MISSION REPORT - RESCUES - 06
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10 MAY 1945
Captain Lloyd R. "Chief" Humphreys, pilot of "Playmate Four One", departed Morotai at 0443, arriving over the Togian Island group at 0730, where he began a search of the island. Captain Humphreys flew up and down the valleys and around all of the bays. Finally, at 0817, he sighted two parachute flares. Fixing the spot, he continued his search and at 0910 landed in a lagoon in the middle of the islands. Three officers went ashore to search for the survivors. A native led them about two and one half miles inland, where they found the man who had signaled them. He was unhurt and returned to the ship with the search party, arriving at 1200. During the absence of the landing party, Captain Humphreys interrogated the natives and with difficulty extracted a promise that they would assist in finding any remaining survivors and conceal them until they could be rescued.

Captain Humphreys took-off again at 1253 in search for more survivors. The rescued survivor, who was the pilot of the crashed plane, directed Captain Humphreys to the possible positions of the remaining crew members. At 1300, they spotted mirror flashes and four more survivors. He landed at 1307 on the northern shore of Paloedal Island and picked up five more survivors of the lost crew. Captain Humphreys took-off again at 1330 and continued the search, sighting mirror flashes at 0025'S, 12155'E. He dropped a message to the survivor directing him to the west coast where he would be picked up on the morning of 11 May. At 1430, having received an urgent message concerning a possible Snafu, Captain Humphreys set course to intercept them and at 1525 picked up their IFF and followed them to their base at Morotai, arriving at 1800 with six survivors who were as follows: (P) Lt Lee R. Durkes, Lt W. Greenburg, S/SGT James J. Shea, S/SGT C.E. Gillinghauer, T/SGT C. Costello and S/SGT N.L. Burkhalter, all members of the 424th Bomb Squadron.

Lieutenant Durkes, pilot of the ill-fated B-24, stated that while on a bombing run over Makassar, one engine was shot out and on the way home another engine went out forcing them to bail out over the Togian Islands at dusk on 9 May 1945. He flew on a course of 180 and all members escaped from the ship. The pilot was the last one to leave and landed on the south side of the island. The crew was scattered over a distance of 25 miles. Throughout the night, the survivors remained where they landed and at daylight headed for the beach, five of them finally forming into a group on the north shore where they were rescued. The remaining five crew members were ultimately found by the natives and taken to a previously designated village. Unfortunately, however, the Japs learned of their presence and attacked the village, killing four of the airmen and wounding and capturing the fifth. The natives were willing to help our airmen, but were in mortal fear of the Japs, which accounted for their reluctance to assist.

MISSION: Cover strikes on Celebes and search for survivors of B-24 in area of Togian Islands - timeline documented by the crew and submitted with Squadron History:

0443: Take-off, Morotai.
0730: Search Togian Island for B-24 survivors.
0817: Saw parachute and two flares.
0910: Landed in water and taxied up a lagoon to middle of island. Three crew members went ashore to hunt for survivors, while landing party was ashore Capt Humphreys interrogated two natives and brought two aboard for interrogation by AIB at Morotai.
1200: Landing party returned with pilot of crashed plane who showed us possible position of other survivors.
1253: Take-off sand started search for others.
1300: Spotted mirror flashes and at 1305 received incomplete urgent message from Morotai. Spotted four more survivors.
1307: Landed on north edge of Batoedak Island and picked up five more survivors of same plane. Unloaded natives because of weight.
1330: Take off, continued search of islands.
1410: Saw mirror flash at 0025'S, 12155'E.
1425: Dropped message to proceed to west coast and we would pick him up in morning
1430: Received message from SNAFU (Leopard 2F at
   
Download the actual mission report taken from the microfilm

Rescued B-24J-200-CO (44-41179 "Woody Woodpecker") crew: all members of the 424th Bomb Squadron - (P) Lt Lee R. Durkes, Lt W. Greenburg, S/Sgt James J. Shea, S/Sgt C.E. Gillinghauer, T/Sgt C. Costello, S/Sgt N.L. Burkhalter


AIRCRAFT
:
OA-10A*   
USAAF SERNO: 44-33928 "Nurse Maid"  (CV-426)**

CALLSIGN
"PLAYMATE 41"  
CREW
:
(Pilot) Captain Lloyd R. Humphreys; (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Jay K. Brockett; (Navigator) 2nd Lt. Wayne K. Warner; (Engineer) Corporal Stewart; (Radio) Pfc Granville S. Mason; (Radar) Sergeant Louis A. Therrien; (Flight Surgeon) Captain James O. Fields


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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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