MILLER, HERBERT CHARLES, Sergeant, # 16004832, USAAF

 

Herbert C. Miller was born on 10 September 1920 in Hubbard Co., Minnesota to Asa Miller (1872-1945) (IL) and Ella Carolina (Lind) Miller (1886-1939) (Vastina, Ostergott, Sweden) (married 29 August 1905, Winnebago, IL). Siblings included Russell Horton Miller (1907-1996), Merritt Curtis Miller (1912-1987), Kenneth Malcolm Miller (1914-1994), Ralph Laverne Miller (1916-2007), Doris May Miller (1918-1997), Irene Lois Miller (1922-2000), Robert Earl Miller (1924-1999), Jim Miller (1927-1998), and Gerald William Miller (1930-1999). Living with them in 1930 was his paternal grandfather, Cornelius E. Miller (1854-1935). The genealogical information may be incorrect because a few census have him born in Illinois with all siblings born in Illinois.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Chicago, IL, on 9 June 1941. He was trained to maintain the weapons (armorer) on the B-25 Mitchell. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 26 May 1944 a B-25F, # 43-3611, assigned to 10th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, Kurmitola, India, departed the airfield at Chittagong hauling supplies to Imphal, India. Last contact was when it was near Silchar and encountered severe turbulence and poor visibility. The crashed bomber was located 20 miles from Shillong on the Cheripanji Rd. An ID tag was found with “Miller”. A recovery party was sent and arrived on 28 May 1944. The B-25 had crashed into a 6000’ cliff and completely disintegrated. It hit about 80’ below the rim and wreckage fell about 2,000’ to a ledge. Natives said the crash was at about 1600 hrs on 26 May 1944. One unrecognizable corpse was found. An American and a British officer got there before the party and one of them cut the Group insignia off the jacket on the corpse. Recovered from the wreckage were a .45 cal. M1911, part of a .45 cal. Thompson machinegun trigger assembly, knives and pieces of a jungle kit, a piece of a tan shirt with Sergeant stripes and a C.B.I. patch on the left shoulder/sleeve, leather jacket with name “H.C. Miller,” and a kit of aircraft tools. Also found was a fatigue cap, a pair of eye glasses, a spent case of 75mm cartridges, a compass, a headnet, 26 Silver rupees, a secret packet, and 12 Silver ½ rupees. Provost Marshal office Capt. Sherman went to the crash. He considers the wreckage to be of a B-25. He found 75mm cartridges scattered in the area but the 75mm cannon cannot be found. He found an aircraft tire and a shirt with Sergeant chevrons and the USAAF insignia. He found human body parts scattered and so decomposed that recognition was impossible. No identity discs were found.

 

1stLt Gari F. King reported that he departed Chittagong about 10 minutes after Mesnik. At 15:15 he heard Mesnik calling B-25 # 77 and there was no answer. King answered Mesnik. King was IFR for about 30 minutes. Mesnik said the weather was bad and they should return to base. Photographs of the cliff and wreckage were sent to headquarters. After recovery from the American military cemetery in Barrackpore, India, the remains of 1stLt Harry T. Mesnik, 1stLt Philip E. Blumer, SSgt Albert E. Germaine, Sgt Herbert C. Miller, and Cpl. Earl W. Quigley, were buried together in the New Albany National Cemetery, New Albany, Indiana, on 13 August 1949 (Sec. B, Grave 1041B).

 

His brother, Robert E. Miller, born 16 July 1924 served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal, from 19 June 1942 to 17 January 1946. He died 12 February 1999 and is buried in the Gulf Cemetery, Santa Rosa Beach, Walton Co., Florida.