National Underwater and Marine Agency Australia
(ABN 35393 390 576)
Tel / Fax: +61 2 49 822 840
Col. Robert or Linda Morgan
  Wayne Sampey, Project Director
NUMA Australia


Search Begins for WWII Bomber
Which Led First B-29 Raid on Tokyo

Colonel Robert Morgan, who gained famed in WWII as pilot of the B-17 Memphis Belle, is leading a marine search project with the National Underwater and Marine Agency Australia, (NUMA AUSTRALIA) to locate his bomber Dauntless Dotty, which led the first B-29 raid on Tokyo on November 24, 1944.  NUMA is world famous for locating and bringing up the Confederate submarine Hunley, now on display in Charleston, S.C.  The agency also located and filmed the ship Carpathia, which rescued survivors of Titanic.

Morgan’s biography  “The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle”, was released in May 2002 and includes chapters about his B-29 missions over Japan.  After completing 25 missions in the B-17 Memphis Belle, Morgan and his crew returned to the U.S. in June 1943 and flew the war-torn Memphis Belle to 32 American cities on a warbond/public relations tour to thank the American public for supporting the war effort.

He then volunteered to train in B-29’s, took command of the 869th Sq., part of the 497 BG, and arrived on Saipan in his B-29 Dauntless Dotty in October 1944.  On November 24, 1944 he led the first B-29 raid on Tokyo with General “Rosie” O’Donnell on board as mission commander.  In April 1945 General O’Donnell ordered him home “before his luck ran out”.

A ferry crew was flying Dotty home from her Saipan base when she crashed on takeoff at 3:17a.m. On June 6, 1945 from another Pacific Island.  The pilot was supposed to overnight at the refueling stop, but decided to continue on to Honolulu.  According to eyewitness reports from the official accident investigation, the B-29 was airborne for about a minute when she impacted the water, skipped and hit the water again.  She submerged in about 30 seconds.  Only three of the 13 on board survived.  The bodies of the other ten have never been recovered.  Only the copilot is living today.

Morgan and his wife, Linda, “to whom I owe much credit for locating a copy of the 25-page accident report and doggedly pursuing a salvage operator to undertake this search”, want to capture and record as much detail as is possible and commemorate the 10 men who went down with Dotty.   “Linda is actively trying to locate family members of the ten who died”, said Morgan.  Especially those of Pfc. Lowell B. Spivey, Windsor, N.C.  Spivey’s two other brothers had already been killed in combat and he had hitched a ride on Dotty to his new non-combat duty assignment in Hawaii.  The pilot, William Kelley, did not know he had a daughter born the day before he crashed and died.  Please contact Linda Morgan if you can provide any knowledge of  the crew members (see list at end of press release).

According to Wayne Sampey, NUMA Australia’s Project Director, “we have engaged new and specialist technology to detect the aircraft.  In conjunction with our project scientists, deep ocean team, metallurgists, researchers and model systems technicians, the Morgans will have an active and overseeing consultancy to the project team providing knowledge and experience with B-29 aircraft.  They provided us with the accident report, Morgan’s flight logs, and have put us in touch with experts, including several from The Boeing Company”.

Sampey said “the project team has an active analysis crew detailing the circumstances of the crash and has commenced modeling and crash scenario restructuring and test tank activities, which will be completed and reported on with in the immediate few weeks”.

“NUMA Australia has located several lost WW2 aircraft in difficult and isolated locations and NUMA has extreme confidence in the project team structured for the B-29 expedition”.

“When the aircraft is found”, Sampey says “it will be due to the continued work of the Morgans, supported by the NUMA Australia Teams.  The NUMA Australia web site will feature a Dauntless Dotty Project section for people to actively follow. This should be accessible in the near future at

“NUMAVISION the Project Documentary Arm of NUMA Australia will produce a complete documentary on the project in conjunction with Colonel Morgan, It is a real honor for our guys to work with such a remarkable man”.

If you can provide any information on the relatives of the crew & witnesses to the crash, please contact

Linda Morgan

B-29 Dauntless Dotty Ferry Crew Members

Bomb Wing, 497th Bomb Group, 870 Bomb Squadron, APO 237
Capt. William A. Pilot Tifton, GA  
1st Lt. John Copilot Bradley, IL SURVIVOR
1st Lt. William Navigator Detroit, MI  
1st Lt. Roy E. Jr. Navigator Radford, VA  
1st Lt. Carl W. Engineer Chicago, IL  
S/Sgt. Otto B. Jr. Radio Op. Conway, AK  
S/Sgt. Albert Radio Op.    
T/Sgt. Glenn W. Gunner Salt Lake City, UT  
S/Sgt. Thurman Gunner Wichita, KS  
S/Sgt. Charles S. Gunner Memphis, TN SURVIVOR (now deceased)
S/Sgt.Glenn F. Gunner Waldron, IL SURVIVOR (now deceased)
Hq. Western Pacific Base Command, APO 244, 20th AF
Maj. Louis J. Passenger    
572nd Air Material Sc., 91st Air Service, APO 237
Pfc Lowell B. Passenger Windsor, NC  
EYEWITNESSES TO Dauntless Dotty's crash - June 6, 1945 3:17 am.
Capt. Leon
A. Jacobson Air Corp On Duty Operations Officer. Observed pilot appeared tired; asked pilot to overnight and get some sleep. Pilot refused.
Cpl Robert
L. Marx U.S. Marine Corp Easy Beach security post guard. Observed takeoff.
Pfc Elliott
Schemidt   crash truck driver on standby at parking position #4
S/Sgt Richard
M. Dillon Air Corp Control Tower Operator - observed takeoff
Cpl Francis
J. McCann Air Corp Control Tower Operator - observed takeoff
Lt. W H.
Sutherland   Airstrip Patrol Boat P0560, picked up survivors
Ens. J. A.
Hansen USN Officer of the Deck - observed takeoff
J. L.
Berger USNR Deck Watch - observed takeoff
F. A.
Samson USNR Deck Watch - observed takeoff
T. Sad???
    Observed takeoff. Swimmer who rescued copilot Neville
J. S.
Sparks USNR talked to copilot Neville (survivor) after rescue