344th BG Accidents and Killed Without Loss of Plane In Enemy Territory

344th BG Accidents and Killed Without Loss of Plane In enemy territory.

One of the sources for this page: FATAL ARMY AIR FORCES AVIATION ACCIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1941-1945. by Anthony J. Mireles

The following is a collection of planes and personnel lost not including those reported in the MACR list. These losses occurred on Friendly Territory even though the initial damage may have happened over Enemy Territory. These type of incidents are not usually reported on MACRs. This summary is in text rathre than PDF form so that those using search engines will have a better chance to locate this document. If you need to contact me for more information, or to offer additions or corrections, please contact me (damonbok@hotmail.com).

web search completed up to Jan. 1, 1943 (Drane Field)(497th)
Microfilm p1196 history of the month section

Info from: 344th BG Accidents and Killed Without Loss of Plane
Page # as per 344th Bomb Group Silver Streaks by Lambert D. Austin and 344th BG.
Stansted KIA Spreadsheet
3.   344th Aircraft List Spreadsheet

(p16)  November 2, 1942. That same day brought the first casualties to the young organization. At 11 o’clock that morning 1st Lieutenant William P Malasky and 2nd Lieutenant William E Kyle of the 496th Bomb Squadron died as the result of an airplane crash. The accident occurred at McDill field while they were flying a B-26 medium bomber belonging to the 21st bombardment group. (MacDill Field)
1st Lt. Willian P. Malasky
2nd Lt. William E. Kyle

(Spread Sheet) November 18, 1942. 41-17611 494th  Damaged cat.5 in a take off accident at MacDill Field, Florida on 18/11/42. The aircraft suffered a blown tire on take-off, ran off the runway, collapsing the undercarriage. The pilot was Capt. Alvin V Anderson. The aircraft was written off, and was condemned on 26/11/42.

(Spread Sheet) November 18, 1942. 41-17711 497th The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Raymond L Hines undershot the runway on landing, and collapsed the landing gear. (344th BG / 497th BS in training). Tampa, Florida survey voucher, dated 19/11/42 being routed. MacDill to condemned per budget report of 26/11/42.

(Spread Sheet) November 25, 1942. 41-17660 495th  The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Jefferson A Turner (344th BG / 495th BS in training), was attempting a single engine emergency landing, but overshot the airfield, and was written off. Condemned per budget report, dated 1/12/42. According to the Aircraft Record Card, this aircraft was due to be assigned to Fort Myers on 26/11/42, the day after it crashed at that airfield. This aircraft serial appears on a B-26 training video, on the OP’s board, as 335th BG / 476th BS, “A” Flight, with pilot listed as Herndon.

(Spread Sheet) December 3, 1942. 41-17606 496th Crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, 100 yards off shore of Venice, Florida at 2155 hours EWT on 3/12/42, killing the crew of seven. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Parker J Matthews was flying on a simulated night bombing mission. AAF officer, Major. Frank T Hanby, a resident of Venice, reported that the aircraft had been flying low and fast over Venice just prior to crashing into the water. Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the crash. Listed as 344th BG / 496th BS in training.
2nd Lt. Parker J Matthews (killed) Pilot
2nd Lt. J C Workman (killed) Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Woodrow H Hiebert (killed) Bomb
2nd Lt. Daniel J Murphy (killed) Nav
S/Sgt. Henry Reicher (killed) Radio/Gun
S/Sgt. John E Chase (killed) Eng/Turret
Sgt. Marvin N Paige (killed) Arm/Tail Gun

(Spread Sheet) December 8, 1942. All killed in a plane crash in Tampa Bay (MacDill Field)  Crashed into Tampa Bay at 1213 hours EWT on 8/12/42, shortly after take-off from MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida, killing the crew of six. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. John E Williams took off from runway 9 at MacDill Field, and shortly after lift off began a climbing turn to the left, heading NE. It was seen skidding along 45 degrees to its heading, then violently yaw to the left with the nose climbing all the time, stall and rollover into a spin to the left from about 300 feet. The aircraft crashed into shallow water, one mile NE of MacDill Field. Investigators found a broken fuel pump drive shaft on the port engine, which caused a loss of power, and loss of control. The aircraft was scheduled for a formation flight and simulated bombing mission with another B-26. Listed as 344th BG / 495th BS in training.

2nd Lt. John E. Williams, Pilot
2nd Lt. Clarence G. Parsons, Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Norman J. Linne, Bombardier
S/Sgt. David H. Brown Jr.
S/Sgt; John Mazzarino
Sgt. Samuel J. Lamond

(p17) December 28, 1942. The second casualty to the group happened the day of this movement December 28, 1942. At 2230 that evening four men of the group were reported missing on a routine flight from McDill field to Duncan Field Texas. Later determined as having crashed, the B-26 six carried to their deaths 2nd Lieutenant William A. Booth, Pilot; F/O Raymond J Jewett, Co-Pilot; 2nd Lieutenant Edward E. Stevens, Bombardier-Navigator; and S/Sgt. George A Kennedy, all of the 496th Bomb Squadron and two passengers; Major Joseph C Nate of the 20th bombardment wing and his wife 3rd Officer Elenor C. Nate, WAAC., United States Army Recruiting Office San Antonio Texas. (Drane Field)

2nd Lt. William A. Booth, Pilot
F/O Raymond J. Jewett, Co-Pilot
Lt. Edward E. Stevens, Bombardier-Navigator
S/Sgt. George A. Kennedy
Maj. Joseph C. Nate, 20th Bombardment Wing, Passenger
3rd Officer Eleanor C. Nate, WAAC (wife).

(p17) December 29, 1942. This tragedy was followed by the death of 2nd Lt. William A. Lasby of the 497th Bombardment Squadron at 11:00 December 29, as a result of unsuccessful attempt to open his parachute. (Drane Field)(497th)

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 1, 1943 (Drane Field)(497th) 41-17592  497th The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. James G Sandford was taking off for a night cross country navigational training flight from Drane Field to West Palm Beach, Florida. After opening up the throttles on the take-off run, the pilot noticed that the airspeed indicator was not registering. He closed the throttles and tried to stop, but the aircraft ran off the end of the NE-SW runway and into a ditch, which collapsed the nose wheel, causing extensive damage to the airframe and engines. None of the crew were injured. Listed as 344th BG / 497th BS in training. The airspeed indicator was not registering because the pilots had failed to remove the pitot tube cover before flight. Engines, P&W R-2800-43, serials: 41-37641 (port), and, 41-39064 (starboard). The aircraft was surveyed and condemned by the 312th Service Group at Lakeland, Florida on 6/1/43. Marked “942” on the rear fuselage.

2nd Lt. James G Sandford (escaped unhurt) Pilot
2nd Lt. William N Hollis (escaped unhurt) Co-Pilot
2nd Lt. Richard F Edwards (escaped unhurt) Nav
S/Sgt. Gordon W Biddle (escaped unhurt) Radio/Gun
Sgt. William A Gage (escaped unhurt) Eng/Turret
S/Sgt. Raymond E Brown (escaped unhurt) Arm/Tail Gun

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 1, 1943  41-18085 495th Wrecked in a landing accident at Lakeland, Florida  on 13/1/43. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Frank J Walker (344th BG / 495th BS in training), undershot the runway, landing on soft dirt, which collapsed the landing gear. The aircraft caught fire and was destroyed.

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 1, 1943 41-18111 494th Crashed into Tampa Bay, 1 mile East of Pinnela, Florida on 1/1/43 during a training flight out of Lakeland Army Air Field. The pilot, 1st Lt.  John E Criswell and all the crew were killed (344th BG / 494th BS in training). Cause unknown.

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 24, 1943 (Drane Field) 41-18111 494th Gwynn H Robinson Pilot. Damaged cat.5 (written off) in a landing accident at Drane Field, Lakeland, Florida on 24/1/43. The aircraft flown by Gwynn H Robinson, ground looped and was wrecked (344th BG / 497th BS in training).

