Sorry for being away for so long. Like just about everyone I have been distracted by other things going on in the world right now. Anyhow, I am back at it with a couple of updates.
The first update relates to my post in March of this year about the crash and rescue of a 418th crew in Dutch New Guinea in 1944.
The update is that the book is now available as is a website (details later in this post). The book is titled “KAIS: A true story of a daring rescue in the swamps of New Guinea, summer 1944″
Here a summary of the story:
On Thursday 27 July 1944 a B-25 bomber of the 418th Night Fighter Squadron is on a routine mission over the waters surrounding New Guinea near the Birds Head Peninsula. The crew sights a Japanese schooner and start their attack run, flying low and fast over the water. The attack succeeds but the bomber is hit and it’s pilot, 2Lt Ira M. Barnett, cannot fly it back to base. He decides on a crash landing in a remote swamp area, some 300 miles behind enemy lines. Barnett puts the plane down safely, air gunner Harold “Chief” Tantaquidgeon takes over command in the swamp.
Navigator Tom Wright wrote: “At the second attempt he slid over the water and grass and we heard tsching, tsching, bushes hitting the wings. Suddenly the plane swung to the left, breaking in two just behind the bomb bay. Chief and Pete were thrown out. The wing had hit a tree, too thick to break”
A rescue team, led by Dutch 2nd Lieutenant Louis Rapmund and Australian Army Captain ‘Mac’ Gillespie sets out from the island of Biak to save the crew. Flown in by Catalina flying boat, river Kais is their only way in and out of this green hell of jungle and swamp. For three weeks their small group of Allied soldiers use the Kais to fight both their human enemy and nature to find the crew and bring them back to safety.
This is an extraordinary story of survival and heroism of Allied soldiers and air men; American, Australian, Dutch and Indonesian, supported by the local Papua’s.
In 2019 the author followed in the footsteps of the rescue team, trying to find the wreck of the bomber. With a group of five he travelled up the Kais river and into the swamp. It resulted in an unexpected meeting.
The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle version at this link:
You can also find more details on the website that is dedicated to this expedition Airwarnewguinea
A second expedition is planned in 2021. How cool is that!!!!
A big thanks to Bas Kreuger, the author of the book, for getting in touch with me thru this website and allowing me to publish details of this story.
As for my second update, here is a teaser: “A 12 year old finds the “army issued” personal diary of his father, a member of the original 417th NFS….”
Stay tuned as I get the details of this diary uploaded & posted on this site.
Cheers and Stay Safe!