B-24J - # 42-73055 - 1 December 1943
When this B-24J bomber of the 9th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment, 10th Air Force, was downed by enemy aircraft fire, several of the crewmen were able to parachute before the aircraft crashed near Bassein, Burma.Several were captured and imprisoned in the Rangoon Cantonment, a few with serious injuries. Two of the POW crewmen died or were killed by the enemy and buried in the Rangoon cemetery, about a mile from the prison. Those buried were recovered by the Graves Registration team whom perished on 17 May 1946 when the C-47B transport, 43-48308, which crashed into the Bay of Bengal 17 May 1946. All aboard were lost, including the remains.
The bombing mission for B-24J, 42-70355, was to bomb the Insein railway yards and shops. Several fighters and bombers were shot down by anti-aircraft fire or enemy aircraft, including a P-51A-10 Mustang flown by the commander of the 311th Fighter-Bomber Group, Colonel Harry R. Melton, Jr. The crewmen of this downed B-24J (if not individual) are presented here.
PARKER, MERRILL REYMAN, First Lieutenant, # 0-730160, USAAF
Merrill R. Parker was born 13 August 1920 in Lima, Allen County, Ohio, to Pratt Emerson Parker (1884-1960) and Flora Beatrice (Bhatt) Reyman (1884-1964). Siblings included Lloyd Emerson Parker (1913-1943), Lenore Parker (1915-1991) and Barbara Ann Parker (1930- ). His father was the fourth of eight children and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1908, while living in Salem, Indiana. In 1930 the family lived in Washington, Washington County, Indiana. His father farmed. Nearby lived Murrell V. Parker (1886- ) married to Mildred (1884- ), and he also farmed. In 1940 the family lived in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, where his father worked as a mechanical engineer. He graduated from Westport High School, Kansas City, Missouri, in about 1938. He graduated from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1941 with an electrical engineering degree (B.S.E.E.).
His grandfather, Andrew Jackson Parker (1833-1921), served in the Civil War in the 65th Infantry Regiment, Company F. With him served grand-uncles Harmon Richard Parker (1843-1906) and William George Parker (1841-1865). He resided in Missouri when he enlisted on 26 January 1942 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri (enlisted service # 17035713). He was single. He was the co-pilot of the B-24J when it was downed by enemy aircraft in Burma. Trained to pilot the bomber, he was the co-pilot of the B-24, he was sent overseas to 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group, 9th Bombardment Squadron. On 1 December 1943, the B-24J Liberator was downed by enemy aircraft after a bombing mission on Insein, Burma and was last seen at 1228 hours. Seven crewmen were able to parachute safely and were captured. Merrill R. Parker died in the crash of the B-24J.
His brother, Lloyd E. Parker, married Margaret Dewall Osterling (1917- ) in Tippicanoe, Indiana. served during WW II. A Lieutenant, # 0-079000, and a naval aviator, he died 7 September 1943, while in combat. He was awarded an Air Medal. At the time, his wife and daughter lived at 5522 Olive St., Kansas City, Missouri.