(Spread Sheet) March 6, 1943 (Drane Field)(497th) All killed on cross country flight near Houston, TX.  Crashed 8 miles NNW of Moore Field, Mission, Texas at 1445 hours on 17/1/43, killing the crew of seven. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Luther N Osborne, assigned to the 344th BG, had taken off from Moore Field and was heading back to its home base at Drane Field, Lakeland, Florida, via Duncan Field, San Antonio, Texas. The accident investigators were unable to determine the cause of the crash, but a cowboy who was working in the area, saw the aircraft enter a dive towards the ground from about 200 feet, where it exploded in flames on impact, scattering wreckage over a wide area. Also killed were: Sgt. A D Snyder, Sgt. J W Lloyd, Sgt. D S Bivens, and, Cpl. L L Lewark (crew positions unknown).
2nd Lt. Osborne
2nd Lt. Paul T. Movelle
F/O Gerald S. Linder
Sgt. Joseph W. Lloyd
Sgt. David S. Bevens
Sgt. Arthur D. Snyder
Corp. Lawrence S. Lewark

(p19) Approximately May 3, 1943. A short time later Colonel Hilger and his party departed for an overseas destination, afterwards learned to be North Africa. Two ships of the formation failed to reach this objective. One plane in command of Captain Cletus Wray (who was personally interviewed concerning this flight), Lieutenant John R. Stokes, Co-Pilot; 2nd Lieutenant John Guither, Navigator; and Private H.C. August developed engine trouble in the right motor about 300 miles from a South American take off point and finally went dead.  After flying on one motor for some hours, hoping to reach Ascension Island, lost altitude and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. All members survive this harrowing ordeal, and after floating for 4 1/2 days in their rubber boat, were picked up by the USS Marblehead and rescued.

(p19) Approximately May 3, 1943. The other plane piloted by Lt. Harvey Johnston, Lieutenant Prickett CoPilot; Lt. Marcelgum, Navigator; and S/Sgt. Sergeant O’Steen, Radio/Gunner, crashed in the water about 40 miles off the Ascension Islands, killing all the occupants but Lieutenant Johnston, who floating with the aid of his Mae West, was rescued and brought ashore. Cause of this crash was an engine that literally blew up, according to Lieutenant Johnston‘s report. All surviving officers subsequently returned to the United States and will reassigned to the 344th Bomb Group.
Lt. Harvey Johnston, Pilot
Lieutenant Prickett CoPilot (KIA)
Lt. Marcelgum, Navigator (KIA)
S/Sgt. Sergeant O’Steen, Radio/Gunner (KIA)

(Spread Sheet) June 3, 1943. 41-17605 497th  Crashed ten miles ENE of Newton, Texas at 1752 hours on 6/3/43, killing four crew members. The radio operator, S/Sgt. James Thompson managed to bail out and received only minor injuries. The aircraft flown by 1st Lt. Paul E Smith had taken off from Lake Charles AAF, Louisiana on a routine training flight. At around 11,000 feet the pilot attempted a slow roll, and during the maneuver the aircraft stalled, falling into a flat spin to the left. He partially recovered the aircraft, but it went into a conventional spin to the left, where it remained until it struck the ground, exploding in flames. Just after the aircraft had entered the second spin the pilot rang the bailout bell, and opened the bomb bay doors with the emergency switch. Sgt. Thompson bailed out at 7,000 feet and landed two miles from where the aircraft crashed. The tail gunner, S/Sgt. Charles Arthur Colson also managed to bail out but had deployed his chute before clearing the aircraft, and it fouled on part of the aircraft dragging him down with it to his death. He was thrown clear just before impact, and his body was found suspended in trees about 50 yards from the main wreckage. The rest of the crew were unable to bail out and went down with the aircraft. Listed as 344th BG / 497th BS in training. Deridder AAF, Texas to survey the aircraft on 7/3/43.
1st Lt. Paul Elmer Smith (killed) Pilot
2nd Lt. Richard F Edwards (killed) Bomb.
S/Sgt. James Thompson (bailed out and survived) Radio/Gun
S/Sgt. R Mac Corbett (killed) Eng/Turret
S/Sgt. Charles Arthur Colson (killed) Arm/Tail Gun

(Spread Sheet) July 14, 1943. Killed in a jeep accident.
Lt. I.W. Arno (495)

(Spread Sheet) Dec. 21, 1943 41-35234 On the 21/12/43, this aircraft flown by Capt. Elden Z Shimmin developed an engine fire whilst out on a routine training flight. The fire extinguisher failed to put out the fire, and with no emergency landing field nearby, the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. He stayed with the aircraft and headed it out towards the Gulf of Mexico before jumping himself. As soon as he bailed out the aircraft flipped over into a spin and crashed in a wooded area, 7 miles East of Sarasota, Florida.
(p23) In addition, routine individual flights were made. During one of these flights a B-26 piloted by Captain Elton Z. Shimmin developed a fire in one of its engines well flying at 8000 feet. Efforts failed to put out the fire by the emergency apparatus controlled from the cockpit. Captain Shimmin realizing he could not safely return to his field, and as no other field was available in the area, decided to abandon ship. The plane had lost altitude and at 5000 feet, the crew bailed out on his instructions. Captain Shimmin remained with the plane long enough to head it for a crash landing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, near which she was flying at the time, before he leapt to safety. The plane, however, due to the torque created by the loss of one motor, turned about and crashed in a wooded area. It was the first accident since March, 1943, that the loss of a plane took place, but happily, no casualties resulted, all of the crew having parachuted to safety.
Was used as a 344th BG training aircraft whilst at Drane Field. On the 21/12/43, this aircraft flown by Capt. Elden Z Shimmin developed an engine fire whilst out on a routine training flight. The fire extinguisher failed to put out the fire, and with no emergency landing field nearby, the pilot ordered the crew to bail out. He stayed with the aircraft and headed it out towards the Gulf of Mexico before jumping himself. As soon as he bailed out the aircraft flipped over into a spin and crashed in a wooded area, 7 miles East of Sarasota, Florida.

Unit Moved to Station A-59, Stansted Mountfitchet Feb 20, 1944

(P25) Late February 1944. The long flight of planes to England was unmarred by accident except at Belem, Brazil. Here while parked, the airplane piloted by Captain Cletus Wray was run into by a B-17 airplane which had taxied off the runway, damaging the Marauder sufficiently to put it out of operation for the trip across. The plane was abandoned and Captain Wray proceeded to need to Natal, Brazil in Colonel Vance’s ship.

Plane could be 42-95936 “Wray & Son / The Fourth Term” N3-K 496th Flown overseas to the UK via the Southern Ferry Route (Listed as Carribean Wing), departing the USA on 24/12/43. The aircraft record card then lists, SOXO A (Europe – 8th AF) on 24/12/43, and SOXO R (Europe – 8th AF) from 15/1/44. Assigned to the 8th AF at Hunter Field. Aircraft named “Wray & Son” by Major Cletus Wray. Later renamed “The Fourth Term”. The aircraft survived the war.

(Spread Sheet) March 8, 1944 42-95981 K9-F (Stansted) (494th)
Mid-air collision 3 miles from base.
Collided with 42-95925 whilst climbing through thick cloud over Theydon Mount, Epping, Essex, en-route to a mission to Soesterberg Airfield, Holland on 8/3/44. The pilot, 1st Lt. John K Eckert and all the crew were killed. First loss for the 344th BG. This was only their third mission after arriving in England. Both aircraft crashed at Mount Farm, Theydon Mount at 1535 hours, only 75 yards apart from each other. From the local incident report file, “at 1535 hours on 8/3/44, two US Marauder aircraft with bombs on board collided during a raid and both aircraft crashed in an open field, within 100 yards of each other, 300 yards South of Mount Farm, Theydon Bois. Map reference: L940202. Both aircraft on fire. A number of bombs exploded, other UXB’s scattered in near vicinity. Aircraft completely smashed and crews of both aircraft killed. A USAAF guard has been mounted and 4 x UXB’s have been located on the surface. Slight damaged reported to property at Sawkins Farm, and no’s 8 and 12 at Theydon Mount. Also homes occupied by the West and Lloyd family’s, at Tawney Common”.
1st Lt. John C. Eckert, Pilot (KIA)
2nd Lt. Thomas W. Worrell, Co-Pilot (KIA)
1st Lt. George E. Bair, Bombardier (KIA)
S/Sgt. Alfred R. Border (KIA)
S/Sgt. Lewis O. Thompson (KIA)
S/Sgt. Edward J. Powell (KIA)

(P25) March 8, 1944. Our third mission was pressed against an airfield in Holland. On March 8, 1944, 54 planes took off for so Soesterberg. Weather that day over northeastern England was cloudy, the ceiling being quite low. Joining up procedure was difficult because of poor visibility. During this procedure, our group suffered its first major accident when two of our Marauders collided in mid-air as one of them emerged from the clouds. Both of these planes plummeted to earth, carrying all of the personnel to their deaths. Assigned to the 494th bomb squadron, those who died were 1st Lieutenant John K. Eckert, pilot; 2nd Lieutenant Thomas W Worrell, co-pilot; 1st Lieutenant George E. Bair, bombardier; S/Sgt. Albert E Border, engineer/gunner; S/Sgt. Lewis O. Thompson, radio/gunner; S/Sgt. Edward J Powell, armor/gunner.

