Washington, December 20, 2010
Dear Mr. Warren Butterfield:
I am pleased to inform you that by a decree signed by President of the French Republic on November 9th, 2010 you have been named a “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor.
This award testifies to the President of the French Republic’s high esteem for your merits and accomplishments. In particular, it is a sign of France’s true and unforgettable gratitude and appreciation for your personal, precious contribution to the United States’ decisive role in the liberation of our country during World War II.
The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France by persons of great merit. The French people will never forget your courage and your devotion to the great cause of freedom.
It is a personal pleasure for me to convey to you my sincere and warm congratulations.
Ambassador of France to the United States
I found a “blog” posting at your site (dated 11/7/2010 @ 7:30 p.m.) from a Reagan “Skippy” Holmes who is interested in finding a copy of a squadron insignia – the 13th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron patch/insignia. I do have a “black/white” printed copy. How do I contact him for an address.
PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG – IF YOU CAN – To: George Cooper
I read about George Cooper on your “blog” messages dated 10/30/2010 @ 7:39 p.m. asking for Info about his Uncle Farris Almond Kennon, Jr. who was flying in B-26 Marauders as a tail gunner.
According to records (WW II Combat Sqdns. Book – ISBN #0-8317-1501-4) that I located the 70th Bombardment Sqdn. (38th Bomb Group) where he must have flown B-26’s beginning in 1942 in Australia, Fiji, Guadalcanal, Russell Island, Sterling Island and Hollandia, New Guinea during the time the squadron had flown the B-26 Marauders.
It was from 1943 -1945 that the 70th Bomb Sqdn. squadron had transferred to the B-25 Mitchell’s.
I always appreciate to learn “facts” about Marauder men who served in “action”.
Incidentally, I had a “pen pal” with S/Sgt. Harold Keck, deceased, during WWII who served with the 22nd Bomb Group – 2nd Sqdn. in Australia and New Guinea. He enlisted and went with the first group of B-26’s to be used in combat beginning in Feb. 1942. The group left from Langley Field, Virginia with the “first” assembled Marauders from Middle River Plant in Baltimore. He first landed with the 2nd. Sqdn. at Reid River in Australia in Jan 1942.
I was a young child when I visited in Baltimore (1939-1944) with relatives while the Marauders were being assembled at the Martin plant.
That is where my interest started with knowing it was a “great” medium “fast flying bomber” and assemble by those who lived in Baltimore.
Later in life as a veteran I had served in 1951-1952 with the Glenn L. Martin Co. during my tenure in the Air Force while helping to develop the Martin B-61 Matador Guided Missile at Cape Canaveral (Cocoa Beach, Florida)
Martin always has built “high quality” aircraft! !
The B-26 and their PBY’s (and of course the Martin Clippers for Pan-Am) have proved that in past history.
Hi, I’m sending you these photos for the web site. They were acquired from an elderly gent living in Silver End village, very close to Rivenhall Airfield. My brother was given these pictures by this man some years ago, my brother asked me if I would like to see these photos recently. Seems like a pretty good find! I don’t believe any of these photos have ever been made public before, so it would be very interesting to me to see if anyone can be identified in the pictures?
The field is still there, but currently being destroyed for gravel extraction. Some of the Nissen Huts have already been taken down, only a few other buildings, peri tracks and 2 hangars remain, so is a sad state of affairs.
I do hope these pictures interest you, and look forward to your reply.
397th Bombardment Group (Medium) U.S.A.A.F. 9th Airforce.
Hello, there was a post in the 2001 postings from Nathann Weidenmann, he was looking for information about his Grandfather (Gervaise Jarmer) who was the Tailgunner on my great Uncles Aircraft. I am wondering if he has photos. In his 2001 post he sent to email him with information, but wondering how to get in contact with him. This is regarding my earlier post about Hannible Hoops and Donald B. Damer.
Anyone have any information on my father, S/Sgt James M. Fry, who was a tail gunner, shot down on his 25th mission over occupied France in April ’44? He flew with the 322 BG, 452 BS and was taken POW. -Jim Fry
The Marauder was 42-107695 DR-G of 322nd BG 452nd BS. The group lost 9 Marauders on this night mission. More details are found in the Missing Air Crew Report #6621 (MACR). Pilot on this mission was Captain Robert C. Fry. Target was Chateau de Ribeaucort near Abbeville.
Alf Egil Johannessen
I have a question about an incident in 1949; I have some information, but can’t verify the details. Any help or insight you can share would be appreciated.
In Feb 1949 a B-26 crashed near Milton Delaware with 5 passengers as well as crew; the aircraft was never removed from the swampy area it supposedly crashed into.
As I said, I found references to a B-26 that crashed at Waples Pond, Delaware, on 10 Feb 1949 and the serial number was 44-34719, but nothing more about survivors, casualties, unit of assignment or any other details.
Your help is much appreciated.
TOM L., Lt. Col., USAF
44-34719 was based at Greenville AFB in South Carolina. Pilot was Robert L. Kenyon, 4 killed in the crash. However this aircraft was not a Martin B-26 Marauder, but initially a Douglas A-A26B-66-DL-Invader. The model changed name to B-26 in 1948, these aircraft served in Korea and Vietnam, too.
Alf Egil Johannessen
On December 23, 1944, 36 B-26 Marauders of the 397th Bomb Group, (Bridge Busters), took off in the snow to bomb the Eller RR Bridge. En route to the target they missed rendezvous with their fighter escort. They were attacked by three waves of 15 (each) German fighters. After action debriefing reported the leader of the German fighters was well schooled in tactics and pressed his attacks to within 30 yards! The group encountered intense accurate flak over the target which they bombed using “GEE”. The bridge was destroyed. Leaving the target area they were again set upon by German fighters. Eleven (11) B-26s and their crews were lost. Many others were battle-damaged.
My father, Lt. W.W. “Andy” Anderson told me that upon returning to the field the weather was so bad they could not see the smudge pots, which had been lit to mark the runway, at 50’. He landed at another field where his B-26 required 3 days repair on an flak-damaged engine before he could return to his home base.
May God bless them all. And wouldn’t they be angry at the way this country has gone, after all the precious sacrifices they made? -Wynn Anderson
I am the son of Tommy (Linc) Taylor. He was a test pilot for the B26 with the Glenn L. Martin Co. He loved that airplane. – Tom Taylor
Hi. I am interested in information about my father Lt. William L Stockstill of the 397 BG, 599 BS. I am including these photos for your B 26 web site. The first airplane is “Mammy Yokum II” and crew.
The second airplane is “Nuff Said” with Scrub at the controls and my dad on top taken at A 72.
The photo with tent in background was taken at the Compiègne Forest probably 1945. The men in the photo from Left to Right are Capt Cox, FO Mazzarese, Lt Stockstill, Lt. Kelly, (front row) Lt Schmale. Lt. Hauser, FO Soto, Lt Kevlin, Lt Ragsdale (back row). Six returned to A 71 after photo was taken. The other photo is Lt Stockstill with unidentified friend.
Any info would be appreciated.
Thanks, Susan Stockstill
Name: W/O Arnost MRTVY
Fighter Wing: 134 RAF Wing
Squadron: 313 RAF Sqn
Years: April 1944
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Comments: I was a Czech RAF Voluntary Reserve pilot from a Czech 313 RAF Squadron. In July 1939, I fled for the Nazi-occupation of my country. I escaped through Poland and France. In July 1940, I escaped again to England where I started training with the RAF. I ended up in 313 Sqn, the last Czech Sqn established during WWII. On 19 April 1944, I provided Spitfire escort support to a B-26 bomber mission to the Malines Marshalling Yards. 391 Bomb Group reported later that “it was one of the best escorts ever provided”. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it back to England. I was engaged by Fw-190 beyond the Target Area; I was able to bail out and open my parachute. An SS AA-unit shot my parachute to pieces and I did not survive the fall. I am now berried in the Commonwealth War Grave Commission section of the Schoonselhof near Antwerp, Belgium. My tombstone can be viewed [here]. My ghost-writer is now taking care and is trying to keep my memory and all of those fallen airmen back to live.
I am Major Marc SEGERS and trying to reconstruct the live of a Czech pilot, Arnost Mrtvy, who died in Belgium on 19 April 1944. I was able to retrace his roots back to the Czech Republic, his escape to Poland and France, his training and education in the RAFVR. I am now trying to catch up with the details on his Bomber escort mission on 19 April 1944. I was able to get hold of the Operational Records of almost all of the BG that participated in that mission.
In particular, the 391 BG narrative report which is on the last page of the attached pdf file mentions a Spitfire going down and a pilot bailing out [Malines mission, April 19, 1944, pt 1, pt 2, pt 3]. According to the timing I am pretty sure that it is my Czech pilot. However, the location of Lierre (LIER in Dutch) does not correspond with the location where my pilot finally crashed as according to eyewitnesses his parachute was shot to pieces by German SS FlukabwehrKanonne (AA guns). However, the city of LIER was on the route out passed the Target Area. Perhaps the report is correct in that sense that the observation was made with the B-26 seeing the incident whilst over Lier, however with the apparent clear skies and visibility he might have seen the plane going down in the direction East to South East?
So basically, I would appreciate if you could investigate if there are any further notes, reports, eyewitnesses on this particular incident within survivors of the 391 BG on 19 April 1944. I know I am searching for the ‘pin in the haystack’ but you are … my only hope of shedding some light on what happened that day.
Additionally, if there any further reports on what BG composed the apparent three consecutive waves over Malines: I think it was 387 BG and 394 BG from the 98 Bombardment Wing in the first wave, followed by 322 BG and 391 BG in the second and finally 386 BG in the last wave with both 322, 394 and 386 BG from the 99 Bombardment Wing.
So, if you could help me, I would be very grateful.
We reviewed our files of the bomb groups in question, and were able to find several mission reports and other documents that we think will be helpful.
The attached pdf files contain:
* 11 pages of records from the 322nd BG
* 25 pages of records from the 386th BG — these mission reports discuss some of the other groups as well. The code ZB-918A refers to Malines, so any Groups you see assigned to that primary target would have been sent to Malines. This collection also includes a map, as well as our best reproductions of some photos from the file. Photos are incredibly hard to get off the microfilm, so this is our best attempt.
* a single page from the 391st BG — this mission report is more narrative than the others
* the relevant page from a published source, “Bridge Busters: The Story of the 394th Bomb Group” by J. Guy Ziegler (New York: Gannis & Harris), p29.
* 8 pages from the 394th BG files
The 387th Bomb Group also participated in the mission, as you know, but they did not leave any records from April or May 1944. Their periodic histories begin again in June 1944.
You’ll notice that there are five groups participating, not the four the requestor included. Perhaps this is the source of the confusion in numbers.
In any case, we can only attest to what our own records show, and cannot comment on the accuracy of Belgian or British sources. We also naturally do not have any RAF records, and so have little or indeed nothing to say about the Czech pilots themselves.
Otherwise, we think these files should prove quite illuminating, particularly since some of the reports describe routing, fighter coverage, etc.
Answer to Don Copple.(12/10/2010)
We have in Normandy a few miles south of LISIEUX a small village, Saint Martin de la Lieue.
The town of Lisieux and the other Norman towns were destroyed in the evening of the 6th of June 1944 first by medium and heavy U.S. bombers then during the night by the British Bomber Command to prevent German reinforcements.
Till the liberation of the town in the middle of August Lisieux was on the German side of the battle front and probably bombed again.
I had the opportunity to see 394th B.G. on the ground when they were based on A 13 Tour en Bessin at the end of the battle of Normandy.
In reply to the post from J. Stephen Nekervis Jr. (copy-pasted at the end of this email)
I grew up in ND de Gravenchon, Seine Maritime, France maybe 2 or 3 miles from where your grandfather crashed. Once I was walking close to the spring of the river Telhuet and an old man told me of a USAF plane that crashed not far from there during WWII and that French patriots managed to rescue one of the servicemen and hid him in the bushes surrounding the spring. Could it be your grand-father? Maybe…
Not far from that spring I noticed the debris of an aircraft in a garden. Somebody told me that the brother of the owner of the place was killed by an explosion during the war while playing in the debris of a crash US aircraft and that he kept the debris as a remembrance of his dead brother. Is that your grand-father’s airplane? Maybe… The fact that this French guy could recover the debris and keep them seems to indicate that they belong to an aircraft that crashed after D-Day ie the Germans were too busy to recover and recycle the debris.
I wrote this story on this web page [here]. The page is in French however you will see a photo of the place where your grandfather might have been hidden.
You can find details of your grand-father’s crash [here].
Feel free to contact me if you want more information. I am very grateful to the Americans and the allies in general for liberating France and I would be glad to help.
Did any Marauderman avoid flying in the plane or know somebody who did?
Does anybody have verifiable source information as to when the terms “Widow Maker”, “Martin Murderer”, “Flying Coffin”, “B-Dash-Crash”, “Flying Prostitute”, “Baltimore Whore” were first applied to Martin B26? Possibly the terms were first used by crews in a bar on the base, perhaps one of those guys may have written a letter home telling parents or siblings the new “joke”? Possibly the source of those terms was taken from a newspaper article or headline, possibly one crewman cut out the article and sent it home? Possibly the source was a competitor of Glenn Martin and “leaked” to the press?
If you have a letter or first hand account from a Marauderman that contains anything helpful to answer the questions, please send a copy to the site. If you have a newspaper clipping from the 1940s which contains any information please send a copy to the site.
An example of a B-26 myth is the claim that Senator Harry S. Truman, Chairman of the Special Committee of the Senate to Investigate the National Defense Program (March 1941 to August 1944) visited Avon Park bombing range and found two newly crashed and “smoldering” Marauders. This is from a respected aviation author who does not give a source for his information. Does anyone have any pictures or newspaper articles showing the Senator’s, any committee members’ or any committee investigators’ visit to Avon Park? No reference, pictures or articles have been found at the archives in MacDill and Maxwell USAF Bases, the Truman Library or Tampa Bay Tribune.
This website is documented by peer review – the evaluation of a scholarly or creative work by other people in the field to ensure it meets specific (quality) criteria. Verifiable evidence from multiple sources, not gossip and rumors, help tell the Marauderman story.
Send your questions, comments, suggestions and material to a panel of Martin B-26 historians for review – email: info <at> b26 <dot> com
What we don’t want or need are book citations with no verifiable sources.
As usual, all first hand Marauderman stories are welcomed.
The first time I heard “Flying Coffin” was in Dec 43 on base at Barksdale Field, LA in training to fly b26. I recall hearing “Flying Prostitute” 5 to 10 years ago from internet or b26 site searches. “Widow maker” a few times but more common to us with most time in combat it was “Flying Coffin”, a term used but the questionable names originated it the “states” where human error was high & mortality rate also. The questions “ever avoid or hear of anyone avoiding flying the plane?” Never. It’s true late in the war older married crews came overseas and married ones wished they weren’t going into combat – natural feeling. The B26 was then under review as to discontinuing making them and moving production to B-29s in the Pacific. Most pilots and crews that got beyond early cautious period were 99.99 % believers in the plane. Why not, when it could be brought back all shot up and crippled. Max Petrisek
I am Ronald Macklin. I was in the 34th bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group from April, 1942 to September, 1945. I was, tail gunner from 1942 and first months of 1943, then a crew chief and than flight chief to September, 1945. I thought it was a good airplane when I first worked on it. My pilot was one of the instructor pilots and I felt comfortable with him flying. I think I heard those words when we arrived at Barksdale, June 1942. The 34th went from the B-25 to the B-26 with no casualties, hit a few wires but no one was killed. Our first loss in combat was Dec 30, 1942 and Jan 1. 1943. Not a good way to start a war. I was on both missions. The airplanes at Barksdale were the short wing.
Phil R. Scheier: regarding your first question: Nope, I never did hear of a pilot or crew members avoiding flying in our wonderful medium bomber Martin Marauder; I know one guy, a tail gunner, who usually got airsick during flight, but managed to hide it from the pilot so he wouldn’t be grounded and returned to–ugh–ground duty. And we kept his secret, since he was still able to focus and handle his tail guns as needed, and maintain a sharp watch towards our rear. But he had to clean up after himself.
It is a fact that the Martin B-26 was the fastest bomber, at that time, in combat. It also had the shortest wings for faster flight, with less wing support than most other bombers, hence the term: Flying Prostitute. Also since the Martin plant was in Baltimore, naturally it was also known as the Baltimore Whore, among other names.
The only concern we all had before each flight, was: Just get us safely off the ground on takeoff, and we’re all set. We required a higher takeoff speed than any other bomber, at that time. So, takeoff was always a tense minute or two as the pilot would rev up the two Pratt & Whitney 2,000 HP engines, with the brakes locked, and then with the engines roaring, release the brakes and use lots of runaway before raising the nose for flight attitude.
Another grim sidelight: More men were lost in training back in Florida’s MacDill Field than were lost in combat. The pilots, co-pilots who made it, were among the best. With our 200 mph + speed, we (the pilot, of course) could take real effective evasive action when enemy planes attacked, or the huge black oily flak bursts would reach us. Of course, as you know, there was no evasive action on the most dangerous part of the mission, the actual bomb run with the bombardier fixed on hitting the target, even though he dropped on the lead bombardier.
And when we were the lead plane on some of our ETO missions hitting Nazi targets, everyone was on his best behavior. Hey, the group or squadron CO, would be our pilot, with our regular, the wonderful Luke Hargroves, pilot riding as co-pilot. Rank has its privileges. No screwing up there.
Actually, I was lucky, since I joined the already assembled crew at Key Field, Mississippi, right on the Atlantic, the final, awaited radio-op, gunner required for a full crew. My only personal problem as the radio-op, gunner is that when we entered enemy skies, I would leave my radio, grab my snap-on chute which fitted on my already in-place harness, force my way to the rear thru the narrow—to me–bomb bay supports, and into the waist position. Approaching the English Channel I would open the port and starboard windows, swing out the 50 caliber machine guns, one for each side, and feed the first shell into the chamber for an approved test fire over water. Then sit there for a good while entering Europe proper, maintaining a sharp watch from my excellent open-air perch, and – freeze at 12,000 feet up. No heat. Nothing. Just the gentle 200 mph breeze. With our throat mikes, we kept in close touch with each other as we searched the skies for enemy planes, and also report – as always happened – the salvos of flak, direction etc.
Thanks for the info request, and the memories it brings. Right now, far as I tell now, just a few of us around from the old squadron.
Best wishes and Happy Holidays.
Sherman Best: the first time that I heard derogatory remarks about the Martin Marauder was on the base in Lake Charles, LA – the first day I was there! This made me try to be re assigned to another type of aircraft but Col. Manson would not hear of it, he told me that I was assigned to the base and would fly whatever aircraft was there—END OF DISCUSSION. So, that’s what I did.
David Miller: From the terms you listed I recall hearing “Flying Coffin” while at Advance training right after those of us whose last name began with “M” had orders we were going to be copilots on the B-26. But can not recall who spread the word amongst us. At this time, we were all hearing the phrase “One a day in Tampa Bay”. The other names listed I have no idea who came up with them. I never had a toggle switch failure but all of us were aware of what might happen especially on takeoff/ under full power. We did use the toggle switch one time when our right engine began to sputter and failed in flight and were able to feathered that prop successfully. This happened when we were training at Barksdale Field, LA. I believe most Marauder pilots were aware that the early Curtis Electric props were a serious concern on the early models and hoped it never screwed up on take off.
John Neyenhouse, pilot , member of the 559th/387th Bomb Grp, folded his wings last week, age of 91. I flew my first mission with him . He returned home after 71 mission, had received the Distinguished Flying Cross. It does make me wonder just how many of WWII Marauder folks are still living?
Season Greetings to you and yours.
Pilot, 559th Bomb Squadron
PLATTSBURGH — John F. Neyenhouse, 91, of Wild Goose Lane, Plattsburgh, N.Y., passed away on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh. He was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Nov. 16, 1919, the son of George and Theresa (Duquette) Neyenhouse.
John graduated from Morrisonville High School in 1940 and attended Plattsburgh State University, before joining the Army Air Corp. in World War ll. He served in the European Theater and the air offensive over Europe, Normandy and northern France, where he flew 71 bombing missions piloting a B-26 Marauder. Having attained the rank of major at the age of 25, John received the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon and the Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal with Twelve Oak Leaf Clusters.
Following his discharge from the service and a brief career as a commercial pilot, he owned and operated a dairy farm in Peru, N.Y., and later held civilian positions on Plattsburgh Air Force Base as chief of Construction in Base Procurement and later as vehicle maintenance officer. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and a communicant of St. Mary’s of the Lake Church.
Aviation grew to be his passion as he was especially proud of maintaining his pilot’s license throughout his adult life. Infinitely and remarkably patient and accepting of others and dedicated to his family, he was most notably optimistic and positive-thinking and always found a way to infuse humor where it was so badly needed. He enjoyed great books and beautiful music.
Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years, Mary (Sullivan) Neyenhouse; four sons and eight daughters, 29 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; a sister, Mary; and a son, Richard.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the CVPH Foundation as a way of showing their gratitude for the loving care he received by the doctors and staff at CVPH Medical Center Hospital.
At John’s request, his remains have been donated to the University of Vermont for medical research. A memorial Mass will be held on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church.
My own B-26 transition training began with one landing and then two takeoffs and two landings — following which I was assigned a crew and given a bit more IP attention, but not much. The location was the 336th Bomb Group at Avon Park, Florida. This unit moved to MacDill (briefly) and then to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Now to the story. It begins with a scheduled Lake Charles training flight. Prior to taking the runway, I did my usual run up and checks. One of the checks was, with the engines well up in RPM, to check the manual increase/decrease prop toggle switches — one at a time. The exercise was simple — observing the tachometer, briefly toggle forward, toggle back and return to the neutral (automatic pitch control.) toggle position.
Some describe “a tremendous roar.” In my case, it was more like one hell of a “whump” when the fast turning right prop instantly went full feather with a dead stop. I thought I had done something wrong and I was about to get an ass chewing, but it was obvious that I was going no where with only one prop turning — so I called for a fire truck and a tow.
Here’s the deal.
You know how a spring-loaded toggle switch works — you move the toggle and, spring loaded, it snaps the contacts into the desired position. Well, in the highly damp Lake Charles environment, the mica-based insulation in the switch became impacted by the moisture and, swelling up, when the contact snapped into position it jammed into position and STUCK — and it could not be un-jammed by moving the toggle to a neutral or reverse position. Until the toggle switch jammed, there was no way the pilot could know if it was about to jam — if it worked once, it might not work the next day or even a second time on the first day.
Following my happenstance event, when the cause was established, I recall that specific inspections were made on all B-26s, suspect toggle switches were replaced, and a recommendation for redesign sent to Wright Field.
My best guess is a crash or two might have developed as a result of a toggle switch jamming. After the crash, the crash investigation parties would examine controls, switches, etc. and, of course, the visible toggle control would be in a proper position, but the contact points could be in another position. And, if torn down after the crash, the jolt of the crash would probably have caused the contacts to be properly positioned — and other causes of the crash would then be developed.
After my experience, unless there were a real emergency, after the initial toggle switch check and following the start of the takeoff roll, it was “hands off” the prop toggle switches.
Perhaps some 26 pilots were never briefed on the prop toggle switch problem, I’d like to hear from them, and perhaps a crash or two was really a failed toggle switch worth less than a dollar.
“For want of a nail ….”
First of all may I congratulate you on a brilliant site. I have spent many expectant hors researching into my friends fathers history with the B26’s. His name was Nathan H Wilson (XXX7162). He was a tail-gunner on the “Valkyrie” serving under Lt Dale B Witherbee in the 344thBG/497thBS from 3/6/44 to Sept 44 and stationed at Stansted England. I have recovered photo’s of the “Valkyrie” and apparently this plane only flew four missions. I have his diary with all 65 missions he run. Have you any info into what other B26 planes his crew flew in and photo’s etc.?
The diary is available to anyone who is interested. Please try and help … thanks. Clive
Marauderman’s Name: Vincent Miela
Bomb Group: 387th
Bomb Squadron: 559th
Years in service: Nov. 27, 1943 to Oct. 15, 1945
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: Airplane Mechanics School, Sheppard Field, Texas and Gunnery School, Fort Meyers, Florida
I am helping Vince’s family gather any information, photos etc. of his time in the service. He was awarded his Aircrew member Badge, the EAME Theater Ribbon with three (3) Bronze Service Stars and His Air Medal with five (5) Oak Leaf Clusters. He is deceased and the family has few stories about his experience overseas. The stories he did relate to them as they were growing up indicated that he was a gunner and flew many missions, but very little detail beyond that. We would like to honor him and keep this humble “unsung” hero’s memory alive.
Any help or information will be greatly appreciated.
Best wishes and with gratitude,
This is a post/inquiry for photos of my Great Uncle Donald B Damer’s crew and aircraft.
He was 1st Lt. Donald B. Damer and served with the 394th BG, 587 BS. His aircraft was destroyed by AAA of St. Martin Lieux in France on 13 June 1944. He was killed in action along with the copilot/other pilot. I have conflicting information that he was the pilot, while the Bridge Busters book lists 2nd LT William R Nielson as pilot which I will explain more in a moment. They were stationed at RAF Boreham during this time period. His B-26 was 42-107682, and I found from earlier posts in this guest book that the aircraft was named “Hannibal Hoops”. I think after a Li’l Abner character, although I cannot find a picture of this character either, just references from a 1938-1943 Li’l Abner comic series.
His crew were 2nd LT William R Nielson: KIA, MIA: S/Sgt. Adam Toth; Sgt. Jack King. Crew members taken POW: S/Sgt. Gervaise Jarmer and Sgt. Elmer Fellhauer. I learned from an earlier post the S/Sgt. Jarmer was the tail gunner position.
Here is the story I have heard from my Grandmother, Donald Damer’s sister:
Shortly after the war either Elmer Fellhauerm or Gervaise Jarmer visited Donald’s family farm in Webb City, MO. He related the following story to my Grandmother’s family. The bombers were returning after a successful bombing mission in France – a fuel dump according to “Bridge Busters”. My Great Uncle Don was flying the airplane and singing “Mares eat oats, and does eat oats” over the crew intercom as they were flying through flak on the return mission. The aircraft took a direct hit, and my Great Uncle just said “Uh, oh, better get out.” The aircraft split in half. S/Sgt. Jarmer (Tail), and Sgt. Fellhauer (waist?), bailed and were taken POW. The rest of the crew perished in the crash, somewhere near St. Martin Lieus in France, “Bridge Busters.”
