Confirmation of the interment of Walter D. McLean's remains at Golden Gate Cemetery.
lem (Brasil)-Borenquin (Costa Rica) and finally
Morrison Field in Palm Beach Florida or Hunter
Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. The first
crews were to set out on the long journey home
between June 3 and 6 and selected pilots were
busy practicing instrument and night flying.
On June 9 Walter McLean and William McMillan
were reunited in the same cockpit to perform
such a training flight. After the movie in the airport movie theater ended, they got on board of
43-36226. This aircraft was brand new when McMillan flew it on his twelfth mission and in the letter home, he complained that Germans had put
ninety holes into his shiny, new airplane! There
was no such a threat now, the night training flight was to proceed without problems. But it was
not to be the case. Shortly after the take-off, due
to unknown causes, the aircraft burst into flames
and crashed into the sea barely 1,000 ft (300 m)
from the end of the runway. Both pilots perished.
McMillan ‘s body was recovered during the same
night, McLean’s body on the following day. In 2007
Walter’s brother, James McLean recalled:
“When the telegram arrived, I opened the door
and saw the Western Union messenger standing
there. My family was devastated of course; but it
was even more poignant because the war was
over, and he was expected back almost any day.
My mother never quite recovered from the shock.
The body was returned a couple of years later and
was buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
I think of him often – I'm 76 now, he died when he
was only 22."
The last airplane with 310th BG personnel landed
at Savannah airport on June 19. But the pilots who
two months earlier nursed badly shattered Angel
of Mercy back to the home base were not among
The author would like to thank Daniel Setzer of
the 37th Bomb Wing Association for invaluable
help with documents and additional information.
428th Bomb Squadron Chronicle and Combat Reports
57th Bomb Wing Association Bulletin (Winter 2007,
Oakland Tribune, 1944
Over the Med - 340th Bombardment Group (Medium)
B-25J-10-NC, 43-35982, 428th BS, 310th BG, 12th AF,
Ghisonaccia, Corsica, France, April 1945
INFO Eduard - September 2021