The tail gunner saw 1stLt McLoughlin trying to make a crash landing. His left wing dropped and the B-24 hit nose down, bursting into flame immediately. It disintegrated on impact. No one saw any parachutes or survivors. After recovery from Burma and then India, Lt. Roger’s remains and those (indistinguishable) of other crewmen (Funderburg, Higgs, Litz, Swope & Whitsell) were buried in a group burial and ceremony in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky (Sec. E, Graves 163-164). He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. A memorial was placed in the Centerpoint Cemetery, Wilburton, Latimer Co., Oklahoma.

 

His paternal great-grandfather, Peter Funderburg, born in December 1788 (SC), died 1 April 1872 (St. Clair Co., AL) served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. His paternal great-great-grandfather was Anthony Walter Funderburgh (1726-1809) (born Germany, died in Edgefield, Edgefield Co., SC). A Walter Funderbergh arrived in 1760 in Frederick Co., MD, and a Walter Founderburgh arrived from Germany in PA in 1736.

His paternal grandfather, William Marshall Funderburg (1821-1864), served honorably in the Civil War (CSA, Private), 12th Alabama Regiment, Infantry, Co. D (NARA Film # M374, roll 15). He died 1 November 1864 and is buried in the Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung Co., New York, while a Prisoner of War of the Union Army. Records show he was “mustered out” of the CSA and was buried on the day he died.

His brother, Oscar C. Funderberg, born 20 June 1918, served multiple tours in the USAAF/USAF, from 1 December 1942 to 13 May 1949, 7 June 1949 to 3 August 1969, and 4 August 1969 to 31 December 1972. He died 13 July 2009.

His brother, Lewis R. Funderburg, born 3 December 1919, served in the U.S. Army from 10 January 1942. He died 11 February 2000 and is buried in the Elmhurst Cemetery, Guymon, Texas Co., Oklahoma.

His brother, James D. Funderburg, born 19 May 1923, served in the U.S. Army for twenty-seven years (WWII, Korea, Vietnam) before retirement.

HIGGS, WILLIAM EDWARD, Staff Sergeant, # 16042147, USAAF

 

William E. Higgs was born on 26 October 1919 in Battle Creek, Calhoun Co., Michigan, to Edward William Higgs (1898-1960) and Leona M. (Maynard) Higgs (1901-1992) (married 20 April 1919, Calhoun Co., Mich.). Siblings were Robert Charles Higgs (1922-2014) and Bethel Leona (Higgs) Verkow (1931-    ).

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Detroit, Michigan, on 6 November 1941. He was trained to maintain and operate the radio equipment on the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 14 November 1943 a B-24J, # 42-73194, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 493rd Bomb Squadron, Pandaveswar, India, departed the airfield and joined a formation of other B-24s on a mission to bomb Pokokku, Magway, Burma; west of and very near the Irrawady River. Witnesses to the crash were 1stLt Leland G. Berlette, 0-661915, 2ndLt Glenn F. Stephens, 0-797631, and 1stLt William G. Clark, 0-662023. 1stLt Berlette reported that he saw that 1stLt McLoughlin’s B-24 was hit in one engine. The tail gunner saw 1stLt McLoughlin trying to make a crash landing.