I am wondering if anyone reading this post would have any pictures of the crew, aircraft, possible nose art, a picture of Li’l Abner’s “Hannibal Hoops” character. I have a picture of Donald Damer in his uniform, but nothing of the aircraft.
I cannot find St. Martin Lieux location, several towns in France start with St. Martin but cannot find one with the Lieux part. Does anyone know where that is?
If anyone else has any other information, I would like to see it.
Thanks for the website. Don Copple
B-26 plane named “B-Line”
Pilot: Lewis S Caldwell
Tail # Unknown
Capt. Caldwell was my brother-in-law. He passed in 2005. In his memory, and the memory of his crew, I am trying to find information on his plane, his crew and anything else that might come my way. Thanks so much. God Bless.
Pastor Robert F. Wyrick
Marauderman’s Name: Ernest F. Case
Bomb Group: 17th
Bomb Squadron: 432nd
Years in service: 1942-45
Graduation Class: 1942
Class Location: Louisiana
Comments: 1st Lt. Ernie Case flew 13 missions before being shot down on Feb. 17, 1943 over Sardinia. He was injured in the crash, but survived, along with his co-pilot Kelvort DeArmond. They were captured by the enemy and kept as POWs for nearly a year. They managed to escape and were on the run for a month in Italy, finally reach safety with a Canadian patrol. Case returned to the States in 1944, was discharged in ’45 and immediately enrolled at UCLA where he played two seasons as the starting quarterback. He led the Bruins to an undefeated regular season in 1946. Case died in 1995. We are looking for more information regarding his service as a B26 Marauderman and his time as a POW and escapee. Thanks, Rich Bertolucci.
Marauderman’s Name: Frank Jordan
Bomb Group: 17th
Bomb Squadron: 95th
Years in service: 1941-45
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: My father, who is deceased, was a top gunner on a B26 named “Bucket O’ Bolts”. I discovered that his military records were burned in a fire in 1973 so have been searching the web to see what I could find about the 95th BS. I discovered on this site that Alf Egil Johannessen commented on someone’s guest book entry that “Bucket O’ Bolts II” (#41-17901) was one of the original 95th BS Marauders and that it flew 74 missions until 25 Sept 1943 when it cracked up on take-off. My father always told the chilling story of how he had to go to the dentist to get a rotten wisdom tooth pulled and didn’t want to go but had no choice. The day he went was September 25 1943 — all the guys he’d been flying with died that day. He never quite got over it. In any case, does anyone know where I could find more info about how many missions he flew or where he was stationed etc. since his file no longer exists?
Jackie Jordan Blumenthal
A song written by Ellis and Wince Coles called “Dairy of one now Dead”. The brothers are from Newfoundland and the song is about the artic tragedy in Saglak. The crash was near the town of Hebron and is documented on the site here – The Saglek Story, Artic Tragedy in 1942.
I am hoping you may be able to assist me with a 22nd Bomb Group crash that occurred at Iron Range Australia. The details I have are:
B 26 Marauder
22nd Bombardment Group
Plane named “Kansas Comet”
Serial No 40-1433
Date of Crash – 13th September 1942
Location of crash – Gordon Airfield, Iron Range Cape York, Queensland Australia
Walter KRELL Lt Pilot
Graham Robert ROBERTSON RAAF
John WILSON Crew Chief
Gene GRAUER Navigator
John ENGLEMAN Tail Gunner
Walter GARDEN Bombardier
Pat NORTON RO – Waist Gunner
John FOLEY Turret Gunner
Do you know these men’s serial Numbers or anything further about this crash? Crash reports, photos or anything that you may have.
Thank you for your time.
Paul D Hayslip was mentioned in a B26.com posting Date: 8/25/09 Time: 1:52 PM [select here to see post]
Paul was the tail gunner in the crew of B26 42-96003 shot down over Germany on Christmas Eve 1944. As mentioned in the posting above he was the only survivor. He vowed that if he survived POW camp he would never miss church to give thanks. He kept that pledge.
Paul died in his sleep on Nov 27, 2010 at age 88.
Paul Duane Hayslip passed away suddenly on November 27, 2010. He was born on March 4, 1922 in Houston, Texas, to Bernard Roy and Lela Virginia Bray Hayslip and was the youngest of three brothers – Gordon being the eldest and George being the middle son.
Paul served in the military during WWII as a tail gunner on a B26. On Christmas Eve, 1944, his plane was shot down and he parachuted out but unfortunately, was captured by Germans, where he spent several months in a POW camp. He was also a Purple Heart recipient.
Paul was a kind, helpful man who offered aid to whoever needed it. He was a faithful Christian who lived what he believed. Though he wasn’t a man of many words, his kindness showed through.
Paul leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Adrienne Hayslip; his nieces, Nancy Duhe and her husband Albert, Mary Hayslip and Tiana Hayslip; his grandniece, Cindy Vattathil and husband Vimal; his great grandniece, Lela Virginia Vattathil; and numerous friends.
Visitation will be held from 5 until 7 PM on Friday, December 3, 2010 at Earthman Funeral Directors, 8303 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77024. A memorial service will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at Spring Branch Presbyterian Church, 1215 Campbell Road, Houston, Texas. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or a charity of your choice.
Kendall Crawford, Houston TX
Marauderman’s Name: Joseph V. Bledsoe
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 586th
Years in service: 1942-1969 (USAAF/USAF)
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: Regarding the Ceremony in Coinces, October 9, 2010, In memory of the two American crews killed at Coinces on October 8, 1944. My father was Deputy Leader of Box 2 during the flight in which two crews were lost, by collision, over Coinces, France on Oct. 8th, 1944. As his 2nd of three sons, and the only MARINE in the family, not a day goes by that I don’t miss and honor all of them.
As the old toast goes “Here’s to US and those like US, lest we forget”.
William P. Bledsoe, USMC 1966-1970
Hello, I’m looking for information on the loss of Sgt. Phillips E. Hicks 496 BS, 344 BG lost March 24 1945. Buried in Leon France. Believe him to be a B-26 crewmember, most likely a Marauderman. Any help on this crew loss is appreciated.
LTC USA retired.
I am looking for any information about my Stepfather, Harry Kelly, 394th Bomb Group, 585th Bomb Squadron. Harry was from National Park New Jersey. I am building a model of his B26 and I want the markings to be correct. Harry is gone now and this will go to my Mother whom he loved so much. Any, that is ANY information will help. Thank you all for standing at Freedoms Gate to protect us.
Master Sergeant John Laigaie (USA Ret)
I thank all of you guys who saved the world from evil in WWII. I lost a Cousin, Flight Officer Leonard Holmes of Mt Vernon, Texas, and a great guy. I am looking forward to meeting his spiritual body in Heaven some day. You fine men of the Army Air Forces are my heroes and, without a doubt, of the Greatest Generation since the Revolutionary War.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL … Dave Holmes
Marauderman’s Name: James Lewis Regan (#XXX4157)
Bomb Group: 28
Bomb Squadron: 77
Years in Service: 15 Aug 1941 – 5 Oct 1944
Graduation Class: 41F
Class Location: Stockton Field, CA
Comments: My uncle was James Lewis Regan (“JLR”), I believe he was a pilot of one of the 14 Martin B-26’s that left Gowen Field in Boise Idaho headed for the Aleutian Islands, Alaska on January 5, 1942. On January 16Th these 14 planes left Edmonton, that night three of the planes crash landed in a valley which later became known as “Million Dollar Valley”. I don’t believe JLR was one of the three planes that crash landed; but, can you tell me where I can learn more about this incident? Also, JLR was a pilot of one of the six B-26’s that attacked the Japanese destroyers Oboro and Hatsuharu on October 16, 1942; he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this battle. An excellent report of this attack can be found on Walter Wagner’s page. Where can I find more information about this battle? Are their any type of reports that would describe the entire battle? And finally, JLR received the Air Medal for his heroism on November 26, 1942 in an attack on a Japanese freighter in Holtz Bay, Alaska; where can I learn more about this attack.
Randy C. Bryant
My dad was Alfred Durell, he received his wings at Moody Field, Ga. in Jan. / Feb 1944. He was stationed in England as part of the 322BG and in the 449 Squadron. He was the co pilot of “Geraldine”.
I have a newspaper picture and clipping saying he flew 7 missions. He did not talk about the war very much … however a relative said he lost 2 pilots to flax and was grounded for a while. I’d really like to know what missions he flew and who was in his crew as well as location of where he was stationed.
Also, it would be great to hear from any one who knew or flew with him. He wanted to fly after the war but had polio in 1950 so could not continue flying.
This site is fascinating. I’ve read most of the messages submitted. Thanks for any information you can provide.
His son, Mike Durell
Hi, my Dad was a Staff Sergeant in a B-26 during 1942 to 1945. His name Joseph W Freitas with the 322nd bombardment group 450th bombardment squadron, radio gunner, He went to Fort Devens MA, Barksdale LA. In 1942 he went to radio school training with Stan Michaud , Bill Pappey, C. Wilson, G. Patterson, E. Horner, L. Sheehan, P. Wasco in Sioux falls. He was injured by flak in June1945.
He passed away in 1990 of cancer. He sometimes would talk about their missions getting hit by flak to a target and getting hit again on the way back to England and some good friends not making it back from a mission. He said on every mission being escorted by British fighters. He said those pilots were life savers. He also spent some time in Iceland taking the b-26 to England. I will send more info on plane id and crew.
Thank you, Mike Freitas
Hi, my Dad, Curtis G. Welborn, was a Staff Sergeant on the “Weary Lera” and a crew member on “Sleepy Time Gal’s” last flight 23 December 1944. Also on that flight were Lt Ray Field, Lt Dale Bartels, , Lt Bill Carls, Lt Leonard Levin, Staff Sergeant Carl Ulery, Staff Sergeant Gene Checkemain. I am not sure of their bomber squadron or group numbers. I have four photos from that time period three of the Weary Lera’s crew, and one from MacDill AFB flight training. I would appreciate hearing more information
Grey Welborn, Jr.
It is with much regret that I wish to inform the B-26 community and the rest of the world, that Nevin F. Price, a founding father of WAMM – Washington Area Marauder Men, and creator of the largest B-26 personnel records database, has made his final flight on Friday 19th November 2010.
Nevin had served with the 599th Bomb Squadron, 397th Bomb Group. His expertise was not confined to the 397th however, and he was one of the best men that any B-26 interested person could ever meet or have contact with. His knowledge of the personnel that made, trained with, serviced, flew in combat or had any other connection with the B-26, was second to none. With the simple mention of some peoples names he could tell you some things about a persons service or connection, even down to some of their wives and children’s names. He could inform you of where people had joined the service, simply by some of the digits of their serial number, and would help anybody, at any time, who had an interest with any B-26 personnel related questions. With his help, many old comrades were reunited, or their friends fates confirmed.
He will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and now even more so, by those that cannot use his expertise.
He was dedicated to serving the memory of the B-26, and all that had a connection to it. His generosity was outstanding, with him opening his home to the many people that visited him, sometimes at very short notice, when they were seeking information and happened to be in his area.
Wherever you land, I am certain that there will be many welcoming hands of old friends and people who wish to meet you in person, especially those who have gone before you, that you have served so well.
Rest in peace now, well at least for a short while, until you find the next big project that requires you specific kind of attention.
Marauderman’s Name: Donald J. Klein
Bomb Group: 319th
Bomb Squadron: 439th
Years in service: 1942-44
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: Tech Sergeant, aerial photographer, gunner. Volunteered for the Doolittle Raid and was slated to go until they decided not to bring aerial photographers. Then assigned to North Africa. Flew on 40 missions in North Africa and Italy.
This is a quote attributed to Jack Havener:
“However, by September of 1942, the situation had gotten even worse and training accidents had become even more frequent. By that time, the reputation of the Marauder had gotten so bad that civilian crews contracted to ferry USAAF aircraft to their destinations were often quitting their jobs rather than having to ferry a B-26. The Air Safety Board of the USAAF was forced to initiate an investigation into the cause. In October, the Truman Committee was again on the warpath and once again recommended that production of the B-26 be discontinued.”
“The source for this is “The Martin B-26 Marauder (9780941072274): JK Havener”
This is Jack Havener’s reply:
“The quote you are referencing was lifted partially from Paragraph 1 & 3 on page 36 of my book but, as you see, I made no mention of “civilian” pilots. How it could be twisted is the problem these days! Damned Internet!!
Much of my data comes from Ray Wagner of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. He’s shown in the bibliography at the back of the book. Ray has the reputation as being one of the foremost informationists on the B-26.
Tomorrow is “Veteran’s Day” and the history of any airplane is best left to one who flew one.
I’m working on a small project for a family member, George E. Curtis Jr. He was the radio operator / gunner, completing 65 missions before returning home in the spring of 1945.
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 587th
Years in service: 3 years
Class Location: Lake Charles , LA USA , March 1944
Plane: “Wabbit Twacks”
Pilot: Lt. Francis L. Buswell, Jr.
Co-Pilot: Lt. Donald R. Firshing
Bombardier: Lt. Wade Cornelius
Radio Operator / Gunner: S/Sgt George E. Curtis, Jr.
Engineer: Sgt. Thomas H. Lamb
Gunner: Sgt. Laurence E. Knapp
I would appreciate any information, stories, & photos folks may have of George and/or any of the crew. George is still with us & he tells some stories IF you can get him in the mood. This is one of George early in his service. I have additional pictures of the crew as well as a couple photos of one of their planes after a belly landing. By my count, I believe that this crew went through at least 3, maybe even 4 planes — I’ve researching this stuff for awhile!
Thanks very much,
I would like to add a few observations concerning the recent posts to the B26.COM guestbook concerning the “Truman” report. An extract from the report is reproduced on the B26.COM guestbook (11/05/2010 03:12PM) and states “the Army plans to taper off its production and use the Martin facilities in Baltimore, MD., and Omaha, Nebr., to produce other types of planes.” This clearly states that production of the B-26 was to be reduced in favour of other aircraft. This does not mean the same thing as shut down or stopped, which has commonly been reported to be the committee’s recommendation. It also states that “the Army” is planning to reduce production, and therefore the decision was that of the Army and not the Truman committee. The rest of the extract contains both praise and criticism of the B-26, and the phrasing doesn’t suggest to me the total lack of faith in the B-26 that has been reported in many articles that I have read on the subject.
Perhaps, only the criticism in the report was used by others to justify their opinion that B-26 production should be stopped immediately, and that is where the misconception comes from. It’s possible that the personal opinions of Senator Truman or other committee members may have been more critical of the B-26 than that contained in the report. These opinions could have influenced policy in other areas, such as government departments and the USAAF, but I’m not aware of any evidence of this. John Moench says in his book that the USAAF “top brass” had a low opinion of all medium bombers (and especially the B-26), and this could have been a far greater influence in the attempts to get B-26 production stopped. One other fact worth mentioning here is that there were a number of Marauders named “Truman’s Folly”. This suggests that it was commonly believed at the time that Truman was personally responsible for the criticism of the Marauder, so it would be interesting to hear from where this belief originated.
My father-in-law, T/Sgt. John L. “Skip” Wilson, service # XXXXX774, was an aircrewman in the 387 Bomb Group, 559th Bombardment Squadron. We have a pocket New Testament that he carried w/ him at that was received “Nov. 18, 1943 at Chelmsford, Essex, England.” The attached photo does not have a date/place/etc. on the back.
We know that on D-Day he was stateside, returning to the ETO shortly thereafter, and that he was awarded the DFC for actions in WWII. He was from N. Carolina and had a girlfriend (later wife) named Patricia Bell of Fresno, Ca. He retired from the USAF in 1965 as a SM/Sgt. He died in 1981 in Fresno, Ca. If anyone has info, photos, etc. please contact me. Thanks, Thomas Wilcox
Marauderman’s Name: Nicholas Buonasorte
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 587th
Years in service: enlisted in 1939–wars end
Graduation Class: unknown
Class Location: unknown
Comments: My father was a member of the crew of “Red Light Rosie” and I am trying to get some more information about his service. I am directing this e-mail to Robert Benz, grandson of James V. Roy Jr. who was the pilot of “Red Light Rosie”. I saw a post from him dated last November and would really like to get some contact info to discuss details further. Please advise on how I should proceed.
Regards, Michael M. Buonasorte Sr.
In 1951 I was 6 years when I met my Uncle Sid Homan. He knocked on the front door, the door opened and he stood broad at the shoulders & over 6 feet tall. The sun was behind him and it looked to me as if he took up the whole doorway, he was wearing the blue uniform of the US Air Force. I was 60 years old before I saw him again. One of the stories I learned from him was his involvement in “The Doolittle Raid”.
His job was to retrofit the B-25 bombers fuel tanks, so they could carry extra fuel for this top-secret mission. As everyone knows the Mitchell Bombers had to take off some 3 or 4 hundred miles early, because the Carrier Hornet was discovered by the Japanese much earlier than expected. It turned out that those fuel tanks carried just enough fuel to save virtually every man on that mission. Almost all of those bombers made it to the coast of China!
I also met my Aunt Ruth for the first time; she waded ashore on Normandy beach as an Army nurse. She was just miles away from where Hitler killed himself and she didn’t come home till the war was over.
But this story is not about them, but rather about my other Uncle, Lt. Walter J Joos, a Navigator/Bombardier, in a B-26 Marauder medium bomber named the “Mammy Yokem II”. They were also known the “Bridge Busters”.
He flew with the 397 Bombardment Group/ 98th Bombardier Squadron from D-Day until he was wounded over France, August 11, 1944. He safely brought down the Mammy Yokem & it’s bomber formation on his plane’s 58th mission. His wounds were serious enough that he flew no more, but to honor him his name was painted on the nose of the Mammy Yokem (these bombers were also known as the “Flying Coffin”) and it stayed there until wars end, when his bomber and several crews later finished their 99th mission. [Read More …]
I was searching the Internet for information about my Dad’s service during World War II. He is now 87 and speaks fondly and often about his fellow soldiers. I would like to know if there is anyplace I could find more information for him about his squadron especially locating anyone that might be still with us. My dad’ is still very sharp and if there was someone he could correspond with I know that would add to his life especially since my mother passed away a few years ago.
This is the information I have:
Name: Mehron H. Melik
Rank: Sergeant, Communications Chief, radio operator, radio gunner, radio mechanic
Served: Enlisted, November 13, 1942 thru January 3, 1946
5th Air Force
22nd Bomb Group
Any information you have would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Cathy Tedesco, “Bud” Melik’s proud daughter
This is in response to Kirk Adams’ inquiry, posted 5/18/2010.
Photos of the “Flyin’ Dutchman” and her crew, including pilot William Schulte can be seen under John Perry’s entry. My father, John Perry designed and drew the nose art. The plane was named after her pilot, William Schulte who was from Dutch decent.
“The “Impossible” Marauder
BY NOW IT HAS BEEN PRETTY WELL ESTABLISHED that you can’t judge one type of airplane by the requirements for another, any more than you can criticize a sonnet by the criteria for an epic. The corollary of this is that, to judge either a plane or a piece of literature, it is necessary first to study its purpose and then to discover how near it comes to accomplishing that purpose.
For this reason the Martin B-26 Marauder is one of the outstanding planes of this war. It set out to do the “impossible” and is doing it every day on fighting fronts all over the world.
While Hitler was arming Germany unimpeded, this country was living under the reign of pacifism. Trusting to the protection of the seas, we built only a relatively small air force. Then came the invasion of Poland and the Lowlands, arousing us to the fact that our security rested not on our oceans but on the strength of our air power. We needed many more bombers—dive bombers for naval offensive action, light bombers for cooperation with land troops, heavy bombers for long-range striking power, and—what we had entirely neglected—medium bombers to fill a tactical role.
In 1939, therefore, the Army asked The Glenn L. Martin Company to design them a medium bomber which would supplement our Liberators and Flying Fortresses by combining the long-range and heavy bomb load of the heavy-duty bomber with the speed, maneuverability and firepower of the fighter. It was an assignment to give pause to the most courageous aircraft designer, but immediately several of the Martin engineers set to work. Among them was the nonconformist, Peyton Magruder…” Read Part 
Source: “The Impossible Marauder” by Ester H. Forbes, April 1943, U.S. Air Service Magazine, Page 19
My Grandfather. . . A B26 Hero. I am writing to try and obtain as much information as I possibly can about my grandfather who was a B26 pilot in WWII. His name is Frank Buchanan, from the 319th Bomb Group, 440th Bomb Squadron. His plane was shot down over Italy where he guided it to a safe landing for he and his crew. He was taken as a POW and believe he escaped. Not sure exactly when though. I know he had a dog that flew with he and his crew. My grandmother’s name is Shirley Buchanan. My grandfather passed away in 1989 of a stroke and resided in Colorado where he was a practicing lawyer and also the Mayor of Boulder, CO.
Any information you could provide me would be much appreciated. Veteran’s Day always make me remember him and his service to our country.
Matt, your grandfather Captain Frank A. Buchanan was Co-Pilot on B-26 41-34872 of 319th BG 440th BS. On a mission to Gerbini Airdrome on Sicily July 4th 1943 the Marauder was shot down over target by enemy fighters, MACR #77. He is listed on the POW list I have, but no info about Camp# in Germany. NARA records confirms POW status in Germany, but no info about name of camp. Eyewitness in the formation saw that the Marauder had left engine in flames, and four parachutes opened. Due to enemy fighter attacking the eyewitness was not able to see anything further. All crew members bailed out over the target, and were taken POW. The aircraft hit the ground 200 yards off the airport bombed. This a/c was lead bomber over target.
Pilot: Captain Griffith P. Williams
Co-Pilot: Captain Frank A. Buchanan
Navigator-Bombardier: 1st Lt. Richard J. Schott
Engineer-Gunner: S/Sgt. Albert W. Sorce
Radio-Gunner: S/Sgt. William S. Tully
Gunner & Observer: Captain Thomas C. Griffin
Flight Commander: Lt. Colonel Wilbur W. Aring
Alf Egil Johannessen
My Father in Law is Capt. Robert S. Coplen. He flew in the 386th Bomb Group, 552nd Bombardment Squadron. He passed away on 2001, and he didn’t talk much about his flying. Does anyone remember him/ He received the Distinguished flying cross for bravery on the mission in an I believe it was an A-26 aircraft. The flight was on January 14th, 1945. He was lead navigator, and several aircraft were “discouraged”, but some stayed with him and bombed railroad bridges. Does anyone remember this?
Here’s something sent in from a Marauder Man. What did the WW2 Generation do after their great Depression and World War II? They saved their money.
“1946 Resolution – that every American by and hold U.S. Savings Bonds. Assist in building the prosperity your nation and your own industry – make the wise New Year’s resolution to promote the continued sale of E, F, and G Savings Bonds through your payroll savings plan! U.S. Savings Bonds purchased regularly, form the thrift habit – and enable Americans to secure the educational advantages for their children and achieve financial independence in old age.”
…large image [pdf]
Hello, my Dad, Richard W. Felton, he was in the 394th Bomb Group / 586th Bomb Squadron, was a B-26 Pilot in WWII, I have many photo’s my Dad took in flight and on land that are outstanding quality. How or who can I email the pictures to so that they can be published on the B26.com site? I just found this site tonight.
Attached is a listing of missions he flew that my brother obtained several years ago from someone he found that had a database of missions flown in WWII. I have also included a few pictures and my Dad’s Military Record and Separation Certificate of Service. I do have a lot of pictures that I must scan and I will send for a dedication page, this will be great to have a page on my Dad. What size & format of pictures do you like to use? I have a lot of photo editing software and I am very computer literate. I retired recently and it has been my plan all along to digitize the pictures my Dad took to preserve them for my brothers, children and grandchildren. I am also attaching a couple of photos.
Thank you so much! Bill Felton
My mother, Mia Rikers and she lived in Holland in a place named Hulsberg, dated Clifford T Reavis between September 1944 and 1945. Her last letter from him was from June 1945. On the envelope he wrote:
Sgt Clifford Reavis XXXXX931
558 Bomb Squadron
387 Bomb Group
APO 140 U.S. Army
Does anybody recognize the name or know Mr. Reavis? Is there an American Army organization where I can find out what happened to him? I have to add some more information to my mail from the 8th of March, 2007. My mothers name at the time she dated Clifford Reavis was Mia Rikers and she lived in Holland in a place named Hulsberg. She told me that Clifford was 21 years at that time. I remember me a picture with a plane on named “Five by Fives” and the plane was painted with a pin up girl. This picture was token on an air base named Beek in the province Limburg witch is the south of Holland .
The attached picture was taken at Beek – Ulestraten (Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands) on 26 August 1945 by a member of my family.
Guessing from the (partial) tail number and the name on the fuselage it must be the ‘Five by fives’.
I hope this is of interest to you and perhaps you can forward it to relatives of the crew.
I am trying to find the original 13th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron patch/insignia. Would anyone be able to post it, please?
I am interested in seeing how the cat holds the camera in particular.
I read a few of the bombardier stories on your site – here’s something for the bombardiers – “Last of the Bombardiers”.
Reagan “Skippy” Holmes
Have a good one!
Some aviation authors have used the Truman Report as evidence that Martin B-26 Marauder production was nearly shut down. The report says no such thing. The actual text mentioning the B-26 is printed here:
“The B-26, produced by the Glenn L. Martin Co., popularity known as the Marauder, has had many difficulties. It has high performance both in speed and in load-carrying capacity, and, according to the most reports, is an exceptionally fine plane in the air. However, the plane is unsafe when operated by any pilots except those specially trained for its operation, because of unusual difficulties in landing and take-off. It has had a higher accident rate than the B-25, produced by the North American Co., the Army’s other plane of comparable size and performance. As a fighting airplane, most pilots who know it like it and improvements have been made on it. It has accomplished many important missions. However, the difficulties with the plane and the high cost of production and maintenance are such that the Army plans to taper of its production and use the Martin facilities in Baltimore, MD., and Omaha, Nebr., to produce other types of planes.”
