ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 98441
Last updated: 27 November 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:02-SEP-1944
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic B29 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Owner/operator:444th BGp /676th BSqn USAAF
Registration: 42-6309
MSN: 3443
Fatalities:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wu Tai Shan Mountains, 55 miles SE of Hsi-chang, Sikang Province -   China
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Kharagpur Airfield, West Bengal, India
Destination airport:AAF Base A-1. Hsin-ching Airfeld, China
Narrative:
B-29-10-BW 42-6309: Delivered to the USAAF 16 January 1944 and assigned to the CBI (China-Burma-India Theater of Operations). Delivered to the 444th BG, 676th BS.

Presumed written off (destroyed) when went missing over the "Hump" (south eastern Himalaya Mountains) en-route from Kharagpur Airfield, West Bengal, India to USAAF Base A-1. Hsin-ching Airfeld, China on 2 September, 1944.(MACR 11296). All 10 on board (7 crew plus three passengers) were posted as MIA, believed KIA. The wreckage was not discovered until post war - in the early spring of 1946 - atop a 15,000 foot high cliff in the Wu Tai Shan Mountains, 55 miles SE of Hsi-chang, Sikang Province, China.

According to family records of the Airplane Commander, Captain Robert Spellman (published on line - see link #5):

"On September 2, 1944, Bobby's plane failed to return to the base and thus began three long years during which his fate was unknown. The last communication from his plane was from a wild and almost inaccessible region in western China, inhabited only by Lolo tribesmen. He reported no trouble. Three years later, after the War, these tribesmen found the wreckage of his plane where it hit near the summit of a 14,500 foot mountain peak. The entire crew was killed instantly.

In a letter to Irene Spellman dated April 2, 1946, Major General Edward F. Witsell, of the Adjutant General's office wrote as follows:

'Additional information contained in the Missing Air Crew Report indicates that at the time your husband's aircraft was last contacted, it was flying over territory sparsely settled and characterized by extremely high mountain ranges and dense jungles. A sketch map shows the location to be between the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers, in southwestern China.

Although there is no information available in this office which reveals the real fate of you husband and the rest of the crew, it was learned that the plane struck the very top of a 14,500 foot mountain peak of the Wu Tai Shan Range, approximately fifty-five miles southeast of Hsichang, Sikang Province, China. It is apparent that the altitude of the plane was insufficient to clear the high mountain and the crew was unaware of any immediate danger. Parts of the plane were found at the top of the mountain on the west slope.

No individual identity, partially or otherwise, could be established and since the investigation made at the scene of the crash indicated that no one could have survived, the Graves Registration Service recommended that the official status of the entire personnel be changed to KILLED, BODIES RECOVERED AND IDENTIFIED AS A GROUP.''

In view of the above information and the length of time which has elapsed without any indication of the survival of Captain Spellman, the records of the War Department have been amended to show that he was killed on 2 September 1944 when his plane struck a mountain peak of the Wu Tai Shan Range near Hsichang, China".

Interment was in a common grave at the U.S. Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri. The date of interment was September 2, 1949, five years to the very day after he was reported missing.

Sources:

1. http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/AARmonthly/Sep1944O.htm .
2. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html
3. http://usafunithistory.com/PDF/0600/676%20BOMB%20SQ.pdf
4. https://user.xmission.com/~tmathews/b29/56years/56years-4409.html
5. http://www.444thbg.org/apps/auth/login?why=mpw&try=1&wp=1&next=spellmannrobert.htm
6. http://revhowe.proboards.com/thread/102/plane-name


Related books:

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jun-2014 13:48 Uli Elch Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Damage]
08-Jun-2017 18:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
08-Jun-2017 18:04 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2020 15:53 DG333 Updated [Operator, Destination airport, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description