Son of Kenneth Woodward Butterfield and Edythe M. (Defrates).
Royal served as a Second Lieutenant and Bombardier on B-24J "Maxwell House II" #43-73245, 373rd Bomber Squadron, 308th Bomber Group, Heavy, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.
Based on his enlistment record, he resided in Los Angeles County, California prior to the war. At his family request his state of birth was added to the Tablet's of the Missing, Nebraska.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on March 26, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a Sales clerk and also as Single, without dependents.
B-24J #43-73245 took off on November 27, 1943 from Pandaveswar Airfield, India on a bombing mission over Insein, Myanmar (Burma). They were attacked by Japanese fighter planes which damaged their engines and the B-24 crashed approximately 150 miles northwest of Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma). At least eight parachutes were seen during bailout.
Those who were able to bail out included 2nd Lt Butterfield, Sgt Cook, S/Sgt Hart, Sgt McClung, 1st Lt Meredith, 2nd Lt Rich, 2nd Lt Stephens, and S/Sgt Temples.
Before reaching the ground, five of the crew were reportedly either shot while parachuting down or killed once they hit the ground. They included Sgt Cook, S/Sgt Hart, 1st Lt Meredith, 2nd Lt Stephens, and S/Sgt Temples.
2nd Lt Butterfield, Sgt McClung, and 2nd Lt Rich were all captured and taken to the Rangoon POW camp in Myanmar (Burma).
Royal "Died While A POW" of Beri-Beri at the Rangoon POW camp during the war.
He was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.
Service # O-728565
The above information on the crash and crew were provided by the only survivor of the crash, Sgt. Joseph C. McClung.
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Airmen who perished from B-24 #43-73245:
Butterfield, Royal D ~ 2nd Lt, Bombardier, NE
Cook, John F ~ Sgt, Gunner, WA
Hart, Fred W ~ Sgt, Radio Operator, NY
Meredith, Richard W ~ 1st Lt, Commander, IA
Pero, Charles E ~ Sgt, Gunner, NY
Rich, Joseph C ~ 2nd Lt, Navigator, ME
Ryan, Edward F ~ 2nd Lt, Co-Pilot, NY
Smeal, Thomas C ~ S/Sgt, Gunner, PA
Stephen, Thomas A ~ 2nd Lt, Pilot, IN
Temples, Ewell C ~ Sgt, Gunner, GA
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Airmen who survived from B-24 #43-73245:
McClung, Joseph C., Sgt, Engineer, AR
Historical Note: The Japanese Army "did not" report that they had a prison camp at Rangoon to the U.S. Military until after the war.
Bio & Crew Report by:
Russell S. "Russ" Pickett