In the other plane we’re Captain Jack W. Miller pilot; 2nd Lieutenant Linwood G. Brookes, co-pilot; 1st Lieutenant James A. Hudson, bombardier; S/Sgt. Abraham B. Butler, Junior., Engineer/gunner; S/Sgt. George D McMannamy, radio/gunner; S/Sgt. W. J. Summers, armorer/gunner.

(Spread Sheet) March 8, 1944 42-95925 K9-J (Stansted) (494th) Mid-air collision 3 miles from base. 42-95925
Collided with 42-95981 whilst climbing through thick cloud over Theydon Mount, Epping, Essex, en-route to a mission to Soesterberg Airfield, Holland on 8/3/44. The pilot, 1st Lt. John K Eckert and all the crew were killed. First loss for the 344th BG. This was only their third mission after arriving in England. Both aircraft crashed at Mount Farm, Theydon Mount at 1535 hours, only 75 yards apart from each other. From the local incident report file, “at 1535 hours on 8/3/44, two US Marauder aircraft with bombs on board collided during a raid and both aircraft crashed in an open field, within 100 yards of each other, 300 yards South of Mount Farm, Theydon Bois. Map reference: L940202. Both aircraft on fire. A number of bombs exploded, other UXB’s scattered in near vicinity. Aircraft completely smashed and crews of both aircraft killed. A USAAF guard has been mounted and 4 x UXB’s have been located on the surface. Slight damaged reported to property at Sawkins Farm, and no’s 8 and 12 at Theydon Mount. Also homes occupied by the West and Lloyd family’s, at Tawney Common”.
Capt. Jack W. Miller, Pilot (KIA)
2nd Lt. Linwood C. Brookes, Co-Pilot (KIA)
1st Lt. James A. Hudson, Bombardier (KIA)
S/Sgt. Abraham B. Butler, Jr. (KIA)
S/Sgt. George D. McMannany (KIA)
S/Sgt. William J. Summers (KIA)



NEED MACR! (Spread Sheet) March 24, 1944. 42-95982 N3-U “Puddin’ Head” 496th: Shot down by flak on 24/3/45. The aircraft flown by Lt. G D Smith had one of the engines blown off by flak, and the crew abandoned the stricken aircraft. The other crew were: W A Steiner, D B Crowell, M L White, O J Wilkerson, and, N S Patee

(Spread Sheet) April 12, 1944. 42-95923 N3-Q “Ill Wind” 496th  Named at Stansted, “Ill Wind”, after the proverb “an ill wind blows no good”. Hit by flak on 12/4/44 leaving the target, the St. Ghislain marshalling yards, France. The aircraft flown by Capt. W S McKee, crashed and caught fire, whilst attempting to land at RAF Manston, Kent with flak damage. The crew escaped unhurt. Salvaged on 14/4/44.

(Spread Sheet) May 28, 1944. 42-95961 K9-M 494th  Crash landed at RAF Manston, Kent on 28/5/44 with flak damage. The pilot was 2nd Lt. L H Burdette. Salvaged on 30/5/44.

Need MACR(Spread Sheet) June 4, 1944. MACR 15760 42-95814 “Susanne” K9-T 494th Plane crashed on take-off.  Bombs exploded & men killed by blast. Crashed 5 miles south-south-east of Stansted on 4/6/44, returning with flak damage from a mission to bomb the bridge at Courcelles-sur-Seine. The aircraft exploded. Salvaged the same day by the 74th Air Service Squadron.
1st Lt. John V Pikula (escaped with serious injuries), Pilot
2nd Lt. George E Lyons (survived with burns) Co-Pilot
S/Sgt. John A. Strauss (KIA), Bomb/Nav.
S/Sgt. G L Blosser (escaped with serious injuries), Radio/Gun
S/Sgt. H G Mooney (escaped with serious injuries), Eng/Gun
S/Sgt. Boyd Pauling (KIA) Tailgunner

(Spread Sheet) June 7, 1944. 42-95897 “My Colleen” K9-O 494th Hit by flak in the port engine on the 7/6/44 mission to Argantan, France. Made it back to England on one engine with no hydraulics and crash landed at Stansted. The nose wheel collapsed on landing, the aircraft broke in half, and was written off. The pilot, Lt. J Cather and crew escaped without serious injury.

(Spread Sheet) June 20, 1944. 42-107663 Lil Audrey 7I-A 497th  Entered combat with the 344th BG on 19/5/44. Abandoned over the English Channel on 20/6/44 after an abortive attempt to land at RAF Manston, Kent. The aircraft flown by Lt. E H Hughes, Jr had been damaged by flak over Abbeyville, France. All the crew survived.

(Spread Sheet) June 24, 1944. 42-107677 K9-V 494th Severely damaged on 29/6/44. Aircraft salvaged on return. Pilot, Lt. W M Bailey.

(Spread Sheet) June 27 approx., 1944. 42-95919 Y5-L “Sexy Sal” 495th  Made an emergency landing in Normandy 3 weeks after D-Day. The crew escaped unhurt but the aircraft was left behind. The pilot may have been Harold V Aiken, but this needs confirmation. The aircraft must have been repaired, and returned to the squadron. Survived the war, flying 147 combat missions.

(Spread Sheet) June 29, 1944. Gissel Bridge. Died from flak at the target. (497)
S/Sgt. Williams, Radio-Gunner

Memoirs: Lt. Harold V. Aikens: “On 29 June 1944 our target was a rail yard at Rouen, France. The weather was bad. There was a thunderstorm approaching Rouen from the west and the bombing formation was approaching from the east. The closer that the formation got to the target, the lower were the clouds. Since the formation was not maintaining a constant altitude, the Bombardier could not get the correct information into the bombsite for the bombs to hit the target. All the time the formation was picking up intense accurate antiaircraft fire. I looked out my window and the tracers looked like someone holding a water hose up in the wind. The tracers were arching just to the rear of my plane. Then an 88 shell exploded just off our aircraft nose. The bombardier and I were both hit with flack. The plane was still airworthy. The bombs had to be jettisoned. When we approached the base the wheels would not extend. The hydraulic pressure was gone. I hand pumped the gear down. When touchdown occurred, the right tire was flat. The plane swerved to the right off the runway. I pulled the emergency air bottle for breaking. The air bottle was ruptured. There was nothing to be done to stop the plane. A fire truck was parked adjacent to the runway. The plane headed for the fire truck and the truck backed up. The plane, as it slowed down, kept heading for the fire truck. Finally the fire truck got out of the way. The plane kept going until it reached a bomb storage area and did a 360 turn in middle of stored bombs. The plane was not repairable. I got the Purple Heart and DFC for my actions.”

(Spread Sheet) July 2, 1944. Bishop Stortford. Killed walking along road near RR station. (497)
1st Lt. Julian H. Burgess, Jr., Pilot (Cambridge)

(Spread Sheet) July 4, 1944. 42-107694 “Wild Willie” Y5-N 495th Landed at RAF Manston, Kent on 4/7/44 with severe flak damage. Pilot, 1st Lt. William H Geary. Salvaged on the 7/7/44 by the 74th Air Service Group.

(Spread Sheet) July 4, 1944. 42-95915 7I-K “Marie II” 497th  Crash landed back at Stansted returning from the 4/7/44 mission to the bridge at Oissel, France with flak damage, and salvaged. The pilot was Lt. Jack Sheehan.

(Spread Sheet) July 4, 1944. 42-95968 Y5-O  and 7I-T 495th & 497th “Jay Hawk” Original group aircraft flown overseas in January 1944 by Capt. Vaner A Smith. Served with the 495th BS, coded Y5-O. Suffered Cat.B damage on 8/3/44, after flying just two combat missions, and was sent to the service group for repairs. Returned to the 344th BG on 28/4/44 following repairs, and was assigned to the 497th BS, and recoded 7I-T. Crashed and wrecked on 18/7/44 flown by Havener and Kenyon. The aircraft had flown an additional 18 combat missions. Condemned for salvage on 19/7/44.

(Spread Sheet) July 8, 1944. 42-96303 N3-A “Cleveland Caliope” 496th:  An engine cut-out after leaving the French coast on 8/7/44. The aircraft flown by Lt. J H Robinson ditched in the English Channel.

