42-67626         P38

 

On 6 June 1944, a flight of P-38J-10s departed the 10th Air Force airfield at Chittagong on a fighter sweep in Burma. One of them was # 42-67626, assigned to the 80th Fighter Group, 459th Fighter Squadron, and was flown by Captain Walter F. Duke, 0-790505. He was last seen over Myiktila, Burma at about 0800 hours. The witnesses in radio contact were 2ndLt William C. Baumeister, 0-753595, and 1stLt William M. Behrns, 0-748892.

 

2ndLt Baumeister reported: He was on Capt. Duke’s wing. On the way to the target, the 2nd element dropped out and filled positions in the 2nd and 3rd flights (2 elements per flight). Over the target they descended and at about 12,000 they were attacked by 2 Oscars from 11 o’clock high. 1 Oscar dove to their level and attacked at 9 o’clock; the other continued over and did a split-S. They turned into the 1st Oscar but Baumeister broke away because the 2nd Oscar was on his tail. He did not see Capt. Duke again but talked to him several times. The last contact, Baumeister was over the Chin hills on course the the Cittagong airfield after leaving another fighter that crash-landed there. Capt. Duke called him and asked for Baumeister’s position and then for altitude. Baumeister told Duke that he was low on fueld and returning to base. Duke replied “Okay, kid.” That was the last contact.

 

1stLt Behrns reported: The last Behrns head from Duke was an acknowledgment of “Roger” to Baumeister informing Duke that he could not find and join him and was returning to base.

 

2ndLt James L. King reported: He and another P-38 destroyed a P-38 in the vicinity of Pauk and did not see Capt. Duke’s P-38 at all.

 

DUKE, WALTER FRANCIS, Captain, # 0-790505, USAAF

 

Walter F. Duke was born on 6 August 1921 in Leonardtown, St. Mary’s County, Maryland, to Roland Benjamin Duke (1893-1960) and Mary Lillian (Drury) Duke (1895-1971). Siblings included Benedict Drury Duke (1918-1962), George Councell Duke (1931-2008), Margaret Mary (Duke) Stolmeier (1919-2010), Roland Benjamin Duke Jr. (1916-1994), Eleanor Ann (Duke) Fearns (1924-after 1975), James Saunders Duke (1934-2012), Mary Angela Duke (1936-    ), and Elizabeth “Betty” Wise Duke (1928-2002).

 

He served for some time flying a fighter for the Royal Canadian Air Force. After joining the USAAF, he was sent overseas to India. On 6 June 1944, a flight of P-38J-10s departed the 10th Air Force airfield at Chittagong on a fighter sweep in Burma. One of them was # 42-67626, assigned to the 80th Fighter Group, 459th Fighter Squadron, and was flown by Captain Walter F. Duke, 0-790505. He was last seen over Myiktila, Burma at about 0800 hours. Flying another P-38J, 2ndLt Baumeister was on Capt. Duke’s wing. On the way to the target, the 2nd element dropped out and filled positions in the 2nd and 3rd flights (2 elements per flight). Over the target they descended and at about 12,000 they were attacked by 2 Oscars from 11 o’clock high. 1 Oscar dove to their level and attacked at 9 o’clock; the other continued over and did a split-S. They turned into the 1st Oscar but Baumeister broke away because the 2nd Oscar was on his tail. He did not see Capt. Duke again but talked to him several times.