Crew 21 was recovering from
its terrifying experience and awaiting a gunner to replace
Harrison, the airplane commander passenger (Capt Cornelius
W. Kobler) that had survived the ditching, took Crew 21's
replacement aircraft, and his crew, on a mission. They
approximate time of take-off of their plane was 7:00 PM
25 May 1945. The time they were over the target area,
"Tokyo" was about 2:00 AM 26 May when the crew
was lost. Source: "Butler Co Veterans
of WWII" by Richard G. Curry
May 26th at night we were flying in over north Tokio (sic)
on a mission. Comming (sic) in from Mount Fuji towards
the Shiebea (sic) Peninsula when were caught in the searchlights.
We kept comming (sic) in and dropped our bombs on the
target. Soon after we were hit by flak in the right wing
and # 3 engine had caught fire. Engine was feathered and
the fire was put out. Soon after that # 2 engine was hit
and on fire. Engineer tried to put it out but it kept
burning beyond the firewall. Fire spread rapidly and the
Cpt.'s manuvering (sic) around couldn't blow out the fire.
Soon it had burned half the wing off and was getting near
our center wing tank. The blister next to me was melting
and the plane looked as if she would blow up right away.
The Captain was planning on putting in Tokyo Bay and ditching
it there. He gave us our choice weather(sic) to bailout
or stay. The radioman was in the back with the gunners
and no message was sent. I jumped out of the plane with
the other gunners right behind me. Weather(sic) they ever
jumped I'll never know. I was on fire and by the time
I got it out, pulled my ripcord, I could see nothing of
the plane. I landed safely in a tree and was picked up
by the by the Japanese two nights later. I never did hear
anything else about my crew.
above is the written account (shown as written) of Sgt Harry
Slater, Jr., CFC Gunner on this crew in reference to a letter
from Lt Col John J. Smith, Air Corps, Chief Notification
Section, Personnel Services Division, AC/AS-1 Subject: Flight
Officer Fred Graesslin dated 5 November 1945. This was included
in the information provided by Jim Kasmarek.
The following document
is in PDF format it can be viewed and printed by
view MACR # 14511 & related documents click here
The following comes from Ken Lummus who is the son
of Capt Kobler who recent found our web site.
They were hit by anti-craft fire and eventually my dad said,
"Bail out...we're going in." Only one man, Harry
Slater, got out and spent the rest of the war in a concentration
camp. My mom had heard one man survived but never found
him. "About 6 years ago mom was reading the Reno papers
about some speakers at a Memorial Day or Veterans Day gathering.
This man described being the only survivor of a B 29 over
Tokyo. It turned out to be Harry Slater. My mom and brother
went to see him and learned quite a lot. He gave them some
articles he'd writtem about the whole thing (never published).
Evidently, he was a drifter and when I drove up to see him,
he'd moved on and nobody knows where he is.
A wing burned off and the plane went into a spin. Harry
was more or less thrown out the door. He saw the face of
a dead Kamikaze pilot still in his plane which was stuck
to the tail assembly.
following was provided by Sparky Corradina of the 40th BG
On 25-26 May 1945, B-29 (airframe number 42-94079, 314BW
39BG) crashed on the farm of Yabunodai, Maruya, Makida-village
(now, Kisarazu-city), Kimitsu-county, Chiba-prefecture (One
of the lost 26 aircrafts that participated in Tactical Mission
183, Target: Tokyo Urban Area).
aircraft rammed with a Japanese fighter. 10 crew members
including Aircraft Commander Kobler were killed on crash.
Harry J. Slater was arrested, sent to Tokyo Military Police
and came back to U.S. after the war.
Cpl David R. Curry being listed "DED" (Declared
Dead) further research turned up that the remains were crashed
with the aircraft and it is supposed that the remains could
not be indentified - this may explain why Curry is listed
Marker at Jefferson Barracks
National Cemetery, St Louis, MO.
Photo Source: Butler County Veterans of
WWII by Richard G.Curry, cousin of David R. Curry, TG
to information found on the Interment.net
web site the 9 of 10 men lost on the 26 May 1945 Tokyo
Urban Area Mission are interned at Jefferson Barracks
National Cemetery St. Louis, Missouri. d. 05/26/1945,
Plot: 78 0 978-980, bur. 03/23/1950
remains of the crew were originally buried by a Japanese
farmer and were later transferred to the military cemetary
at Yokahoma from where they were transferred to Jefferson
Update: 20 Nov 2007 - Cpl George Winford Roberts' remains were returned to Newport, Arkansas where he was interred in the family plot at Sandhill Cemetery in Auvergne, AR. just a few miles south of Newport - Maj Matt May, USAF, great nephew of Cpl George W. Roberts.
to Jim Kasmarek for providing us with this information
he found. While researching his father's childhood and
WWII days, he was told that his father's childhood friend
was Fred Graesslin, who served in the Pacific Theater,
but had died during the war. Further, Graesslin's brother,
who Jim had contacted was able to tell him that his bother
(F/O Graesslin) served on a B-29 as a Navigator he believed.
Upon further research in an effort to find out more about
Graesslin for Karmarek's father he found there was a Missing
Air Crew Report (MACR) #14511 and obtained it from the
National Archives and found our web site as a result of
an internet search.
names of Kobler & his crew appear on the 39th
Bomb Group Casualties List but until receiving this
information it wasn't known by some they were all from
the same crew.
Our thanks to Jim
Kasmarek for this valuable piece of history. He can
be contacted via email by clicking on his name.
with additional information regarding this crew please contact
61st Squadron Crew Index