Source: Special Committee To Investigate The National Defense Program, Aka “The Truman Report”. Harry S. Truman, Missouri, Chairman; Army Aircraft, July 1943. Aircraft Serial Set Vol. No. 10758, Session Vol. No.4, 78th Congress, 1st Session, S. Report 10, Part 10 ADDITIONAL READING: Testimony Of Glenn L. Martin, President Of The Glenn L. Martin Co., Baltimore, Md | Complete Report: Special Committee To Investigate The National Defense Program, Aka “The Truman Report”
My Dad, Melvin C. Giles, was a pilot with 386th BG [history here], 553rd BS, and he retired as Lt. Col. around 1964. I stumbled upon your website while doing a search for my dad’s plane…what a wonderful discovery! I was a late-in-life addition to the family, so I didn’t get the full benefit of hearing all dad’s stories, but I got a few! I know his co-pilot, Dietrich Frank, is still alive, as he and my mother continued exchanging Christmas cards after we lost Dad. My brother has met one of his tail-gunners, Ivan Breaux, who lives near him in Louisiana. I remember stories of Jim Gianatsis, though I’m not sure where he is, and came across some pictures of paintings done by another crew member William “Billy” Baldwin. I have two beautiful drawings Mr. Baldwin did of my parents when they got engaged.
Dad enjoyed photography, and we have some great pictures of his military times. I have a 1942 Life magazine with an article about Bomber Task Forces. It’s of a B-17E, B Flight of 342nd Bombardment Squadron, Third Bomber Command, showing my dad as a young radio operator. I don’t know dates between that and when he became the pilot of the B26 “Miss Mary” (though I’m sure I can find out from his stack of military paperwork), named for my grandmother. I have a shadowbox of his medals, and clearly remember him telling me, when I gave it to him, that I was missing the most important one. I don’t know which one that is; don’t recall him saying so. In it is also a piece of shrapnel that came up through the floor of his plane, between his legs, and lodged in the ceiling over his head. Guess he figured that was a pretty lucky piece to keep!
I wanted to share this piece that I found among his things, that I found very moving:
By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the
Of Sun-split clouds—and done a hundred
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and
soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of
Thank you, thank you, to all the men and women who have made this country not only safe through the years, but one to be so very proud of!
Melissa Giles Brasher
2Lt. Joe B Dalton, Co-Pilot
322 Bomb Group
450 Bomb Squadron
Marauder 41-17998 DR-V
My name is Jo Porter. Lt. Dalton was my uncle. His B-26 was shot down during the May 17th, 1943 Mission to Ijmuiden and he is listed as missing in action. The pilot was Lt. Frederick H. Matthew. I know almost nothing about my uncle and am still searching for anyone who may have pictures of him with his fellow crew members. I have been able to collect some information from the b26.com website and am thankful that this site exists.
“Sep. 1943 – 4406/173
Delivery of the “Marauder” the Martin B-26, to the Soviet Union. Report from agent Nicolas, dated 8 Aug. 1943, subject: deliveries of 32 B-26, and a report from agent Pascha, through Tancred dated 27 Aug. 1943, stating that in mid-Aug. 185 large cases with B-26 parts enroute for the USSR were unloaded in Basra. Included also are British evaluation, description and characteristics of the B-26.” [Source: Publication Number: T-971 Publication Title: Von Rhoden Collection of Research Materials on the Role of the German Air Force in World War II, 1911-47; Page 20]
My Uncle was Farris Almond (Bo) Kennon Jr., 70th Bomb Squadron, 38th Bomb Group [see 69th BS history]. I do know he was a tail gunner in a B-26. I would love to know what plane he flew in, any crew member names, pictures and any other records that anyone may have concerning his service. He passed away in 1973 and is buried in Panama City, Florida in our family plot. I recently completed a huge genealogy project for the Kennon family and I just don’t have much on him. I think his wife has passed away as well as most of his immediate family. I am all that is left except for his sister and she is my Mom but is 95 years old and her memory was affected by a stroke 2 years ago and doesn’t remember much about his service. I do have one picture of him in his uniform that was taken somewhere between 1941-1945. I also have a plastic model of the B-26 that he gave me back in 1955. I put it together but the glue has not lasted all these years and I am going to redo it if I have all the pieces.
If anyone has any information concerning Farris (Bo) Kennon, please share it with me.
My father was in the 455th BS, 323rd BG, his name is Robert P. McCarthy, and he was one of the lead navigators (from app. Jun ’44 to May ’45). I am interested in receiving your publication, The Flightline. My father is still alive, and is always interested in reading material of the B-26’s and of his unit (I bought him Gen. Moench’s book last year). Please let me know how much is the cost for a subscription.
Many thanks, Thomas McCarthy
My name is Mignon Mims and I am President of the 455th Bomb Squadron Association, 323rd Bomb Group and Editor of The Flightline. Referring to the post below I would like to know how to get in touch with Dave Sloan’s granddaughter, Kristin Hilts. Your help would be much appreciated. Thanks for all of your great work with this wonderful website.
Best Regards, Mignon
Mignon Mims, daughter of Robert Mims POW shot down on 2/5/44 over France while flying 41-35000 YU-R “Swamp Chicken” MACR 2056. It was quite a story. He belly landed his B-26 in a France farm field all the while shooting at the German FLAK gunners with his forward packet guns while they were shooting him down.
Samoussy, France, 2007. Lt. Col. Louis S. Rehr standing in front of the monument dedicated to the men of the 323rd who gave their lives for the liberation of France. This monument, erected by the Franco American Association of the Aisne, is located near the former Laon-Athies Airdrome, where the 323rd was based from October 1944 to February 1945 [read more]
Dear Alan Crouchman,
I hope this email finds its way to you. I just wanted to thank you for the presentation that you gave to the local residents of Willingale last night. Having moved into the area only 3-years ago, I immediately took an interest in the airfield and the activities that went on there so many years ago but have been largely unsuccessful in finding out anything really interesting. Your presentation changed all of that! Through my work at Cosworth, I am involved with historic aircraft (i.e. Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, etc.,) however there is clearly so much history right on my doorstep.
Thank you once again, your presentation has encouraged me to conduct a more intensive search for information!
The 323rd BG held its annual reunion in conjunction with the 344th BG at Norfolk , Virginia this year. As you can tell by the pictures a fun time was had by all. Next years reunion will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota from Wednesday September 28th to Sunday October 2nd, 2011. Additional details will be announced as they become available.
454th Bomb Squadron and 344th Bomb Group Martin B-26 Marauder (M), Marauder Men and their Families, 2010 Reunion
Historian 323rd BG
In 1912, when the United States opened an aviation school at the newly established Fort William McKinley in the Philippines, only one officer volunteered for pilot training. A corporal, recognizing his opportunity, stepped forward, becoming the first enlisted man in the history of United States military aviation to train as a pilot. Over the next thirty years, three thousand enlisted men would follow his lead. These men–mess cooks, mechanics, and civilian pilots among them–enabled the military to bring the number of pilots in its ranks up to combat strength. They Also Flew traces the history and achievements of enlisted pilots from their earliest days in flight through 1942. Regarded by the military as lacking the education or intelligence to fly, these “sergeant pilots” struggled to earn their wings in a military organization that traditionally reserved this position for commissioned officers. Lee Arbon details the contributions of these men to United States military aviation, recognizing the 17 “aces”, the more than 155 men killed in action, and the 11 who were promoted to the rank of general. Presenting the recollections of fellow sergeant pilots as well as the author’s own experiences in the cockpit, They Also Flew records the personal sagas of men determined to serve their country in the air. THEY ALSO FLEW: The Enlisted Pilot Legacy 1912-1942, Lee Arbon
In WW2, many “sergeant pilots” or “enlisted pilots” were assigned to fly the Martin B-26 Marauder.
Hi, Al Miner is my father-in-law. He is very much alive and in good health but computer illiterate. He has diaries that I believe he wouldn’t mind sharing. He is listed on your website and was in the 17th bomb group, 37th bomb squad. Is there anyway of finding out who he flew with and possibly get in touch with them?
My name is Gert Poelman , 37 years old and from Holland.
I’m searching for some information about Robert W Turner, 586 bomb squadron, 394 bomb group (medium). He was shot down above Haltern, Germany on March 22, 1945, and MIA since that date. A few members of that B26 crew did survive the crash. Lewis A Guernsey was also a member of that B26 crew. I found a short message from him on the B26 site here. If he is the same person, he must be one of the survivors.
We have adopted Robert W Turner’s name on “The Wall of Missing” at the American cemetery in Margraten, Holland. We would like to find out who he was and what happened on the March 22, 1945.
The names of the other crew members:
Donald L Bergeron
John J Sherry
Reuben W Hartje (?)
Eber J Arnold
Lewis A Guernsey
Robert W Turner
The nickname of the B26 was “Sheboygan Redskin” and the B26 was stationed at the AAF station A-74, this is all the info that I have at this moment.
The plane was shot down by a FLAK battery; three gunners survived the crash, the other three died. I do not know what happened to the other two. The body from Robert W Turner is still missing.
I hope that you can help us.
With kind regards,
Saturday, October 9, 2010. It is under a beautiful sun of autumn day that the Ceremony in Coinces occurred, in memory of the two American crews killed at Coinces on October 8, 1944 in mid-air collision. Several civil and military personalities were present, notably the Commander of the Bricy Air Base, the President of France-United-States, the Senator/Mayor of Orleans and many Mayors of the other villages. Daniel Ebert, American pilot (C-130) on the Bricy Air Base (Franco-American exchanges), read the twelve names engraved in the marble and some people cried, because all these men were very young when they died for Freedom. Then there was a reception where André presented some of his many parts of both B-26 found in the fields of Coinces and explained the history to all the visitors. A friend collector, presented his uniforms of the Air Force in 1944 and I had put the panels which explains this history as well the moving account by Troy Fultz, concerning Sgt. Pinkram Fultz. I will send these photographs to all the American friends who helped us in this project. I found interpreters to translate into American the few pages of the booklet which remain to be translated but that can still take a few months. I await also information on the number of missions which were made by the two crews and I await also the military career of Sgt Paul E. Rose. Then I will make it print. It will have approximately 80 to 86 pages and it will be in American/French.
Now, the names of these twelve American are known of all. They are not anonymous any more among all those fallen during WWII. All French will be able to remember them and to feel that his happiness had a price, that of the blood poured by all these young people come on other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Event Coordinator  
I’m an Australian historian researching an article (for After the Battle magazine) on the ‘tow-nine’ mission flown by B-26s operating out of Seven-Mile Strip on June 9, 1942. This was, of course, the mission flown by Lyndon B. Johnson. In particular I’m looking for mission reports and photographs of the aircraft involved. Are you able to help?
Best wishes from Down Under,
I’m researching an aircraft (B-26) s/n 41-31805 flown by 1st Lt Fredrick Briggs 386th BG, 553rd BS, all the crew perished in 1944 in a mid air collision with a FW-190, parts of this B-26 have been found and a village near the findings at Lessard-et-le Chene France, wants to put up a memorial to the crew. I’m searching for descendants so they can be invited to the ceremony; five of the crew have been found, we are having a difficult time with one, T/Sgt Selwyn B. Danowitz from Sunnyside, NY.
American liaison for ANSA – Normandy Ass. for Air Remembrance
Crew Members of B26 41-31805, BG 386 BS 553, Lost July 28 1944, MACR 7016
1st Lt Frederick O. Briggs (Pilot)
1st Lt Leon C. Higginbotham (Co-Pilot) (Dog tags found see here)
1st Lt Claude C. Cannaday (Bombardier)
T/Sgt Selwyn B. Danowitz (Radio) (Brother: Jack S Danowitz, Sunnyside, NY)
S/Sgt Charley Manford Johns (Engineer)
S/Sgt Robert J. Birmingham (Gunner)
My Dad, William H. “Bill” North, was the pilot of the B-26 named the “Billie Willie V.” After leaving MacDill Army Air Field in Tampa, Florida, he and his crew met their new plane and then flew it over from Hunter Air Field in Savannah, GA to England. The name on the plane, and artwork, was of a beaver, with lieutenant’s bars on army uniform, with a gold brick over his head. It was named for my mother, “Billie” – Billie Webb North, and my Dad, “Willie” – William H. North. The “V” was for victory.
My dad came home from Europe after 65 missions and married my mom. He remained in the service and retired in 1966. The plane was flown by another crew and crashed March 18, 1945 near Stadecken Germany in a suburb called Frei-Weinheim. According to 2004 post, a memorial was being placed at the crash sight [here]. Was the plane itself saved in any way? Are parts of the plane intact at the site?
One of the 2008 guest posts at your site was from Ron Shepherd, the son of the pilot, Lt. Shepherd. I would like for him to know the story behind the plane itself. Paul Murphy posted in 2002 [here] about Ronald F. Shepard.
I am doing research on my wife’s Uncle Leo A. Tomasiewicz who as a bombardier/navigator in the 323rd Bomb Group, 455th Bombardment Squadron during World War II. I would be grateful if anyone who has any knowledge of him could provide information on the crew he served with, aircraft name, timeframe, bases, etc. I have no photos of him with the unit or aircraft. I have requested his records through his brother and I am also requesting the records.
Thanks for any information and help you provide.
USAF 1961 – 1988
Thank you for your very informative site. I am searching for information about my Uncle, Sergeant John Pilarcik, who served in the 70th Bomb Squadron. After reading your article, I believe his plane crashed near Hamilton Field, on June 6, 1942, during The Battle of Midway. Any information that you have would be appreciated immensely. Thank you for your important work.
My father, Jesse R. Tyson, was a Marauder pilot in the 397th BG, 598th BS. He passed away last Friday. He will be buried next week in Bethlehem, PA. He had eight children, I am his second youngest son. I just thought I would pass this along.
Hello, I just saw my uncle on the picture listed under the 16th Tow Target Squadron. He’s in the second row, 11th from the left. His name was Alexander Renny, from Andover, MA. My Dad was William Renny from Andover and he was a WWII pilot of B-25s.
Thank you so much!
Judge Robert L. Newey 1923 ~ 2010 OGDEN – Judge Robert L. Newey, 86, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, with his beloved wife, Dawn and his family at his bedside. He was born November 28, 1923 in Ogden, Utah to Joseph and Roberta Moyes Newey, the eldest of three children. Bob was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his sister, Afton (Art) Casbeer, Missoula, MT; and Joseph (Margaret) Newey, Salt Lake City. Bob married Kathleen (Cammy) Grant, August 20, 1946. Together they had four children. They were later divorced. Bob married Dawn Marie Tuft, September 3, 1986. They enjoyed a wonderful 24 years traveling around the world together, golfing, skiing, friends and family. Judge Newey attended the University of Idaho at Moscow where he played drums in a ‘Big Band” and loved to dance. He left college life to serve his country in World War II. He entered the Army Air Corps Pilot Cadet program. After receiving his pilot wings he became a Martin B-26 pilot in the 9th Air Force in the European theater flying missions from France into Germany and Austria and served with the 394th Bomb Group, 586th Bomb Squadron. He continued his service as an officer in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement as Lt. Colonel including serving as Judge Advocate. Judge Newey graduated from Utah State University in 1948 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration with minors in economics and political science. He graduated from the Stanford Law School in 1951 and returned to his Ogden roots to begin his law practice. He was appointed Assistant District Attorney, January 1953. He became a partner in the firm Lamph, Anderson and Newey. He served as Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Second Judicial District until 1968. Judge Newey was elected to three successive terms as the Weber County Attorney. During this time, Judge Newey personally prosecuted many high profile homicide cases, including the ‘Hi-Fi’ case in 1974. Judge Newey became acutely interested in Juvenile Justice, feeling criminals could be prevented if they were successfully treated before they reached the adult system. Governor Scott Matheson appointed Judge Newey to the Second District Juvenile Court August 1, 1981. He served the Juvenile Court system for more than 20 years. Judge Newey served as President of the Weber County Bar Association, President of the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, served on the Appelate Court, served as an Arbitrator, and served on the Board of Directors for the National District Attorneys Association. He was selected as a Master of the Bench of the American Inn of Court, Sutherland Inn II. In 1977, Governor Matheson appointed Judge Newey to the Utah State Board of Regents where he served for eight years. He served as a member of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce on the military affairs committee, was past President of the Ogden Exchange Club and past President of the Ogden Golf and Country Club. Bob continued his love of music and drums. He was an avid golfer and skier, but his first love was flying. He also had a lifelong love for learning and set a great example for his children and grandchildren. Bob remained a loyal ‘Ogden Boy’ and served his community throughout his life. Bob is survived by his wife Dawn, his four children, Robert S. (Lela) Newey; Michelle (Rory) Weaver; Nancy (Rex) Allen; Marty (Julie) Newey; 22 grandchildren, all of which he shared a loving personal relationship. He also loved and enjoyed his 40 great-grandchildren. The family expresses their deep appreciation to the doctors, nurses and staff of the McKay-Dee Hospital for their extraordinary professional and loving care given to Bob. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 5th at 2:00 p.m. at Lindquist’s Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. Friends may call at the mortuary Monday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. at the mortuary. Interment, Lindquist’s Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd., where military honors will be accorded by Hill Air Force Base Honor Guard. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund, or a charity of your choice.
I wanted to write and tell you I ran across your web site on Goggle. I read the LT. COL. George H. Ogburn, Jr. post in the guest book with much interest because he was my uncle and I am one of two surviving nieces and one nephew of my uncle Buddy, that was our nickname of him. He was my mother, Eleanor Ogburn Greene’s youngest brother. I remember the stories he told me as I was growing up. He was a pilot shot down over north Africa, POW, who escaped with his crew. He passed away in the early 90, at Walter Reed Hospital and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His Widow My Aunt Ann, passed away Thanksgiving, 2008, and is buried in Jacksonville, FL. -Judy Greene Carman
Marauderman’s Name: Jesse Willard (Will) Largent
Bomb Group: 320th
Bomb Squadron: 441st
Years in service: 1942-44
Graduation Class: unknown
Class Location: MacDill Field (?)
Comments: Will Largent (1919-1998) was my father-in-law. He served as a radio operator and gunner aboard the B-26. His aircraft was shot down in August 1944 over southern France on a bombing run against Nazi gun emplacements, but he parachuted to safety (with injuries). The full account of what then happened was published in the New York Herald Tribune because it was an unusual story involving the surrender of a high-ranking enemy officer (German admiral) to Tech. Sgt. Will Largent, an Allied enlisted man. The article is available here. Will was also, in retirement, the author of the book RAF WINGS OVER FLORIDA, which presents accounts of some U.S. but mostly RAF air cadets who were trained in the British Flying Training School (BFTS) No. 5 in Clewiston FL.
I thank B26.com for helping to keep the memories of the B-26 veterans alive.
Tod Roberts, Editor
RAF WINGS OVER FLORIDA
I wanted to see if my father Donald Eugene Bertman, you may have a pic of him – he served in the 16th Photographic Squadron. Thanks so much. He would have been in 1942 and Bolling Air Force Base, Maryland. Laurel Larison
The question “what do the symbols on the side of the plane mean?” gets asked once a month. Now we attempt to get everyone’s answer. Is there are crew chief out there? The picture is significant for another reason. Note that the man on the far right is a Sergeant Pilot aka Enlisted Pilot [see They Also Flew]. Can anybody identify the guys in the picture?
[large image] [large image]
The problem is that there was no standard — the crew chief painted what he wanted. The “duck” might be a diversion mission. John Moench
The bomb, a mission. The duck a mission for practice, not actually bombing. A Swastika, a enemy plane destroyed. Ships sunk, probably wishful thinking. Trevor Allen
The photo is from summer 1943, most probably around July 15th. The person on left is Lt William Howard VanMarter (Pilot) 443rd BS 320th BG. The crew men are (supposedly) also from 320th BG. It’s a USAAF-photo published in various books, too. The background for this photo is that the three 12th AF B-26 groups in MTO choose one plane/crew each to go for a Bond tour in the US. “Lady Halitosis” had serial 41-17765 and was a B-26B-1-MA of 320th BG 441st BS. It was flown back to USA around July 15th1943 together with two other B-26 veterans; “Hell Cat”  , 41-17903 B-26B-2-MA of 17th BG 37th BS, had 50 missions on 15th July 1943 and from 319th BG 439th BS “Jabbo’s Sky King the 2nd”, 41-31609 B-26B-15-MA.
There is a post at B26.com from 7/13/2003 from the son of Lt. William Howard VanMarter, he might have info about photo. What he told me earlier was that his father was in service in MTO from Dec 1942 until Aug/Sept 1943. I have his old e-mail address from correspondence in 2003, but it does not function today. Regarding the Marauder on photo (citation) “Lady Halitosis, which he flew back as Pilot with Pilot John N. McVay (of the 441st) to the States for a war bond drive.” From attached document another crew name appears; Bombardier Joseph F. Shevelson (441st BS).
As you see we have one person ID’ed on photo and names of two crewmembers, it’s good for a beginning. From another photo of a combat crew of “Lady Halitosis” I will assume that 2nd from left on attached photo is John N McVay, as he holds his right hand the same way on both photos, unfortunately sunglasses on the other photo but the hand position is identical. Alf Egil Johannessen
Can someone help us identify the crew names on the side of “Good Pickins'” and “I’ll Get By” 43-34330 from the 394th Bomb Group, 587th Bomb Squadron? So far doing pretty good with “I’ll Get By”.
T/Sgt. E. L. Craft, Sgt. D. E. Harris, Cpl. J. A. Brindle, Pfc. A. J. Tillman
Possible: Eli Craft, 397BG, 596BS, 599BS
Fat Man – Singleton, Short Boy – Leask, 11/4 Each – Schmit, 15° Left Right – Skinner, Restless – Rilling, Trader – Parish, Window – Lennon, Cowboy – Kirbe, Sagauro – Bates, E. Beaver – Huen, Brown Mule – Prow. Ellie.
Daniel M. S. Singleton, Pilot, 394/587; Thomas V. Leask, Co-Pilot, 394/587; Normal J. Schmit, Bombardier, 394/587; Gerald E. Skinner, 394/587; Donald L. Rilling, 394/587; James W. Parish, 394/586; Dennis H. Lennon, 394/587; Frank M. Kirbe 394/585; William H. Bates or Frederick H. Bates; Huen (Unknown); Carl G. Prowatzke, 394th BG
Martin B-26 Marauders over Versilia.
At the moment, I am involved in a project coordinated by local historians from the Versilia area (Tyrrenian side of Italy, Tuscany) about the American air bombing raids over targets such as:
Massa, Carrara, Pietrasanta, and Viareggio.
Some of them were accomplished by B-26s (5 x 320th BG, 1 x 17th BG, 1 x 319th BG). I attach a “list” (below) of these missions, with dates, times, and other data. What do you think about the possibility to contact some former airmen who did participated in these missions?
I am looking for former B-26 pilots, gunners, navigators and so on who did participated in the mission cited in the list. It would be very interesting and important to get a brief first hand account about these actions. I understand it could be very difficult (impossible?) to find out some Veterans who did saw action in the few missions in which I am interested in but…I would like to make an attempt.
With kind regards,
42nd Bomb Wing Over Versilla
1)Target: Viareggio rail bridge
Date: March 13, 1944
27 X B-26 from the 320th BG dropped 108X 1000 lbs bombs from an altitude of about 8700 feet.
Results: bridge damaged by 1/ 2 direct hits; area S of target heavily bombed, M/Y demolished and several oil railcars blew-up.
Made several rail cuts N of the bridge.
2)Target:Massa rail bridge
Date: June 15, 1944
12X B-26 from the 17th BG dropped 89X 500 lbs bombs over Massa rail bridge at 09:55 from an altitude of 10000 feet.
Results: bridge not hit; W approach damaged and damaged too a road bridge S of target.
3)Target:Viareggio rail bridge
Date: June 16, 1944
18X B-26 from the 320th BG dropped 72X 1000 lbs bombs over the Viareggio rail bridge at 06:38, from a ceiling of 9500 feet.
Results: excellent pattern over target area; several direct hits seen over bridge.
4)Target:Massa rail bridge
Date: June 16, 1944
2X B-26 from the 319th BG dropped 8X 1000 lbs bombs over the Massa rail bridge, from a ceiling of 10500 feet.
Results: bombs missed target
McConnell, Robert A. Brooklyn, MI
Robert McConnell, 92, passed away peacefully at home on August 5, 2010. He was born October 25, 1917 in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Morton and Sybil (Brunner) McConnell. He graduated from University of Michigan in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in recreational forestry. He married Elnora (Marlatt) in 1944, and they had a son, Marc, and a daughter, Marla. In 1948, Bob owned the 20th Century bowling alley in Ann Arbor, and he later worked for and retired from the City of Ann Arbor, where he had worked in facility management for the airport. He then married Marion (Joll) in 1978, and enjoyed her four sons, Howard, Michael, Louis, and Jeffrey. Bob was a proud Veteran of World War II, having served in the Army Air Force as a bombardier/ navigator in the B-26 Marauder (low altitude bomber). He volunteered for service one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He flew 68 combat missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Clusters. He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was recently very pleased to participate in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., where he and other Veterans viewed the World War II Memorial. He was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a number of service and patriotic organizations. He loved to fly, and was a skilled private pilot. Bob was very active in the Boy Scouts for his whole life, and remained active in the Order of the Arrow and the Trail Committee. He was a fine Dutch oven cook, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of trees and wildlife. He enjoyed taxidermy and woodworking. He loved the outdoors and loved animals. He was preceded in death by his second wife, Marion, by a brother, Edward McConnell, by his nephew Christopher McConnell and by stepson Louis Joll. He is survived by his first wife, Elnora, by his children Marc (Mary) McConnell and Marla (Delwin) Quenzer and by his grandchildren John (Faith) Quenzer, Sarah (David) Kornmann, Heidi Quenzer and Natalie Quenzer. In addition, he is survived by a brother, Morton (Gladys) McConnell and a brother, James (Nancy), and by nephews, Scott (Susan) McConnell and David, Ian and Neil McConnell. His surviving stepsons are Howard (Pamela) Joll, Michael (Donna) Joll, and Jeffrey Joll. Bob had been a member of the Zion Lutheran Church. A Veterans of Foreign Wars service will be held at 2pm Saturday, September 18, 2010 at the Sherwood Funeral Home in Grass Lake, MI to be followed by interment on the residential estate. Memorial contributions may be directed to Great Sauk Trail Council of the Ann Arbor chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.
