
** Canadian Vickers contract number that was unique to each aircraft produced by at the Cartierville, Quebec plan
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