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Harry Zeust & The Third Crew

2nd Lt. H.W. Zuest

Carl Carrozza’s Note: I was forwarded this forum conversation by Alf Egil Johannessen. Alf is a significant b-26 historian with knowledge of many sources of information. He has helped me many times. A woman named Cheryl is looking for information about Harold Zeust who went down with the Shopworn Angel. It is believed that he may have parachuted. I’d like to know more specific information about what happened next; http://www.armyairforces.com/forum/m_68391/mpage_1/key_/tm.htm#68450

Finding survivors who knew Harry Zuest – 12/14/2004 12:41:28 PM

My mother, Marguerite, was engaged to Harry Zuest, who was killed over Germany Febraury 14, 1945. Harry called her Josie. My Mother passed away last December and I have found Harry’s letters to her (2 years worth).

I am looking for any buddies who may remember him and are willing to help me fill in the gaps of his life. His letters are very beautiful and I would like to get to know him and his realtionship to my mother.

Many thanks
Cheryl

my email is: cvermey@wcupa.ed Finding survivors who knew Harry Zuest – 12/14/2004 3:45:04 PM

deefeater
Division Member

The following is Alf’s reply:

Posts: 116
Joined: 8/24/2003
From: Sandefjord, Norway
Status: offline
From the book 344th BG (M) “Silver Streaks” edited by Lambert D. Austin:
“Two missions were flown February 14, the morning mission being the 200th for the Group….no losses or damage resulted. In the afternoon of the 14th the Railroad bridge at Engers was attacked. Seventeen (17) Aircraft dropped 34 tons of bombs with generally excellent results, though clouds and haze were rapidly obscuring the target from view. The attack being visually, by flights, on converging axis of attacks and the weather closing in did not allow all of the Aircraft to drop on the primary target. However, on the way out to Base, two (2) Aircraft bombed at Bullay on briefed secondary and four (4) on the Railroad bridge at Ellers, another briefed secondary target, while one plane bombed the town of Burenbach as a casual target. The attack on the Euskirchen bridge (my note: I suppose it shall be Engers, as the intelligence report said 112 88’s [FLAK guns] on bomb run and 35 at turn off) was met by severe and accurate flak by enemy defenses, five of our Aircraft being shot down, 21 Aircraft damaged Category “A”, seven Category “B” and 31 of our personnel listed missing and six wounded”.

2nd Lt. H.W. Zuest was Bombardier on 42-95917 Y5-J “Shopworn Angel”, 495th BS 344th BG. MACR # 12344.
Pilot: Captain Thomas Brennan
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt F. LaFountaine
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. E. Monahan
Radio Gunner: Sgt. K.F. Pace
Tail Gunner: Sgt. W.A. Delavan

I will suggest that you go to this site: http://www.geocities.com/b26carrozza/
a very informative website on “Shopworn Angel”. Maybe you will get some leads from the webmaster.
I suggest a posting at http://www.b26.com/guestbook/2004.htm

I’m proud that Alf finds this website useful! The next reply gives some backgound on Mr. Zeust’s Air Corps training.

Post #: 2

RE: Finding survivors who knew Harry Zuest – 12/16/2004 11:41:00 AM

Dave T
Division Member

Posts: 601
Joined: 4/10/2002
From: Libertyville, IL
Status: offline
Cheryl,
Zuest graduated from the bombardier school at Midlands, TX class 44-11. He may also have been trained as a navigator. I have a website dedicated to bombardiers (link is below my name), lots of info on history, training, etc. I will add Zuest to my database. Do you have photo by chance?

Dave

The fateful day

Information about how the Shopworn Angel and the third crew were shot down has come to me from an eyewitness, Donald Moomaw, Public MACR records, and coorespondance from Dorothy Zuest DiNunzio. (see the message below). My deepest sympathies are offered to Harry Zeust’s family;

From: Dorothy Zuest DiNunzio

My brother, Harry W. Zuest, enlisted in the Air Force in June, 1943 (6 weeks before high school graduation) instead of waiting to be drafted. I believe he trained in Jefferson Barracks, MO, Texas, and attended Knox College in IL. After flight school he was sent to Bombardier School. When he finished that training he was made a Bombardier/Navigator on a B26. After graduating in August 1944, he had a week of leave and in November 1944 was able to come home for 12 hours before shipping out. He then went to England then to France and flew his mission from there.
On February 14, 1945 he was on a bombing mission when their plane was hit. Capt. Brennan told Harry & the co-pilot LaFontaine to bail out to lighten the plane. Neither one had been wounded. He wanted to bring the plane down to save he wounded gunner(s). Capt. Brennan was able to land the plane but was captured. He was put on the back of a truck with a noose around his neck. They couldn’t get the truck started because they were using coal for lack of gas. A Luftwaffe officer came along and saved his life. He told him some of his buddies were not so lucky. Harry and LaFontaine were captured and hung by civilians.
Capt. Brennan contacted my mother and told her about the mission after he returned. Harry was missing for a year then declared dead. A friend of his was in Germany during the Occupation and was able to confirm the information on his hanging, where he was buried and then moved to Margraten Cemetery in Margraten, Holland. My daughter, Debbie, and I were fortunate to go and visit Harry in August 1995, fifty years later.
My brother was only 20 years old when he died and I was left with a very big void in my life.

Dorothy J. Zuest DiNunzio
11/11/2005

I’m afraid Donald Moomaw was correct in his assumption that the civilians in Germany would be dangerous to any survivors of the crash.

Here's a great picture of the "Third Crew" provided by Dorothy J. Zuest DiNunzio.

Here's a great picture of the "Third Crew" provided by Dorothy J. Zuest DiNunzio.

Harry Zeust and buddies

Harry Zeust and buddies

I have recently heard from a Mr. Kurt Spence. While exploring some archives he found some pictures and information (and questions) related to the final mission of the Shopworn Angel. It seems the plane was landed by Captain Brennan. I wonder what happened to it then? See Mr. Spence’s information and pictures.

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