Hello, I am sending a picture I have acquired. I am not a historian but from what I found it is a crew of a B26B from the 598th Bombardment Sq. The fuselage code L U2 may be from a plane called Billie Willie. It was shot down in Germany but this pilot Lt. H.M. Patrowicz was not the pilot when it was shot down. Left to right is Pilot H. M. Patrowicz, co pilot I cannot make out. The third fellow is bombardier Lt. W. Y. Austin, fourth is tail gunner John. S. Michalowski, Engineer/Gunner, 323rd BG/344th BG, fifth is waist gunner which I cannot make out T or J. H. Kenan or Kener? Fifth is top turret gunner Edward. S. Tyszkiewicz, Armorer/Gunner, 323rd BG, 455th BS, and 344th BG. Please let me know if you obtain any more info. My dad was a crew chief in 405th FS. -Ed Martin
Lloyd W Simonson, my father-in-law, recently died. He was in the 9th Air Force approximately 1942 to 1945. A 1944 Christmas card shows 454 Bomb Squad on outside and 323 Bomb Squad on inside. In later life he claimed to be a top turret gunner, but earlier said he was an armorment engineer, who set bomb fuses after the bombs were loaded. He claimed to have bombed Berlin on Christmas Eve 1944 while stationed in Belgium. Can anyone confirm any of these claims?
My records indicate that your father-in-law Lloyd W. Simonson was a private with the 323rd BG 454th BS. It is also possible that he was an armorer with the 454th Squadron. The rank would be appropriate for the job. Unfortunately many of the 323rd BG records that indicate final rank and job assignments were lost after WWII. The records we now have were rebuilt from many sources. Check to see if you have his WWII discharge papers. Look on the back and you will see a US form 53-55 which will give a history of his military service and awards. If you can’t find his papers, copies can be requested from the National Archives.
The 323rd BG never bombed Berlin. We were a tactical bomb group whose targets were primarily airfields, supply depots, railroads, roads and such in front of the advancing Allied troops. Berlin was targeted by the heavy strategic bombers.
Due to a shortage of B-26 crewmembers in 1944 may of the ground personnel, armorers included, were asked if they would volunteer for combat missions. However in checking some of the 323rd BG WWII mission records I was unable to find any missions that your father-in-law flew. It is possible that he did fly a few combat missions and I missed them but usually the enlisted individuals were promoted to at least the rank of Sergeant when they started flying combat. The Germans considered Sergeant and above to be an officers rank and gave them better treatment if they became POWs. Again check his form 53-55. The information should be listed there.
Historian 323rd BG
Hi, I’ve seen several references to the B-26 “Sarah E” [click here] on the b26 web site. My father was an aerial photographer with a combat camera unit in the 8th AAF in England during World War 2. He took the attached picture. His name was Ronald O’Neal, 4th Combat Cameraman. He flew missions on a B-26, I believe this to be the ship he flew in. Feel free to use the photo on your website if you want to.
I don’t know the names of the men in the pictures. The rest of the crew pictures are B-24 and B-17. My interest has been in finding out were my father was stationed during the war and which bomb group or groups he may have supported. Which airfields he may have flown out of. I haven’t had too much luck in that regard. I recently scanned some negatives I found that belonged to my father and found the air crew photos. I believe that the HQ he operated of was located at Marks Hall.
I have attached a photo of my Dad in his flight gear. My father worked for Warner Brothers Studios when the war broke out. At the governments direction, Jack Warner put together a group called the First Motion Picture Unit for the USAAF. Men where recruited from various studios. They trained in Culver City, where they made training films, etc. Ronald Reagan was part of the group. They were then broken up into Combat Camera Units and assigned to various theaters of operation.
Thank you, Ron
[large image] Help us identify the crew
All Points Bulletin – these guys must be crew chiefs, engineers, mechanics, technicians, that kept the planes flying by repairing, rebuilding, restoring them from either Barksdale or Lake Charles AAF. I need help identifying the high level non-commissioned officers (NCO) in this picture – which stateside Army Air unit are they from is a good place to start. Does anybody recognize them?
Don Enlow, son of Malcolm Enlow
My father, John L Chatellier, Jr. was a B-26 pilot with the 391st bomb group. He flew from air bases in Matching, England and Roye/Amy, France in 1944 & 1945. He will celebrate his 90th birthday on October 3, 2010. He married my mother on March 17, 1944 at the base chapel in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This past March they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary.
Peter L. Chatellier
Sonny Timbers, my Dad, passed away today. -Angela Fiesbeck
Marauderman’s Name: Lavern Helpingstine
Bomb Group: 319th
Bomb Squadron: 439th
Years in service: 1942
Graduation Class: Unknown
Class Location: Unknown
This post is in regards to Mr. Ron Miller’s post from 2-2-2005 in which Mr. Miller stated he is the son of Lavern Helpingstine.
My name is Laurie Witcher, and I am the granddaughter of Mr. Helpingstine and Juanita. Other than his death, I know next to nothing about Lavern, as he was killed when my mother, Donna Sue was just 2 years old, leaving her and my grandmother behind. My grandmother shared a miniscule amount of information about Lavern. Both she and my mother are now unfortunately deceased and I have no other way of obtaining information about Lavern Helpingstine. My hope is that Mr. Miller might be checking in on this website as I would like to be in touch. I look forward to possibly hearing from Mr. Miller.
Hello…first great website…highly informative as well as a great site for honoring the crews of the greatest aircraft of World War 2.
I have a photo of a crew in front of the Martin B-26 Marauder “Skylark” of the 432nd Bomb Squadron based on Sardinia in 1944. I am trying to find out the possibility if anybody would know the name of a certain individual in the photo. What would be the best avenue to try and find that out? I wonder if that still would be possible after all these years. I have a jpg of the photo. Thanks much.
[large image] [large image]
My father flew 55 combat missions in a B26 during WWII. I would like to put him in touch with anyone that may have served with him. His name was Joseph C. Limberg and he entered active duty in 07/42 and was discharged in 11/45. I believe he served in the 95th Squadron, 17th bomb group, 42nd wing, 12th AF. I know his graduation class was 43J. I can supply additional info if needed. Please email me with any info needed or if there is another agency/organization I can contact. -Thank you.
Regarding Hermann-Josef Stolz of Mehren, Germany ? I was very very impressed with his story and I want to Thank him for doing all of that research and for sharing it with all of us. I also want to ask him if he ever was in contact with the Pilot, Stephensen, who died at the Siegburg Military Hospital. My father was a POW and because he was a medic he was sent to this hospital and he buried many of the Allied prisoners. I would like to know more about the hospital and I have stories of my father’s to share including what it was like to be at the Hospital when the bombing that Mr. Stolz referred to started.
Thank you very much,
Hi, I’m sending you a picture of my father in law Lt. Col. Leroy C. Meyers, 386th Bomb Group, who flew “Crime Doctor” & belly landed it. -David Moore
Hello, I am the granddaughter of David Sloane. A few weeks ago I was visiting with him, and we did some searching online and came up with this photo found on Richard Robinson’s page. As he looked at the photo he told me that the caption was incorrect, he was not in the photo. He told me then, who it was, it was someone who was filling in that day. I encouraged him to email the guestbook to make the correction, but it doesn’t appear that he did. I wish I had written the information down, because as of Sept. 1, he has passed. I will try to get more information to fill in the blanks with his squadron information, etc. The world has lost a very sharp, and brilliant man. We all miss him very much!
Kristin Hilts (formerly Sloane)
The person in the picture identified as your grandfather David Sloan was actually Col. Herbert B. Thatcher, CO of the 323rd BG. This picture was taken on July 23, 1943 after a mission to Ghent , Belgium . The person on the far right is Gen. Francis M. Brady. They are standing in front of a 455th Squadron B-26 called “Eager Eleanor” serial number 41-34491 radio call sign YU-H.
This same picture can be found on page 50 of Gen. Moench’s book “Marauder Men”
Historian 323rd BG
Who can help me with any information about two AT-23B (B-26 subtypes) aircraft that are mentioned on USAAF 8th and 9th AF loss lists.
They are 41-35837 of 2 (?) Gunnery & Tow Target Squadron with salvage date 11 November 1944 and 41-35746 with salvage date 24 December 1944.
The serial of the latter is the best estimate, because the file is hard to read. It does say “unit pending”, so unknown at time when the list was made.
Causes of loss are non-combat related, so perhaps an earlier accident.
I’m trying to match any B-26 loss in the ETO within the 41-35XXX serial range with a bellylanded B-26 at Poperinge, Belgium in the first weeks of September 1944. Have run into all dead ends possible so far to identify the aircraft. No MACR or accident report (area was liberated, crew OK).
Thanks for giving a breakthrough to solve this mystery.
Marauderman’s Name: Max L. Bedell (1917-1996)
Bomb Group: 322nd
Bomb Squadron: 450
Years in service: 4
Graduation Class: 43E May 24, 1943
Class Location: Pampa Army Air Field, Pampa, TX
Comments: B-26 Pilot transition training Avon Pk, FL, Sent to Ireland 1943 transferred to Great Saling Air Field about 45 Miles N of London. Shot down by anti-aircraft fire on 39th Mission 6/15/44. Landed safely, all crew uninjured. Captured by Germans, escaped, lived with French Underground. His story is told [here] by daughter as told by him on audio tape and in writing. After the war he flew for United Air Lines for 35 years. He left his story for his family but preferred to be anonymous. His family would like to share his story for history.
The crew and the Rainbow Corner II, Left to Right:
Sgt. George Wells (Radioman-Waist Gunner) Sgt. Jesse Harper (Flight Engineer) Sgt. Chalmer Johnson (Tail Gunner) 2nd Lt. Ellis Davidson (pilot, transferred 3/44) 2nd Lt. Clyde Loomis (Bombardier – Navigator), 2nd Lt. Max Bedell (Co-Pilot, Pilot from 3/44) 2nd Lt. Jimmie DeLoach, not pictured (co-pilot 3/44)
Gentlemen, during WWII we flew B24 Liberator. We were all shot up and already three jumped over target two navigators and a bombardier. We took a chance to get away and we kept the plane flying but Messerschmitt came and were going to attack us. three 26’s came in formation with us and the Messerschmitt did not attack. We have been wanting for many years to speak to anyone of these crewmen to thank them without success. this happened on Dec 28 1944 over the Adriatic (Italy) . if you heard anything about this we certainty would like to hear from you one o0f the crew of the “LADY IN THE DARK” B24 Bud Rosch of the 449th bomb squadron
Unless you can reach the crews concerned through the internet I doubt if you will solve the mystery. I certainly do not know of the incident and unless it was mentioned in the mission report it will only be remembered by those who were involved.
39 Squadron RAF have a web site, just go to Google and search for 39 Squadron. You will be able to get in touch with them from there. Remember also that 12, 21, 24, 25 and 30 Squadrons South African Air Force were in Italy as were GB.1/19, 1/22, 1/32, 2/20, 2/52 and 2.63 of the Free French Air Force.
Your search gets more difficult by the minute.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
Name: Lt. Col. Melvin W. “Irish” Maslowsky, USAFR (Ret) — Deceased
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 584th
Years in service: 26
Graduation Class: 44F
Class Location: Marfa AAF
Comments: B-26 co-pilot / pilot. Hometown was Omaha, NE. Enlisted in the U.S. Army (1942) and was in Armor. Selected for the flying program. Trained at Blythe and Merced before graduating from Advanced at Marfa. Spoke of being in England, France, and Belgium. After the war, went to work for Mutual of Omaha; was recalled for Korea; and remained on active duty until 1968. Duty stations included Langley, Rantoul, Offutt, Ashiya, Eglin, Naha, and McGuire. Died in October, 1985.
My father, “Irish” Maslowsky, was a B-26 co-pilot / pilot in the 9th AF, 394th Bomb Group in the ETO from about September 1944 till war’s end. He died in October 1985.
Dad rarely spoke of the war so I have gleamed most of the above information from his copy of the Bridge Busters, The Story of the 394th Bomb Group history book (we Navy-types would call it a ‘cruise book) written / edited by LT J.G. Ziegler, published in 1949, and his Class 44F ‘yearbook’ from Marfa AAF.
Would welcome the opportunity to communicate with anyone who may have known my father.
CAPT Bob Maslowsky, USN (ret)
I am the great nephew of Sgt. Pink Fultz Jr. Most of his family live near Cincinnati, Oh and Harland Ky. His Brother, Troy Fultz, the only brother to have lived through WWII died in August 2006. My Grand Mother is still alive and well. It was of total accident that I found b26.com and heard about the memorial and would like more information. Thank you.
Joe McGill’s daughter called me wondering if anybody knew her Dad or has any information to share about his war time experience. He was a radio/gunner during WWII and she thinks his airplane was “Miss Ginger”. Any help is much appreciated? Thanks, Evie
Hi Evie, 41-31661 KX-J “Miss Ginger” 558 Bomb Squadron 387th.BG
Hello, I’m John F. Neyenhous from the 559th, “Hot Garters” was the name of our ship. Our crew was in the group that flew, as a group, and started business in England. I was told that I flew 70/71 missions. I came back to the states just before the move to France.
I read the Albert Taylor post below. If Taylor was a Sq. Co., he could be the one that promoted me to Sq. Operations Officer. My story was a simple one. It was that we were eligible to return to the States, after completing 25 missions. So I set my goal to fly every mission I could as fast as I could. Since I was Operations O., it was my job to assign crews, to fly missions. I told my crew what I had in mind….They liked the idea and said “Lets Go!” Most stayed with me, most of the way. I think I was the first to reach the magic figure in the wing? I know I was first in the Sq. The night that I had reached my goal, while eating supper, the announcement that the 25 missions…had changed to 30, only spurred me on to 30. Only the number kept changing to a higher number. Then I knew it was like the greyhounds chasing the rabbit…no way. I’d like to hear all about Taylor. I think red Boron took his place. And he was shot down on his 13th mission. Joe Rosa was his Nav/bomber. Both were very superstitious and kept calling the next mission 12B instead of 13th. That made it worse as everyone kept bring up the fact that the 13th mission was sure fire to get someone shot down – to make sure chutes were well packed etc. Our Engineering Officer, George Norris, slept in our hut and every night he would take out his slip stick and tell me I had better make sure I had every thing in order. Could be the last one. I always told him I was taking him on my last one. So he had better keep my plane in tip top shape. I’m very interested in contacting anybody and everyone…about days gone by.
I would like to hear from my 387th guys.
John F. Neyenhouse
This is Lt. David Dent’s B26 Marauder named “Nemesis,” that my father, 2/Lt. Neville Pentz, flew as navigator/bombardier in Italy, that I mentioned in my 2008 post to B26.com for Dean Wilgrin’s attention. I am interested in acquiring David Dent’s contact information, if possible. This aircraft crash landed at an SAAF 5th Mustang Squadron landing field (much shorter than planned!), after which Lt. Dent received the DFC. Coincidentally, my father’s future brother-in-law (unbeknownst to both of them), Derrick Hattingh, an SAAF Mustang pilot, took this photo. Go figure. Dad and “Uncle Derrick” only inadvertently made the connection three years after the incident. I’m not sure which base they landed on (Bardia or Coneglia?). I would appreciate that information, as well as the rest of the crew roster. My dad did say on approach, with fuel lines leaking and one engine windmilling, an onboard visiting observer officer wanted to fire off a distress flare!! Thankfully, some of the crew restrained him…otherwise I wouldn’t be communicating with my late father’s fellow Maraudermen at this moment.
As an aside, having read so many posts from sons and grandsons of veterans, I feel it is so important for those with surviving Greatest Generation war heroes in their families to sit and listen to and record their stories while they’re still with us. We have to ask. Because it is just not in our heroes’ makeup to offer. And only we and future generations will be the losers.
World War II veterans who participated in the Liberation of France are awarded France’s Légion d’Honneur in order to express France’s eternal gratitude for those who crossed the Atlantic to liberate it from oppression in 1944-45. Example award ceremony [here]
The veteran must present their original United States Certificate of Service (form WD AGO Form 53-98) to their local French consulate. The form shows you were in France for the Liberation. Please understand, there are no exceptions. Example form [front] [back]
Unfortunately, the whole process can take some time. There are a lot of files to review and they are sent to Washington and then Paris. It usually takes no less than a year to complete the whole process.
There are 10 regional consulates:
1. Consulate General of France in Boston representing the far North-Eastern states
> 31 Saint James Avenue, Park Square Building, Suite 750, Boston, MA 02116, Tel: (617) 832 4400
2. Consulate General of France in New York for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
> 934 Fifth Avenue, (between 74th and 75th Streets), New York, NY 10021, Tel: (212) 606-3600
3. Consulate General of France in Washington for DC and surrounding states
> 4101 Reservoir Rd NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20007, Tel: (202) 944-6000
4. Consulate General of France in Atlanta for the South-Eastern states
> 3475 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305, Tel: (404) 495-1660
5. Consulate General of France in Miami for Florida
> 1395 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131, Tel: (305) 403-4150
6. Consulate General of France in New Orleans for Louisiana
> 1340 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70112, Tel: (504) 569-2870
7. General Consulate of France in Houston for Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas
> 777 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, Tel: (713) 985-3260
8. Consulate General of France in Chicago covering the largest number of states, representing the North and West
> 205 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601, Tel: (312) 327-5200
9. Consulate General of France in San Francisco for the South-West, including the northern halves of California and Nevada
> 540 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108, Tel: (415) 397-4330
10. Consulate General of France in Los Angeles Covering the remaining south-western states and the remainder of California and Nevada
> 10390 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025-6915, Tel: (310) 235-3200
I am searching for information about Mr. Longworth.
Tail gunner Bennett W. Longworth, Sgt XXXXX379
Is there anyone who can tell me something about this brave man. He was TG in the B26 plane and was one of the crew with the Norton Twins as pilots. The tail gunner was the only one who survived the crash of the plane and became a prisoner of war. More info you’ll find in the guestbook 07-04-08. I am also interested if there is somebody who has pictures of this crew with the Norton Twins.
Thank you so much.
My cousin, Vernon Red, Jr., was a crew member in a B-26 Marauder in WWII. After a mission, the Pilot of his plane was attempting to land at a frozen field in France. The plane spun out of control and crashed. The only crew member hurt was Vernon Red and he later died in the hospital from internal bleeding. Vernon Red was from Texas and attended Texas A&M in the class of 1943. The last time I saw him he had come to our house for a visit before he “went off to war”. When he left I never saw him again but as a little boy he was my hero.
We all called him “Junior” and now after all this time I would like to find out something about his military service. His Mother and Dad are dead and I don’t know where his sister is now. I thought sure my 3 older brothers would know something about him but they don’t. I have looked through tons of rosters, U.S. Air Force records, internet web sites, letters, etc. and I swear it’s just like Junior never did exist! I know he went off to be in the war in the Army Air Corps and was to be on a B-26 and I know he was killed. After the war his parents had his body transferred to Ft. Sam Houston in Texas. I was there when they buried him and I cried like a baby. My hero was finally home!
If you could help me in some way I would greatly appreciate it. If nothing else just point me in the right direction to try to find something out about my cousin.
I will thank you in advance for any effort and time you may spend on my problem. God Bless America = Clark T. Fontaine.
I am looking for a friend of mine, now deceased, who was a early B-26 pilot in England. His name was Melvin Giles and he trained in Lake Charles, LA. He was a Captain when he returned to Lake Charles after flying 75 missions.
8/20/2010: I am Mike Giles, son of Melvin C. Giles. My father died in December of 1985 but I’ll be happy to assist Ted Adams. This message was called to my attention by Ivan Breaux, the tail gunner on Mel’s B-26, Miss Mary. -Mike
I am a daughter of a B-26 pilot in WWII in Europe. He never shared much about this to his little girls, but he did continue to love flying his whole life, and owning a Piper Dealership.
What I know is my Father, John William Sweeney was a Lieutenant. He went to Citadel, taught flying at Mitchell Field, and flew the B-26 in Europe. My sister says he was shot down once in France.
In addition, I think my Father flew the famous Flak Bait that is in the Smithsonian.
If by chance, anyone knew of my Father, has any pictures and information, please contact me.
Thank you. Peace and Blessings your way.
I am looking for any info on my cousin Robert “Chappy” Chapman, tail gunner on the “Spooky” when apparently he died in a collision on Sardinia on takeoff. My name is Vernon Gray.
I am searching for any information on my Father-in-law, Capt. Albert Quince Taylor XXXX694 (deceased). The only information I have is that he was a pilot in the 387th Bomb Group. I never got to meet him because he died in 1961; I didn’t meet his daughter until 1966. I would love to know anything (i.e. name of plane(s), names of crewmen, etc.) I am trying to get information for my wife.
Thanks and God bless.
David L. “Rusty” Pace
Mr. Taylor successfully flew and completed the Mayen Bridge mission on 23 December 1944, Battle of the Bulge.
large image large image large image large image
Would appreciate information about my Dad, 1st. Lt. Rodney T. Brubaker, B-26 bomber pilot, 344th bomb group, 495th bomb squadron. I think his primary plane he flew was the “Rosie O’Brady” He did complete 65 missions.
Rodney M. Brubaker
Hello to all. Hope you are making your Norfolk Reunion plans.
Does anyone remember a pilot in the 496th by the name of Lt. Glenn Robert Young? I am led to believe that he was flying with the 496th during the D-Day period.
Thanks in advance,
344th BG Secretary / Treasurer
I’m the guy on the right. Dave Bingham, C-47 pilot is on the left. We were at an airbase at Furstenfeldbruck Germany awaiting reassignment to Flying A-26’s. The rest of the guys are Gordon Hagard, New York; George Burghardt, New York; Herman R. Gulick, New York; Richard Bigham, Washington; Lawrence A. Clement, New York; James R. Nimon, Texas and Stanley R. Mitick, Colorado. Both Dave and I are from Kentucky. -Bill Morton, Pilot, 344th BG
I would like to have a correction made to my father’s, John McClurkin, dedication page and then also add a photo and caption.
Please correct the caption under photo number 28 by removing the name “Royce Hay;” the bombardier 3rd from left in the photo is Jack Dougherty. Then replace Royce’s name in the second line to “Jack Dougherty”.
Matching Green, Essex, England 1944: Richard M. Horridge (P), John D. McClurkin (CP), Jack Dougherty (B/N), Rader O. Hale (RG), Orin S. Basco (FE), Daniel R. Lichtenhan (AG)
Looking for information about Jack Dougherty.
Please add the attached photo and caption — before the Beer Party photo, if possible:
After the 391st Bombardment Group was awarded Air Medals, June 25, 1944. Written on the back of the photograph:
“Standing L. to R., Horridge, Hasson, Maj. Loesch, Talton, Bird, Callison, Harnest, Zimmer, Saldeen, Hollis, Dietschler, Bush, Donnely, Goscewski, Hinton, Carson, Col. Brandon. Kneeling: Smutsky, me [McClurkin], Krinke, Toman, Rugg, Kinzer, Metelsky, Garwick, Dwyer, Majka. Sitting: Watkinson, Christenson, Hawkins, Alexander, Fitzhugh, Wolfe, Arena, Stanfield, Threadgill, Mettler.”
Dora McClurkin Muir
Marauderman’s Name: Frank Osetek
Bomb Group: 386th
Bomb Squadron: 555th
Years in service: 4?
Posted under Joseph H. “Jack” Ross – photos of “Mr. Five-by-Five”.
My uncle is incorrectly identified as “Frank Ostec” – Correct: S/Sgt. Frank A. Osetek, Oswego, NY.
My uncle passed away about 12 years ago.
Much more information about his service, if interested.
Correction made, thank you.
In response to the posting by Larry Parks about Capt. James Norman Bryan, there is movie footage of Capt. Bryan on the British Pathe web site [select here]. The footage runs for just under 20 minutes, and contains many other aircraft and people of the 323rd Bomb Group, so I guess that this movie may be of interest to others too.
I have compiled the information in the table below from whatever I have been able to observe in the movie footage or stills. Aircraft details shown in regular black text are visible, and those shown in red italics are not visible but have been obtained from other sources (cited above) or have been inferred from previous footage. Any details that are not visible and I have not been able to find the missing information from other sources are annotated with a question mark.
Steve, both aircraft you are looking for were original equipment B26C-6-MO’s flown over from the States.
41-34705 VT-G “Stuffin” flown by 1.Lt Roscoe R Haller and crew
41-34780 WT-M “B-Line” flown by 1.Lt Lewis R Caldwell and crew
Trevor Allen, B26 historian
I would like to enter my dad in the guest book.
Name Robert W. Garwick, Service # X-XXXX366
Branch of Service: Army/Air Force. 391st Bomb Group 574th Bomb Squadron, ETO. Enlisted: January 1942; aviation cadet, commissioned pilot 2nd Lt on January 14, 1943. 68 missions air medal, twelve oak leaf clusters. Marto September 1945.
Discharged Date: December 11 1945, Michel field, entered air force reserve on that date.
Retired Date: June 1957 from the Air Force Reserve.
Hi, I am posting this to honor my father who was in the 320th bomb group 442 bomb squadron. He served in Tunisia in 1942-43 and then in Europe from 43-aug 45 with the 12th army air corps. His name was William Edwin Phillips. I am including a photo taken in Africa in 1942 before his plane got the nose art. His plane was called “SHIF’LESS” and was designated ASD 41-34999. He passed away Jan 6th 1994 at 79 years and 10 months and was very proud to tell me about his experiences in WWII. He left me about 3,000 photos taken during his war years and I share them with his great grandchildren as I tell them of the stories he told me when I was young. Please include him in your site and you may post the photo for me as I would enjoy having it in your site. Thank you and all the air corps members for what you all did for us. Sincerely, Jeff Phillips (son)
In Remembrance of the Marauder Men lost on this day 66 years ago.
On the 28th of July 1944 the B26, 41-31805 of the 386th BG 553rd BS, was lost.
The plane collided with a German fighter and went down near Lessard-et-le Chene France.
The crew was returning to their home base at Great Dunmow England.
All onboard were lost.
Crew Members of B26 41-31805
1st Lt Frederick O. Briggs (Pilot)
1st Lt Leon C. Higginbotham (Co-Pilot)
1St Lt Claude C. Cannaday (Bombardier)
T/Sgt Selwyn B. Danowitz (Radio)
S/Sgt Charley Manford Johns (Engineer)
S/Sgt Robert J. Birmingham (Gunner)
Submitted by Hershel Johns
I’m seeking information and answers about a B-26 crash. Martin Marauder TB-26C, serial number 41-35182, crashed 3 November 1944 a few miles North of Glennie Michigan. The crash site was recently located and explored. Small parts of wreckage were discovered. Photos of crash site and debris sent upon request.
