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Cpl. Leonard Norris Pew

 

Norris Pew

Cpl. Leonard Norris Pew of Trenton, Missouri, was primarily a airplane mechanic. He was part of a team that kept the battle weary planes of the 344th Bomb Group ready to fly day after day.

Norris loved his family and wrote often. The following link includes letters he wrote to his sister, Mary Lou, during his training.

Letters to Mary Lou

He was also qualified as a B-26 gunner, and on May 28th 1944 chose to join the crew of The Bad Penny 7I-G as a tail gunner.  He was on his second mission with this crew, having flown a bombing mission to Paris earlier in the day. The regular plane for the rest of the crew was 7I-G, known as The Bad Penny.  It was not available for mission 2 due to previous battle damage sustained in mission 1.

Norris Pew B

The mission was to bomb marshaling rail yards in Amiens, France. The crew was:  Lt. James Reynolds, pilot (and West Point Grad); 2nd Lt. Edward W. Horn, co-pilot;  2nd Lt. James Johnson, bombardier; Sgt. George Coon, radio-gunner; Sgt. Samuel Gold, top-turret gunner; and Cpl. Leonard Pew, tail-gunner.

Norris Pew B 2

At 7:30 in the evening of the mission over Amiens, the right engine was hit by flak during the bomb run.  The plane left formation, and was under control, and was headed towards the Channel.  It was escorted by 2 US P-47 fighters.  The engine continued to burn, the plane was losing altitude, and the “Bail Out” command was issued.  Lt. Johnson bailed out of the bomb-bay, followed by Coon and Gold, and then Lt. Horn.  One of the reports said that Cpl. Pew was helped on with his chute by the crew, and was last known to have been able to jump.  As Lt. Horn left the plane, the bomb-bay was starting to catch fire.  Lt. Horn, could see the plane, but a gust a wind turned him away from the plane.  He saw no other chutes, but later could see a fire in the distance.  It was reported that Lt. Reynolds was shot while parachuting.

Norris Pew B 1

When Lt. Horn landed, the French underground greeted him, and he gave them his chute and pistol.  He was hidden in a brush pile, and then within the hour, was surrounded by German infantry and was forced to surrender.  Lt. Horn later met up with Sgt. Gold at the first temporary POW prison, and he thought that everyone had left the plane.

Norris Pew 3

Reynolds was KIA, Pew was MIA, Horn and Gold become POWs, and Johnson and Coon escaped capture and returned to England.

As of November 2017. Horn is the last surviving crewman from this mission and is saddened that Cpl. Pew remains unaccounted for.

Norris Pew 1 Norris Pew 2

Two photos of 7I-L Smilin’ Joy:

smilin joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42-95920 Smilin’ Joy 7I-G

42-95920 Smilin’ Joy 7I-G

 

MACR 5140 report of Marauder crashing

Record from 344th Spreadsheet: Took a direct flak hit in the right engine over Amiens on the 28/5/44 mission to the Amiens Marshalling yards. Four chutes were spotted before the aircraft crashed 1 km SE of Mayenville, 8 km SW of Abbeville, France. The pilot was 1st Lt. James Foster Reynolds who was flying the aircraft after the regular pilot & crew were on an R & R break. He was killed by the Germans as he descended by parachute. Two of the crew evaded capture and made it back to allied lines, two were captured, and two were killed. This was the aircrafts 41st and last mission.

MACR Statement: Witness- Crewmate regarding Cpl. Leonard Norris Pew

“I believe that he bailed out approximately 25 Southwest of Abbeville. Just prior to bailing out I checked his chute and motioned him to follow me. I don’t know if he was injured. He was last seen coming from the tail gun position.”

MACR Statement: Witness- Crewmate regarding Cpl. Leonard Norris Pew –

“I believe he bailed out about 10 miles Southeast of Abbeville, France. My last contact with Pew was acknowledgement of bail out signal. He was last seen as he left the airplane.”

MACR Statement: Witness- Crewmate regarding PEW –

“I don’t know if he bailed out. The airplane crashed somewhere in the vicinity of Abbeville, France. I assume he was wounded or dead but I do not know this. PEW was last seen in the tail section of the airplane. The German interrogator told me he was dead.”

https://www.fieldsofhonor-database.com/index.php/en/american-war-cemetery-ardennes-p/52125-pew-leonard-n

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=95936668