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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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10th Air Force
01.12.1943 9th Bombardment Squadron (H) B-24J 42-73055, Capt. Bill Wright DFC

Operation: Insein, Burma (Myanmar).

Date: 1st December 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 9th Bombardment Squadron (H), 7th Bombardment Group (H), 10th Air Force

Type: B-24J

Serial No: 42-73055

Code: Unknown

Location: 19 miles west of Maubin, Burma (Myanmar)

Base: Pandaveswar, India

Pilot: Capt. Bill Wright DFC (OLC) O-725565 AAF Age 23. PoW */DED (1)

Co-Pilot: 1st Lt. Merrill Reyman Parker DFC O-730160 AAF Age 23. MiA/DED

Navigator: 1st Lt. Roy Albert Wentz Jr. DFC (OLC) O-659938 AAF Age 24. PoW *

Bombardier: 1st Lt. Raymond Alvin Maloney DFC O-726056 AAF Age 21. PoW *

Engineer: S/Sgt. Clifford Henry Bockman DFC (OLC) 19075514 AAF Age 27. PoW *

Radio Operator: S/Sgt. Francis Clare Winderl 19019299 AAF Age 24. MiA/DED

Asst Engineer: S/Sgt. Frank Rodriguez 6578491 AAF Age? PoW */DED (2)

Asst Radio Op: S/Sgt. Edward John Girman DFC 35258994 AAF Age 23. MiA/DED

Gunner: S/Sgt. Alvin Leon Hastings DFC (OLC) 35357272 AAF Age 25. PoW *

Gunner: S/Sgt. Joseph Briggs Wells 6934111 AAF Age 23. PoW *

* Burma #5 (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail)


On the 1st December 1943 Capt. Wright’s B-24 joined a force of B-24s and P-38 escort fighters on a mission to bomb targets at Insein near Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar).

The force encountered fierce enemy opposition from AA fire and Japanese fighter aircraft over the targets. P-51s fighters which failed to make rendezvous with the B-24s before the attack join the formations on the return trip.

US losses were high, Capt. Wright’s B-24 was one of five B-24s and one P-51A that were lost on this mission.

Capt. Wright, 1st, Wentz, 1st Lt. Maloney, S/Sgt. Bockman, S/Sgt. Rodriguez, S/Sgt. Hastings and S/Sgt. Wells successfully baled out of the aircraft and became PoWs of the Japanese.

1st Lt. Parker, S/Sgt. Winderl and S/Sgt. Girman were either killed in the air battle or perished when the aircraft crashed 19 miles west of Maubin, Burma (Myanmar). Their remains have not been recovered and are still Missing in Action.

(1) The circumstances leading to the death of Capt. Wright were determined by a British Military Court convened in Rangoon, Burma between the 3rd and 21st May 1946.

The following four members of the Imperial Japanese Army were before the court:

Capt. (Rikugun-tai-i) NAGAHARA Kenso who was the former Commanding Officer (CO) of Futo Buntai, Rangoon, Burma and also the CO of the Futo Buntai prison;

Capt. (Rikugun-tai-i) YAMAZAKI Kaname was the Medical Officer (MO) of the prison;

2nd Lt. (Rikugun-Shōi) YOKOTA Masao;

Cpl. (Rikugun-Jōtō-Hei) NODA Masami.

Note: the Japanese word Rikugun preceding a rank indicates that it relates to the army.

All were also members of or attached to the Kempeitai who were the military police of the Imperial Japanese Army and functioned much like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

On the first count all four accused were charged with committing a war crime in that between the 1st August 1943 and 1st April 1945, when members of staff of the New Law Courts Jail, Rangoon, Burma, were responsible for the well-being of the persons interned there, and in violation of the laws and usages of war, were together concerned as parties to the ill-treatment causing a physical suffering to PoWs interned there.

On the third count Capt. NAGAHARA, 2nd Lt. YOKOTA and Cpl. NODA were also charged that in the month of April 1944, they were concerned with the ill-treatment leading to the death of Capt. Wright.

Capt. NAGAHARA was in post at the Futo Buntai prison, also known as the New Law Courts Jail Annex, from 1st January 1945 and the 1st April 1945.

During the period they were in charge a number of American and British airmen were incarcerated in the Annex where they were kept in confinement under harsh and oppressive regulations without proper or adequate food, covering, sanitation facilities and medical attention.

On the first count Capt. NAGAHARA and 2nd Lt. YOKOTA were found guilty and sentenced to four and two years imprisonment respectively. Capt. YAMAZAKI and Cpl. NODA were found not guilty.

On the third count all three of the accused were found not guilty.

Burial Details

The remains of Capt. Wright and S/Sgt. Rodriguez in Grave 204, were recovered on the 5th May 1946 from the Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery. Their remains were amongst 37 other recovered personnel, 29 passengers and 3 crew that were lost when the C-47B #43-48308 transferring their remains went missing in a heavy storm on the 17th May 1946 during the return flight to Barrackpore in India. An extensive airborne search of a flight path 300 miles wide from Calcutta to Rangoon and a special search as far south as the Andarman Islands, failed to locate any evidence that the aircraft crashed on land and no floating wreckage was found to indicate that the aircraft had crashed into the Bay of Bengal.

The wreckage of C-47B #43-48308 was discovered by Clayton Kuhles of MIA Recoveries, Inc. on the 10th November 2009.

Above. Capt. Bill Wright, Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing (Courtesy of the ABMC)

Capt. Bill Wright. DFC (Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster). Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing. Born on the 16th August 1920 in Texas. Son of Jim M. and Emma Clyde (née Whitfield) Wright of Texas, USA.

Capt. Wright was Declared Dead (DED) on the 31st March 1944.

Above. 1st Lt. Merrill R. Parker, Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing (Courtesy of the ABMC)

1st Lt. Merrill Reyman Parker. DFC, Air Medal, Purple Heart. Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing. Born on the 13th August 1920 in Kansas City, Missouri. Son of Pratt Emerson and Flora Beatrice (née Reyman) Parker of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

1st Lt. Parker was Declared Dead (DED) on the 4th February 1946.

Above. S/Sgt. Francis C. Winderl, Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing (Courtesy of the ABMC)

S/Sgt. Francis Clare Winderl. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing. Born on the 15th March 1919 in Richland, Montana. Son of Theodore F. and Blanche M. (née Rouse) Winderl of Glasgow, Montana, USA.

S/Sgt. Winderl was Declared Dead (DED) on the 4th February 1946.

Above. S/Sgt. Frank Rodriguez, Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing (Courtesy of the ABMC)

S/Sgt. Frank Rodriguez. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing. Other than his place of residence was recorded as Oakland, California and that he was married no further information has been found.

S/Sgt. Rodriguez was Declared Dead (DED) on the 27th August 1944.

Above. S/Sgt. Edward J. Girman, Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing (Courtesy of the ABMC)

S/Sgt. Edward John Girman. DFC, AM (Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart. Manila American Cemetery, Walls of the Missing. Born on the 7th March 1920 Hammond, Lake County, Indiana. Son of Mike and Anna (née Martin) Girman of Whiting Lake, Indiana, USA.

S/Sgt. Girman was Declared Dead (DED) on the 4th February 1946.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 06.10.2023 - Initial Upload

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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