Summary of the accident:
Pilot 1st Lt. Roy E Yturria was airborne at 1015 on 3 November 1944 on a transition mission for an Aerial Engineer. Three engineers were aboard the bomber as crew members. Approximately ten minutes later the TB-26C was seen by witnesses to dive from an altitude of about 1000 feet to an altitude of about 200 feet above the ground, pull out, and start a gradual climb. Then at an altitude of about 400 feet the plane started to raise its right wing and was seen to roll over on its back and crash almost vertically into the Huron National Forest. The plane exploded upon hitting the ground scattering wreckage 600 feet in all directions and burned completely. Fires started by the crash burned over three acres before the fire was brought under control. The pilot and crew were killed instantly and three of the four bodies were lying 300 feet from where the plane struck the ground. No facts could be derived from the examination of the wreckage except that the engines were apparently turning at full power when the plane hit. The accident investigation board was unable to determine the cause of the accident.
1. Any information on its assigned unit? The aircraft was assigned to the 1st Air Force, 134 AAF Base Unit (fighter), 134 (BAS). It flew from OAAF, Oscoda Michigan, then a satellite base of Selfridge Air Force Mount Clemens Michigan. BAS were Base air squadrons. Detachments of AT23’s (B-26s) were sent to various State side bases to tow targets for aerial gunnery. While there they operated under their BAS designation.
2. More information about the history of this aircraft. According to the 387th Bomb Group, 556th Bomb Squadron 41-35182 was named “Lucky Lady”. Did this aircraft have a combat history?
3. More information on the model of this aircraft. By some accounts did the “T” stand for Training? I also read where the “T” meant Tug. Did they remove all the turrets and combat equipment from the aircraft and turn it into a trainer and/or target tug? I also read that all of the training aircraft had their operational equipment removed (including guns and bombing gear) and replaced with the C-5 tow target windlass and related gear. During this period of time were B-26s used for stateside training because other models were newer and sent overseas?
4. What would have been the color of the aircraft? Would it have maintained its natural metal finish?
5. What was a “transition mission for an Aerial Engineer” in the B-26?
6. Pilot 1st Lt. Roy E. Yturria. had 29 hours in this type aircraft, 106 hours in this model aircraft and a total of 616 hours as a pilot. Was this average, above or below for a B-26 pilot?
7. Any thoughts on the possible cause(s) of the accident? What could have caused the B-26 to roll over onto its back? The fact that the right wing lifted may have caused the aircraft to lose lift and stall. I’m also thinking that there was some kind of trouble with the left engine. That would explain why the right wing raised. Furthermore I read that the B-26 did not perform will at low altitude is that correct?
You have obviously carried out considerable research on the is B26 crash which is refreshing to know that people are still prepared to do this. Let me see if I can answer your questions.
1. 41-35182 was attached to the 134th Base Unit (these designations changed several times during the period 1941 to 1945) Tow Target flight .Over a period the base operated three AT-23/TB-26 ships.
2. 41-35182 never served with the 556th Bomb Squadron 387th Bomb Group, “Lucky Lady” was another B-26.
3. Early training B-26’s were straight combat equipped aircraft fed into the training programme in the rush to train new combat crews. Later newer aircraft were received direct from the production lines and sent to the training units. Later still a substantial number of these planes were stripped of their combat gear and designated TB-26’s.Those B-26’s required for tow target duties had their combat gear stripped and fitted with tow target gear. Those planes specifically designated AT-23’s were built on the production line specifically as training aircraft and not fitted with combat equipment. The changing designation of B-26’s in the training programme is very complex and the only way to determine a specific planes designation is to see that planes record card.
4. 41-35182 would have left the factory in standard camouflage scheme, but this could have been removed during its operational time. The only proof of this would be a photograph of this plane.
5. An engineer transition mission would be to familiarize the engineer with the equipment he would be using, its position in the aircraft, and its correct usage.
6. Average hours is a difficult question to answer being subject to many different factors. Some pilots arrived on combat units with zero hours on the B-26.Others went through a fast training period, still others went through a standard training course. After training it depended on where and which unit the pilot was transferred to. Many combat pilots did several hundred hours as did some training command pilots. Others did fewer hours.
7. The most probable cause of this accident was left engine failure which inevitably led to a stall with the pilot unable to regain control. That the B-26 did not perform well at low altitudes is a fallacy, most of the original B-26 units flew combat missions at low level before heavy enemy defenses forced them to their optimum bombing altitudes of between 10,000′ to 13,000′. These altitudes were not set in stone and varied to combat requirements.
41-35182 was produced from the factory as a B26C-40-MO, during 1943 it became a TB26C-41-MO. The change from 40 to 41-MO indicating it had received one modification. It still carried this designation when it crashed, and was not Tow Target equipped.
Marauderman’s Name: Mario J. Kudla
Bomb Group: 344th
Bomb Squadron: 495th
Years in service: 1942-?
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: I just watched a NOVA episode on PBS about a group of men trying to resurrect and fly a lost B-29. This peaked my interest to find out more about my father, Mario J. Kudla, who flew on the B-26 “Merry Jerry” if my memory is correct. I just found out my father enlisted on July 25th, 1942. He passed away in 2006. Any information on the plane, crew and it’s missions would be greatly appreciated!
Marauderman’s Name: Maj. Brick Lundberg
Bomb Group: 387th (Adjutant)
Bomb Squadron: 557th (Adjutant)
Years in service: 4-5?
Graduation Class: Unknown
Class Location: Unknown
Comments: Maj. Brick Lundberg was the 557th Bomb Squadron Adjutant and later became the 387th Bomb Group Adjutant (non-aircrew) in England at the end of his tour and the war, according to his widow (my Aunt). He returned to his hometown and pre-war bride in Kewanee, Illinois where he became a prominent businessman and founder of a franchise restaurant business, Sandy’s Restaurant chain, a precursor of McDonalds, and also owned and operated a Lindsay Soft Water Service franchise in that community. He passed away in 1977 of a malignant brain tumor behind the eye.
His widow is now 89 years of age and still alive and well. She has some recollection of his time and career in the Army Air Corps and I will be happy to act as intermediary for anyone who may wish to offer questions.
— Lt. Col. Charles L. Miller USAF (Ret)
I’m Charles Mellas, radio gunner on “Lady Lynn”, 320th bomb group, 441 squadron. I was on the last bomber, “Lady Lynn”, to be shot down on a strike for the launching area of a ME 262 on April 18th 1945.
On November 5, 1944 the Marauder n# 43 34396, 320 Bomb Group, 441 Bomb Squadron, hit by Germans Me 109 was shot down and crashed near Ala, a small city on the Brenner Pass in north Italy. I was 12 and saw that tragedy. The crew was made up by seven men, three survived safe by parachutes: Truman Cole (pilot); Paul Louis (co pilot); John Pidcock (bombardier). I’m in touch with relatives of all three. The July 7, 2010, the wife and the daughter of Paul Louis, came to Ala to visit me and the crash site of that Marauder. Four crewmen were killed in the crash: Henry Mc Mahon, Wyatt Moore, John Kramer, and Samuel Brush. I am looking for the relatives of the crewmen who died in the crash. I will answer any questions about the crash site area. I include picture of the Marauder fall at Ala the November 5, 1944.
38061 ALA (TN) Italy
On Saturday October 9, 2010, will be inaugurated the commemorative plate dedicated to the two crews of B-26 of 394th BG killed in an air collision while landing on the Bricy Air Base near Orléans, France the 8 October 1944.
Of these twelve men, I found only the family of Sgt. Rose. I would like to inform the other family members and all those concerned of the ceremony to honor those men. The inauguration will be a large event with French and American dignitaries and local citizens. The event will be similar to the Memorial to 1st Lt. Howard Hartley and Crew we had last year in Saint-Péravy la Colombe.
2nd Lt. Frank W. Jr. ROEPKE
2nd Lt. Wesley V. Jr. SMITH
2nd Lt. Richard K. ROBB
Sgt. Benjamin G. OSS
Sgt. Paul E. ROSE
Sgt. Harold D. LESTER
2nd Lt. Charles H. KEMNITZ
2nd Lt. Harvey E. BLACHER
2nd Lt. Alf D. LUNDEL
Sgt. Pink Jr. FULTZ
S/Sgt. Charles R. ELYEA
Sgt. Clement P. ECKES
I saw the posting about the memorial plaque for the two B-26 crews of the 394th BG and the problems contacting the families of the crews. It took a couple hours, but I have located the family of Sgt Clement P. Eckes, and I will try to contact them in the next couple of days to alert them of the ceremony. I also have information and preliminary contact with a potential family members for Sgt. Charles Elyea and Sgt Pink Fultz Jr. I will continue to work thru the list of both crews, to see what other families I can locate.
John D. McCallum, son of Robert McCallum
Thank you John!
We just lost another fine Marauder Man. -Regards, Rob Brewer
Frank G. Brewer, Jr., long time business community leader, died July 7, 2010. In the 1970’s, he was majority owner and chief executive of Dixie Electrical Manufacturing Company in Pinson Valley. He was born October 4, 1917 in Birmingham. After attending Woodlawn High School, he was graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He served in the U.S.A.A.F. for three years during World War II as a lead radio operator on Martin B-26 Marauder bombers, completing 69 missions over France and Germany being awarded two DFC’s and eleven Air Medals.
He was a lifetime member of Highlands United Methodist Church and served on the Board of Stewards. In his 50-plus years in Civil Air Patrol he reached the rank of Colonel and served for a time as its Alabama Wing Commander. Frank served on the board of Camp Winnataska, active in its continued development projects.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Anne Patton Brewer, brothers Robert R. and Donald A., sister Mary Jane Murkett and a grandson, Jeffrey A. Vines. Frank is survived by his sister Lela Anne Brewer of Birmingham, daughters Margaret L. Hale and Nina Brewer, both of St. Louis, MO. and sons Frank G. Brewer III of Tampa, FL and Robert P. Brewer of Birmingham, three grandchildren (Wesley Vines, Michelle Manning and Lindsey Brewer), seven great-grandchildren (Josh and Peyton Vines; Shannon, Ryan and Shelby Vines; Sage and Spencer Manning), and five nieces and nephews.
In 1943 Frank’s father, Frank Grover Brewer, Sr. established The Frank G. Brewer Trophy in honor of his sons Frank Jr. and Robert who were both in combat in Europe. Frank Jr. has continued to support this distinguished award which is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Upon his father’s death in 1957, Mr. Brewer, Jr. established the Frank G. Brewer Civil Air Patrol-Memorial Aerospace Awards which are awarded annually.
Visitation will be at Ridout’s Valley Chapel in Homewood on July 11th from 3 to 5pm. A memorial service will be held at Highlands United Methodist Church on July 12th at 11am with burial to follow at Elmwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Friends of Camp Winnataska, Civil Air Patrol or Highlands United Methodist Church. Friends of Winnataska, POB 59514, Birmingham, AL 35259-9514; Highlands United Methodist Church, 1045 20th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205; “Civil Air Patrol” – Brewer Scholarship Fund, C/O HQ CAP Ms. Marie Vogt, 105 South Hansell St., Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6332. “Brewer Scholarship Fund” should be listed in the notes section.
Marauderman’s Name: 1st LT Thomas C. Kelly
Bomb Group: 397
Bomb Squadron: 599
Years in service: 43-46?
Graduation Class: 43?
Class Location: ?
Comments: Looking for information on the plane that my dad may have flown during WWII. He was in the 397th/599th and was a co-pilot on B-26 runs over Germany . Looking for any info as regards the exact plane he flew and any pictures that may exist of that plane. Also, any missions he may have flown on. Thanks in advance! -Bob Kelly
I am looking for information about my father, Tech Sgt. Bernard P Roberts, who flew B-26s as crew chief/tail gunner in North Africa during 1942-43. His plane was shot down on Mother’s Day, 1943 but the crew survived.
Bill, this post is somewhat vague. Mother’s Day 1943 was May 9th (2nd Sunday in USA). Bernard P. Roberts is not in the roster of 320th BG, they lost an aircraft on May 9th 1943. No record of Roberts in 319th BG combat diary. However, 34th BS 17th BG combat diary has a S/Sgt Bernard Roberts arriving with his crew on April 15th 1943. This Bernard Roberts lived in Jeanette, PA. He flew 40 missions and 6 air medals & clusters. There is a photo of Roberts and his crew in the 34th BS combat diary which I can scan.
Alf Egil Johannessen
I am a bit too young to have flown in the Marauder. My Dad, Vernon J. Koch, however, was one of the men who built it. He worked on the nose gear foundry from 1939 through close of production in 1942. I have long been interested in the B-26 and felt that the Air Corp did it a big disgrace when it gave the B-26 designation to the Douglas A-26 airframe .
My wife reminded me that Dad was required to return to Kansas because of the draft after V-E Day… he worked at the Martin plant until then, still on the B-26 (whichever variant was still in production). During that time, he was also in the Coast Guard Reserve, with patrol duties from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay to Long Island Sound.
Picture of my dad in his Coast Guard Reserve uniform and the other was taken shortly after my parents arrived in Baltimore in 1939.
I spent 26 years in the USAF, and wish all of you “Clear Skies and Favorable winds”…. – Gerald Koch
Hello 344th enthusiasts, just to let you know, I went to Belgium in early June and made a point of contacting personnel there. My purpose was to see that the memorial plaque was still there and to reacquaint myself with people I know.
My trip had three objectives, one was to visit my niece in Netherlands, second was to visit the Air Base and third was to find my ancestors history. The trip was for 11 days and I enjoyed my niece’s company and her house. Then she put me on the train for Brussels and then to Namur. My friends live outside of Namur.
My friend in that area is a Retired Lt. Col. of the Belgium Royal Air force, who has maintained his connections with the base. He arranged a press conference with the Commanding Officer Col. Luc Gennart. I should say The Commander arranged the press conference–just calling them up and saying we have visitor you should talk to.
Three different News Papers were represented with flash cameras and note pads. The conversations were directed at me and my purpose in being there. I tried to follow with simple answers and repeated myself a few times mostly because of the language differences. I touched on the subject of ancestor history and they became most interested. I enlarged the subject to tell them that it looks like my line of ancestors may have been Spanish. And more to the point I must be of Belgium ancestry, because Sebastion Von Kortrijk lived in the town of Kortrijk.
This was as much a surprise to them as to me. The Commander sat through all of this and expressed his pleasure of my returning 65 years after the war ended. When the conference ended I got pictures taken in front of an old F-15, and then taken to a pilots training room which was a dark room to simulate instrument flying. A screen, about 24 feet wide by 8 foot high was displaying pretaped flights over The Air Base. As soon as I stepped into the room, I experienced vertigo. And asked if the floor has some motion—NO.
The screen displayed what the pilot was putting into the controls. It also went into an intercept and Identification of another aircraft. Then on into In Air Refueling. When that was over the pilot did a barrel roll and entered the traffic pattern and then landed. The pilot got out of the open cock pit and lights were turned on. I felt like a juvenile.
From there we went to the Spitfire Museum. The first thing I did was to find the 344th Plaque and took a picture of it from the area we had all stood in 1998. A thick high bush was almost concealing the plaque, but it was highly polished and clean.
We did a few minutes in the museum and then left by the post gate nearest the town. It was a well planned visit for which I thank my friend, Philippe Cavillot. I should tell you, Philippe had been a pilot and had flown, perhaps a dozen different planes, including the back seat of an F-15. His job in the Belgium Air Force was primarily that of and Executive Officer. Because of his knowledge and multilanguage skills (about 6 different languages) he directed Generals and high state officials thru meetings, including NATO conferences. He retired five years ago but maintains his contacts.
That is most of my story. I will bring copies of the News Paper’s articles to the reunion. If you would like copies right away, let me know. Carl Cutright
Hello – my father, John R. Myers, of Staunton, Virginia, flew with the 9th AF, 494th Bomb Squad out of Stanstead, England. He met my mother while stationed there, as she was a student at Bishops Stortford Teachers College. Both of my parents passed away in 1995. I’m writing a story based on their WWII love affair, and I’m trying to find out some information about the B26 crews so the story will be accurate. He was a photographer, a SSgt, so would he have been a gunner? (He’d been to flight school to train as a pilot, but didn’t qualify, as he’d get airsick when he had to do loops.) He was in the AF from 1942-45, arriving in Stanstead early in 1944.
I have some of the love letters he wrote to my mother during the war. I have a photo of him in his flight suit, holding an aerial camera.
Any help you can provide would be wonderful – websites, people to talk with, books that are good sources. Thanks ever so much – Zoe S. Myers Miles
Zoe, 494th Bomb Squadron was one of four squadrons of 344th Bomb Group. The book about the group history is: 344th Bomb Group (M) “Silver Streaks” History & Remembrances World War II; edited by Lambert D. Austin, Sr. (ISBN 0941072207).
Best regards Alf Egil Johannessen
To whom it may concern:
I’m looking for a B-26 pilot I can talk to about his experiences during WWII in Essex, England, specifically at East Colne airfield. I have a British friend, John Stokes who has an uncle, David Smith, who is an artist that paints WWII RAF and American Air Force aircraft and pilots. David is most interested in getting Background and data for the B-26’s during WWII. I would appreciate anyone contacting me about this matter. My name is Dick Boyle. I am a retired Air Force
Pilot. I served with the 8th Air Force in heavy bombardment during WWII ,the Korean War and Viet Nam over a thirty year span.
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
I saw a posting on this site about Stephen Eady who was in the 322nd bg 450th sq and flew in “Pappy’s Pram”.
During WW2, my father, John O. Prescott, also flew on “Pappy’s Pram” as well as “I’ll Get By” and 2 missions on “Flak Bait”. If you have any info at all…please e-mail me and/or post the info on this site. My father passed away in 2001, and unfortunately most of his old records were destroyed in a fire in the sixties. All I know is that he was stationed in England and then later in Beauville Bavay France. I still have some photos that were not destroyed…but not much. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, Steve Prescott
Steve, the 322nd BG bases were Andrews Field (Station 485) in England from June 12th 1943, then Beauvais/Tille (A-61) in France from September 25th 1944, after that Le Culot (A-89) in Belgium from March 30th 1945. After VE-day the group was based in Germany (Fritzlar Y-86) and then France (Clastres A-71). A color photo of “Pappy’s Pram” from LIFE Magazine showing photographers standing in front of Pappy’s Pram, a B-26 Marauder (bomber) at base. They have been on total of 50 missions since operations began during WWII: (L-R) St. James Hinkle (VA), Sgt. Robert Hammerberg (IL), Sgt. Frank Udovich (WI), Sgt. Charles A. Smith (TX), St. Wilbur DeGroff (WI).
Best regards from Alf Egil Johannessen
Adopt a US war grave
By Paul McNally on June 1, 2010
A remembrance association is appealing for Normandy residents to “adopt” a US soldier’s grave to help remember the war-dead. More than 3,500 people have signed up to join Les Fleurs de la Mémoire, which looks after about 8,000 tombstones in the Colleville-sur-Mer cemetery.
The organization was set up because many families in the US find it frustrating that they are unable to give their relatives’ tombs the attention they deserve. Members commit to visit the military cemetery at least once a year to lay a bouquet. The association sends a card to the soldier’s family informing them that the tombstone is being looked after. Responsibility for the grave is passed down through generations.
There are 144 Marauder Men buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.
It was great to run across your site. I was wondering if you had a higher resolution image of the 16th TOW TARGET SQUADRON personnel picture. My father was number 11 on the front row. Cpl Dua Morvant, Abbeville, LA.
The pictures are fantastic. All I remember him saying was that for a while he was with a target drone squadron and that the gunners would almost shoot the tow plane instead of the targets. I remember he said he went to Wichita, KS and then to Seattle and finally to Hawaii before the war ended so I guess they would have been stationed near one of those locations. Also, I think he went in the service sometimes in ’44 so this would have been late in the conflict. He mostly worked on the B-25, but had also worked on a few P51’s and B-17’s. Thanks, I hope you hear more from those connected to the group. My father died in 2007 and I know many of the veterans are going each day so time is short for recording history before it’s too late.
I am trying to find some information on a picture I have of my father, Justus W. Matthaei. He passed away in 1993. I have a picture of him and a large crew in front of a B-26. The tail markings are 334611? What I would like to know is information on the plane, it’s missions and where it was stationed. As far as I can tell it was part of the 323 Bomber Group, 456 Bomber Squadron. My father was a Radio Operator and Control Tower Operator in WW II. He attended the advanced twin engine Army Flying School, in Columbia, Miss in July 1942 and then went to England . As far as I know. Any information would be great. I think this is a War Dept Picture. On the back it says. “Marauders of the U.S. Ninth Air Force, 350 strong, Bombed the Nazi “E” Boat Pens at Ijmuiden, Holland, In a “Bombers Revenge.” Last May when Marauders flew over Ijmuiden non returned. All but one returned from this Mission . The pens , built of Reinforced Concrete, are located in the first Harbor to the right of the entrance of the port of Ijmuiden, at the lower left.
Justus W. Matthaei, front row 7th from the left (see large image)
Hello, my grandfather, NC Armstrong, was a waist gunner and radio man on a B-26 and was shot down on April 20, 1945. I was hoping to find more information about my grandfathers history with his crew and the plan. If you know anyone who can help that would be great. Thanks, BJ Armstrong
On the morning of 20th April 1945 the 323rd Bomb Group attacked the Marshalling Yards at Memminghem, Germany. The 323rd had just turned at the Initial point and were strung out on single flights on the bomb run when Me262 jets attacked. The Vining crew were slotted to fly the number five, right wing slot in the last formation of six. Flying with 1.Lt James L Vining were his regular crew consisting of 1st. Lt James R Mulvihill, S/Sgt J D Wells, S/Sgt Charles W Winger. T/Sgt Henry P Yates and T/Sgt Newton C Armstrong.
The Me262’s came in singly from the rear of the formation, spaced approximately at an estimated 10 to 15 seconds, and concentrated on the rear Marauders. A fourth Me262 was coming in on the rear of Vinings B-26,when suddenly the cockpit appeared to explode in the pilots face, blowing off his right leg and shutting down the planes right engine. To stop the flow of blood from his severed leg Lt Vining grabbed the stump and squeezed. At the same time Lt Mulvihill feathered the right engine and S/Sgt Wells jettisoned the bombs.
By then, however, they were out of formation, alone and a sitting duck. In their eagerness to finish the kill the Me1262’s dived into the attack from every direction. As the pilots maneuvered to counter these attacks, the 262’s bared their bellies and the B-26 gunners claimed to kills and two probable kills. Since no other allied aircraft were in the vicinity these claims were not made official.
When the attack was over, a tourniquet was put on what remained of Lt Vining’s leg, and a decision was made to crashland in a field near to a German town. Committed to the crash landing, a camouflaged tank trap suddenly loomed ahead and the B-26 bounced off and broke apart. Luckily they had crashed close to an Allied medical train, and the train medics had immediately taken him to hospital in Metz. S/Sgt Winger was killed in the crash landing, S/Sgt Wells was critically injured, and T/Sgt Armstrong was seriously injured. Both Lt Mulvihill and T/Sgt Yates were both bruised.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
Dear Mr. Max Petrisek:
This responds to your request to you question about the headstone of Joseph Thomas Schoeps.
I have enclosed photo copies of the headstones of Joseph Thomas Schoeps and his brother, Lawrence J. Schoeps. Joseph Thomas Schoeps is inscribed on the front of the headstone and Lawrence J. Schoeps is inscribed on the back. Section 12, Grave site 7734
[large image][large image]
Thank you for your interest in Arlington National Cemetery.
Rubin Kichen (86), a B-26 tail gunner in WW II, passed away in Scottsdale, February 21, 2010, after a prolonged and courageous battle with cancer. One short snipped from Rubin’s memoirs:
“July 11, 1944. This day could go down in history. We were given box lunches and we took off on the first leg of our trip overseas. The plane flew like a dream. The history part comes in when Mal, who came from Washington, D.C., buzzed his home. I thought that we would definitely be shot down by friendly fire. Luckily it was one buzz and we never received a report.”
During a volunteer mission, his 23rd, on February 16, 1945, Rubin flew in a B-26 named “4F’. The plane crashed under enemy fire over Holland, but Rubin was one of the lucky ones to bail out in time, as the plane lost control from anti-aircraft shelling. Just as he jumped, he kicked one of the gunners loose, who was pinned against the side of the airplane. Rubin landed in a field in Holland and a German soldier immediately captured him. He spent several months in German prison camps, including the notorious Stalag VIIA, which General Patton’s army liberated at the end of the war in Europe. After the war, Rubin worked in New York as a draftsman and construction project manager. He came to Arizona in 1974 and had a 30-year career in local real estate. Rubin and his wife Shirley were long-time volunteers at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
It was on this day my Dad, Thomas J Curtin, and other members of the 456 Squadron landed on Normandy, as he called it D-Day +1…at that time the Army Air Corp was Army and not Air Force…very brave men, Al Gallo, Wally Lizak, Chris Lenox, Bill Lewis, Horace Jordan, Tom McAllister, Bill Borkowski, Ralph Felice, Dominic Bombace, George Woods and many more…Comrades in Arms and brothers after the war…they came from all walks of life to keep us free…my Dad is gone 6 years now but will always remember the stories he told as a member of the 456 Bomb Squadron…his planes were “City of Sherman” and “Patty’s Pig”. – Tom Curtin Jr.
66 years ago today! What a great undertaking. I’d like to say thanks to all of you surviving veterans. Let us remember the fallen and the price they paid. God bless them all.
Son of Andy Anderson
NATCHEZ — Graveside services for Cassius Ludwig Tillman III, 91, of Natchez, who died Monday, May 31, 2010, were Thursday, June 3, 2010, at the Natchez City Cemetery.
Arrangements were under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.
Mr. Tillman was born June 2, 1918, in Natchez, the oldest son of Cassius Ludwig Tillman Jr. and Delphine Kahn Tillman. He was a 1936 graduate of Natchez High School. He was a Boy Scout and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Tulane University until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Mr. Tillman was the first volunteer from Natchez to enlist.
Mr. Tillman served in the Air Force for five and one half years during World War II. Part of that time he was as an air instructor with the Free French in Africa. He was a first lieutenant and flew 71 missions with the 432 Bombardment Squadron of the 17th bombardment group (B-26 Martin Marauder.) Mr. Tillman received a number of citations for heroic and outstanding service. They include: the Air Medal with 23 oak leaf clusters; the French Croix de Guerre Avec Palm Medal; the Cross of Lorraine (Free French); and the Presidential Unit Citation. Mr. Tillman was decorated by Charles De Gaulle for meritorious service to the French and was also awarded the Purple Heart. He was a life member of the Air Force Association and had his World War II memoirs recorded by the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Mr. Tillman married Felice Libby Pincus in 1946. They began their life together in Natchez and later moved to New Orleans and Metairie, La., where they resided for more than 50 years.