(Spread Sheet) July 8, 1944. 42-96304 N3-Q 496th:  Damaged Cat.3 in a landing accident at Station 122, Steeple Morden Airfield on 8/7/44 with Cat.E flak damage. The aircraft flown by Lt. Joseph S Danner was salvaged on 10/7/44

(Spread Sheet) July 23, 1944. 41-35755 K9-U 494th  Assigned to the 344th BG at Station 169, Stansted Airfield. Crash landed at RAF Dyce Airfield, Aberdeen, Scotland on 23/7/44 flown by Frank A Williams (Listed as a TB-26C serving with 344th BG / 494th BS, based at station 169). Although the aircraft only suffered Cat.3 damage, it was salvaged on the 25/7/44 by the 42nd Air Service Group.

(Spread Sheet) July 24, 1944. 42-95971 “Mary Mae II” K9-D & Y5-O 494th & 495th Original group aircraft flown overseas in January 1944 by 1st Lt. Elgin R Bowers. Flew 26 missions with the 494th BS, coded K9-D untill 29/5/44. Transferred to the 495th BS on 4/6/44, recoded Y5-O, and named “Mary Mae II”. Suffered severe flak damage on 24/7/44 and crash landed. The pilot was Capt. W D Brady. Salvaged on 28/7/44 by the 74th Air Service Group.

(Spread Sheet) July 24, 1944. Tours/LaRiche RR Bridge Squadron Navigator, lost his life on this mission for which he was the Lead Bombardier. (494)
Capt. James P. Parish (KIA)

(Spread Sheet) Aug 12, 1944 42-107611 Chicago Cyclone III K9-F 494th . Assigned to the 344th BG. Damaged Cat.5 (written off) in a take off accident on 12/8/44 flown by Lt. John D Ashford. The aircraft lost an engine on take off from station 169, Stansted, and belly landed at RAF Sawbridgeworth. Salvaged on the 15/8/44 by the 74th Air Service Group

(Spread Sheet) Aug. 25, 1944. 42-107855 Y5-W 495th Crashed shortly after take-off, 5 miles North of Stansted Airfield on 25/8/44. The aircraft caught fire, killing the pilot 1st Lt. William H Geary and all the crew. Other crew killed were:  1st Lt. Whittler, 2nd Lt. O’Donnell, T/Sgt. Veale, S/Sgt. Gorder, Sgt. Reed, and, G Audin (war correspondent).
According to Mark Styling: 42-107855, coded Y5-W, 495th BS
Exploded in mid air, 5 miles North of Stansted on the 25th August 1944 mission to attack heavy gun positions at Fort L’Ambrique, Brest, France. Pilot, 1st L. William H Geary (killed).

(Spread Sheet) Aug 30, 1944. 42-95953 N3-D 496th Stansted Crashed at take-off on cross country hop.  Crash landed at Broken Green Farm, Standon, Essex  on 30/8/44 following an engine failure flown by Lt. Joseph S Danner. The aircraft had suffered a port engine fire on take off from Stansted. Crew were unable to feather the prop and the aircraft was force landed at Standon, but crashed into a farm house, killing the pilot and two crew. The engineer S/Sgt. Hamilton was the only survivor from the crash, but spent six weeks in a coma. The aircraft had been heading for Shipdam Airfield in Norfolk.
1st. Lt. Joseph S. Danner, Pilot (KIA)
1st Lt. Edward E. Williams, Co-Pilot Sqdrn Adjutant (KIA, Cambridge)
Lt. Robert G Juliani, Navigator (4th Ferry Group) – killed
S/Sgt. Hamilton, Engineer/Gunner (survived)

Memoir of Harold Aiken prior to moving to base in France: “On a mission that I was not on, the squadron was returning to base. Ceiling was about 500 feet and a lot of turbulence. The ground crews, awaiting return of the squadron, would play cards. This particular day, one of the ground crew members said that he needed to go to the toilet before the airplanes landed. The other crew members convinced him to wait for one more hand. As the formation approached the field, at 500 feet with lots of turbulence, one plane cut the tail off another plane in the formation. They both crashed immediately and two crews were lost. One plane took out the toilet that the crew member had delayed visiting. “

(Spread Sheet) Sept. 14, 1944. 43-34407 7I-K 497th: Hit by flak on the fourth run over the target, gun positions at Brest Harbour on 14/9/44. The left engine was knocked out. The pilot Lt. Jimmy H Kenyon made a forced landing at Morlaix airfield, a beach head landing strip, 50 miles east of Brest. The aircraft was declared a write off and abandoned. The crew were unhurt and flown back to base by another B-26 from the 344th BG three days later. The aircraft record card lists, GLUE 9AF CON ON ALS on 17/9/44, and, “Condemned overseas, dated 2/10/44”. Earlier flown by Capt. Jack C Crumal. The final entries on the aircraft record card list, Gained from condemned, dated 2/4/45, GLUE CON SAL FEA on 28/3/46, and, “Condemned overseas, dated 10/5/46”. This would suggest that the aircraft was later repaired and reflown, possibly with a fighter group as a hack, or another B-26 group, but this is unconfirmed.

Unit moved to Cormeilles-En-Vixon A-59, France (Sept 30, 1944)

(Spread Sheet) September 25, 1944. 42-107676 N3-G 496th  Severely damaged on 11/9/44, and crash landed back at base, Stansted Airfield, Essex. The pilot was Lt. Benedict.

(P35) September 25, 1944. On September 25 we were to attack the Venlo marshaling yard but we were unable to attack our objective. This mission was hotly contested by the enemy and three of the 36 planes dispatched we’re lost to enemy action, 18 of the personnel in these planes placed on a missing status and 16 planes damaged, causing minor repairs to be made.
The planes lost this day were piloted and crewed by the following: 494th squadron: 1st Lieutenant C. W. Carrington, pilot; 2nd Lieutenant Frank Brackoneski, co-pilot; 2nd Lieutenant S. F. Thistlewaite, bombardier; S/Sgt. Wayne L Martin, engineer/gunner; Sergeant GH Roesser, radio/gunner; S/Sgt. M. J. Flynn, tailgunner. 494th squadron: 1st Lieutenant Jack B. Comstock, pilot; 2nd lieutenant Peter S. Orth, co-pilot; 2nd Lieutenant M. J. Meal, bombardier; S/Sgt. A. W. Johnson, engineer/gunner; S/Sgt. A. J . Reilly, radio/gunner; and Sergeant H. C.  Smith, tailgunner. 496th squadron: 1st Lieutenant J. B. Hegg, pilot; Captain William Reitz, co-pilot; 2nd Lieutenant R. E. McNeil, bombardier; S/Sgt. B. J. Liptak, engineer/gunner; T/Sgt. T. G. Wilcox, radio/gunner, and private O. M. Riggs, tailgunner.


(Spread Sheet) September 25, 1944. 443-34293 K9-O 494th:  Force landed at an advanced landing strip near Antwerp, Belgium on 26/9/44.

(Spread Sheet) Oct. 2, 1944 42-95980 N3-M “Lucky Lady” 496th:  Shot down by flak on the 2/10/44 mission to the industrial area at Ubach, Germany. The aircraft flown by 1st Lt. Keith Caldwell was hit by 88mm flak in the right engine just after bombs away. The engine was shut down and the prop feathered, but there was also fuel spraying back into the aircraft from a damaged fuel cell in the wing. Limping back from the mission the left engine also gave up and the crew all successfully bailed out, landing in friendly territory.
Pilot 1st Lt. Keith Caldwell, Co-pilot 2nd Lt. John Cristophe Dinou, Larry Biggs Eng/Top Gun, Mark Meeks Arm/Tail Gun.

(Spread Sheet) Oct. 9, 1944 42-96244 7I-Y 497th: Crashed on take off from RAF Zeals, Wiltshire (station 450) on 9/8/44. The aircraft flown by Lt. Sterling J Robertson caught fire and was destroyed (Cat.5).

(Spread Sheet) Oct. 27, 1944 42-95898 “Merry Jerry” Y5-C 495th On the 27/8/44, the control surfaces were burned by an explosion, and the aircraft flown by Lt. N W Nelson, force landed France.

(Spread Sheet) Nov. 8, 1944. 43-34340 K9-Y 494th: “Shanghai Lil”: Force landed near Abbeyville, France on 8/11/44 after running out of fuel in bad weather. The aircraft flown by Lt. William D Bond made a single engined crash landing in an open field. The aircraft suffered Cat.4 damage and was was salvaged.

