WONNELL, ROBERT EARL, Second Lieutenant, # 0-713922, USAAF
Robert E. Wonnell was born in 24 December 1922 in Toledo, Lucas Co., Ohio, to Howard James Wonnell (1877-1961) (OH) and Frances C. (Wiley) Wonnell (1888-1962) (MI). Siblings included Howard J. Wonnell Jr. (1912-1963), and Eleanor Mary (Wonnell) Pegorsch (1918-1999). Living with them in 1930 was his maternal grandmother, Anna Wiley (1870- ) (widowed).
After enlisting, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools and was multi-engine rated. He earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas to India. On 24 October 1944, a B-25D, # 43-3612, assigned to 10th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Moran, Assam, India, on a bombing, strafing and reconnaissance mission over Maymyo, Burma. It was last seen at 1342 hours, near 22º 25’ North & 96º 37’ East, damaged by enemy ground fire, and it crashed into a jungle covered mountainside. 2ndLt Ralph W. Everett, 0-759581, B-25 pilot, and 2ndLt George Hyde, 0-699174, B-25 navigator, reported: While on a 230º course over the railroad about 15 miles NE of Maymyo, they saw a B-25 to his right about 1 to 1 ½ miles. It did not appear to be in trouble. They made their bomb run to the SW and circled then made another run to the NE. They turned to make another run and saw the B-25 at their 11 o’clock about 1,000 feet higher. They were at about 300’ AGL. The B-25 sighted had the left engine trailing white smoke at about 1337 hours. The right engine was clear. That B-25 flew NNW (350º). They followed and climbed. They lost sight of the B-25 for a few minutes then saw it again at low altitude. They neared the B-25 and saw the left engine was not smoking but, the right engine was smoking. They did not notice whether the left was feathered. This is when the navigator first saw the B-25. He was at the B-25’s five o’clock and about 400’ above it. They saw two white specks, perhaps three, leave the B-25. If parachutes, they did not open completely. This was 1341 hours. At 1342 hours, the B-25 made a gliding turn toward the East and crashed into a mountainside. They made a 270º turn to the left and flew over the crash. The fuselage looked intact but, they could not see the wings. The navigator thought the tail was separated. They circled from 1342 to 1356 hours to get a photograph but, could not find it again. The area was hilly with dense foliage. They saw no open parachutes. After recovery, his remains and those of Finney, Dixon, Loew, Martin, and Mueller were buried in a common grave in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, on 30 August 1949 (Sec. E, Grave 113).