Mr. Stout, thanks for the info you provided.
Not to derail this thread on Col. MacKeachie, I was wondering if I may ask you some further questions about the ill-fated flight (41-1708).
First to all my Grandfather, 1st Lt. Hugh P. Minor was also one of the passengers of the plane on which Col. MacKeachie flew on. Based on newspaper records, I was aware of the recovery of Major Mills’s body on the beach at Brazil but I was unaware of the second life raft being found by the USS Kearney. I was wondering if you can share where you found this info.
Also you have provided some details on the Brazil life-raft which were not covered in the newspaper articles our family had access to. We did not know about the number of life jackets found and the check signed by Col MacKeachie.
Do you know if the id of the six dog-tags found in the bag were ever released? Also do you know if a complete list of passengers exists for this flight?
Here is some further info which you may know about but did not cover in your book. Flight 41-1708 had a flight crew of six. For passengers there were seven United States Army officers and enlisted men and 13 members of the British air force components.
Capt. Orval Eknes, Scanlon Minn., pilot of the transport.
Capt. Felton B. Lancaster, Mexia, Tex., co-pilot.
Second Lt. Joseph F. Peoples, Jersey City, N.J., navigator.
Master Sgt. Alvin A. Young, Bossier City, La., radio operator.
Sgt. James N. Clauss, Washington, Ind., crew member.
Sgt. Charles W. McKain, Franklin, Pa., crew chief.
First Lt. John A Byler
First Lt. Hugh P. Minor
Major Arthur Mills
(These men were returning from having delivered a B-17 to Africa from Miami. Major Mills was the pilot, 1st Lt. Minor was the co-pilot, 1st Lt. Byler was the navigator.)
Lt. Col. Russell Reed Brunner
Col. Douglas C. MacKeachie
Unfortunately I don’t have any other names of the passengers. Do you know where I may find a list?
One other item not mentioned in your book, in addition to the six dog tags they found a notebook that belonged to 1st Lt. Byler. In the notebook was drawn a prophetic skull and crossbones and a crude sketch of a grave on a page dated January 15, a few days before the flight. The notebook contained no other entry or writings about the flight.
There is very good info about the flight and the search in the book: THE EAGLE IN THE EGG, by OLIVER LA FARGE, pg. 319.
Here is a link to a site in Brazil that provides (detailed/graphic) info about the discovery of the life raft that washed ashore with Major Mills’s body.https://tokdehistoria.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/memories-of-w...