BUGS BUNNY continued.
However, Capt. Grant W. Erwin, Jr., was later able to furnish the following:
The B-24J crashed 1 Dec., 1943 after bombing the Insein marshalling yards, just North of Rangoon. Target was bombed at about 1200 hours from 18,000 feet altitude. The aircraft left the formation about 50 miles West of Rangoon on homeward leg of flight. Capt. Erwin bailed out and 2ndLt Clarence A. Clyborne Jr., bailed out. The aircraft crashed 3 to 5 miles South of Chaungpyaw, a village in the Burma, Bassein district. The crew who were in the aircraft when it crashed included the nose gunner, the bodies of the pilot and co-pilot, Lt. Carl F. Carpenter and Lt William R. McCandless; known from personal observation. The enemy told him they found five bodies in the wreckge but he believed there were eight. The nose gunner was dead and the pilot and co-pilot were dead or unconscious. Other gunners were dead. He last saw 2ndLt Clyborne in the Bassein hospital at 1700 hours on 4 Dec., 1943. He had compound fractures of the right tibia and fibula with gangrene sitting in. The Burmese doctor was friendly and helpful but despaired of being able to save 2ndLt Clyborne as the doctor lacked medicine. Brtish and American POWs later in Bassein reported no trace of 2ndLt Clyborne and he was never brought to the prison in Rangoon. Capt. Erwin believed 2ndLt Clyborne died at the Bassein hospital.
Capt. Erwin personally saw, at short range, on 1 Dec., 1943 the B-24J piloted by George Elliott consumed with flames end to end and before any crew could bail out, the aircraft exploded violently, leaving only negligible debris. This occurred at about 1215-1220 hours on 1 Dec. 1943.
Capt. Erwin added that: The nose gunner was killed before the aircraft crashed. The pilots were dead or unconscious and the cockpit was in flames from the nosewheel aft through the plane. Some of the gunners aft were dead or unconscious. He believed all eight remained in the aircraft when it crashed.
He added that: Before his aircraft left formation and before being badly hit, an aircraft (B-24J) of the 493rd Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group, went down in flames. Most of that crew bailed out but were savagely strafed by the enemy fighters while the crew were parachuting. None of that crew turned up at the Rangoon prison.
Another statement by Capt. Erwin about 2ndLt Clyborne included:
Capt. Erwin ordered 2ndLt Clyborne to bail out. 2ndLt Clyborne was strafed by enemy fighters, the parachute set on fire, and 2ndLt Clyborne landed violently, causing compound fractureds of his right leg.
Capt. Erwin reported that:
On 10 March 1946, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence A. Clyborne came from Blue Field, West Virginia, to Madison, Wisconsin, to obtain further details about the last days of their son. They had prior long-distance telephone conversations and he had written them the full details. According to a report they received from the Adjutant General's office (Washington, D.C.), in late February, 1946, the aircraft exploded in midair, leaving no trace of him.