43-22786         P40

 

On 6 October 1944 a flight of P-40-N20, including # 43-22786, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 74th Fighter Squadron, Kanchow, China, departed the airfield at Luichow, China, to return to Kanchow. At about 1700 hrs the P-40-N20, tried to climb through overcast but crashed into a mountain. The pilot was 2ndLt Robert H. Upchurch, # 0-708349, who was killed in the crash.

Lt Gibeauit last saw 2ndLt Upchurch climb dangerously close to a mountain in overcast. Chinese reported an aircraft crashed and burned at Shangpaosu, 90 miles west of Kanchow. No identification of remains was possible.

 

UPCHURCH, ROBERT HOYLE, Second Lieutenant, # 0-708349, USAAF

 

Robert H. Upchurch was born in 1923 in Ritters, Moore Co., North Carolina, to Charles Kelly Upchurch (1885-1955) and Charity Bessie (Brady) Upchurch (1884-1954) (married 16 May 1904, Moore Co., NC). Siblings included Elma Lee Upchurch (1905-1974), Stella Bell Upchurch (1907-1991), Jelle W. Upchurch (1910-1969), Winton Jerry Upchurch (1910-1969), Mollie Margaret (Upchurch) Butler (1912-1971), Carl Henry Upchurch (1913-1977), Walter Clinton Upchurch (1914-1980), Elsa Mae (Upchurch) Anthony (1916-1979), Marie Eula (Upchurch) Anthony (1917-1965), William Lynn John Upchurch (1919-1973), and Charles Kelly Upchurch Jr. (1927-2004). He graduated from High Falls High School. He was employed by North American Aircraft, Santa Monica, California.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on 18 November 1942. He completed flight instruction through advanced schools and earned his commission and fighter pilot wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 6 October 1944 a flight of P-40-N20, including # 43-22786, assigned to 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 74th Fighter Squadron, Kanchow, China, departed the airfield at Luichow, China, to return to Kanchow. At about 1700 hrs the P-40-N20, tried to climb through overcast but crashed into a mountain. The pilot was 2ndLt Robert H. Upchurch, # 0-708349, who was killed in the crash. Lt Gibeauit last saw 2ndLt Upchurch climb dangerously close to a mountain in overcast. Chinese reported an aircraft crashed and burned at Shangpaosu, 90 miles west of Kanchow. No identification of remains was possible but they were buried beneath a Ming Dynasty tower, wrapped in red silk. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. After recovery near 2005, his remains were buried in the High Falls United Methodist Church Cemetery, High Falls, Moore Co., North Carolina. He was awarded the Purple Heart.