A Maine Family's History

New Guinea Rescue

The following article was taken from two pages torn out of a magazine. There is no identifying information about the magazine or the year the article was written. My mother saved the article because her brother was one of the crewmen [Everett Davis] on the plane that went down. It appears to be pages from Look, Life,  the Saturday Evening Post, or a similar sized magazine from the 1940s. 

"The weather was bad in the Southwest Pacific on Oct. 18. American B-24's from the Jolly Roger group at Port Moresby were assigned to strike the Jap base at Rabaul, but they were shut out by masses of cumulus clouds. As a secondary target they tried to hit Cape Gloucester, but it too was cloud-bound. On the way home, as the result of bad weather and engine trouble, one of the big planes started to sideslip and dive. Over a valley with tall mountain ranges on either side the pilot of the plane gave the order to jump. Four of the 10 men went out the camera hatch; other six out the bomb bay. The plane itself crashed against a mountainside.

All 10 of the men landed safely in a wild area of New Guinea. Only the assistant engineer who fell 100 feet to the ground from the limb of a tree was badly hurt. Soon they were discovered by friendly natives and brought to a native village. In return for shining pieces of metal and cigarets, they were fed and housed, 

The rescued men and the fliers who saved them pose for their picture beside the C-47 which brought them back to Moresby. The Chinese boy is Jack Wu of Vancouver, Wash., a gunner on the B-24. He broke his wrist spinning the prop on a Moth. [Everett Davis is top left standing, Martin Goff 2nd from left standing.]

The next day three of the crew started out across the jungle toward a Catholic mission called Kerau. There they were cared for by an American missionary and nuns. To attract the attention of rescue planes from Port Moresby, who were searching for them, they drew their group insignia, the skull and crossed bombs, on the ground with their parachutes. The planes spotted it and dropped supplies. For many days thereafter the men on the ground carried on regular communication with the men in the air by means of this unique signal system.

Eventually the seven other men from the native village arrived at Kerau Mission where they rested for a week. Then the whole party started on a two-day trip to an emergency landing strip nearby. From there on Nov. 11 they were picked up by some Australian Moths (small two-seat planes) and flown 30 miles to a larger air strip. At this point they climbed into an American C-47 transport and were flown to Port Moresby."

On the ground of the mission the parachutes are laid out to spell the messages for the planes. This picture was taken by a crew member who borrowed a camera from the missionary. The country around here was too rough to land a rescue plane.


White Swirled Line

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Prepared by Karen E. Smith Howell - comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcome.
Copyright 1997 - 2013  Oak Bay Designs. All rights reserved. Revised: July 16, 2013 .