(Spread Sheet) Nov. 19, 1944. 42-107721 7I-U 497th Crash landed at A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 27/11/44, returning from a training flight, flown by Capt. Carl Beyer. The aircraft suffered Cat.4 damage and was salvaged on 29/11/44.

(Spread Sheet) Dec. 1, 1944. 42-107742 “Rum Buggy II” Y5-V 495th Flown by Lt. Alfred L Freiburger, later by Capt. J W Cotton. Damaged Cat. E on 1/12/44, cause unknown. Aircraft salvaged on 11/12/44

(Spread Sheet) Dec. 15, 1944 42-95874 K9-S “Susanne” Crashed on take off from A-59, Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 15/12/44 flown by Capt. Curtis A Seebaldt. The aircraft had just lifted off the runway and the undercarriage was being cycled when the port engine failed. The aircraft settled back onto the runway, the gear collapsed and they skidded along to a halt. The aircraft caught fire and the crew rapidly vacated the stricken plane. Four minutes later the bomb load exploded. Lt. Col. Grove C Celio of the 99th Bombardment Wing, was amongst the lucky crewmen who survived. He had gone along as an observer on this mission. Aircraft salvaged on 17/12/44. Crew; Capt. Pilot Curtis A Seebaldt (escaped unhurt), Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Michael Sopronyi (escaped unhurt), Bomb/Nav 1st Lt. R E Morrison (escaped unhurt), Radio/Gun S/Sgt. J Fischer (escaped unhurt), Eng/Turret M/Sgt M Felk (escaped unhurt), Tail Gun Pvt George L Boynoff (escaped unhurt), Observer Lt. Col. Grove C Celio – on board as an observer (escaped unhurt)

(Spread Sheet) Dec. 27, 1944. MACR 15902 + full accident report 43-34426 Ahrweiler RR Bridge Plane ran out of gas.  Crew bailed out at approx. 300 ft. Lt. Fleming remained with plane. Crashed into the side of a high ridge, 7 miles South of A-59, Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield, France returning from the mission to the Ahrweiler RR bridge, Germany  on 27/12/44. The aircraft returning from this mission found their base closed in due to bad weather and were ordered to find alternative landing strips that were still open. This aircraft was dangerously low on fuel after using higher power settings due to 2 x 1,000lb bombs still on board that had hung up, and whilst circling the airfield at about 1,800 feet the left engine quit due to fuel starvation. The aircraft began to lose altitude rapidly, about 1,000 feet per minute. The order was given to bail out, but the aircraft was already down to only about 500 feet. All the aircrew except the pilot, 1st Lt. Lamar Fleming III, jumped, but because of the low altitude two of the men were killed when their parachutes failed to deploy in time. The pilot who had stayed with the stricken aircraft attempted to carry out a crash landing, but this failed and he was killed.(495)

1st Lt. L. Fleming III, Pilot (KIA)
1st Lt. C.A. Gouge, Co-Pilot
1st. Lt. N.D. Carlson, Bombardier (KIA)
T/Sgt. E.J. McNulty (KIA)
T/Sgt. J.H. Chevalier, Engineer-Gunner
S.Sgt. R.E. Farley, Tail-Gunner

(Spread Sheet) Dec., 1944. T/Sgt. Thomas Hanly Died at hospital in England following jeep accident. (496)

Need MACR(P40) December 15, 1944. 42-95874 K9-S “Susanne” 494th Another plane was completely destroyed December 15, 1944. The plane piloted by Captain Curtis A Seebaldt, group control officer, and the lead craft of an operational mission, just become airborne, and landing gear just swinging into the up position, when the right engine cut out completely and caused the plane to settle to the runway. Immediately the plane came to rest, the entire crew all of whom, fortunately, had but minor injuries, rapidly abandoned the craft and sought a safe distance to avoid the possible explosion of the 16 X 250 pound bombs it carried. It was well that their presence of mind lead them to whatever shelter they could find, as four minutes after the plane came to rest, the bombs exploded, completely demolishing the aircraft. The blast from this concentrated number of bombs was terrific, smashing windows as far distant as the town of Cormeille-En-Vixen bordering the field but some 2 miles from the scene of the crash. Besides Captain Seebaldt, the other occupants of the plane were Li. Col. Grove C. Celio of the 99th Bombardment Wing who was riding the plane as co-pilot, to observe the mission; 1st Lieutenant Michael Sopronyi, navigator; 1st Lieutenant R. E. Morrison, bombardier; Sergeant J. R. Fischer, engineer; M/Sgt. M Felk, radio/gunner; Pvt. George L. Boynoff, gunner. All escaped unhurt.
Memoir of Harold Aiken was undated, but possibly describes this incident; “One day, I was standing near the control tower. There was a squadron of planes leaving for a mission. On the take-off run, one plane broke ground early without obtaining full flying speed. I think that the pilot had the “up trim tab” rolled all the way up. The plane was about 10 feet up and not having obtained take off speed, his left wing drug the pavement. Apparently the pilot shut all power because the plane landed hard. It looked that the landing gear crushed. Crewmen jumped out of the rear of the plane. No one moved in the front. The rescue and fire truck sat. No one moved. A small flame appeared near the back of the cabin. The flame slowly enlarged. Finally, after what seemed to be 5 minutes, the fire truck drove up .The fireman climbed up on the outside to the cockpit. A bomb went off. The crew in the front of the plane and 3 firemen were killed. Death was due partially to inactivity on the firemen’s part.”

Need MACR(P40) December 27, 1944. 43-34426 Y5-Y 495th Casualties and battle damage for the month were comparatively slight. Three crewman wounded due to enemy flak action and 22 aircraft struck by flak. One plane crashed near the base on return from the Ahreiler mission December 27. The weather that day closed in so thickly at our station that most of the aircraft after circling were diverted to emergency fields, nine planes only being able to put down at the field. A plane piloted by Lieutenant Lamar Fleming III, 495th Bomb squadron, was rapidly running out of gas and not being able to land due to visibility, proceeded toward an emergency field. Unfortunately, and before he could reach a landing point, his gasoline was practically exhausted. One motor stopped and the plane began to lose altitude and when the plane was approximately 300 feet above the ground, the other stopped. All of the crew bailed out at this low altitude, excepting Lieutenant Fleming who remained at the controls, hoping to crash land the plane successfully and probably would have, had the plane cleared a slight hill in its path. He was killed. Two crewman only were successful in the parachute at the extremely low altitude: T/Sgt. John A. Chevalier, engineer; and S/Sgt. Robert. E. Farley, gunner, who both stated their chute opened practically as their feet struck the ground. The others, 1st Lieutenant Carl A. Gouge, co-pilot; 1st Lieutenant Norman D. Carlson, bombardier, and T/Sgt. Arthur J. McNulty, plummeted to the ground before their parachutes were able to open and check their descent.


Lt. Norman Carlson Pictures and Documents

(Spread Sheet) Dec. 29, 1944. 42-95976 7I-P “Moe’s Mauler” 497th Crash landed at A-59 Cormeilles-en-vexin, France due to engine failure on 29/12/44 flown by Lt. John S Donnelly. The aircraft suffered Cat.4 damage and was salvaged the same day. The final entry on the aircraft record card lists, SOXO CON SAL NBD on 26/12/44. Trevor Allen has this accident listed as follows: “Ran out of gas, belly landed in Belgium, the bombs exploded”, needs confirmation. Note there were no combat missions flown this day.

