42-27439         P47 (MACR 12499)

 

On 19 February 1945, a P-47-D23-RA-F, # 42-27439, assigned to 1st Air Commando Group, 6th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Hay, India, to dive bomb and strafe a target at Kunzaik, Burma. It was seen by Capt. William J. Hemphill, 0-489898, 1stLt Dean (NMI) Illinoworthski, 0-812095, and 2ndLt Anthony E. Dubois Jr., 0-714897, to crash at about 1110 hours and was believed to have hit the ground on a strafing run. The pilot was 2ndLt Keith Raymond Hughes, # 0-769832.

 

Capt. Hemphill reported that he led the flight of 1st Commando fighters and after they attacked they target, they flew South along the road toward Meiktila. At Meklaing, Lt. Hughes wanted to strafe some oil drums and was told to go ahead. The Captain witnessed a terrific explosion and thought Hughes hit a fuel dump but then did not see him. Hughes did not answer the radio. Hemphill passed over the fire and could make out the P-47 in the flames, part scattered several hundred yards and burning.

 

HUGHES, KEITH RAYMOND, Second Lieutenant, # 0-769832, USAAF

 

Keith R. Hughes was born on 31 May 1922 in Sacramento, California, to Charles Edward Hughes Jr. (1893-1971) (IA) and Ruby Pearl (Yergenson) Hughes (1900-1985) (ID).   Jack Ernest Hughes (1915-2010) (Sweet, ID). His father was a mason and the family lived in Emmett, Idaho, on 5 June 1917 when his father registered for the WW I draft. In 1930 his father worked as a construction plasterer. In 1940 his father worked as a building contractor.

 

He registered for the WW II draft on 30 June 1942, resided at 2533 21st St., Richmond, California, employed at a shipyard, and described himself as 5’11”, 160 lbs, with blond hair and eyes. After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools to fly the Republic Aircraft P-47 Thunderbolt. He earned his commission and wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 19 February 1945, a P-47-D23-RA-F, # 42-27439, assigned to 1st Air Commando Group, 6th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Hay, India, to dive bomb and strafe a target at Kunzaik, Burma. It was seen by Capt. William J. Hemphill, 0-489898, 1stLt Dean (NMI) Illinoworthski, 0-812095, and 2ndLt Anthony E. Dubois Jr., 0-714897, to crash at about 1110 hours and was believed to have hit the ground on a strafing run. Capt. Hemphill reported that he led the flight of 1st Commando fighters and after they attacked they target, they flew South along the road toward Meiktila. At Meklaing, Lt. Hughes wanted to strafe some oil drums and was told to go ahead. The Captain witnessed a terrific explosion and thought Hughes hit a fuel dump but then did not see him. Hughes did not answer the radio. Hemphill passed over the fire and could make out the P-47 in the flames, part scattered several hundred yards and burning. After recover of his remains from the USAAF military cemetery at Barrackpore, India, his remains were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Hawaii, on 11 February 1949 (Sec. C, Grave 1219).