Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Discussion > Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East

Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East Please use this forum to discuss the Air War in the Far East.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 6th July 2018, 18:59
Brian Brian is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Posts: 3,972
Brian is on a distinguished road
B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Hi guys

Another Java-related query!

In General Brereton's book, he mentions the suicide of one of his B-17 pilots.

Do we know the identity and circumstances?

Cheers
Brian
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 7th July 2018, 15:01
Leendert Leendert is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 1,729
Leendert is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Brian,


This reportedly was on 12 Feb 1942.



Regards,


Leendert
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 7th July 2018, 16:33
RSwank RSwank is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bloomington, IN USA
Posts: 791
RSwank is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

On pages 336-337 from "They Fought With What They Had":

"On the night of February 12, at Malang, a flight leader of the 7th Group killed himself."

"This man had a record of eight missions for the twenty-
four days he had been in Java, only one of which had been abandoned.
His act had a profoundly depressing effect not only among the men at
Malang, but almost immediately among all personnel at Jogjakarta and
Madioen. "
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 7th July 2018, 17:40
25Kingman49's Avatar
25Kingman49 25Kingman49 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Utah, USA
Posts: 71
25Kingman49 is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Source https://thejavagoldblog.wordpress.com/page/11/ search suicide

"On February 17, 1942, Major General Lewis H Brereton, commanding the 5th Air Force, visited what remained of the USAAF bomber units in Java. He later wrote:
…Combat replacement crews did not exist…. Fatigue and combat weariness had worn men to their last ounce of resistance. Pilots returned from attacks crying with rage and frustration when a crew member was killed or when weather or mechanical failure prevent successful completion of the mission. A flight commander, a fine leader, committed suicide. Boys were on the verge of mental and physical collapse…"
__________________
Scott M

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."- referenced - J. Robert Oppenheimer
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 7th July 2018, 18:20
Leendert Leendert is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 1,729
Leendert is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

There is an online book "7th Bombardment Group/Wing 1918-1995" with as an appendix the casualties during the war years.


No reference to a suicide on 12 feb 1942, perhaps out of respect.



Regards,


Leendert
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 7th July 2018, 19:16
Col Bruggy Col Bruggy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 890
Col Bruggy is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Hello,

On February 10th (1942), Capt Strother led six b-17s from Jogjakarta to attack an aircraft carrier still reported in the Makassar Strait. Bad weather and insufficient fuel ended the mission. Three of the planes developed mechanical problems and the rest, who had already taken off, wasted too much fuel waiting for them. The next day, February 11th, the combat and maintenance crews were told they would be given 24 hours off from 1400 until 1430 for some badly needed rest, but then the 7th Group was notified to send what airplanes it had in commission to Malang, where they would be attached to the 19th Group for a mission (on) February 12th. That night, Lt Horace Wade and Richard Ezzard took off at 2235 and 2245 to search for and attack shipping off Makassar. Early the next morning, on one of the largest raids the V Bomber Command mounted out of Java, eight B-17s from the 7th Group (Capt. Strother led Capt. Hardison and Lts. Beck, Habberstad, Northcott, and Swanson) with three from the 19th went out to bomb shipping around Makassar, taking off between 0030 and 0220. One flight, with Lt. Northcott, Capt. Hardison, and Capt. F.M. Key from the 19th Group, claimed hits on a transport, but weather and darkness in the target area obscured the result. A few hours after the flight returned, Capt. Strother was found dead behind his quarters, having committed suicide with his .45 pistol*.

Strother's death had "a profoundly depressing effect" on the men at all bases**. Strother had been a flight leader, promoted for his abilities, with eight missions to his credit. Physical exhaustion from the constant effort, frustration with the lack of spare parts and adequate personnel, missions frustrated or cancelled by bad weather, and growing realization that all their efforts were having no effect on the Japanese increasingly demoralized the 7th and 19th Groups***.

* U.S Air Force Historical Study No.29: Study of Air Action in the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies 7th December 1941-26th March 1942, pp.171-190; "V Bomber Command Journal". The details of Captain Strother's suicide come from "S-3 Diary for the 7th Bombardment Group, December 1 1941-February 27 1942.

** Edmonds, They Fought With What They Had, p.337

*** Edmonds, They Fought With What They Had, p.334-37

See:
Death From Above The 7th Bombardment Group in World War II
Young,Edward M.
Atglen:Schiffer,2014.
p.86

Col.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 7th July 2018, 19:44
RSwank RSwank is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bloomington, IN USA
Posts: 791
RSwank is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Col,

Interesting find. Clearly this was covered up at the time as the press releases about the death of Donald Root Strother have him killed on February 13 while leading a mission.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/21646577/

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/21646434/

https://www.facebook.com/herosofwinf...0374583465585/

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...-root-strother

Last edited by RSwank; 8th July 2018 at 03:38.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 7th July 2018, 19:49
Brian Brian is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Posts: 3,972
Brian is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Excellent info once again, guys, what a magnificent team!

I'll fully acknowledge in my forthcoming book.

Cheers
Brian
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 8th July 2018, 20:47
Leendert Leendert is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 1,729
Leendert is on a distinguished road
Re: B-17 pilot suicide February 1942 Java

Rolland,


The available online stories about Capt Strother's death were exactly the reason why I was hesitant to bring his name forward...

In the 7th BG book I referred to earlier, it says "he suffered a stroke on the ground" on 13 Feb 1942.

All in all, it stays a tragic affair.

Regards,


Leendert
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Major William Horrigan USAAF Java PoW 1942 Brian Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East 23 6th July 2018 22:11
NEI aircraft losses Java 1942 Brian Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East 4 25th June 2018 08:17
Hurricanes in USSR Carl-Fredrik Geust Allied and Soviet Air Forces 10 18th August 2007 20:37
JG 54 near Leningrad in August, 1942 Andrey Dikov Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 15 9th March 2007 20:54
Russian fighter loss February 1942 alex crawford Allied and Soviet Air Forces 0 15th March 2006 22:06


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 21:28.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018, 12oclockhigh.net