42-6274

 

On 29 July 1944, a B-29, # 42-6274, “Lady Hamilton II,” of the 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 795th Bomb Squadron, departed Pengshan, China, on a combat mission to bomb the enemy steel works at Anshan, Manchuria. The B-29 was last seen and contacted by radio at about 0225 Zulu near Chiensien, China. Enemy fighters fired on it and it had mechanical trouble. The crew were:

                                           Pilot                             Capt. Robert T. Mills               0-1699063       KIA

                                           Co-Pilot                       1stLt Einar A. Moe                  0-682890

                                           Navigator                    2ndLt Rodney M. Scandrett     0-810354

                                           Bombardier                  2ndLt Edward W. Peterson Jr. 0-739205

                                           Radio-Gunner              SSgt Joe Goodfriend                14136532

                                           Radar                           Sgt Richard F. Wehrle              36427681        KIA

                                           Senior Gunner             SSgt F. S. Walker                      36576724        KIA

                                           Right Gunner               SSgt Theodore W. Lehman      32172262

                                           Left Gunner                 SSgt Jay W. Moyer                   33332663

                                           Tail Gunner                 Sgt Benjamin C. Ridgway         38273091

                                           Flight Engineer            2ndLt Walter E. Rollins            0-550849

 

The last to have contact by radio were SSgt Whorton, SSgt M.R. Joyce, Sgt W. Glibbon, MSgt G.P. Arnell, and SSgt D. Shoaf.

1stLt Moe reported that the crew he specified (Scandrett, Rollins, Goodfriend, Moyer, Lehman, and Ridgway) returned to base in China on 12 August 1944 after bailing out on 29 July 1944, near Chenchien, China. Capt. Mills’ parachute opened. He may have been injured bailing out and it is possible he is being hidden. It is unknown whether he was killed. The senior gunner, SSgt Walker, was still in the B-29 when it crashed. He was off the interphone and did not communicate with others. Sgt Wherle was prepared to jump and had time. He likely bailed out over the railroad tracks near Chenchien and may have been captured. The B-29 was seen to crash. The B-29 had developed engine trouble 3 ½ hours out and # 2 had to be feathered. Fighter attacks ruined the oil system, caused damage to the central fire control system, two propellars were shot off, and three turrets were inoperative. They were informed at a temple, by the Chinese, that 3 crewmen, Capt. Mills, Sgt Walker and Sgt Wherle, were dead but they received conflicting reports.

 

2ndLt Peterson reported that they took off at Cheng Tu and the crash occurred about 1000. On the bombing mission, they were attacked by enemy fighters and hit by anti-aircraft fire at about 20,000 feet. An elevator was lost and three engines were damaged. The bail out order was made at about 15,000 feet. They were forced to bail out. The front compartment crew had to wait to jump because the landing gear woul not go down. Whe it did, they bailed out at about 3,000-5,000 feet. Sgt Walker was last seen near the right & left gunners as they jumped. He was not seen again. Sgt Wherle was last seen going to his escape hatch. No one saw him again.