Need MACR(Spread Sheet) Jan. 1, 1945. 44-67823 See See Senior 7I-G Plane crashed on runway (A-59) on take-off.  14 minutes later, bombs exploded.  Crashed on take off at A-59 Cormeilles-En-Vexin, France on 1/1/45 for the mission to the Konz-Karthaus Railway bridge, Germany. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Robert R Chalot was the third aircraft to take off, and just as the aircraft was about only 20 feet off the runway, it suddenly lost power. The aircraft crashed off to the left of the runway and caught fire. Rescue crews managed to extricate some of the crew before the 2 x 2,000lb bomb load exploded killing 4 members of the rescue team (Lt. Parker, Sgt. Elmer E Juily, Cpl. William G Reiker, and Pvt. Leonard S Luezkowski), and seriously injured 5 others. Of the flying crew, two survived with serious injuries, but the other four, including the pilot were killed. Due to the danger to other aircraft and personnel, the mission was scrubbed.(497)
2nd Lt. Robert R. Chalot, Pilot (KIA)
2nd Lt. Eliot W. Falk, Co-Pilot (KIA)
S/Sgt. Bronislas Krowiak (Badly Injured)
Sgt. Frank W. Dunaway (Badly Injured)
Sgt. Garth Morse (Badly Injured)
Sgt. William R. Fowler (KIA)

2058th Eng. (Aviation) Fire fighters were instantly killed by the detonation.
1st. Lt. Alton S. Parker, In Command (KIA)
Sgt. Elmer E. Juily (KIA)
Cpl. William G. Reiker (KIA)
P/5 Leonard S. Luezkowski (KIA)

Description in Milk Run Newsletter:
(P41) January 1, 1945. In keeping with this program January 1, 1945 our group is assigned to the Konz-Karthaus to bomb a railway bridge. Our planes lined up for the take off and two aircraft became airborne. The third plane, piloted by second Lieutenant Robert R. Chalot of the 497th bombardment squadron, after making its run at high speed down the runway, rose to join up with the preceding aircraft when apparently a loss of power in the engines when but 20 feet above the ground caused his airplane to crash to the left of the runway and burn. The plane loaded with 2 × 2000 pound general purpose bombs were in themselves a menace to human safety and that is added to the fierce fire that was beginning to consume the plane, made it a difficult task to approach the craft to rescue the injured crew members. Despite the known danger that existed the 2058th engineers (aviation), firefighters, with 1st Lieutenant Alton B. Parker, in command and eight of his men approached the flaming craft to extinguish the fire and rescue those trapped within and those who had managed to extricate themselves from the twisted plane but who fell near it because of their injuries. 14 minutes after the crash, the bombs the plane carried exploded with terrific force, scattering plane, fire and bomb fragments over a wide area. Lieutenant Parker, and three of his enlisted man, Sergeant Elmer E. Juliy, Corporal William G. Reiker and T/5 Leonard S. Luezkowski  were instantly killed by the detonation and five others of his team seriously injured. Others rushed to the scene to assist also. Captain William J. Granatier, medical officer, and Captain William D. Brady, operations officer, both of the 495th bombardment squadron, removed some of the injured. Both of these officers, while attempting to reach safety with injured personnel, we’re still within the danger zone when the bombs exploded. Bomb fragments struck Captain Granatier in the arm, breaking it, and Captain Brady in the leg, seriously injuring him. Though Captain Granatier was badly injured, he attended captain Brady and the other injured party until additional medical assistance arrived. Of the crew members in Lieutenant Chalot’s plane, 2nd Lieutenant Elliot W. Falk, co-pilot, lost his life. S/Sgt. Bronislas Krowiak, Sergeant Frank W. Dunaway, Sergeant Garth E. Morse and Sergeant William R. Fowler we’re all seriously injured. Due to the danger to the other planes and personnel while the crashed ship burned, the mission was scrubbed by Wing Headquarters.

Sgt. Joe Crossan Eng/Gun Remembers: “My first experience was that one of the groups was taking off on a mission and one of the planes lost an engine and crashed on the runway, caught fire and blew up. It was not too good a 1st experience.”

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 5, 1945. Houffalize Road Junction Accurate flak prior to the bomb run resulted in Sgt. Brown’s death. (494)
T/Sgt. R.D. Brown, Radio-Gunner (KIA)

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 6, 1945 42-95871 N3-H aged Cat.4 in an unspecified ground accident at A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 6/1/45 (Listed as 344th BG / 496th BS). The pilot was Keith M Caldwell. May have involved C-54F, serial 43-35860 of 403 BAD / HQ SQN, pilot, David C Cook, which was also damaged Cat.4 in a ground accident at Cormeilles on the same day. The aircraft was salvaged the next day, on 7/1/45

(KIA Spread Sheet) Jan. 14, 1945 43-34299 K9-Y Crashed shortly after take off from Cormeilles-en-Vexin on the 14/1/45 mission to the Rinnthal RR bridge, Germany. The aircraft was forming up with the rest of the formation went it was spotted going into a spin and diving down into the overcast. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Melvin D Clack crashed 5 miles WSW of Magny-en-Vexin, on the outskirts of Abbeville killing all the crew. Other crew on board were:
2nd Lt. Stanley W Haskin,
Capt. Richard S Herried,
S/Sgt. Lewis A Hilger, S/Sgt.
Esequiel P Mendez,
Sgt. Owen D Sweeney.

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 16, 1945. Bullay Bridge Crashed shortly after take-off and while joining up. (494)
Lt. Melvin D. Cleck, Pilot
2nd Lt. Stanley R. Haskins, Co-Pilot
S/Sgt. Esequiel P. Mendez, Jr., Engineer-Gunner
Sgt. Owen B. Sweeny, Radio-Gunner
Sgt. Lewis A. Hilger, Tail-Gunne
Capt. Richard S. Herried, Bombardier (496)

Need MACR(Spread Sheet) Jan. 28, 1945. 42-95864 7I-B Valkyrie Aircraft crashed shortly after take-off. (A-59) Lost an engine on take-off from A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 28/1/45 during a snow storm. The pilot, 1st Lt. Robert C Barnard tried to make it back to the field, but crashed 1 mile NNE of Ham, France, slid into a road bank, broke in two and caught fire. All the crew were killed. Other crew included, Sgt. P J Collins (killed)(497)
1st Lt. R.C. Barnard, Pilot (KIA)
Capt. R.M. Mitchell, Pilot (KIA)
Lt. M.H. Sellers, Bombardier (KIA)
Sgt. P.J. Collins (KIA)

(Spread Sheet) Jan. 29, 1945. 43-34432 N3-D 496th: Crash / belly landed shortly after take-off from A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 29/1/45. The aircraft flown by Lt. John J Moran suffered Cat.4 damage and was salvaged.

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 2 or 21, 1945 43-34316 N3-F “Cleveland Caliope III” 496th: Crashed on take off from A-62 Rheims, France on 21/2/45 flown by Richard W Maffry. The aircraft which had flown 11 combat missions was salvaged on 27/2/45. The final entry on the aircraft record card lists, GLUE 9AF CON SAL BD on 27/2/45. According to another source, this aircraft flown by Lt. Gordon K Holm, ran out of fuel on 2/2/45 and landed on a short field at Reims, Champagne, and was abandoned. Needs confirmation. May have been named “Cleveland Calliope II”

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 2, 1945 43-34402 Y5-G “Georgia Cracker” 495th: Blew a tire on take off from A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 2/2/45, and crashed. The aircraft flown by Jerald M Davies suffered Cat.4 damage and was written off.

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 6, 1945 Mid-Air collision 43-34367  K9-K 344th 494th and 44-67805  Y5-A  344th 495th
Asper Sarah Conrad Van Riper: ”Robert Conrad’s time at Station A-59 was not without mishap. On February 6, 1945, his bomb group had finished a mission attacking the Rheinbach ammo dump. Conrad was the co-pilot. Returning home, their plane and others were diverted to Station A-73 Roye/Amy Airfield due to bad weather conditions. They were eventually ordered to return to home base. The weather was so bad at A-59 that the plane was again diverted to another airfield, Station A-60 Beaumont-sur Oise. According to the accident report, one of the pilots reported that visibility at the field was zero straight ahead. The field could only be seen by looking out the side window while banking to the left. Radio reception at that time was reportedly very poor and unbeknownst to either crew, both B26s were circling the field in the same pattern attempting to land. Both planes suddenly loomed out of the clouds. Both pilots attempted to avoid a collision but the wing of one plane hit the tail of the other plane, severely crippling both aircraft. Pilot Edward M Cain managed to get his plane up to about 1500 feet and all crew bailed out safely. Co-pilot Clyde Donald “Don” Chaney, 1st Lt. said that right after the mid air collision, the crew came toward the cockpit. Chaney put the wheels down, opened the hatch and they bailed out through the nose wheel-well. The other Pilot, Conrad C Oberg 1st Lt. and Co-Pilot Robert D Conrad, 2nd Lt. got up to around 3500 feet and the entire crew parachuted to safety. The incident was chalked up to bad weather conditions. Both planes were totally destroyed. About ten years ago, at a reunion of the bomb group, Chaney met the 18 year old waist gunner, William R Skinner, Jr., S/Sgt, from the other plane. He was from Ohio and went home to have a large family like Chaney’s. On page 345 of Lambert D. Austin’s book, there is a picture of Sergeant Patterson, one of the other crew members from the other plane. He’s standing there with his open parachute, on February 7, 1945 the day after the collision.”

Harold Aiken was on another of the divert planes mentioned in this incident. When asked to comment he wrote, “I was on a mission Feb 6 and was diverted to A73 where I remained overnight. On Feb 7, I returned to A 59.  A  1 hour 10 minute flight. There was no weather problems at A 59 when I landed. I do not remember hearing of the mid air problems that the other squadron had.

