43-3611           B25

 

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 crew was:

 

                                      Pilot                             1stLt Harry T. Mesnik                         0-738214

                                      Navigator                    2ndLt Philip E. Blumer                        0-682046

                                      Crew Chief                  Cpl Earl W. Quigley                            12030798

                                      Radio Operator            SSgt Albert E. Germaine                     12090282

                                      Armorer                       Sgt Herbert C. Miller                           16004832

                                                     (All enlisted men served dually as gunners)

 

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. King understood that Mesnik was returning. It was later reported that the B-25 was not armed with a 75mm cannon but was loaded with 75mm ammunition being ferried to Imphal. Photographs of the cliff and wreckage were sent to headquarters.