The Aleutians
The Lands of 50 mph Fog
The 10th Emergency Rescue Boat Squadron
11th United States Army Air Force Alaska - WWII Scapbooks: Robert Lockwood
[Robert Lockwood was the co-pilot of B-24 tail number 42-40080 that crashed near Herbert Island in the Aleutians on the 18th of June, 1943. The pilot, 1st Lt. James H. Jones was killed, and a crew member, S/Sgt Willard Crippen, was listed as missing. His body was not recovered. This is Robert's recollection of that event.]
"My crew came back from Amchitka and the Aleutians in April of 1944. I subsequently ended up as a flying instructor at Boise, Idaho before getting out of the service in the summer of 1945. I remember quite well the accident involving the loss of the B-24D. One doesn't forget an experience like that very easily. The crash occurred on June 18, 1943 off Herbert Island, one of the islands of the Four Mountains in the Aleutians. The airplane was a B-24D bomber belonging to the 404th Bombardment Squadron, and had a tail number of 42-40080. It was stationed at Amchitka at the time. There were thirteen men aboard the airplane, including Lt. Roy Lemons as part of the regular crew, and a Lt. Dixon and a sergeant whose name I don't remember who were passengers. The flight originated from Umnak and the destination was to be Adak. Bad weather forced us to attempt a return to Umnak but strong head winds caused us to use more fuel than we had anticipated and we elected to ditch the airplane when one tank went dry and one engine quit. The crew was notified to prepare for ditching an they braced themselves against anything solid they could find. I recall especially in the cockpit where we had seven men that there were very few places to find protection. Several backed up against the control stand which had sharp projections and knobs but was better than nothing. The men in the aft body backed up against the rear bomb bay bulkhead. The ditching was quite violent as there were heavy swells rolling off the lee of Herbert Island where we set down. The nose dug into the water immediately and the entire fuselage was filled with water. The impact smashed all of the cockpit greenhouse and completely tore the nose gear out of the airplane and left it floating on the water. Jones, the pilot, was apparently thrown out of his seat through the windshield as he was floating on the water when I got out and he was conscious but unable to help himself. He died later after getting him on the island. One crew member, S/Sgt Willard Crippen failed to escape from the rear of the airplane and it was believed that he was injured and couldn't make it to the waist gunners opening. The fuselage was completely submerged at the time. Two life rafts were inflated and we made it to the island as darkness began to close in. The island was a small barren piece of rock covered with tundra. We went down on the 18th of June and were rescued on the morning of the 20th. We were then taken to Umnak on the crash boat [P-145] and examined at the Base Hospital there. I do not remember the nature of the injuries to the rest of the crew, except that there were no broken bones and most of the injuries were cuts and bruises and sprains. Two of my crew members asked to be taken off flying status as a result of this crash and were put on ground duty. We got two good men to replace them and finished out our tour in the Aleutians as one of the best crews there, all members receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding service. The Crew Members and Passengers were: 1st Lt. James H. Jones, Jr., O-435788 (Pilot, killed) 1st Lt. Robert Lockwood, O-729348 (Co-Pilot) 1st Lt. Brendan Dixon, O-661085, (Passenger) 2nd Lt. Merle E. Arthur, O-670072 (Crew) 2nd Lt. Roy L. Lemons, O-668977 (Crew) T/Sgt Clifford E. Davis, 18001150 (Crew) T/Sgt Harry E. Huntington, 6914369 (Passenger) T/Sgt John A. Tupholme, 15017881 (Crew) S/Sgt Arthur P. Philbrick, 19039944 (Crew) S/Sgt George F Conrad, 33087548 (Crew) S/Sgt Willard F. Crippen, 19039944 (Crew, missing) S/Sgt John E. Jenkins, 6994834 (Crew) Cpl. Robert Roberti, 11041031 (crew) About myself, since leaving the service, I finished up my college education at the University of Washington and have been employed with the Boeing Company as an engineer ever since. I got married when I cam back from the Aleutians and have two boys, one who is in college and the younger will go into high school this fall. We live midway between Seattle and Tacoma. Robert's address was, on May 8th, 2001when this was written: Robert Lockwood 1212 S.W. 300th Pl. Federal Way, Wash.
Current Update: 3 Dec 2021 Last Update: 04 Jan 2013 11:54 Originally Published: 22 Jun 2001
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