Aircraft 81 Request

We received this from Dave Calhoun, seeking more info about his great uncle Robert Miller, crew on aircraft #81 second tour (bottom photo):

Here are photos of Whitney Wright’s crews from first tour and second tour. Also a profile of his first tour aircraft. These were provided by the nephew of Tom Dempster who was on his crew in the first tour. I’m still trying to find a full photo of aircraft #869 used in the 2nd tour.

Update: Dave says aircraft #38869 was lost 5/13/45, 2 miles off Lingayen Peninsula, PI. Apparently not Wright’s crew. It had an APS-15 radar in the belly turret.

Please contact us if you have any information to share.

#81 Markings
#81 Markings
#81 Crew Tour 1
#81 Crew Tour 1
#81 Crew Tour 2
#81 Crew Tour 2
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Crew 22

VPB-104 crew 22 went down at sea with no survivors May, 1944.

VPB-104 Crew 22
VPB-104 Crew 22

Crew 22 Members
Plane Commander – – – Lt. (jg) Richard Jameson
First Pilot – – – – – – – – Ensign Kenneth McHenry
Co-Pilot – – – – – – – – – Ensign David Lanquist
Co-Pilot – – – – – – – – – Ensign Eugene Erskine
Plane Captain – – – – – – George Shoenwalder
Mech-Gunner – – – – – – James Garrison
Mech-Gunner – – – – – – Willard Dodsworth
Mech-Gunner  – – – – – – Louis Morris
Radioman-Gunner – – – William Ridge
Radioman-Gunner – – – Roger Skews
Radioman-Gunner – – – Donald Fanelli
Ordnance-Gunner  – – – Charles Arnett

 Newspaper Clippings

Lt. Jameson
Lt. Richard Jameson
Charles Arnett
Charles Arnett

Several relatives of crew members are seeking more details. Please contact us if you have any further information or photos.

Book Transcript Sought: Original Records

I have a printed copy of a booklet printed up from transcribed original records, titled “VB-104 April 1943 – April 1944” and I’m seeking the digital version it was printed from in WordPerfect or any other electronic format. I’ll add it to this site once someone is kind enough to share a digital version of this book (mentioned inside). Here’s a rather bad reproduction of the cover:

VB-104 4/43-4/44 - Cover
VB-104 4/43-4/44 – Cover

Inside is this longer title and partial description:

VB-104 4/43-4/44 - pg.0-i
VB-104 4/43-4/44 – pg.0-i

After the Table Of Contents is some introductory information describing the nature of the subject matter,  and the method of transcribing the original documents in 1995:

VB-104 4/43-4/44 - pg.0-v
VB-104 4/43-4/44 – pg.0-v

It continues on the next page, describing how the originals were transcribed into the WordPerfect application popular in 1995 and which I’m familiar with. In addition to VAdm & Mrs. Sears, the final transcription work was done by H. J. Thompson, A. M. Lodato, and Charlie Ehemann. If you have a copy of these WordPerfect files or know someone who does, please contact me via the Contact Form for this site.

Erco Bow Turret

This article on the Special Aircraft Service (SAS) website provides some details about the bow turret gun added to Navy PB4Y aircraft. This provided better results and more protection for the bow gunner, compared with the first generation “greenhouse” fixed gun mount. Here’s their photo of an Erco turret installed.

Erco Ball Turret

Lt. Stevens vs. Adm. Yamagata

VPB-104 pilot Paul F. Stevens and crew are credited with downing a Kawanishi H8K “Emily” that was carrying Japanese Vice Admiral Yamagata on March 17 1945.

Emily Seaplane (WikiMedia)
Emily Seaplane (WikiMedia)

On patrol out of Clark Field, Luzon, P.I., Stevens sighted and sank the AGS-2 Koshu while avoiding a destroyer escort ship. He then encountered two Aichi E13A “Jake” armed reconnaissance seaplanes, one of which escaped and the other his crew shot down.

After this remarkable encounter he then continued on to a patrol area assigned based on intelligence reports, and sighted the Emily seaplane.  In the ensuing battle and chase the Emily was damaged but managed to escape only to make a forced water landing later. Admiral Yamagata and his top aides died or were captured during and after this attack. Stevens was awarded these medals for this and other notable actions.

A typed Action Report of this event was kindly submitted by Japanese WWII researcher Minoru Kamada (click to download the  full Action Report PDF). Mr. Kamada added the following comments: The damaged Emily proceeded on the water to a small river town that turned out to be a hostile Chinese guerrilla base. They shot at the plane from both banks of the river, until some of the crew and high ranking passengers were captured.

PB4Y-2 Privateer

The international Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has just announced that the world’s only flying Consolidated Vultee PB4Y-2 “Privateer” is scheduled to appear at their AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh, WI from July 20 – 26, 2015.

PB4Y-2 at Casa Grande, AZ Feb. 20, 2015
PB4Y-2 at Casa Grande, AZ Feb. 20, 2015

It has been restored to original Navy equipment configuration and is currently in polished aluminum livery. It had served as a forest fire water bomber after the war, and is now based in Casa Grande. You can get more information about this aircraft and event by clicking this EAA link.