Monday, December 30, 2013

Winslow Gardner 1920 - 1943

SPOUSE: None, met and dated Louise Dixon at Weber College. She flew out to San Francisco, Ca in Nov. 1942, the week before Thanksgiving to see him off before he left to go overseas. The day before he left he slipped a ring on her finger and asked her to marry him. They were engaged when he was killed. She married Elijah Ferrin "Ferrin" Larking. They are buried in Ogden, UT FAG#85073261.

1941 July 4 Mt. Pleasant Pyramid

 1941 July 3 Iron County:

 1943 Feb 3 SL Telegram

1943 June 8

Birth: Nov. 23, 1920
Jefferson County
Idaho, USA
Death: Jun. 1, 1943
East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

LAST NAME: Gardner
FIRST NAME: Winslow Green
AGE: 23
CAUSE OF DEATH: Killed in Action
CEMETERY: Remains were removed from Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, and sent to Hyrum, UT-City Cemetery
BIRTH DATE: November 23, 1920
DATE DIED: June 1, 1943
DEATH PLACE: New Brittain Papua New Guinea
FATHER: Ford Gardner
MOTHER: Ella Green Gardner
w/ Ella - none
1. M 1st Lt. Winslow Green Gardner 11/23/1920
w/ Abbie Half siblings
1. M Ford Duane Gardner 10/22/1922
2. F Laraine Gardner
3. M Gene Gardner 6/21/1924 Lincoln Bonneville County ID USA - 4/8/1944 Germany
4. F Fay Rosetta Gardner 11/7/1926
SPOUSE: None, met and dated Louise Dixon at Weber College. She flew out to San Francisco, Ca in Nov. 1942, the week before Thanksgiving to see him off before he left to go overseas. The day before he left he slipped a ring on her finger and asked her to marry him. They were engaged when he was killed. She married Elijah Ferrin "Ferrin" Larking. They are buried in Ogden, UT FAG#85073261.
HOBBIES: He loved flying
OCCUPATION: US Air Force 1st Lt. Co-pilot B17 enlisted Jan. 1942 64 Bomb Squad 43 Bomb Squad Group World War II
AWARDS: Air Medal
SOURCES: Desert News 5/16/1991
REMARKS: MIA 6/1/43 Volunteer reconnaissance mission later updated to KIA 6/1/1943. Twelve Japanese fighters found Gardner's plane and shot it down. Three of the crew's 10 members parachuted to safety before the plane's gas tank exploded, but Gardner wasn't one of them. The plane wreckage was not found until 1987, when a forest survey company discovered a B-17 cockpit in the jungles of New Britain - and it had Gardner's remains in it. He was identified by a few bone fragments and a boot. His remains were returned to his relatives for burial in the Hyrum City Cemetery - nearly 48 years after Gardner was shot down. In 1991, one of the people attending the memorial service on May 4 in Salt Lake City was his sweetheart, Louise Dixon Larkin of Ogden, (70yrs old at that time). Pieces of Gardner's uniform, a metal case with wire-framed glasses, comb and boots, straps off his flight jacket and coins, were returned along with the body. The artifacts are displayed in the Fort Douglas Museum. He flew 40 missions. Weber State College Graduate studying dentistry took some aviation courses, was student body treasurer. He took flying lessons the year he and Louise were sophomores, and in December he went into the Army Air Corps.

The Mission:
B-17E "Texas #6" Serial Number 41-9207
5th AF
43rd BG
64th BS
Pilot 1/Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, O-427762 (POW / KIA) Baldwin, NY
Co-Pilot 1/Lt Winslow G. Gardner, O-728853 (KIA) Ogden, UT
Bombardier 2/Lt Oliver R. Alvin, O-669943 (KIA / MIA) North Branch, MN
Navigator 2/Lt. Charles H. Lewis, O-791838 (KIA / MIA) Brooklyn, NY
Engineer TSgt Thomas H Fox, 6977438 (POW / MIA) Mechanicsville, NY
Radio SSgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr., 13072715 (POW survived) Baltimore, MD
Ball Turret S/Sgt Virgil E. DeVoss, 6917104 (KIA) Danville, OH
Gunner Sgt Bruno R. Bukalski, 15082036 (KIA) Kouts, IN
Radio Sgt Albert Smith, 13028645 (KIA) Philadelphia, PA
Tail Gunner Pfc Charles H. Green, Jr., 12011992 (POW / Executed) Morgantown, WV
Crashed June 1, 1943
MACR none

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Assigned to the USAAF, 5th Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Texas #6".

Mission History
Took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby at 10:10 on an armed reconnaissance mission over the northern and southern coast of New Britain Island.

At 1410, six hours into the flight, this B-17 was attacked by a a dozen Japanese fighters. The last radio message received was from the Wide Bay area. The attacking Zeros hit the bomber's gas tank near the No. 2 engine, causing a fire and explosion, ejecting several members of the crew.