Robert Conrad Mid-Air Collision 2/6/45

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 10, 1945 42-107607 Sexy Sal II Y5-Z MACR 12196 Aircraft shot down.  Pilot bailed out in friendly territory and crew bailed out over enemy territory.  Shot down by flak just after releasing bombs on the 10/2/45 mission to Horrem, Germany. The crew bailed out over the battle line. enemy territory and no-mans land. Five of them came down in enemy territory and no-mans land. Four were captured, one man drowned attempting to swim across the Roer river to allied lines. The pilot, 1st Lt. Humphrey Marshall Mallory was the last man to bail out and he came down safely in allied territory. The aircraft crashed at Krefeld in the vicinity of Hinesberg,(495)
1st Lt. H.A. Mallory, Pilot (escaped capture)
2nd Lt. C.L. Early, Co-Pilot (POW)
2nd Lt. Walter Harden, Bombardier (escaped capture)
T/Sgt. J.H. Chevalier, Engineer-Gunner (POW)
T/Sgt. W.C. Farrell, Radio-Gunner (POW)
S/Sgt. E.C. McCarter, Tail-Gunner (Drowned crossing river to escape)

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 10, 1945 Fatally wounded by flak thru tail turret. (495)
S/Sgt. C. Vanderlugt, Tail-Gunner (KIA)

S/Sgt. Cornelius Vander Lugt

Marcel van der Lugt Makes a Shopworn Angel Jacket

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 14, 1945 42-95911 Y5-K “Mary Mae” 495th  Severely damaged on the 14/2/45 mission to the Crown Prince Wilhelm Railroad bridge at Engers, near Koblenz, Germany, and was salvaged on return. The pilot was Lt. G E Minihan.

(Spread Sheet) Feb. 14, 1945 42-95972 7I-O “Little Butch” 497th Suffered severe damage on the 14/2/45 mission to the Crown Prince Wilhelm Railroad bridge at Engers, near Koblenz, Germany. The aircraft flown by Capt. H Z Rondeau force landed at a forward Allied base (possibly Y-34, Metz, France, but needs confirmation?). Salvaged by the 368th FG on 16/2/45.

(Spread Sheet) March 3, 1945 N3-P 42-95899 “Maffrys Mottled Marauder” 496th Original group aircraft, assigned to Capt. J C Maffry. Inscribed underneath nose name “ The Wings Are Coming By ATC”. Named by the original pilot, Capt. J C Maffry. Belly landed in an open field 16 miles Northwest of Charleroi, France, 3 miles Northeast of Bievre (Belle Fontain?), Belgium on 3/3/45 after running out of fuel. The aircraft flown by Lt. Joseph W Morosi was salvaged. This aircraft had flown 144 combat missions.

(Spread Sheet) March 3, 1945 42-95908 Y5-A&Y5-C “Invictus / Empire State Express” 495th Original group aircraft flown overseas in January 1944 by Capt. Lucius D Clay. Was originally coded Y5-A. Flew 52 missions untill 29/6/44. May have been badly damaged, and repaired, as it is next listed as being recoded as Y5-C and flying an additional 11 missions from 23/2/45, untill it was written off in a take-off accident. Damaged Cat.3 in a take off accident at A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France after losing an engine on takeoff on 3/3/45. The aircraft flown by Gregg P Nolen, Jnr, crashed near Marcoing, France.

(Spread Sheet) March 5, 1945 N3-L 42-95940 (Patches?) 496th Pilot Emiel J Larsen Lost an engine on take off from A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France on 5/3/45 and crashed. The aircraft flown by Emiel J Larsen suffered Cat.3 damage, and was salvaged the same day.
(Stansted KIA spreadsheet) March 9, 1945 Bierbach Marshalling Yard Killed by flak on mission:
Lt. Harrell, Bombardier

(Spread Sheet) March 20, 1945 43-34419 K9-B 494th: Suffered flak damage on the 20/3/45. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. D J Korkowski crash landed back at base, A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France, and was salvaged.

(Spread Sheet) March 21, 1945 44-67821 K9-S 494th: Damaged Cat.3 in a take off accident at A-92, St.Trond Airfield, Belgium on 21/3/45. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Donald J Korkowski crashed shortly after take-off and was salvaged. Other crew on board were: 2nd Lt. J A Swarm, 2nd Lt. H S Dieches, Sgt. A G Hughes, Sgt. E J Perkosky, and, Sgt. J V Cowan.

(Stansted KIA spreadsheet) March 21, 1945 Coesfeld Defended town Lost his life on this mission. (494)
S/Sgt. Jack W. Burnham

(Spread Sheet) March 21, 1945 44-68098 Y5-G “Wheels Inc”: Suffered severe flak damage on 22/3/45. The aircraft flown by Lt. Cotton force landed in allied territory.

John J. Beddingfield Memoir:”I made another mission over Northern Germany today.  It was just north of Munster.  I saw a goof bit of flack and a few rockets.  We could see the heavies over Munster, and there was a solid wall of flack over there.  When we were coming out the second box caught plenty of flack.  We were in the first box.  A tail gunner was killed in the second box.  Our bomb load was four 1000 lb. bombs.  I was flying engineer for another crew.  It was the pilot’s last mission.  His name was Aiken

(Spread Sheet) March 14, 1945 43-34179 N3-Q 496th:  Suffered damaged hydraulics and a damaged engine on the 14/3/45 mission to bomb the defended town of Bad Kreuznach, Germany. The pilot, Lt. A R Nolte made a wheels up crash landing back at A-59 Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France . Aircraft salvaged on 17/3/45

Need MACR (Spread Sheet) March 21, 1945  42-95982 Puddin’ Head N3-U (496) Shot down by flak on 24/3/45. The aircraft flown by Lt. G D Smith had one of the engines blown off by flak, and the crew abandoned the stricken aircraft.
Lt. G D Smith (bailed out) Pilot
W A Steiner
D B Crowell
M L White
O J Wilkerson
N S Patee

(Spread Sheet) March 28, 1945 42-95974 N3-S 496th Involved in a mid air collision with 42-95861 N3-A 496th over the airfield at Florennes and crashed (accident reports website states A-59 Cormeilles, France), returning from the 28/3/45 mission to the Oil depot at Neuenheerse, Germany. There were no survivors. These were the last two losses for the group during WW2. The pilot was 2nd Lt. Walter H Hedstrom. Other crew include: J R Gersting, J P Bailey, G R Burton, H J Canavespe, and V T Spivey (all killed).

March 28, 1945 42-95861 N3-A 496th Involved in a mid air collision with 42-95974 over the airfield at A-59, Cormeilles-en-Vexin, France, and crashed, returning from the 28/3/45 mission to the Oil depot at Neuenheerse, Germany. There were no survivors. These were the last two aircraft losses for the group during WW2. The pilot was 2nd Lt. Arthur M Williamson, and other crew were: H F Smith, W A Ortberg, G J Lauteri, R A Greenwood, and A P Elliott (all killed).

Link: http://shopwornangel.imaginarynumber.net/march-28-1945-collision-over-a-59/
See book: Flying the B-26 Marauder Over Europe: Memoir of a World War II by Moore

(P49) April 11, 1945. On the afternoon of April 11, the marshaling yard at Zwikau was bombed with excellent to superior results by 38 aircraft, their 2000 pound bombs ripping into sidings and buildings in the yards. One aircraft piloted by Lieutenant Arnberg of the 494th bomb squadron left the target area on one engine and subsequently crash landed at Frankfurt-on-Main without injury to the crew. No flack was encountered.

(Spreadsheet) April 16, 1945 42-95986 7I-R “Let-hal Lady” 497th: Severely damage by flak on it’s 122nd combat mission on the 16/4/45. The aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. J B Donnelly made a single engine landing at R-11 Airfield, Eschwege, Germany, which had only been captured by the Americans in early April. The crew were OK, but the aircraft was written off and salvaged the next day.

