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Old 15th May 2019, 10:48
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: P-61 fatal crash 9/10 July '45

Rolland/Alex

42-39469 was sent to the Far East via Hawaii and was delivered to 550NFS on 27 March 1945 (from the US Depot at Leyte)
It was lost 9 July 1945 appx 600 yards after take off flown by Lt James F Colby and R/O F/O Albert Fingerle on a combat mission.
Colby went down with the aircraft after it struck a reef off shore, while Fingerle managed to swim ashore and was taken to a hospital with a slight wound in his head.
Divers tried to locate Colby but were unable to find the forward section of the aircraft.
Aircraft SOC 12 July 1945

42-39719 was sent to India on 7 March 1945 and delivered to 427NFS 15 March 1945.
It was lost 10 July 1945 when flown by Lt James B Adams Jr with R/O Lt Ramsey B Bancroft. Aircraft lost power during take off from Dinjan, India and crashed straight ahead some miles from the runway. According to witnesses the aircraft lacked take off speed, but no positive evidence for any technical fault could be discovered in the wreckage. Both crewmember were killed.
Aircraft SOC 17 July 1945

Source: Northrop's Night Hunter by Jeff Kolln
Unfortunately he does not say from where 42-39469 took off. Main unit was at Tacloban, Leyte, but also had a detachment at Sanga Sanga (Sulu Archipelago).

I have no idea from where the newspapers got the idea that Colby was in Burma. At least they got the unit right which is more than one can say about the MACR, but I suppose 558 is a printing error, since that was a B-26 bomber unit in Europe...

B Rgds
Stig

PS: If the place of take off is known for Colby I would very much like to know.

Last edited by Stig Jarlevik; 15th May 2019 at 10:51. Reason: Added PS
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