Mr. Tillman was an inventor holding 17 U.S. patents. He was an avid sailor, a collector of mineral specimens and a world traveler. He was a member of the New Orleans Rose Society and raised 51 competition class Hybrid Tea Roses.
In 1951, Mr. Tillman founded Precision Rebuilders Inc., a company that manufactured and rebuilt valves, wellhead equipment, Christmas trees and high pressure oil field equipment. He retired in 1981 as the president and owner of Precision Rebuilders. He received a 50-year membership citation from both the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Mr. Tillman was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; and one brother, Dr. Clifford Tillman. Survivors include two loving children and large extended family including great grandchildren.
Marauderman’s Name: 1LT Robert W. Schelper (Bob)
Bomb Group: 322
Bomb Squadron: 451st
Years in service: 1941 – 45
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: My dad entered the service in the infantry (January 23, 1941), but then entered pilots training at Orangeburg SC and Greensville, MS before getting his wings and being commissioned as a second lieutenant at George Field, IL (January 14, 1943). He was then sent to MacDill Field in Tampa, Fl for B-26 training. I believe he was in the first B-26 group assigned to England (April 1943). He was promoted to 1Lt. after completing 29 combat missions, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters at the same time. He returned home after 59 missions for a 30 day leave (at which time I was conceived). At that time he had 9 oak leaf clusters. While home on leave in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, he made several appearances to help raise money for war bonds. At one of those, his hat and the hats of two other local heroes (all flyers) were purchased for $3 million dollars (money to the war effort). After his leave he returned to his unit for the duration of the war. I believe he was eventually promoted to Captain. In all I know he flew more than 75 missions. I don’t know all of the planes he piloted, but I know one was “Bluebird II” and another was “The Nude Prude No. 2” as I have photos of him and his crew with those. Like most WWII vets, he didn’t talk much about his experiences. Much of what I’ve gleaned is from newspaper articles. He passed away about 6 years ago and I would love to have any information anyone has about the 451st and or connect with any members still living or relatives. When I was young I accompanied my Dad to a couple of reunions and remember some of the names he mentioned. Among those would be Whitey Sterngold, Ted Mains, Andy Hunter, Lester Barton, George Simler who are named on this site. I know others who remained friends with him long afar the war were Ken Carpenter and Les Gross.
Thanks on the behalf of these heroes and their families for providing this forum and all of the helpful information you have been able to come up with.
Story posted by Tony Ruegger regarding pilot of B-26 that stayed with family in Switzerland.
Note 165 allied planes landed/crashed in Switzerland after bomb runs with only one B-26 in 1945. Devos primary POW site for officers billeted in luxury hotels guarded by local police paid for by US government. Evades normally billeted with Swiss families. 200+ of 1600 who attempted escape sent to notorious prison camp. 559 William Murphys in WWII. Am sorting through to find those in AAF. Number on tail could be variety: address, co-ordinates, service number, figment of the imagination. Time of war, pilot could have been attempting message . . .or not. Some escapees got out through Swiss underground and French resistance. Have not located as yet any records of POWs in Switzerland. Any other info available? Tracy Townsend
Marauderman’s Name: George Lester Ward
Bomb Group: 397
Bomb Squadron: 599
Years in service: 43-46
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: Hi, I am the grandson of George Lester Ward. I am trying to find info on the plane pappy flew in during WWII. I’d like to find a picture of the plane so I can get a special tattoo in his memory. This is what I know about his service record: he remembers the name of his plane was “Cuddles”. I’ve search EVERYWHERE and cant find this plane. he has a picture of it on the wall. the call letters on the side are 6B-T. I’ve found the plane with these call letters and found the tail number “296-165”. the plane that registers to this number is “Big Hairy Bird”. what id like to know is if this is his plane. I’d like to find a crew roster and see if he is on it. or if he isn’t. I’ve only ever seen one plane painted to his description and it matches the “Big Hairy Bird”. I remember him saying that his plane had been repainted before their first flight. oh and the pilot he flew with is named John H Shaffer (not sure on the spelling of his last name) hopefully someone will respond. Thanks in advance! – John Patterson
June 6, 2010 5:42 PM
John! I beat you to it, My name is Paul Shaffer and I am the grandson on John H Shaffer, I have the tattoo you are looking for haha! It’s been quite difficult to find information on the crew and the plane, but from all research I have collected I have found blurbs saying that my grandfather was the pilot of the “big hairy bird” I have found that it is unclear when the plane was painted with the nose art seeing as the airframe was transferred between units in the 9th, but I chose to get a tattoo representing the “big hairy bird” as I am positive that at one point my grandfather flew this plane, nose art or not! I am curious if you have any more information about the crew and their missions.
95 Sqd. 17 Bomb group: After a 65 year wait I learned that my buddy 1st Lt Joseph T Schorps was buried at Arlington. After getting the appropriate site information & pass I visited his site today. The tombstone had Lawrence J Schoeps, Korean War, cpl (corporal). I was dumbfounded. We checked Arlington Information and their conclusion is THAT IT IS MY BUDDY WHO IS BURIED THERE & filed a error form which results would be forwarded to me. I ‘m entering this in the guest book to give the Schorps and Schoeps family’s notice. Max Petrisek
I’m sad to say that my Grandfather, Winfield S. Gardner, died of old age last week. He flew 82 missions, earned two distinguished flying crosses, an air medal and thirteen oak leaf clusters. I tried to ask him about Major Peters but it was too difficult for him to communicate. My Grandmother found a letter this week from one of the other crew members to my Grandfather informing him of Major Peters accident. She said that the letter is both very sad and very complimentary. I hope that there is a way to get the letter to his son. I will put together a post about my Grandfather once we have digitized more photos. He was the best man that I ever knew. He kept a picture of the “Privy Donna” in his wallet his whole life. Please see the post by Major Peters son below looking for information about his father.
Marauder Man: Lt. John J. Howell
Bomb Group: 322nd
Bomb Squadron: 452nd
FRIDAY, 14 MAY 1943
EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force)
A maximum force is put in the air as part of a combined offensive against the Wehrmacht. 154 B-17’s, 21B-24’s, and 12 B26’s are dispatched against 4 targets.
The principal attack is against submarine yards and naval installations at Kiel, Germany; 136 B-17’s and 21 B-24’s are dispatched with 126 B-17’s and 17 B-24’s hitting the target at 1200-1203 hours local. We claim 62-24-27 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 5 B-24’s and 3 B-17’s with 1 B-24 damaged beyond repair and 9 B-24’s and 27 B-17’s damaged. Casualties are 3 KIA, 17 WIA and 81 MIA.
42 B-17’s are dispatched against the former Ford and General Motors plants at Antwerp, Belgium; 38 hit the target at 1320 hours local; we claim 5-1-4 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 1 and 15 others are damaged; casualties are 3 WIA and 10 MIA.
In the third raid, 39 B-17’s are dispatched against the Courtrai Airfield, France; 34 hit the target; we claim 0-0-1 Luftwaffe aircraft; we lose 2 B-17’s and 10 others are damaged; casualties are 20 MIA.
In the forth raid, 12 B-26’s are dispatched against the Velsen power plant at Ijmuiden, The Netherlands; 11 hit the target at 1100 hours; 1 B-26 is damaged beyond repair when it crashes upon returning to base and 9 others are damaged; casualties are 1 KIA and 7 MIA.
This is the first time more than 200 us bombers are dispatched. the attack at Ijmuiden, is made at low level by the 322nd Bombardment Group (Medium), the first US medium bomber group to become operational in the UK.
Lt. Howell’s aircraft was a B-26B-4-MA and the serial number was 41-17988 with the call letters DR-R.
I hope this information helps you on your quest.
One of the latest entry from a Mr. John Demaagd 6/3/2010, is wrong , in that he lists the 322nd Bomb Group – 452nd Bomb Squadron as the Eighth, when it is the NINTH – “The Fearless Ninth”. My husband, Elliott S. Moorhead, was a Pilot with the Ninth. 322nd BG – 452nd BS. ETO.
Please rectify his error. Thank you.
Mrs. Elliott S. Moorhead
June 5, 2010 8:42PM
Dear Mrs. Elliot S. Moorhead, The 322nd, 323rd, 386th, and 387th bomb groups were part of the 8th air force when they first arrived in the UK during the spring of 1943. The 9th air force arrived in the UK in the fall of 1943. The B-26 groups of the 8th air force transferred to the 9th air force around September 1943. I thought this was common knowledge, and did not include this in the information on 06/03/2010. I apologize Mrs. Moorhead for not including this information.
I am so happy to have found your website! Have wanted for years to search for information on my uncle, Lt. John J. Howell. Today, Memorial Day, I began. Lt. Howell was killed piloting a B-26, May 14, 1943, after an attack on the Velzen power plant. Most of my info comes from an AP article clipped from the Miami Herald, 7/8/43, and an article in the back of a very worn comic book. My mother, grandmother and aunts & uncles told stories of Uncle John’s childhood, but little about his brief military career. My mother and her last 2 surviving siblings died w/in days of each other, 3/97. Would love to hear from anyone with info.-esp. personal experiences.
I am the grandson of Samuel Jepsen, a tail gunner and radio operator in the 387th 558 Bomber group, and I am looking for more information about him and the planes he flew. I know he was shot down 3/21/1945 and crashed near Laag Keppel, in plane 44-68103 MACR 13229. I do not know the name of the plane, but the pilot was Lt George B Fallon, and I believe the other crew included Stankiewicz, Blaumer and Skinner. I know my grandfather was captured, as was I believe Fallon, but one member of the crew reportedly escaped with the Dutch underground. The plane was reported as being found by a Dutch researcher in 1978. Any further information about him would be greatly appreciated. He died in 1994 and did not like to speak about his WWII experiences.
It’s Memorial Day weekend – Least We Forget! Remember our fallen HEROES that bought us the right and the privilege to vote, to pray in his own way to his GOD and for the many freedoms we have! Reflect, take a moment to give thanks to our fallen heroes.
To those who swore the OATH, thank you for your service.
the waves gently roll.
the Grass weaves to and fro.
the sand swirls as winds blow.
Our flag waves in gentle rolls.
Tears of a grateful nation fall
God watches over all!
I was wanting to know if someone could help me with information about my great Uncle Rex Kates, from the 555th Bomb Squadron 386th Bomb Group. All the info that I have is that he was a top turret gunner on a 26 in the 9th USAAF. I have 2 photos. One is when the crew graduated and the other of the crew in front of a plane named “Lady Aud Mar Eid” with a total of 39 missions possibly more but one of the pilots obscures the rest. Family stories say he shared a bike with Robert Preston. Two other crewmen names were Hornsby and Miller who were killed. I know he went on with the surviving members to complete 50 missions and volunteered to stay on after that goal. There is a name visible on the front lower side of the plane 1st Lt. G. Tabachnick. How ever When I was a kid back in the ’60s I remember seeing the back of his leather jacket and I think it was a devil on a bomb. I am not sure the photo is taken in front of their aircraft. -Bryon Ray
My father, Donald Epstein was a pilot in the 555th squadron, I do not believe he knew your uncle, however Robert Meservy aka Robert Preston was the intelligence officer for the squadron, so your uncle may have shared a bike with him. Also, the devil with the bomb was the squadron insignia. Good luck with your search.
Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:04 PM
Marauder Man: Rex Kates
Bomb Group: 386th
Bomb Squadron: 555th
Dear Bryon, I found some information on the Marauder “Lady Aub Mar Eid”. She was a B-26F-1-MA and her serial number was 42-96296. The call letters were YA-X. The only crew member name I found was a Capt. Edward Miller. His Marauder was a B-26B-55-MA with the serial number 42-96131 and call letters YA-P. She was named “Perkatory II” . I think this may have been miss spelled when the were entering the info. I think it might be “Purgatory II”. I hope this helps you .
Thank you for your input to b26.com it makes us very pleased when our readers email us with help to queries, please keep up the good work. The name “Perkatory II” is correct and 42-96296 should read “Lady Aud Mar Eid”.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
My grandfather, Harold Peter Dorsen, 432nd Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group, passed away at age 85 in his home on May 22nd 2010. He passed peacefully in his sleep and today was interned with full honors at Abraham Lincoln national cemetery, Elwood, IL. His most proud achievement was 53 bombing missions over Germany in a B-26 as a radio operator/waist gunner. He loved “his kind” of people, the veterans, and would have wanted you to know this. – Zachary C Dorsen
I have been researching the crash of a B26 Marauder 41-18150 on the 10th April 1944 at Chimney Rock Mountain, Mournes Northern Ireland. I have set up a website dedicated to the crew who were:
2nd Lt Howell C Osborne Jr 3rd Combat Crew Replacement Centre, Toome, N. Ireland 2nd Lt Chester M Turner 3rd CCRC, Toome S/Sgt William J Devenney 3rd CCRC, Toome Sgt Jimmie Gyovai 3rd CCRC, Toome S/Sgt Roy Roberts Cappe 364th Service Squadron, 39th Service Group, Toome
I am trying to obtain information on each member of the crew to add to their profiles on the website. If anybody has any information that they could pass on it would be greatly appreciated.
Kyle mentions the plane they were flying in in a post on the 5th April this year. 41-18150 “Winnie Dee” was originally flown by Kyle’s relative Captain Jack Seale who named the plane after his mother. Andrew Byrd was also at some stage a member of the original crew. Does anybody have any photographs of 41-18150 “Winnie Dee” or any information on its combat history with the 452nd Bomb Squadron, 322nd Bomb Group?
Hi. I am looking for information and photos of the plane and crew “The Flying Dutchman” – 394thBG, 587thBS, piloted by William Schulte. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.
Hello, my name is Steven Oliver, I am trying to find out any information about my Father’s service in the 386th. His name was William Henry Oliver, he was a Flight Officer/Bombardier, he was assigned to the 552nd squadron and served 1944-46. Unfortunately his official military records were destroyed in an fire at the archive location in St. Louis. I would appreciate anything you could provide, such as his aircraft name/assignment, fellow crew members, etc. Thanks so much. -Steven Oliver
I am a freelance writer in Conway SC, the home of the Norton twins, Lts. James Norton and Edward Norton. The twins died May 17, 1943 while Edward was piloting and James was co-piloting a B26 Marauder that went down in the North Sea after a bombing mission. I saw a post on here from 2008 from a man who adopted James’ grave in Margraten and a reply from an apparent family member and would love to share information with them. . I am trying to add to the history of the twins, who were well known and loved here, have their military records and an account of the mission from a surviving POW from another of the planes and other information. .. I know there is a Dr. Norton in Florida –not their father –who had spoken with the same POW, who became Senior US District Court Judge Anthony Alaimo and died 2009. A book of his life was written in 2007 “Sicilian Judge: Anthony Alaimo, an American Hero. It was great to hear that someone had adopted James’ grave . The twins have stones beside their parent’s graves with the same birth and death dates on them. Peggy Mishoe
My name is Josh Wheat. I was wondering if there was any way to get in touch with Mr. John Moench regarding a question about my grandfather, Francis B. Wheat, who served with the 323rd BG, 453rd BS? Thank you.
Here is a little more information on your grandfather. He was one of the original members of the 453rd Bomb Squadron and he and his crew flew B-26 41-34693 “Red Dog” from the USA to England in April 1943. The crew consisted of 1.Lt William J Heather, pilot; 1.Lt George E Burnett, navigator; T/Sgt Francis B Wheat and S/Sgt John E Bull.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
Marauderman’s Name: 1st Lt. Witcher Terrell Berger
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: Accident report says 587th, tombstone says 578th AAF
Years in service: approx 4
Witcher was killed in the early morning hours of D-Day when his B26 collided with another B26 over Gillingham, Kent, England. Reports say the other plane came down out of the clouds on top of Witcher and Witcher was forced to crash land into a populated area killing 4 civilians and his entire crew. Witcher was originally buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Highway A-1303, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire England, Postal Code: CB3 7PH, but after the war his remains were returned to the Berger family and interred in the family cemetery at Greenfield, Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
Witcher was my cousin. My family visited his grave every Sunday, weather permitting, for as long as I can remember. Recently, descendants of the civilians killed on the ground at Gillingham have been doing research on the airmen and their families. Any insight that your group may have on this incident would be greatly appreciated.
My brother, Lt. Jerome M. Gross, was KIA Aug 9, 1944. He was a B26 pilot with the 9th AF, 397th BG, 599th BS. Some of his crew members survived. In further exploring MACR database I came across two other references which could relate to my brother. One was MARC # 7788 Ser.# 42-96289. The other reference was to a crash on 8/10/44. MARC #7789 Ser # 43-34148. Both reports involved the 397th. I suspect my brother may have been the subject of MARC # 7789 as he would have been flying a newer plane since he had crash landed his former plane in May 1944. I believe the name of his ship was “Stubborn Helen”.
[Fellow-up] My brother was piloting a B26 on August 9, 1944, when it was shot down and crashed near Dreux, France. Lt. Robert Hesser was the co-pilot. I believe this may have been marc # 7848. Thank you so much for any information you can provide me. If anyone has any information regarding my brother or crew please contact me.
Thanks, Syd Gross
There is one individual named Robert R Hesser, 1st LT, who is listed on the Missing Wall at the Brittany American Cemetery in France. Mr. Hesser is MIA after a August 9, 1944 mission, served with the 599th, is from Minnesota, was awarded the Air Medal and has 6 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Hello: My father, Harry Morris, Sr., was a mechanic for the B-26’s attached to the 497th BS- 344thBG. He married an Irish lady and I was born in Cambridge, England. Dad was being reassigned to Japan at the wars end and had to leave then later mother and I came to the US along with numerous war brides. My parents have both passed away and I still live near where dad had wanted us to live and raised 3 more children in Ohio. -Harry Morris, Jr.
My Dad, Reuben Gentry, just passed away a couple of weeks ago. If you would like to add this picture to your website it would make a whole family very happy. He was a B-26 pilot with the 17th Bomb Group in 1943. The attached picture was on a mission over Sicily in mid 1943, taken by his co-pilot Lt Robert Starr.
Lt. Winfred W. “Andy” Anderson, 397th Bomb Group, 597th bomb Squadron next to “Holy Moses”. On the nose wheel door are the names T/Sgt. John Kilmen, Sgt. Virgle C. Gilbertson and Cpl. Bernard H. Schatz. Messrs. Kilmen and Gilbertson were Crew Chiefs and Mr. Schatz was a aircraft mechanic. Does anybody have any information about those guys? Cpl. Bernard H. Schatz is second from right.
…large image …large image
Picked up on the guest page as to the reunion of the 344th Bomb Group in September [see below]. My name is Allan Arneson and was in the 494th Bomb Sq. I intend to come to the event. Perhaps you could help establish a contact with “Milk Run”, when I moved, I lost contact, would like to be back on the mailing list and also obtain some back copies.
Allan W. Arneson
Hello – what a GREAT Website!
I am trying to locate some information on a B-26 Pilot — 1st Lt. Merrill B. Wilson of the 387th Bomb Group. His Serial Number was X-XXX385. I have recently obtained his Diary which mentions all of his 66 Bomber Missions. Normandy is listed as his Mission # 36. The Diary will be in my hands next week.
1.) I was wondering if anyone out there could help identify what Squadron (of the 387th BG) he belonged to? [558th Bomb Squadron]
2.) If available, I am also looking for Names of the other Crew Members who flew with him.
3.) Was there a particular B-26 that he flew (in regards to any Nose Art)?
Truthfully – I would appreciate any information from anyone! I would be more than willing to share the written entries in this fascinating Diary.
Lt. Merrill B. Wilson served with the 558th Bomb Sq.
My name is Tony Ruegger and I am interested to learn more, if possible, about a Marauder crew the pilot of which stayed with my Dad’s family after crash landing in Switzerland. The pilot’s name was Bill Murray. My dad tells me that his plane was flying from Italy and passed over Switzerland on its way to bomb Germany. Either before the bombing or afterwards it was damaged and was not able to make it over the Swiss Alps. It crash landed and the pilot stayed several weeks with my grandparents and dad in Davos, Switzerland. During his stay he painted a picture of his plane that he gave to my grandmother. The picture shows the name of the plane as “Pahokee Ramblers” and the tail number was 131 351. A photo of the oil painting is attached. Mr. Murray and his wife visited our family in New Jersey some time in the 1970s. If anybody knows about Mr. Murray, his plane, or its crew, I would be interested in hearing from them.
Tony, fantastic story except your painting is not accurate in its details, no B-26 ever carried the serial number 41-31531 particularly one coded AN-F. To my knowledge no B-26’s flying from Italy had the range to fly to Germany and back to their bases in Corsica. The only B-26’s that could probably have come down in Switzerland would have been a 9th AAF aircraft. Again I have only one record of a B-26 landing in Switzerland and the details of this B-26 do not fit any of the details shown in your painting. This is one question for Marauder enthusiasts to help us with. There was a William J. Murray in the 320th/443rd but I have lost contact with him.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
454th BS (323rd Bomb Group) and 344th Bomb Group Association 2010 Reunion Reminder – September 22-25, 2010 – Norfolk, Virginia.
Come One! Come All! All Marauder Men and their descendants, friends and enthusiasts are welcome. All Bomb Groups and Squadrons welcome.
Come for the fun and stories. Talk with Marauder Men who flew in and supported the Martin b-26 Marauder in WWII.
Small donation at the door is very much appreciated. Donations ensure the continuation of the “Milk Run”, the longest running newsletter among Marauder Men associations.
Advance registration is required.
Contact Chris Horn, 344th Secretary and Treasurer
Hello, I’m trying to gather info on my moms uncle, Jack Wilson Seale. He was the pilot of the Winnie Dee. He was a captain and his plane was shot down over France in 1942 or 1943. Would love any info on him and any place to search for info. Thanks for the help. -Kyle
41-18150 “Winnie Dee” 449th Bomb Squadron, 322nd Bomb Group was transferred on arrival in England to the 452nd Bomb Squadron, 322nd Bomb Group where it served in combat until November 1943 when it was transferred as War Weary to the 3rd CCRC at Toome in Northern Ireland. Here it served as a training plane until April 10th 1944 when it crashed in the Mourne Mountains killing all its crew.
If anybody has a close-up picture of “Winnie Dee”, please scan and email us a copy.
Jack Seale transferred from the 322nd Bomb Group early 1944 to the 495th Bomb Squadron 344th Bomb Group. On May 28th 1944 he and his crew were shot down by flak in B-26 42-95858 Y5-U while on the bomb run. Hit in the right engine the B-26 nosed up, drifted off to the right and was lost from sight, eventually crashing.
The crew were:
Capt Jack W Seale, 1.Lt’s Clyttis A Forrester; Robert P Gilmore; Eugene D Moffett; T/Sgt’s William H Slaton; Marshall Young; S/Sgt Frederick B Cessna. Seale, Forrester; Gilmore were killed; Moffett died of wounds, rest of crew became prisoners of war.
Trevor J Allen
Marauderman’s Name: William D. Jamieson, Jr., pilot
Bomb Group: 17th
Bomb Squadron: 95th
Years in service: 1942-1953
Graduation Class: 42-J (BT)
Class Location: ?
Comments: Seeking information on plane name, tail number, crew members, on November 2, 1943, originating airfield, on mission to Civitavecchia Docks, Italy. Received the DFC for the November 2, 1943 mission. His Army Air Corps monthly “Individual Flight Records” for his combat flights show his group and squadron, the dates that he flew as pilot or copilot, mission symbol (C, A or T), the plane type–B-26B or B-26C, the number of landings per day, usually one or two, pilot time by aircraft type–always bomber, and Remarks, all labeled “secret”, and station: APO #520. I will need to photocopy them in order to improve the legibility so that they will scan more clearly. That will take some time during the week, since this is also tax week for my clients. On these forms there is no aircraft number or crew information.
He flew 40 combat missions, 211 combat hours, during his Med deployment from May 1943 to February 1944. He was in BT class 42-J.
The 95th had battle numbers 50-74. The 17th was stationed at Djedieda, Tunisia on Nov 2, 1943. Djedieda was about 20 miles west of Tunis. Our missions were usually one per day. When he came overseas he might have been stationed at Telergma, Algeria and then moved to Sedrata, Algeria and then to Djedeida, Tunisia. This does not answer your questions but might be of help. I was one of the original flight crew members of the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Group. -Ronald Macklin
To All my father’s friends,
I have the sad duty to inform you all that my father, Dick Ainsworth, passed away Saturday morning, April 10th, after a two month long battle from complications from a bout of pneumonia. He passed away peacefully and in no pain. I know he had many friends and will be missed.
As per his wishes there will be no formal funeral. He will be cremated and his ashes will be spread over the ocean waters around Catalina Island, where he had so many fun times. I think he would like that. So please remember him fondly in your own way.
I’m sure he would say Love to You All and thanks for your friendships over the years.
Richard L. Ainsworth
Eulogy for Lee Lipkis
Lee was born in Salt Lake City in 1916 to Russian immigrant parents, Abram Lipkis and Mary Altschuler. The family, including brothers Morey and Bob, moved to Los Angeles in 1928 and Lee attended John Burroughs Junior High and LA High, where he met his best friend, Leonard Chernoff, who’s here with us today… Lee played Varsity C Basketball and water polo and spent long summer days on the beach with his brothers and Len. Lee graduated as a Bruin, then attended the Southern California College of Optometry.
Although he was a pacifist, when the U.S. entered World War II, he was trained as an officer and became a US Air Force Captain. He was deployed to the 451st Bomber Squadron out of Braintree, Essex in England and produced one of his proudest accomplishments – his famous yellow Bomber Squadron book. Raise your hand if you’ve been walked through this book by Lee…
After the war, he married his sweetheart, Joyce David and opened a private optometric practice in Leimert Park. Lee developed a special knack for diagnosing unusual visual problems that may have plagued his patients for years and for helping patients rehabilitate damaged brain function through different therapies. But he was an equal opportunity optometrist, delighting in fitting contact lenses on dogs – and kangaroos at the LA Zoo.
Although not a religious man, Lee loved people and community, and he helped build the B’nai Israel Synagogue in South Los Angeles. He volunteered his optometric services for the Venice Family Clinic and formed a mutual aid group for Optometrists to keep each other’s clinics open during personal emergencies. He served on the boards of B’nai Israel and the Southern California College of Optometry and – his great cause – on the board of TreePeople from its founding until his death.
Lee enjoyed playing and watching tennis and was an early investor in the Lakers – and a major Bruins and Lakers fan.