Five of the crew went down with bomber which crashed into the summit of Hong Kong Mountain, on the easterm aspect of Waterfall Bay, up the coast from Pomio.

Fates of the Crew
Fox, Green, Smith, Bukalski and DeVoss went down with the bomber.

Naumann, Cascio, Lewis, Alvin and probably Gardner were blown from the B-17 by the explosion.

Naumann and Cascio were wearing parachutes and were able to deploy them successfully and landed safely. Miraculously, Fox and Green also survived the crash. Fox was badly burned while Green had only two minor wounds in his left knee which eventually became gangrenous over the next week.

The four surviving crew: Naumann, Cascio, Green and Fox found each other and made contact with local people who assisted them and helped them to reach the coast.

At the crash site, the bodies of Lewis, Alvin, De Voss, Bukalski and Smith were located and identified by the surviving crew. No trace of Gardner was ever found.

On June 8, 1943 the group was captured by a Japanese Army patrol near a village and became prisoners of war (POW).

Postwar, the Japanese claimed that Green and Fox were taken to a hospital at Gasmata. Neither of were seen again and it is presumed they died or were executed. In fact, RAAF Searcher S/L Keith Rundle concluded both were taken to Mal Mal and executed.

Naumann and Cascio were transported to Rabaul and interned at the Navy POW camp. Both were tortured for information and denied food or medical care.

Cascio was transported to Japan with a group of prisoners, possibly on November 12, 1943. He was the only member of the crew to survive the war.

On November 25, 1943 Naumann and eleven other Allied prisoners were taken from the camp. Civilians who were interned at the same camp included Reverand Joseph Lamarre. They were told by the guards that the twelve prisoners were being taken to Japan. Two weeks later a group of Indian POWs informed Rev. Lamarre that the twelve had been beheaded on the outskirts of Rabaul. Nauman and five other 43rd Bomb Group B-17 crew members were executed includng four from B-17E 41-9011 (Neuman, Burnside, Mulligan and George) plus B-17E "Honi Kuu Okole" 41-9244 gunner Curry.

S/Sgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr. would later report:
"We were attacked by twelve Japanese fighter planes. They hit our gas tank, which caused out plane to catch on fire. The fire could not be controlled. Lieutenant Naumann, our pilot, ordered us to abandon the plane, but before we could do so the plane blew up approximately a minute an a half after it was hit. I was thrown out by the explosion. ...There were only two members of the crew who came down in parachutes. Lieutenant Naumann was one and I was the other. We landed in the jungle and were with the natives for six days. On the seventh day, while pretending to take us to New Guinea in a small boat, they led us to a coastal village where the Japanese were waiting for us."

The crash site was investigated RAAF search party led by S/L Keith Rundle on March 12, 1946. The wreckage was found at the summit of Hong Kong mountain, two and a half hours walk from the village of Rem. The team recovered the remains of at least three crew members along with a ring with the first two of three initials being A. H.

During 1987, the crash site was investigated by US Army CILHI with Brian Bennett.

Brian Bennett recalls the 1987 investigation:
"I recall fondly the CILHI team on that mission led by a Captain Benny Woodard who was a true officer and a gentleman. We humped in for two days and the last about 600 feet straight up. I was the scout with one local and i carried the 090 Stihl Chainsaw up with 36 inch bar plus the oil and gas. I cut the LZ and only then did the Huey turn up.

The wreckage is widely scattered. The wing tip is away from the two main areas of wreckage and the wing tip was used as shelter for a night by the crew before the locals took them down to a place called Ram village [not on the map as was moved to the coast back in the 1950's. Look for Tokai-Ram.

At 41-9207 I found the data plate in the tail, and recovered the external emergency life raft release cover. It is essential to get duplicate serial numbers or stencils from elsewhere on the aircraft. Four survived mid air explosion of aircraft but all later captured by Japanese after being turned in by local "Polis boi". Two late sent back to Japan and two wounded executed at Palmalmal. There were two local men at that time [1987] that had been in the party of locals that had gone to the crash site.

Should not forget that there are still crew missing from this aircraft and that the area was never gridded and swept by metal detector. Still crew missing on this one as two had "candled" when the ship blew up in the air. The two large pieces of ball turret were dug out by CILHI back in 1987. We found the navigator Gardener only. Janice Olson visited this site briefly years ago. She would only have seen the wreckage where the ball turret is."

RAAF Status Card B-17E 41-9207
Note: 43rd Bomb Group official history incorrectly notes this aircraft as a "B-24"

Family links:
  Ford Gardner (1902 - 1976)
  Ella Mae Green Wind (1903 - 2000)

Airplane, wings and "Died In Action Over New Brittain In memory of Lt Wilson G Gardner 11/23/1920 - 6/1/1943

Note: Entered the service from Utah.