74th Fighter Squadron

In Memory Of Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch

23rd Fighter Group

A Cadet In Eagle Pass Texas

A P-40 Pilot In China

On October 6th,1944 ~ 2nd Lt. Robert H. Upchurch of the 74th Fighter Squadron 23rd Fighter Group flying a P-40N aircraft ~tail number 43-22786 in bad weather, crashed his aircraft into the side of a mountain in Hunan Province, China.The Guidong County locals traveled a long distance to the crash site near Ch'en Hsien to recover the badly damaged body and transport it back to Santi Mountain~a sacred place to the locals~ and prepare the body for burial.The body was wrapped in a red cloth and buried. A large funeral service was held where prayers were said and rice wine was drunk. A wooden cross was erected inscribed with Chinese characters indicating that this was an American Pilot a member of the Flying Tigers from a local base. Since this was a sacred place the grave site was visited often by the locals and the grave site maintained over the years.

In May 2005 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command solved the mystery of what happend to Lt.Upchurch. A team from the command dug up his remains and identified him through DNA samples obtained from his family. The remains have been transported back to High Falls,NC a small community near Carthage in Moore County for a formal military burial with a Fly-By performed by the present day members of the 74th Fighter Squadron. Thanks to one Mr.Huang a Chinese that was a young boy at the time of the crash and the rest of the viallagers that took care of the grave site these last sixty odd years Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchuch is ~HOME AT LAST~

Hoyle's Grave Site In China 2005

This is a photo of Lt.Upchurch's grave site as it appeared in May of 2005 on Santi Mountain~a sacred place~showing a wreath in place and the wooden cross with inscribed Chinese characters that identify him as an American pilot.The red arrow points to the cross and the wreath. The yellow arrow shows the path that was made by the villagers as they visited the grave site.

Hoyle's Memorial Site In China 2007

Here are two photos of the above grave site as it appears on Thursday morning, April 5, 2007,when Hoyle's nephew; Wayne Anthony and wife Paula,along with Dale Upchurch and his wife, Sue, and North Carolina Delegation members led by Senator Harris Blake arrived at the memorial site in Guidong County, Hunan Province, China. About 100 school children lined the walkway to the memorial site with paper flowers they had made to celebrate the occasion, Tomb Sweeping Day. The Chinese Memorial Day was purposely chosen for the dedication ceremony.A lasting Memorial to an American pilot hero,

A Loyal Keeper Of The Grave Site

This is a photo of Huang a 79 year old Chinese resident in the area where Lt.Upchurch's grave site was located. He was just a young boy at the time of the crash but he remembers the villagers bringing back the body of Lt.Upchurch and the burial ceramonies. He visited the grave site often to pray and care for the grave site.

Hoyle's Final Resting Place High Falls,N.C.


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