He joined his sons in their professional interests and hobbies — basketball, whale watching, and sea kayaking. He teamed with Roger to start a mobile optometric clinic that served patients in long-term rehabilitation clinics and youth probation camps, and he delighted in the talents and accomplishments of his grandkids – Phoebe, Kira, Alex, Henry, Sienna and Skye.
Lee enjoyed cheap wine and expensive single malt Scotch…
But most of all, he enjoyed people. When he gave up driving at 88, he didn’t even skip a beat. He learned every Big Blue Bus route by heart and bussed it to all his meetings, appointments and engagements – dinner and the theatre with a bunch of longtime friends – mostly women I might add — Grand Rounds every week at the Jules Stein Eye Clinic at UCLA, the Brandeis Men’s Breakfast Club, and monthly gatherings with his high school friends. You name it, and he’d be there.
At the end, Lee showed courage. Not wanting to falter, not even wanting to use a walker, he suffered through his strokes and exited as quickly as he could, after everyone had said their last goodbyes. The last stanza of this poem, Courage, by Anne Sexton, appeals to our sense of the man:
When you face old age and its natural conclusion
When you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will […] be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
You’ll put on your carpet slippers
And stride out.
Marauderman’s Name: Ramsay J. Toon “Patrick”
Bomb Group: 387th
Bomb Squadron: 559th
Years in service: 1943
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: Primary La Junta, CO, advanced SQ14 Pecos, TX
Comments: My uncle 1st Lt Ramsay J. Toon “Patrick” was killed on Oct 1, 1943 while flying a B-26 in England. His squadron patch from his flight jacket is from the 387th Group/559th Squadron. I also found a “9 House/Hot Garters” 41-31698 in the 559th Squadron which was his plane. 41-31687 KS-N “9 Nina with the Ruby T’s” was transferred to the 559th BS when Capt Don Scott was made CO on 22 Sept 1943. She was recoded TQ-Y. On 1 Oct 1943 “9 Nina” crashed killing Don Scott, Ramsay J. Toon and the engineer (name unknown). Details of her missions are with the 557ths BS lists.
The plane he was killed in however was a different serial number and he is not listed as the first pilot. Don E. Scott was listed as piloting B-26 41-31687 on Oct 1, 1943. Wondering if he could have flown co-pilot for Scott in an aircraft not his own. The mission was listed as “Test Flight”.
Capt Don E. Scott was the pilot and Uncle Ramsay was the co-pilot with a flight engineer aboard as well (name unknown thus far). Don Scott was a well liked Squadron commander of the 557th Sq. He was shifted over to the 559th SQ quite reluctantly by the 557th. Don had only been with the 559th a short time before this crash. It appears that this should have been a simple test flight after repairs that turned out horribly wrong. The fact that Scott was flying this test flight at all would lead one to believe that no problems were expected. Or that the plane had some malfunctions not trusted to junior pilots. It sounds like our Uncle was handy that day and opted to fly co-pilot for Scott. Scott was a well respected pilot himself. Turns out that Don Scott was a former all-American quarterback at Ohio State University. He was a two-time, first-team All-America selection and was called the most versatile back in college football because he was a brilliant passer, blocker, and ball carrier. His head coach, Francis Schmidt, later said, “I can’t remember a back as dangerous in so many departments of play.” Scott lettered for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team in 1938, 1939, and 1940. In 1938 he was a starting halfback. He became the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback as a junior in 1939 and led the team to the Big Ten Conference title. That year he received his first All-American selection. He returned as quarterback in his senior year and was again named as All American. Scott was ninth overall selection in the 1941 NFL Draft. He was selected by the Chicago Bears. Scott decided to volunteer to fight in the war in Europe. Scott had participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, sponsored by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, while at Ohio State. When he entered the United States Army Air Corps it was as a commissioned pilot. The University Trustees on November 1, 1943 named the OSU new airport Don Scott Field in his honor.
Brian Toon, CAPT USN (ret)
Brian, on October 1, 1943, Capt Donald F Scott, Sqdn. Commander was flying “Nina With The Ruby T’s” 41-31687 TQ-Y and crashed near Epping on training mission with the 559BS. 41-31687 TQ-Y was in service from 9/22/1943 to 10/1/1943 and flew eight missions. 1st Lt Ramsay J. Toon is listed on North Atlantic Wing Air Transport Command, Presque Isle, Maine, Operations Order No. 91, June 17, 1943 as Co-pilot. The pilot was 1st Lt. John F. Neyenhouse, Navigator/Bombardier 2nd Lt. Joseph A. Harroun, Engineer/Gunner Private Fred M. Boso, Radio Operator/Gunner T/Sgt. Steve Podlicka, Gunner S/Sgt Alfred P. Dalpino, and Passenger 2nd Lt. George W. Norris. -Trevor Allen, B26 historian
B26.COM – You have hit the jack-pot! I’m John F Neyenhouse Sr., 90 years old, 91 in a few months, and I flew 71 missions as a first pilot in a Martin B-26 Marauder in WW2. Graduated from Kelly Field, Class of 42 K, 13 Dec. 1942. I was transferred to MacDill Field, Tampa, Fla. Our crew was formed Dec 1942. Lt. Toon was our co-pilot. In June, 1942 we were dispatched to Ypsilanti (Detroit, Michigan) to pick up our brand new B26s. We were supposed to fly to the West Coast. We were told. However we received orders to fly to Savannah and then to fly to Goose Bay, Canada. From there to England. The Wing Commander got these orders piece meal as we went. We ended up in Chipping Ongar, Chelmsford, England, on the 22/23 of June 1942.
Lt. Toon was an outstanding pilot, who like everyone, wanted to get his own crew. I used to alternate missions with him so I could promote him as fast as possible.
Scott, the new Squadron Commander, wanted to check ride all newly designated candidates who were promoted to first pilot status. Scott told me to send Toon to operations, so he could ride with him, on a check ride.
We were eating lunch, when we heard this sound of a plane out of controlled and … that was it.
When I read your email I had the most chilling feeling you can imagine, even though it was 68 years ago!
I hope this helps.
I’m sorry I did not say of course, give my email to any Marauder Man or descendant perfectibility from the 559th and 387th but of course I am happy to talk with WW2 Marauder enthusiasts. I am always interested in talking to any one and everyone. The rule is I want them to tell me a few of their experiences or themselves
The Air Force was jealous of the Navy because it was told they ate better meals than we did.
When Pearl Harbor happened I was in my 2nd year of College. Students were exempt from the draft, until the end of the year. That little caper, by our friends from the rising sun, changed things dramatically. No more exceptions!
The government had a program where by you could go to Ground school at night and complete the flight Instructions week ends and Saturday and Sundays. As result I got my ticket…the first year of college. Now I had no desire to join the ground pounders, as a draftee.
The day after Pearl Harbor I hitched to Albany, NY 150 miles away and was sworn into the Air Force. There was a two stripper. Alone, trying to handle the paper work. There were about 50 of us. We were told to tell our draft boards that we were in the AF and that the paper work would follow. That was a big mistake. The chairman of the board told me that I was a draft dodger and he would, personally see to it that I would be drafted asap. Now he sounded serious enough to me, so I backed out of the room and of all things I said “thank you”. Next day I hiked to Albany and joined the Navy. Same thing. One person trying to handle every thing we were told to tell the board we were in the Navy…paper work to follow. No. No once is enough. Within less than a week I am on a bus this time, heading for Albany where I am to become a proud Army recruit, waiting for the call to report? Then it dawn on me. In three outfits at once. My only hope was the Navy or AF would come through first. And they did. Got a letter telling me to report to Pensacola, Florida Immediately! In the same mail got a letter from the af telling me to report to Kelly Field, immediately! The mail man was an old friend and he asked me “Well, Jack where you going?” I thought for one minute…solid Ground?…or bobbing, short and narrow landing area? Anyway I had gone through flight training and had flown 5/6 Missions when the Army finally caught up with me and in no uncertain words told me to report to Fort (?) something “Immediately!”. A word I came to hear quite often. I hung the notice up in my bunk area with a notice “catch me if you can”.
Ramsay Toon was a good man.
Looking for help for information on my grandfather.
Marauderman’s Name: James Ovens
Bomb Group: 344th bomb group
Bomb Squadron: 494 bombardment sq
Years in service: 1942 to 1945
Graduation Class: unknown
Class Location: unknown
I am looking for information on the plane and the crew he flew with. I don’t have a lot to go by. The info I do have came from his discharge paperwork. If anyone could help it would be great. If anyone had any photo’s of him and the crew would also be great.
Here is a little more info. He was born in Ware, mass and Died in NH in 1994. His wife is Mary (gains) Ovens.
Thank you everyone for your help
I will send pictures and more info later, but my Dad, Leroy Knight, was in the 17th Bomb Group, and he flew over Italy, France and Germany. He flew 60 missions, but lost a plane in his squadron on one of those missions. The picture of that loss is in the Air Force Museum here in Dayton, and my Dad has the original of it. He was a Bombardier Navigator. He loved reminiscing about those days, and loved airplanes. He built a Cubby two-seater after he retired. He passed away Aug 31 2004 from Parkinson’s Disease.
Cara (Knight) Duty
Left to Right: Lt. Joseph Albury (Pilot), Lt. William P. Padgett (Co-pilot), Lt. Edgar Hawthorne (Bombardier – Navigator) Sgt. Knight (Engineer – Gunner), Sgt. John F. Grippo (Radio Operator – Gunner), Sgt. James L. Calkins (Armorer – Gunner). 335th Bomb Group. 26 March 1944 – 1465. Barksdale Field, Louisiana.
Hi, can anyone tell me what kind of airplane this is [click here]? My father, Lt. Brunsman, is the pilot pictured on the far left. He is no longer alive. I believe it looks like a Martin Marauder.
Don Enlow and Trevor Allen say the plane is a Martin B-26.
I am trying to locate anyone who might have flown with or known Captain Theodore M Dorman 320th BG, 444 BS. He was lost on 4 August 1943 and is listed at the military cemetery in Tunisia. He flew “Miss Fortune” serial # 41-17959 but went missing in “Dinah Shore” serial # 41-18024. I am attempting to gather any information photos etc for his daughter who he never got to see. -Ken Badgley
I’m the son of Major Paul Stach, he was in the 323 RD-455th BS. Looking for any stories or pictures of that time. Any info of crew that served with him or was in his group. Thank you, Paul Stach Jr.
Hello, my father, Frank Hobbs, is pictured in the b-26 — 397th /598th group. He was the navigator and served as bombardier also. He passed away, January 22nd 1997 in Tulsa, Okla. What stories he told about the operations in the European theater. I have his squadron patches, dog tags, and the same pictures of he and his crew in from of the KRIEHNY’S KRADLE 2 — I would much appreciate if anyone knows him or served with him to contact me. His pilot was — think Bob Kreihn? I am not sure if he is still alive or not. The last I heard, he was living in Houston, TX. If any one has pictures of the “Krienhy Kradle”, please send them to me via email. I would love to scan, make decals and build this model in 48th scale. I have numerous black and white photos, some actual returning bomb runs – mid flight. I would like to share with the vets or their kids.
Frank Hobbs II
I have several photographs of my father, and of the B-26s which they flew on non-standard assignments. My father was USN Photographers Mate 1st Class Don Leroy Lyons. They spent half the war in Central America, and the other half in Greenland. In Central America, they flew “mapping” missions (I’ve got one of his photos of the volcano near the Guatemala City airport – I recognized it the first time I flew in there). In Greenland , one of their photo missions turned up a hidden German submarine resupply depot in a remote fjord (50-gallon drums of diesel fuel, and a small pier/dock to roll the drums to the submarine)…they went back, took their time, and blew it up. I’ll send you photocopies. I’d love to create a dedication page – my father was a Sears executive who died in a hunting accident in 1955, when I had just turned seven. His younger brother, USN Radioman Frances E. Lyons, DE Joseph Campbell, kept my father’s memory alive until his recent passing.
Daniel E. Lyons
I am trying to find out information about my Grandfather. I was told he was a Navigator/bombardier on a B26 named “Skeeter”. But was shot down on another plane where he was filling in as a Tail gunner. I’m attach his obituary this is all the info I have Please help. Thanks, Joe Scroggins
Glenn Everett Bennett
Chief Warrant Officer Glenn E. Bennett, U.S. Army Retired, passed away from natural causes in Nashville Tennessee On March 3, 2010 at the age of 86. He was born in Sterling, Kansas on June 9, 1923. He is survived by his four children, Marilyn Bennett of Napa, Phyllis Roediger of Cool, Everett Bennett of Ukiah and Brice Bennett of Brentwood, Tn. Grandchildren; Robert Bennett, Joe Scroggins, Sandi Thomasson, Jason Scroggins, Israel Bennett, Sherri Bennett, Benjamin Bennett and Brian Bennett. 17 great grandchildren and two great-great granddaughters.
Glenn graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1940. During World War II he was a navigator/bombardier in the 319th Bomb Group flying the B-26 Marauder. He was shot down over Anzio, Italy on February 12th, 1943 and spent 16 months as a prisoner of war in northern Germany. Glen escaped and made it back to U.S. lines. He was awarded the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal and numerous other awards and citations. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer O2. He was a California Highway Patrol officer for 9 years and joined the 309th M.P. Company at Presidio, San Francisco as a criminal investigator during the Vietnam war.
He retired from the State of California as a Correctional Sergeant working at San Quentin, Soledad and Jamestown Correctional Camp.
He married Betty Louise Rucker, his high school sweetheart immediately upon his return from WWII in 1946. They enjoyed 35 years of marriage until her death in 1981. He retired to Arkansas and most recently resided in Franklin, Tennessee. He loved to fish, duck hunt, bowl and attend baseball games.
He will be buried in the family plot at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.
Military honors will be administered graveside on Friday, March 19th at 12:00 noon.
I believe I have some information on your father.
I believe the year of your father’s B-26 loss is incorrect in the obituary. During February 1943 the 17th BG were conducting their first missions such as sea sweeps in the Mediterranean area. Additionally, the 319th BG flew no missions on that date due to bad weather. However, the Anzio landings took place at the end of January 1944 and a 319th BG B-26 was lost on the 12 February 1944; ‘On 12 February the 319th BG on their return flight from Naples attacked a road junction near Anzio. The flak was again heavy and when breaking away from the target one of the 439th BS Marauders was hit and exploded, namely B-26 s/n 41-18278 flown by 2/Lt. Thomas A. Holland.’ from my book B-26 Marauder Units of the MTO published by Osprey. As such I believe the plane you father was shot down in was B-26 s/n 41-18278. The Missing Air Crew Report for this loss is MACR 2473 and would list the crew members of the plane. If you wish to obtain a copy of this MACR details of how to do so can be found here.
Also, I happen to have done an illustration of your father’s B-26 ‘Skeeter’ namely ‘B-26B-10-MA 41-8326 No.52 ‘Skeeter’ flown by Lt. Clarice A. Randall of the 439th BS, 319th BG’ that can be seen here.
Skeeter was shot down on 21 January 1944 while flown by Lt. Clarice A. Randall. I have attached a photo of the plane for you showing her Crew Chief T/Sgt Earl E. Holtorf. I can send you a better version of this photo if you wish.
Looking at b26.com, I note you cite the Marauder structure as 450,000 “veterans.” I question the number and the word “veterans.” Earlier, I had come up with an estimated audience of 250,000 to 300,000. That was U.S. and foreign and had an upward non military fudge factor. You say that one-quarter of the 450,000 is aircrew — that is about 125,000 minus. We had some 5200 B-26s. A typical combat aircrew was six — sometimes more — but, in non-combat, much less, e.g. in training, tow target, etc. only 2-4. I would use a rotating factor of three crews per airframe with an average crew strength of four = 3 x 4 x 5200 = 62,400. Using an average crew of 5 the number would be 78,000.
How did you arrive at your figures?
John, I would question the figures in as much that the 5200 B-26’s you quote were not all combat aircraft. Almost 50 percent were used in the training programme Stateside. Now although these would have roughly split, and I just cannot extrapolate the numbers. You must remember that these planes were used for training crews basically for the combat groups. So in fact if we use these men we are counting the combat crews twice. Once for training and twice for combat. The training crews were basically the instructor pilots and a lesser number of training navigators. Therefore if you take 2600 combat crews and use your figures 3 crews rotation per aeroplane times an average of 6 this would give us 46,800 combat plus 2600 training times 2 giving an additional 5200 we get a total of 52,000. Then add the factor that of the 2600 combat B-26’s the numbers used by the RAF, SAAF and FFAF would also incorporate a number of training ships. This is one hell of a conundrum and the figures, unless taken from official records, will always be a guesstimate. Perhaps someone else could research the records and contribute to the site. -Trevor Allen
Lambert Deforest Austin, affectionately known as “Pawpaw” to his loving family, passed away on the 10th of March 2010. He was born in Steubenville, New York on the 31st of December 1921 to Homer Austin and Katherine Fay Austin. After graduation from high school in New York, he joined the Army Air Force and served in World War II, completing 65 missions over
Nazi-occupied Europe in the B-26 Martin Marauder with the 344th Bomb Group, earning two Purple Hearts.
Lambert is predeceased by his brother, William Austin; sister, Mary Katherine Palmer; son, Glenn M. Austin Sr. and daughter, Phyllis M. Austin. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Eva Marie David Austin; son, Lambert D. Austin, Jr. and wife Faith; daughter, Daphne Austin Dyer and husband Charles; 10 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until six o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 15th of March, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Berring Drive in Houston, where the recitation of the Holy Rosary will commence at six.
A Funeral Mass is to be conducted at half-past ten o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 16th of March, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 1801 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rev. Phil “Skip” Negley, is to celebrate.
At a later date, the family is to gather for a private committal at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.
In lieu of usual remembrances, contributions in memory of Mr. Austin may be directed to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, 5005 Mitchelldale, Suite 115, Houston, TX 77092-7230.
My brother, Stanley F. Scott, passed away on 22 Feb 2010. I do not recall his squadron. However, he flew 76 missions, most of them as command pilot of “Hard Luck” in the 386th. Bomb Group. I would be happy to correspond with any reader regarding my brother Stan.
John S. Scott
John, I did not know Lt. Stanley Scott but we were in the 553rd Squadron, which was part of the 386 Group Bomb. Before Scott came on, I was a tail-gunner and I was grounded before he joined the Group. There were about 60,000 persons in 386th group.
Check out Chester Paul Klier’s page, he is the 386ths BG Historian. Formation Diagrams; Mission No. 173, 176, 181, 185, 198, 241 which show Scott with “Hard Luck”. Mission 253 Scott flew plane “Spare Parts”. Mission No. 204 will have AN O without a name; No. 185 in “Miss Mary”. Mel Giles was the pilot of “Miss Mary” and I was Lt. Giles’ first tail gunner.
I am sorry I cannot give more than the information from Chester Klier’s 386th history. Chester flew in the 552nd Squadron. Check out my copy of the 386ths history book.
Ivan J. Breaux
386th Bomb Group, 553Squadon
This is a picture of my dad Theron (T.G.) Blackwell, 387th Bomb Group , 559th Bomb Squadron, he is the third man from the left. I think his copilot, not sure that was his position, was named Hand, he is the first person on the left. Feel free to put this picture on you web page.
My dad was flying Booger Red II on Dec 23, 1944.
I would like to get in touch with Alan Crouchman, if you can help me do that it will be appreciated.
My Dad, William B. Lloyd, was a Navigator during the War in the Pacific. I think the following is accurate:
He was in the 22nd Bomb Group, 5th Air Force
He flew on the B-26 Marauder
He was originally based out of Barksdale Field, LA
I believe he was in Australia and also in New Guinea at some point.
I have pictures of him and his crew and also 2 of the planes with numbers on them. If anyone has any knowledge of my father, or can direct me further, I would appreciate knowing more.
I have tried to look him up by name and have been unsuccessful.
There were four Bomb Squadrons in the 22nd Bomb Group, 2nd, 33rd, 22nd, & 408th. If you could find out which one William B Lloyd was in, it might help in your search. My dad was in the 22nd, he was in the ground crews. There is a lot of information out there on aircrews but not to much on the ground guys. Here are some site for you to look on.
This is a history of the 22nd bomb group and is interesting reading [here].
redraiders22bg.com is a very good site with lots of information on it. Unfortunately the guestbook was hit by spammers and they had to shut it down. Look at it anyway. I found an e-mail on it in the guest book section that was still active. It was by the daughter of a guy that served with my father. She had done a lot of genealogy on her dad and was able to point me in the right direction. Here is a list of all the plane #’s in the 22nd. may be of some help.
Its also on the site that was shut down. Poke around the site, there may be something there for you.
I wish you luck with your search.
Eric Fuller (son of MSgt Raymond D. Fuller)
9th & 15th Air Forces BG Question
Do you have any knowledge whether the crews of the B-26 groups were awarded some type of certificate on completion of a complete tour? They had different titles such as “Lucky Bastard Club” or “Certificate of Valor”. I’m doing research for a book.
Eighth Air Force Second Generation.
Marauderman’s Name: Stanley U. Guistwite “Gus”
Bomb Group: 386th
Bomb Squadron: 553
Years in service: 386th 553 – 1943 – 1945, 51st medical battalion 1941 – 1942
Comments: I’m sad to report that my Father Captain Stanley U Guistwite passed away on Thursday March 4, 2010. Dad was 91 and lived a full adventurous life with no regrets. He will be sadly missed by his four daughters and one son.
Dinah Might – 41-31576, shot down 18 November 1944 – POW
Je cherche des informations sur André Martin navigateur français, et Grand Père maternelle de mes enfants ; Qui a été engagé dans les forces Américaines en Afrique du Nord et fait la campagne d’Italie comme navigateur sur B26.
Merci de me donner des informations.
I am looking for information on Andrew Martin French navigator, and maternal grandfather of my children who has been involved in American forces in North Africa and made the Italian campaign as a navigator on B26.
Thank you for giving me information.
My father, Harold Attwood (now 84 years old) was with the SAAF in Egypt and then in Italy; he joined up when he was 16 years old in 1942. He was with SAAF 3 Wing. I will get all the relevant information from him and e-mail it.
Name: Capt. James Norman Bryan
Years: 43- 4 Feb 1944
Nose Art: Utah Gamecock
Frame No. 41-34742
Comments: I am doing genealogical research for my sister-in-law on her uncle James Bryan, who was killed over France 4 Feb 1944, and would like to know if anyone remembers him or his aircraft. Here is what I have; (Newspaper article) Medium Bomber Base, England – Captain James N. Bryan, 1103 Denver Street, Salt Lake City, pilot of the Marauder, “Utah Game Cock,” has been awarded the distinguished flying cross in recognition of his 25 combat missions over enemy-occupied continental Europe, according to a headquarters announcement. Captain Bryan is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Howe B. Bryan. Before enlisting in the army air force January 9, 1942 he attended the University of Utah. He was graduated from flight school at Roswell, N.M. in July, and was assigned to this Marauder group command. Captain Bryan has been in England since early last summer. “The toughest raid I’ve been on was Merville, France,” he said.” The Jerries were throwing up a barrage of flak that bounced our ship around like a leaf in a windstorm. We were lucky to get out of there without a direct hit.”
In addition to the distinguished flying cross, Captain Bryan holds the air medal and three oak leaf clusters. The citation accompanying his latest award said: “Captain Bryan’s coolness under fire as a pilot and his technical skill materially have aided in the successful completion of these 25 missions.”
Capt. James Norman Bryan’s Army Serial number was xxxxx712. I later found that he may have been in another aircraft when he was shot down, frame number 41-34721 (YU-F). I am still searching and nothing is for sure. He is buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cem. in St Louis MO along with all the crew in a common grave. The other B-26 was named “Utah Game Cock” and was frame number 41-34742 and also had the code YU-F. Very confusing to say the least.
The other frame numbers refer to a group of 49, B-26’s that were originally manufactured with a one pilot configuration one of which was frame number 41-34742, which James N Bryan did fly at one time or the other, they were later changed back to pilot and co pilot configuration.
One grave stone with all the crew names on it.
James N Bryan CAPT
Salvatore E Echo 1st LT
John A Holton S SGT
William J Hook 1st LT
William F McClaren T SGT
Silveo J Tulipane S SGT
Charles L Whyte CAPT
February 5, 1944
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
St. Louis County
Plot: SECTION 84 SITE 135-137
323rd Bombardment Group – 455th Bombardment Squadron 41-34742 YU-F B-26C 5 MO
41-34689 to 41-34693
41-34702 to 41-34742
41-34777 to 41-34787
In early 1943, the AAF ordered a weight reduction test program aimed at improving landing and takeoff performance. Omaha-built B-26C-5-MOs to be assigned to the England-bound 323rd Bombardment Group, were substantially lightened by removing the co-pilot’s seat. Control column and armor plating, along with other equipment including the liaison radio set.
Two 323rd squadrons flew some combat missions with this configuration, but commanders objected so vehemently to the loss of the co-pilot position that the experiment was abandoned. All of these single pilot aircraft were eventually converted back to a the standard two-pilot configuration.
USAAF serial number S/N: 41-34742 Martin B-26C-5-MO Marauder
1941034742, 41-34742 Martin B-26C-5-MO Marauder, Unit: Converted Fate:, Remarks: 323BG, 455BS White Tails Code: YU-F Name: Utah Gamecock James N. Gryan, Disposal:
Larry, the 323rd was the only B26 Group to go into action with the B26C-6-M0 single control equipped planes. Most either been lost or relegated to other duties by the turn of 1943/1944. These planes were never converted back to dual control. The 323rd was re-equipped with later models with dual control, but several group pilots continued to fly these planes without a copilot. They accepted the single control ships without question and became used to flying missions with this format.
5th February 1944 Capt James N Bryan and crew were flying in 41-31884 YU-H, a dual control ship, when they received a direct flak strike which blew off the wing. The plane then burst into flames and subsequently crashed. The day the crew was shot down James Bryan was flying without a copilot. He in fact was flying box lead with two navigators, one bombardier and three gunners. On such an important task Capt Bryan was confident enough to fly without a copilot.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
Lt. Frank Evans, 397th BG, 597th BS, KIA May 13, 1944. Any more info? He is in the picture with Col. Wood and crew, but that is not on the web. He was my father’s navigator and good friend, along with Joe Coleman, the bombardier. My dad and his crew were assigned to Col. Frank Wood, Squadron CO. Frank Evans was killed on May 13, 1944 by flak which decapitated him as he rode up front with the bombardier to watch the bomb run. I am not sure if my dad had been assigned another crew and aircraft by that time or if he was still flying co-pilot to Col. Wood. The plane crash landed in England.
