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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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25.05.1942 13 Bomb Squadron, 3 Bomb Group, B.25C Mitchell, 41-12441, Mjr. Lowery

Operation: Lae airfield

Date: 25th May 1942 (Monday)

Unit: 13 Bomb Squadron, 3 Bomb Group, USAAF

Type: B.25C Mitchell

Serial: 41-12441

Code: -

Base: Cooktown Airfield, Queensland, Australia - 7 Mile Drome, Jackson Airfield, Papua New Guinea

Location: Solomon Sea off Lae, Papua New Guinea

Pilot: Mjr. Herman F. Lowery DSC. Purple Heart. 0-21622 USAAF Missing

Pilot 2: 2nd Lt. Sidney W. Jacobson Silver Star. Purple Heart. 0-431455 USAAF Missing

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Carlos E. Spillers 6970874 USAAF Missing

Air/Bmr: T/Sgt. William B. Wherry DSC. Purple Heart. Air Medal. 6246992 USAAF Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Cpl. Noah Fresquez Purple Heart. Air Medal. 19012349 USAAF Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wesley J. Hayes DFC. Purple Heart. Air Medal. 6579604 USAAF Missing

Obs: Sq/Ldr. Maxwell Vernon Lewis AUS/224 RAAF Age 24. Missing


One of eight B-25s that took off from 7-Mile Drome on a bombing mission against Lae Airfield. Aboard was Royal Australian Air Force Sq/Ldr. Lewis who was selected by the air office to be the air liaison officer with a commando raid that took place near Salamaua.

Sq/Ldr. Maxwell Vernon Lewis on detachment from 24 Squadron selected by OC North Eastern area to be the air liaison officer with a Commando raid which took place in the Salamaua south west of Lae.

The raid was to have air support via radio from the Commando ground positions. Whilst waiting to cover this he elected for the opportunity to fly with a USAAF crew on a B-25 Mitchell which was to fly over the area.

During the trip (consisting of 4 x B.25’s) the aircraft was attacked by Japanese Tainan Kokutai A6M2 Zeros (although other reports state that they were hit by flak in the area of Vico Point) The pilot managed to ditch the aircraft about 1 mile of Lae in the Solomon Sea. Observers from other aircraft reported though that the aircraft was in flames at the time and that no one was seen to exit the aircraft either by parachute on the way down or when ditched.

Burial details:

None - all missing in action.

Mjr. Herman F. Lowery. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Husband of Mrs. Herman Lowery of 1119 Main Street, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA.

2nd Lt. Sidney W. Jacobson. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Son of Mr. Joseph Jacobson of 1112 Everett Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.

Sgt. Carlos E. Spillers. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Son of Mrs. L.E. Grivette of 2711 Gordon Avenue, Monroe, Louisiana, USA.

T/Sgt. William B. Wherry. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Husband of Mrs. Hazel Ruth Wherry of Route 1, Tennessee Colony, USA.

Left: Lae Memorial Panel

Cpl. Noah Fresquez. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Brother of George Fresquez of 2042 Est 20th Street, Oakland, California, USA.

Sgt. Welsey J. Hayes. Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. From Oregon, USA.

Sq/Ldr. Maxwell Vernon Lewis. Lae Memorial. Panel 6. Son of Thomas Vernon Lewis and Irene Gertrude Lewis, husband of Marcia Gwendoline Lewis, of 393 Suburban Road, South Perth, Western Australia. Born 27th August 1917 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Also of Flat 2, 39 Darling Street, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted 21st July 1937 at Point Cook, Victoria, Australia.

Researched for Caitlin Elizabeth Kirby and the family of Sq/Ldr. Lewis - April 2016. Some of the detailed information has been sourced from the Pacific Wrecks website for which we are very grateful. Other sources as quoted below.

KTY 29.04.2016

Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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