43-4242         This MACR includes the death of British Major General Charles Ord Wingate         

 

On 24 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4242, assigned to 1st Air Commando Squadron, departed the air field at Imphal, India and, at 2030 hours, crashed near Thelon, India. Aboard were crewmen and passengers:

                                              Pilot                             1stLt Brian Floyd Hodges                    0-433523

                                              Co-Pilot                       2ndLt Stephen A. Wanderer                0-681944

                                                                                   Vernon A. McIninch                           18117506

                                                                                   James W. Hickey                                 20811833

                                                                                   Frank Sadoski                                      6730933

                                             Passengers                    Major Gen. Charles Orde Wingate      British

                                                                                  Capt. George Henry Borrow                “

                                                                                  Stanley Wills                                        British War Correspondent

                                                                                  Stewart Emeny                                                “

A C-47, piloted by Capt. R.L. Benjamin, 0-759107, flying from Imphal to Hailankandi, saw an explosion on the ground north of his route – location of fire about 35 miles west of Imphal on course 280º. Bodies were scattered in an area of about 100 yards, badly mangled, a helmet was found similar to that of Maj.Gen. Wingate; identification of bodies was impossible.

Calcutta reported that the body of Major General Orde Charles Wingate, British leader of the legendary Chindits during the war in Burma, had been found in the rough Himalayan foothills near th India-Burmaborder. The famous 39-year-ldGeneral was killed 24 March 1944 in the crash of the B-25 aircraft flown by an American crew. Six Americans and two British war correspondents were reported to have lost their lives in the crash. General Wingate’s remains were found about 40 miles from Imphal by a British Graves Commission accompanied by two Americans from the U.S. Graves Registration Headquarters in Calcutta. The searchers marched several days across the rough terrain to reach the spot. The two Americans were: Sgt. Thomas M. Kauppi, Chicago, IL, and Sgt. Clarence E. Manby, California.

HODGES, BRIAN FLOYD, First Lieutenant, # 0-433523, USAAF

 

Brian F. Hodges was born in 1916 in Spartanbrug, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, to Henry Franklin Hodges (18801969) and Sue Hodges (1881-1963). Siblings included Margaret (Hodges) Yomans (1908-1999), Henry Franklin Hodges Jr. (1910-2005), and John Calloway Hodges (1913-1940). The Hoges descended from ancestors in the Revolutionary War (SAR).

 

He enlisted with four years of college as an avation cadet in the USAAF at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina, on 31 May 1941. He completed his flight training and was rated for multi-engine aircraft. He was sent overseas to India and was selected for assignment to the 1st Commando Group, America’s first special operations military organization which worked closely with the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in India, China, and Burma. It was in that capacity, he was flying that fateful day. On 24 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4242, assigned to 1st Air Commando Squadron, departed the air field at Imphal, India and, at 2030 hours, crashed near Thelon, India. The wreckage of the C-47 was located in Manipur Pradish, India and recovery of some remains was concluded.