MORTIMER, CHARLES H., M.D., First Lieutenant, # 0-1689697, USAAF Flight Surgeon

 

Charles H. Mortimer was born 9 November 1911 in Westchester County, New York to James Charles Mortimer (1876-    ) and Gertrude Madge Mortimer (1888-1953). A brother was James Preston Mortimer (1908-    ). He was married to Madelyn LaFramboise (1903-1986) on 17 April 1940. His mother lived at 2999 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan.

 

He was a USAAF flight surgeon. He received his medical doctorate and completed a surgery internship at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, New York City. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 42-73242, “Haley’s Comet” (named after Lt Roger F. Haley) (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – Dr. Mortimer was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. It was assigned to the 425th Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group. At 10:45 a.m., the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed; B-24D, # 41-23889, crashed near Jorhat, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). Haley’s Comet was found eventually. The bomber was mentioned in China Up and Down by John T. Foster.

HIGGINS, EDWARD WALLACE, Technical Sergeant, # 18057807, USAAF

 

Edward W. Higgins was born 22 January 1920 in Kansas to Walter Muncaster Higgins (1884-1954) and Frances Cornelia (Merydith) Higgins (1890-1925). Siblings included Merydith Alston Higgins (1913-1953) and Walter Muncaster Higgins, Jr. (1918-2009). In 1942, the family lived at 3528 N. Judson St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF on 13 December 1941 in San Antonio, Texas, and was trained as a B-24 waist gunner. On 25 January 1944, a B-24D, # 42-73242, “Haley’s Comet” (named after Lt Roger F. Haley) (converted to ferry passengers and cargo – TSgt Higgins was a passenger), departed Chabua, India, at 7:40 a.m., to fly to Kunming, China. It was assigned to the 425th Bomb Squadron of the 308th Bomb Group. At 10:45 a.m., the formation of five B-24Ds “was forced to break up due to extreme instrument weather conditions.” All five aircraft crashed; B-24D, # 41-23889, crashed near Jorhat, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Crews parachuted from two and a third, which crashed, had two survivors. The fourth and fifth, “Hot as Hell” and “Haley’s Comet,” disappeared, the crews presumed dead (Tara Copp, Stars & Stripes, 8 Apr 2016). Haley’s Comet was found eventually. The bomber was mentioned in China Up and Down by John T. Foster. A memorial is at the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines.