44-11077         MACR 12780              44-11084         MACR 12781

 

On 27 February 1945 four P-51C-10NTs, including # 44-11077 and # 44-11084, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51st Fighter Group, 16th Fighter Squadron, Chengkung, China, departed the airfield on a mission to strafe Hainan Island. The pilots were 1stLt Bobb A. Beauchamp, # 0-686717 and Flight Officer Edward E. Chase, T-12535.

 

Capt. Clarence A. Dooley, 0-792817, reported that he led a four-fighter flight on a low level attack on the Kiungshan airdrome on Hainan Island. His flight was about 100 yards left of another flight (6 P-51s) which were leading the mission south. Three minutes from the target, they ran into low clouds and thick haze, with a ceiling of 50’. The flight leader ordered the flights to make a 180 degree turn left and to return to the Liuchow Peninsula. Due to the low ceiling, as he turned, his wing tip was barely above the waves and his other wingtip was in the ceiling. They lost visibility and 1stLt Beachamp and Flight Officer Chase were unresponsive to radio calls. The last pilot in the loose formation (2ndLt Alfred F. Wardle, 0-809215) saw fire on the water near where Capt. Cooley made his 180-degree turn. 1stLt Robert F. Buffington, 0-802988, reported that he saw 1stLt Beauchamp and F/O Chase start their turns. He did not see them again.

 

BEAUCHAMP, BOBB A., First Lieutenant, # 0-686717, USAAF

 

Bobb A. Beauchamp was born 1922 in Michigan to Fred J. Beauchamp (1896-1943) and Andreina (Cattoi) Woodbridge nee Beauchamp (1896-1984) (Austria). Siblings were Mary Elizabeth Beauchamp (1920-1921), Paul D. Beauchamp (1921-1942), Raymond Louis Beauchamp (1925-    ). His maternal grandparents, David Cattoi (1866-1945) and Angela (Zerbatto) Cattoi (1869-1951) (both born in Italy) lived with them in 1940.

 

After enlisting in the USAAF, he completed flight instruction through advanced school and was assigned to fly the North American P-51 Mustang. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 27 February 1945 two P-51C-10NTs, # 44-11077 (flown by 2Lt Beauchamp) and # 44-11084, assigned to 14th Air Force, 51st Fighter Group, 16th Fighter Squadron, Chengkung, China, departed the airfield on a mission to strafe Hainan Island. Capt. Clarence A. Dooley, 0-792817, reported that he led a four-fighter flight on a low level attack on the Kiungshan airdrome on Hainan Island. His flight was about 100 yards left of another flight (6 P-51s) which were leading the mission south. Three minutes from the target, they ran into low clouds and thick haze, with a ceiling of 50’. The flight leader ordered the flights to make a 180 degree turn left and to return to the Liuchow Peninsula. Due to the low ceiling, as he turned, his wing tip was barely above the waves and his other wingtip was in the ceiling. They lost visibility and 1stLt Beachamp and Flight Officer Chase were unresponsive to radio calls. The last pilot in the loose formation (2ndLt Alfred F. Wardle, 0-809215) saw fire on the water near where Capt. Cooley made his 180 degree turn. 1stLt Robert F. Buffington, 0-802988, reported that he saw 1stLt Beauchamp and F/O Chase start their turns. He did not see them again. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. A memorial marker was placed in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Trowbridge Park, Marquette Co., Michigan.