On 21 November 1944 a B-24J, “Cabin In The Sky,” # 44-40811, assigned to 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 492nd Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Madhaicanj, India, on a combat mission over Geang Luang. It was seen by 2ndLt John E. Bittner, 0-696419, 2ndLt John J. Probst, 0-703520, and 1stLt John J. Berry, 0-696738, to crash, killing all on board, at about 1650 hours after a fire and explosion occurred in the wing between # 1 and # 2 engines, likely caused by anti-aircraft fire. 1stLt Berry reported that he saw the fire and the B-24 crashed beyond a ridge. 2ndLt Bittner reported that he heard Lt. Miller say, “Mead has an engine on fire.” The left wing seemed on fire, the flames back to the rudder. The B-24 hit the trees and exploded. Bombs then exploded. 2ndLt Probst reported that a puff of smoke appeared near engine # 2. Flames grew and spread to engine # 1. The B-24 hit the ground about 2 ½ miles from the target. It exploded on impact and burned. The bombs then exploded. It was about twenty-five miles southwest of Bhre, Thailand. The remains of the crew were recovered from the crash site but were indistinguishable. They were buried in a group ceremony (Duff, Beutecale, Cochran, Eickhorst, Kooi, Litzell, Mead, Randall, Schrump, Sita, Ullmann) in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, on 22 November 1949 (Sec. 82, Grave 93A).
DUFF, BILL, ACI, Royal Air Force (British)
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