(Spreadsheet) May 12, 1945. 43-34181 Y5-O “Lak-A-Nookie” 495th.  Aircraft named by its assigned pilot, 1st Lt. Jack L Lyons. Entered combat with the 344th BG / 495th BS on 14/8/44. Flew 88 combat missions and survived the war. Undercarriage collapsed on landing at A-78 Florennes / Juzaine, France on 12/5/45 after a tire burst on touchdown. The aircraft suffered Cat.4 damage and was written off. The pilot was Robert E Nogle

(P50) May 13, 1945. 42-96048 K9-Y 494th: The group however, was not without its tragedies and sorrow subsequent to the cessation of hostilities. Two accidents took place during the special training missions, causing the loss of life to the crews of both aircraft. The first occurred on May 13, 1945, when a two-ship formation flew on a local level navigational problem. The pilot of the lead ship, 1st Lieutenant William W. Doming, Jr., stated he had advised 2nd Lieutenant Clyde T. Whitehead, pilot of the ill-fated plane, not to attempt to fly formation due to the turbulence of the air that day. Lieutenant Whitehead dropped back and to the right but kept in sight of the lead plane. As they flew along, the waste gunner of Lieutenant Doming‘s aircraft stated to him over the interphone that he could see Lieutenant Whitehead buzzing villages and surrounding terrain. During the process of buzzing, Lieutenant Whiteheads right wing of the craft struck a tree, causing the airplane to swing to the right. His altitude at this time was so low, he was unable to right the plane, and the right wing struck the ground at a great speed, causing the crash. Parts of the plane were strewn over a great forward distance, carrying the pilot and the following crew members to their deaths: F/O Sammy E. Teague Jr., co-pilot; F/O Richard W. Paulsen, bombardier; 2nd Lieutenant Glenn O. Waters, observer; Sergeant Robert S. Riddel, engineer/gunner; Sergeant Morris W. Van Treese, radio/gunner; Sergeant Irwin F. Van Blarcan, aerial gunner; and Corporal William M. Drennon. The accident took place near the town of Heizingen, Belgium.

(P50) May 31, 1945 43-34395 Y5-M 495th: The second fatal accident occurred May 31, 1945 when a six-ship formation flew to the Blankenburghe gunnery range in the North Sea for splash gunnery practice. 1st Lieutenant Harrell L. Foxx, 495th bomb squadron, led the formation out over the water to within sight of the range to see if it was clear, then ordered the planes to echelon to the right and follow him in as briefed. 2nd Lieutenant James A. Lawrence, co-pilot in the number two plane, stated they followed Lieutenant Foxx at a 30 second interval as briefed, which placed Lieutenant Foxx about 4 miles ahead and slightly to their left. About eight minutes down the firing line, Lieutenant Lawrence reported that Lieutenant Foxx called on the radio transmitter, stating his gunner had shot up his aircraft. Lieutenant Lawrence’s airplane immediately maneuvered along side of Lieutenant Foxx and could see that all but 4 feet of his right horizontal stabilizer was shot off. In addition, there were a number of holes in the base of the vertical stabilizer, and the left stabilizer was almost shot in two. Lieutenant Lawrence call the Lt. Foxx and reported the damage to him and Lieutenant Foxx replied he would land at the first available field. The plane, despite the damage, seem to be under perfect control and had been able to lose or gain altitude at will and had maintained an airspeed of 165 mph. On reaching the coast line inbound, Lieutenant Foxx’s craft was approximately 1000 feet when he started a slight turn to the right. He straightened out from the start and almost immediately went into a sharp right turn, apparently out of control. The left stabilizer was seen to have broken off about 4 feet out from the fuselage, where it had been shot through, and the airplane nosed down in a steep dive from which it never recovered. The airplane exploded on contact with the ground. No one survived the accident. Besides Lieutenant Foxx, the other members of the crew were: 1st Lieutenant Richard E. Robinson, co-pilot; 2nd Lieutenant Don P. Malchiodi, bombardier; 2nd Lieutenant John J. Dimitre, navigator; T/Sgt. John E. Doyle, engineer; S/Sgt. James J. Dunn, radio/gunner; and S/Sgt. Robert P. Stout, aerial gunner. Lieutenant Foxx joined the 344th bomb group September 20, 1944, and had completed approximately 35 combat missions up to the end of the war.


John J. Beddingfield: “September 6th 1944
We made a mission over Brest, France again this morning.  We were to hit an ammunition dump.  After making four runs on the target, I think we missed it.  We had to be careful, for our ground forces were just a mile and a half from it.  We made a pretty cloud of smoke though.  That town is really plastered.  I like to froze on the way over.  I thought we would run out of gas before we got back after spending so much time over the target.  Three ships had to land in France for fuel.  We made it back home but I was really sweating it out.  I believe I get more scared to fly in these B-26’s every day.  I saw two crews get killed with in two weeks.  If one engine cuts out on takeoff, you are done for.  Too low to jump.  I’m really scared to fly in these ships.  I was called to take a fellows place on a propergander (propaganda) mission.  We were to fly over different towns and drop leaflets.  The guy showed up in time, and I didn’t have to go.  My pilot this morning was 1st Lt Johnson.  The ships name was “Sexy Sal” #42-95919.  There are two ships in this outfit by that name, one is Sexy Sal II. #42-107607”

T/Sgt. Michael Christopher: On one mission, Christopher’s aircraft was forced down, probably due to flak damage. There was possibly engine damage, but “the main spar” had a chunk taken out of it. They put the plane down at an abandoned/improvised strip.  The French resistance or free French expedited their return back to squadron a few weeks later. The Air Corps did not know they survived and were in the process of notifying Christopher’s parents that he was MIA.  They were so far along in this process, that Christopher noted that they even issued him a different set of dog tags when he got back to base. (different serial number?).
Webmaster’s note: I can’t find a MACR on this event. But I have a theory. Tell me what you think. Let’s say the plane went down in the weeks after D-Day in an area that had just been liberated. That would mean he was not shot down over enemy territory thus no MACR. I don’t have access to “Accident reports” that would have been completed instead. It would still be possible that “free French,” as you described them in a re-telling, might have safely escorted him to the lines safely.

Santo Endrizzi: One day two B26s collided over the main road. I was in the back of the truck and did not know what was happening. The driver stopped and he realized he better run as the fifty caliber bullets were exploding from the heat of the crash. I was hanging off the back of the truck with one leg trying to get back in the truck when the driver started up again. It caused my leg to sustain an injury. It was a very scary moment. (The sight of the human carnage still brings tears to Santo’s eyes when he recalls this incident.)

(Spread Sheet) June 1, 1945 43-34131 Y5-N 495th:  Damaged Cat.3 in a taxiing accident at A-78 Florennes / Juzaine, Belgium on 1/6/45. The aircraft collided with a parked B-26B, serial 42-96045 also of the 344th BG / 495th BS, which was damaged Cat.2. The pilot was 1st Lt. Helms R Huey. Other crew on board were: 2nd Lt. J S Pollard, 2nd Lt. L R Hays, T/Sgt. M C Brashear, S/Sgt. J M Turner, and S/Sgt. W L Gear. The aircraft was not repaired.

(Spread Sheet) June 51, 1945 43-34343 K9-T “Charlotte De Harlot” 494th:  Damaged Cat.3 in a landing accident at Y-1 Tantonville, France on 5/6/45 flown by Frederick J Foster. The aircraft was not repaired and was salvaged on 12/6/45.

(Spread Sheet) Sept. 7, 1945 43-34341 “Screaming Eagle / 101 Division”: Ex-387th BG aircraft, transferred to the 344th BG post war. Crew abandoned the aircraft after it ran out of fuel over Helmond, Holland on 7/9/45 flown by Allen W Thompson (Listed as serving with the 478th ASG / 896th MS on the accident reports website). The aircraft was flying out of A-78 Airfield, Florennes / Juzaine, Belgium.

(Spread Sheet) Sept. 10, 1945 43-34424 Y5-W “Wild Willie” 495th: Entered service with the 344th BG / 495th BS on 3/9/44. Named by crew chief, Fred Roshirt, in memory of Lt. W.H. “Bill” Geary, a pilot who was killed flying “Sleepy Time Gal” on an earlier mission. The aircraft flew 62 combat missions and survived the war. Crashed into a mountain, 2 miles East of Trauchgau, Germany on 10/9/45 flown by Jerald M Davies. The aircraft was on a flight from Florennes, France to the groups new base at Schlessheim, Germany. On board were 4 crew and 6 passengers, all were killed. The final entry on the aircraft record card lists, GLUE CON SAL CU on 11/9/45. Parts from the crashed aircraft were recovered in 2007 and put in display at the aviation museum at Schlessheim airfield.
Pilot: Jerald M Davies (killed)
Co-Pilot: Fleurney L Choate (killed)
Bomb: Edward Dose (killed)
Nav: Albert C Fredericks (killed)
The following were passengers: Pugh G Rogers, Leroy L Luno, Gregor J Larsen, Bernard M Ferry, Harley R Warren, Pfc. Joachim Schacht (all killed)