Son of Andy Anderson
Marauderman’s Name: 1 LT Sidney W. Peterson
Bomb Group: 344
Years in service: 42-44
Comments: Hello, we are looking for information pertaining to our uncle, Sidney W. Peterson who served with the US Army from February, 1942 until he was shot down in 1944. We have very little information; however, we have been told that he was on his last flight and flew a Marauder, 42-95913. Again, we have very little information as to what the actual events were, when he went down, etc. We do have some photographs to send to you of Sidney and the plane. We would appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you in advance.
Michael, the following information may help your search:
Missing aircrew report 5144
Date 24th May 1944
The crew that day were:
1.Lt Sidney W Peterson; 2/Lt’s Harry Harvey; Buck Wilson; T/Sgt Clyde S Maddox; S/Sgt’s Calvin E Davis; Earl R Trayer.
The B-26 received a direct flak hit while on the bomb run. The B-26 went into a shallow dive with the left engine on fire, then into a dive to crash and burn on the ground. The explosion killed Lt Peterson instantly and wounded the copilot Lt Wilson. The bail out bell was rung, but apparently none of the enlisted men survived. Lt’s Wilson and Harvey were captured and remained POW’s for the rest of hostilities.
Trevor Allen historian b26.com
Hello, my father is Charles F. Anderson, 394th/585th, who served in WWII on a B-26 Marauder. He passed away in December and in his memory I wanted to add his information to your website. I have attached information related to his service. Let me know if you have any questions. He enjoyed looking the b26 site when I brought it to his attention a year ago. Unfortunately, we never got around to getting this information to you while he was alive but as I told my mom, we can still do it in his memory and I am sure he would like that still as he watches over us. Thanks, Alan
Can anyone identify the taller man on the left in this picture of Peasapis? I think the photo was taken about AUG1944.
Thanks, Jerry Edge
I have noticed a lot of interest in the 452nd squadron’s Old Vet on the site lately. I thought this a good time to request a dedication page for my father T/Sgt Charles Leja. Attached are the following photos
TSgt Charles Leja – A photo of Charles in uniform. Note the silver Oak Leaf cluster between 2 bronze Oak Leaf clusters on the Air Medal ribbon.
Crew Photo – the members of the crew are unknown to me but Charles is in the middle of the back row.
Old Vet 110 missions – Charles to the left, don’t know the identity of the person to the right. Note 3 black bombs to indicate night missions.
Old Vet Starboard side – Note paint wear and a good view of the nose art. Believe this to be taken at the same time as the previous photo.
Here is what I know of my dad’s service: Shipped out on Nov 24 1942 with the rest of the ground crew of the 322nd Bomb Group. As far as I know he was always in the 452nd Bomb Squadron (I have searched other Unit Histories and saw no mention of him.)
Radio Operator and Waist Gunner. He finished Radio School just 10 days before shipping out.
His first mission was July 17, 1943. This was the first mission for the 452nd after the Ijmuiden mission. He flew as radio operator for 2nd Lt J.P. Ryan in the “Tondelayo” (DR-T 41-17995 B26-4-MA).. This was a diversionary flight to the coast of France.
In Aug 1944 returned to ETO from leave in the USA in time to replace Bob Chapman as radio operator on Bob Beeson’s crew where he met and became friends with Bob Schlotterbeck (the Toggelier on the crew). I keep in touch with Bob and am friends with him as well.
Two other planes he was associated with are the “Old Vet” and “Peasapis”.
Awarded the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf clusters and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Please also forward my email address to Julie Misa, who recently posted some Old Vet photos. If she has questions I would be happy to put her in touch with Bob Slotterbeck.
Charles K. Leja
My uncle Andrew “Andy” P. Bonnicksen flew almost 50 missions in WWII in a B26 named for Loretta Young, she signed the plane [select here for more information]. Andy became my stepfather after my father died. He was not only a hero to me but a truly good man who served his country with courage. I have his medals, newspaper articles, flight log of most of his missions, personal movies, etc. I need advice on how, or with what organization, to protect and take of his things.
My uncle, Phillip D Himmel, 386 BG/553 BS [Chester Klier, 386ths Historian], was a B-26 Bombardier in the ETO. In reviewing his diary he speaks of flying “ski sight” missions into France between December 21 – 24, 1943. One sortie was to Abbeville, and 3 others to unknown locations in France. I have scoured the B-26 web site for reference to this “ski sight” mission and can find nothing. Can you help?
Cheers! Rich Himmel
A Ski Site [ski sight] was a V-1 pilotless flying bomb site used by the Germans to bomb London and the southern counties of England and got their name from the long slim launching ramps. These began arriving just after D-Day. However, the sites were constantly attacked by both the USAAF and RAF from January 1944. These sites were heavily defended by flak defenses and were difficult targets to hit due to their small installations. These sites were also called Noballs, and don’t ask me why.
I think I may have connected a few dots pertaining to Julie Misa’s recent post in the 2010 guest book, which included photos of the B-26 “The Old Vet”. Thanks to Julie for posting those wonderful pics that she picked up at an antique store! The aircraft depicted may very well be “The Old Vet” from the 322nd Bomb Group, 452nd Bomb Squadron.
I found two previous guestbook entries seeking information about “The Old Vet” crewmembers, one in 1999, the other in 2001. Since, as Julie notes, Lt. Cookson’s name is listed on the back of the photo, and the 1999 post requested info about Frank Cookson, we may have connected some dots…
Here is the text from the 1999 guestbook entry:
Neat site! My grandfather, Frank Cookson, was a pilot in the 9th Air Force, 322nd BG, 452nd Squadron. He flew 66 combat missions, including the Old Vet and Homesick (its last mission for which he earned the DFC). If anybody has any information associated with my grandfather. BTW, Frank Cookson.
Here is the 2001 guestbook entry from Wayne T. Dupre seeking information on his grandfather, Wayne Dupre, who also crewed “The Old Vet.” Here is the text from that post:
Wayne T. Dupre BombGp: 322 Squadron: 452 Years: 1944-1945 My grandfather (Wayne Dupre) was a pilot of a B-26 called the Old Vet during the last part of the war. I am looking for any information about him or his crew (322nd/452nd). He flew 55 missions from July 22.1944 – April 20,1945. Contact me at via e-mail.
… I hope this information turns out to be useful to the families of Frank Cookson and Wayne Dupre, and also to Julie Misa. My only direct connection to B-26s is a casual acquaintance with Bill Stuckey in the1980 when I was a friend of his daughter. I have a life-long passion for WW2 aviation and modeling, and I’ve recently acquired an intense interest in B-26s. The Internet makes research so much easier nowadays!
A little more searching revealed that “The Old Vet” was coded DR-P with serial number 41-31739. I may do a serial number search over the weekend and see what model she was. I suspect she’s an earlier model.
Hi Lee, “The Old Vet” was 41-31739 coded DR-P and was a B26B-20-MA.
B26B; B26F; B26G built at MA Martin Baltimore
B26C built at MA Martin Omaha
B26B-20 MA B26F-5 -MA B26G-1-MA etc built by Martin Baltimore
B26C-20-MO etc built by Martin Omaha
See attachment here
Through a post on your website our family came in contact with a French family who rescued my father, Bob Chapman, 322nd Bomb Group, “Pistol Packin Mama” after he was shot down in August of 1944 following a bombing mission over Brest France. The attached two photos were taken in front of Henri’s farm in Brest France. The top is my father in 1944 (sitting top left in the jeep) being rescued after being hidden by French farmers. The bottom is Robb Chapman, grandson of Bob Chapman who visited the same family at the end of 2009. That we were able to make connect with these folks through your website has been an amazing story and Robb was very moved that 200 people plus the local news media came out to greet a relative of the American flyer. Even though it’s 60 year later everyone there was thanking Robb for all his grandfather did. A very touching moment for our family and for all the brave pilots who risked their lives for a worthy cause. -Bob Chapman Jr.
Marauderman: John Rakolta
Bomb Group: 394th
Bomb Squadron: 587th
Years in Service: 1943 to 1946
Comments: TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED….Do you ever stop and think how a split second could change the course of your life? I have been working on a family history for my my children and relatives. A very critical portion includes my older brother John who was a bombardier-navigator on the B-26. On March 23, 1945 his plane was hit while on a mission near Hamburg, Germany.
As the plane was disabled the pilot gave the order to abandon, somehow the hatch door to the nose compartment was jammed and John could not force it open to escape. All the crew jumped out but the pilot remained and from descriptions given to me he was struggling with the controls to keep the plane from a total nose dive and in the mean time trying to reach over and dislodge the hatch. Down and down the plane spun down, Brother John frantically screaming and clawing at the hatch to the point all his finger tips nearly ripped off. How the hatch miraculously open, only God knows, and John and the pilot were able to jump. Seconds later, the plane disintegrated. Had it not been for that pilot, I tell my Brother’s Children they would not be in existence today and for me, who knows what my life would have ended up being. I think the pilot was 1st. Lt. Daniel Murphy and the last I heard from my brother before he passed away in 2003, he was living in Hawaii. I would like to locate him or any of his family if he has passed away. – George Rakolta
The aircraft in question was 44-67903 “Blackjack”. The Missing Air Crew report #14040 says it was a 586th BS Marauder, and the 394th BG history book says that the crew was from 587th BS. The mission was #241, target was Communications Center Ahaus, which is located 160 miles SW of Hamburg. The a/c was lost in the vicinity of Goor near the Dutch border in the Enschede area. Crewmembers on the mission were:
Pilot 1st Lt Harry W. Lane
Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Robert W. Phinney
Navigator F/O John Rakolta
Gee-Navigator 1st Lt. Ward K. Zell
Bombardier 1st Lt. Daniel B. Murphy
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. James W. Cox
Radio-Gunner Sgt. Bruce E. Riddle
Tail Gunner S/Sgt. Louis J. Jeffrey
Regarding Daniel B. Murphy; a search in the Registry of National WWII Memorial will give more information.
Alf Egil Johannessen
Regarding the Ray A. Rieman post below I have attached two files: the monthly history reports for the 596th BS as recorded on microfilm at the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA), and a summary of Mr. Rieman’s missions as recorded on Loading Lists, also from AFHRA. As a caveat, some of the data from the original microfilm is particularly difficult to read, so both documents have potential errors, but have been checked extensively.
Don Hoch — father was Sterling Hoch, pilot in the 596th BS
In Loving Memory
Frederick W. Mitchell Jr.
4/11/1920 – 1/1/2010
Mitchell, Frederick W., Jr., 89, passed away at Canon City, CO, January 1, 2010. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Crystal; son, David; and brothers, Robert D. Mitchell and Merle Eugene Mitchell. Survivors include brother, Max Mitchell of Wichita; daughter, Cynthia Mitchell of Pagosa Springs, CO; sons, Michael Mitchell of Wichita and Gary Mitchell of Lyons, CO; and grandson, Nathan Mitchell of Phoenix, AZ. Mr. Mitchell was a veteran of WWII, during which he served as a B-26 pilot in the ETO earning the six cluster air medal for completion of 40 combat missions. Following his military service, he was employed by the Boeing Airplane Co. of Wichita. “Fred” was a man who felt he could do anything to which he put his mind, always with an eye toward the sky. Fred was as honest as the day is long and his integrity was something we looked up to and aspired to obtain. He was truly a member of the “greatest generation” that saved the world from those that would enslave us all.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
May Fred be Requiescant in pace.
Sent by a Marauder Man – Washington’s Farewell Address 1796
Appeal to honour ‘forgotten’ war hero [link to news story]
By Karen Bate
An appeal is being launched by The Friends of New Forest Airfields to honour the memory of a forgotten hero of the Second World War.
The organization is hoping to dedicate a public memorial to Capt Darrell R Lindsey who won a posthumous Medal of Honour, the United States’ highest award for bravery after flying from RAF Holmsley in the summer of 1944.
The US airman led a formation of B-26 Marauder aircraft on a mission from their base at Holmsley South Aerodrome on August 9 1944, staying at the controls of his burning bomber to complete the attack and to allow his crew to escape, sacrificing his own life.
This plaque will be the first memorial honouring an individual at any of the airfield sites and is due to dedicated on May 31, US Memorial Day and it is hoped guests from the US will be present.
But in order to help fund a suitable plaque, the Friends are appealing for help from the local community.
John Levesley from the Friends said: “This is a very important appeal for us. We want a plaque that will do justice to the memory of Capt Lindsey, especially considering the significance of his actions.
“It is only right that his sacrifice is honoured correctly.”
The cost is expected to be nearly £400 with additional funds being divided between the charity and the Help for Heroes appeal.
Donations can be made to the Friends of the New Forest Airfields and sent to the treasurer at Merryfield Park, Derritt Lane, Bransgore, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 8AU.
Hello, I am sending along two photos I purchased today at a local antique store. The first is inscribed on the back “The flight crew of ‘The Old Vet’ Eng 1943”. The names of the crew are also written as follows: BACK ROW L – R Sgt. Nelson, Capt. Barrett, Lt. Cookson, Sgt. Bomanosfel (?); FRONT ROW Sgt. Galloway, Lt. Mendelhamm (?) – the third person in the front row is not identified. The writing is a bit difficult to read but I’d be glad to scan it and send if needed. The second photo provides a nice shot of the nose art on the Old Vet and is inscribed “Sommerlad France 1944” on the back. This certainly appears to be a base, but I cannot find information on it. At any rate I am glad that there is a place to share these photos with people who are interested and might know something about this plane, these people, or this base. Though I don’t have a direct connection to anyone who served on a B-26, my father Charles Zwiener (SSGT), was a Radio Operator on a B-17 with the 8th AAF 305 BG/364 BS, I have nothing but admiration for those who followed the call and served our country.
I would like to know more about the men in this picture. Thank you, Sharon Earnest
L-R: 1st Lt. Donald Vernon Leslie*, 1st Lt. Merle C. Mays*, 1st Lt. Joe Herbert, S/Sgt. Aldon V. Dancak*, S/Sgt. Hermon Corley, S/Sgt Wayne S. Netherland*. *Shot down 17 Dec 1944 along with S/Sgt. Preston J. Firl, S/Sgt. George L. Van Curen. Three men died in the crash and three were taken prisoner.
Letter from S/Sgt. Aldon V. Dancak to Trevor Allen, March 31, 1981. Additional Information: On February 11 1944, flying B-26C 41-35056, 336BG 479BS, Mr. Leslie suffered engine failure and had to forceland 1.5 miles E of Atkins, LA.
Marauder Man: Paul O. Johnson
Bomb Group: 323rd
Bomb Squadron: 453rd
Dear Veterans, I am looking for nose art photos of the B-26B-25-MA ” Red Dog II “. The serial number is 41-31818 with the call letters VT-C, and she flew with the 453rd. My friend Paul is the nephew of Tech. Sgt. Paul O. Johnson. He was KIA along with the rest of his crew on “Red Dog II” after taking heavy flack on the Dieppe Port mission of 20 May 1944. I am currently building a 1/48th scale replica of their Marauder for my friend, and would like to have the correct nose art for their B-26. I also have many question about the interior of the B-26 and any information would be appreciated.
1. Does the fixed 50 cal. on the lower starboard side of the nose use a catch bag for the spent shells?
2. Where is the location for the bomb loading chart?
3. Is there a drift meter and compass in the nose for the bombardier/navigator and if there is, were is the location?
4. How does the drift meter work? Is there a tube that connects from the drift meter to the bottom of the fuselage to find a point on the ground?
5. Are drafting type triangles part of the equipment used for dead reckoning navigation?
6. Do the 50 cal. ammo belts for the waist guns all ways enter on the right side of the guns?
7. Are the charge handles of the 50 cal. machine gun all ways on the right side?
8. How did the waist gunner fire his guns? Did he lay down, kneel or both to operate his guns?
9. Is the tail gunner a kneeling type position like that of a B-17 tail gunner, or does he sit up right ?
10. Do the tail guns operate on a hydraulic or a electric system?
Thank you for your time.
Hello! My Name is Ingmar Kemper from Stadtlohn in Germany! I’m a student of the university in Münster and I’m planning to write my last work (in order to get the academic grade of “Master”) in the subject history about the end of world war II in my hometown.
I’m actually searching information about the bombing of my home town Stadtlohn (between 21 march and 23 march 1945) and I hope that you might have some information about that?! Maybe there are some “war diaries” or pictures about that bombing run, or some other kinds of information like those on your homepage!
I’d be glad to hear something about you !
Greetings from Germany
I am doing research on my grand uncle, Patsy Siano, who served as a S Sgt waist gunner in the 397th BG/ 599th BS. Unfortunately, I was never able to meet him as he was lost in a mission over occupied France. This incident took place on 8/03/1944 over occupied France NE of Courtalain. His ship was involved in a collision with another member of their formation (#42-96169). His marauder went into a spin and did not recover. The serial # of his ship was 42-96168 with the fuselage code 6B-P. I a copy of the MACR #7870.
I have run into a dead end at this point, and was hoping that perhaps someone could provide more information regarding my grand uncle, and this incident. My grandfather has a shared a disturbing story regarding his brother’s demise, and I’m trying to confirm it. According to him, several of the crew members were able to bail out successfully, only to be captured and subjected to a grotesque execution. I have found no way to confirm this, but he seems to recall reading an article in the New York Times sometime after his brother died.
Regardless of how he died, I would like to know more about my grand uncle, and any connection to him would be greatly appreciated. I will be building a replica of his aircraft as continue this research, which will be presented to my grandfather upon its’ completion.
Here are the names of Patsy’s crew:
William Garretson, John Hasselman, Richard Hickerson, Leroy Blattner, Morris Schechtman, Leland Jarrett, George Joiner, Patsy Siano, George Roberts.
Thank you for providing this site.
Marauderman’s Name: Ray A. Rieman
Bomb Group: 397th
Bomb Squadron: 596th
Years in service: 42-45
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: My dad (passed away on 1/16/09) flew on the “Grunt & Groan” and I was hoping to find any information on the missions he flew and the crash/emergency landing they made in France following D-Day. Planning a trip to Europe this summer and wanted to visit some of the places he was stationed. -Robert Rieman
Marauderman’s Name: 2nd Lt. Stephen J. Eady
Bomb Group: 322nd
Bomb Squadron: 450th
Years in service: 1943-1945
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: Miami, Texas, England, France, Belgium
Comments:, Hello, I am looking for information, mission lists, crew lists, etc. for my late father, Stephen J. Eady serial # XXXX6709, 1923-1989. I have photos and his squadron patch (Boxing Moose) I have a photo of him standing in front of Pappy’s Pram. I know that he was a Bombardier/Navigator on a B-26. I would greatly appreciate any help or information. This site is fantastic!
Marauderman’s Name: Irvin Richard Bornstein
Bomb Group: 397
Bomb Squadron: 596
Years in service: 4
Graduation Class: ?
Class Location: ?
Comments: I’m writing for my father who is not computer literate. He was in Europe, 1943-45. was in Holland, France, Battle of the Bulge, St. Quentin, Camp Kilmer NJ. Lead navigator, primarily or bombardier. Training crew at Barksdale Field, Louisiana (photo) was Lt Jessee (pilot), Lt. Mark (co- pilot), Cpl.’s Miller (eng-gunner), Spencer (radio-gunner), and Gionfriddo (armorer gunner), 23 Oct 1944. I’ll send more later. We have diary of missions.
My father, Angelo William Favorite, was a radio repairman with the 386th Bomb Group , I believe between 1943-1945. We talked little about his war experiences, so the information I have is sparse. I do know he was stationed in England, France & Belgium during his time in Europe. I also know that he married my mother, Doris Ruth Main, in St. Paul’s Church in London in 1945. My mother was from Croydon and was a telephone operator in the British army when they met. I never met any of the men he served with, but I thought I might be able to contact someone who knew him. As far as I know, he never attended any reunions . If there is a reunion this year, I would love to attend in my father’s honor. He died from heart disease in 1993. His wife died from lung cancer in 1990. If there is a roster of some sort, perhaps there is a way I could contact some individuals who might have known my dad. I am a Viet Nam veteran, so his war experiences would be very meaningful. Any help you can offer would be amazing. Thank you and God bless you for your efforts.
John William Favorite
SSgt USMC 1965-1971
Marauderman’s Name: M/Sgt Raymond D. Fuller
Bomb Group: 22nd Bomb Group
Bomb Squadron: 19th Bomb Squadron
Years in service: 1927-1945
Graduation Class: May 22, 1931
Class Location: Chanute Field, Kansas
Comments: My dad MSgt Raymond D. Fuller was with the 19th on Dec 7 1941, they left for Modoc Ca the next morning. He was a line chief for the 19th and was responsible for breaking down the B26’s when they left for Hawaii and then putting them back together before heading to Australia. He was on the lead plane during that trip. He spent the next couple of years moving with the 19th and was still with them when the scraped off the paint and became the Silver Fleet. He was a mechanic, welder, electrician, and was qualified as a bombardier. I don’t know if he went on any of the bombing runs, but have found a newspaper article that said he severed as a flight engineer during his duties. He returned to the states for an electronics school for the B29’s but never went back over seas. -Eric Fuller
8 B-26’s of the 19th Bomb Squadron landed at Archerfield, Australia on 22nd March 1942. I have no proof who landed first, but an unconfirmed guess would be either Maiersperger or Greer. Below are listed these eight B26’s and their pilots:
40-1394 1.Lt Franklin S Allen
40-1495 1.Lt Walter P Maiersperger
40-1498 2.Lt Christian I Herron
40-1429 2.Lt Walter H Greer
40-1426 1.Lt Pierre G Powell
40-1388 1.Lt Albert H Stanwood
40-1433 1.Lt Walter A Krell
40-1428 1.Lt Winford O Kraft
My father-in-law was 2nd Lt. Clifford C. Coleman a pilot in WWII with the 497th Squadron, 344th Bomb Group stationed in England in 1944. I am looking for as much information you may have or any information your group can offer me. Cliff was a great man and I want to honor his memory to his daughters this year with an account of his service to America! I thank you in advance for all your help and thank you immensely for this tribute to the generation that saved the world for all of us!
Yours in Service,
My Dad, Herbert D. Dugan, served with the 12th AF in North Africa and Italy [17th bomb group]. He was a radio operator on a B-26 named the New York Central. He was on crew 13. His sq (perhaps crew) insignia was a kicking mule. Dad is gone now and I am trying to fill in some missing information. He used to tell me about his exploits and missions. I know this is not much to go on, but any info on my Dad would be appreciated.
Owen, the “Kicking Mule” is the Squadron insignia for 95th Bomb Squadron (17th Bomb Group). Two different Martin B-26 Marauder had the name “New York Central”. The first one was 41-17916 of 34th BS, “The New York Central”. It was in service from November 18th 1942 until February 24th 1943, when it was shot up on a mission and crash landed. It was one of the original 17th BG aircraft that came to North Africa in December 1942. Photo “41-17916_crew” shows four men of it’s original crew (names underlined); from left-standing Pilot 1st Lt. Garnett A. Dilworth; Navigator-Bombardier Sgt. Gerald D. Esley (41-17852); Radio-Gunner Alton C. Simmons; Co-Pilot David. S. Bolten; Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt Clark R. Swisher (41-17987); Armourer-Gunner S/Sgt. Albert L. Dalton. The two other crew men were original crew on a/c with serial in parenthesis.
Added are some photo scans of “New York Central II” of 95th BS. Unfortunately, I have no information about crew member names here. This Marauder had serial 42-43308, Battle Number 68 on the tailfin and had a very short period of service from November 22nd 1944 until December 1st 1945, when it was shot down by FLAK over the target in Germany; Kaiserslautern Barracks. Two crewmembers were taken POW and six crewmembers were KIA (MACR 11110). The crew on last mission for “New York Central II” were:
Pilot 1st Lt. Joseph T. Schoeps (KIA, buried at Arlington National Cemetery); Co-Pilot Major Hugh S. Teitworth, Jr. (KIA, buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, France); Bombardier 1st Lt. Camillo W. Tensi (KIA); Navigator 2nd Lt Edward J. Purdy (FOD, buried at Lorraine American Cemetery); Navigator 1st Lt. Thomas F. Rawson (FOD, buried at Lorraine American Cemetery); Radio-Gunner S/Sgt. Jimmie A. Reesha (POW Stalag 13D Nuremburg); Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. Arlyn L. Lones (KIA); Armorer-Gunner Pvt. Gerald R. Draper (POW Stalag Luft 3).
World War II “New York Central” Combat Crews.
Alf Egil Johannessen
95th Bomb Squadron
17th Bomb Group “Ever Into Danger”
Marauderman’s Name: Sgt A. Herbert “Swede” Antonson
Bomb Group: 335th
Bomb Squadron: 475th
Years in service: 32 months
Comments: Graduated from A.A.F. Technical Training Command, Glenn L. Martin – Nebraska Company. Transferred to the 335th BG Barksdale Field, LA on 6 July 1943. Assigned to Ap No 41-35169 for flight from plant to Barksdale. Later transferred to and discharged from the 355th BS 331st BG.
Here is the list of classmates (other Maraudermen) and their Special Orders:
336th BG, Avon Park , FL
Edmund J. Boyle Ap No 41-35174
Nathan J. Laufer Ap No 41-35207
335th BG, Barksdale Fld , LA
Alan E. Steiber Ap No 41-35163
Anton H. Antonson Ap No 41-35169
Lonnie C. Rea Ap No 41-35235
Charles F. Biczak Ap No 41-35240
Carl J. Eichman Ap No 41-35243
344th BG, Lakeland , FL
Edward F. Blodgett Ap No 41-35170
Marvin Davis Ap No 41-35172
Sylvester Kunik Ap No 41-35232
Robert M. Smith Ap No 41-35234
George E. Stephens Ap No 41-35241 (494th Bombardment Squadron, Engineering)
Albert Antonson (Herb’s son)
Marauderman’s Name: Sgt. Leslie Orvis (L.O.) Reynolds
Bomb Group: 397th Bomb Group
Bomb Squadron: 598th Bomb Squadron
Years in service: ?
Graduation Class: May 1944
Class Location: Barksdale Field, LA
Comments: I’m not sure if this is the aircraft my grandfather flew on, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I don’t know much about his time in the USAF or the missions he flew on. I’d love to know more. It appears my grandfather was Eng. and Gunner. I lived in the same house with him in his later years and we were very close. He died when I was 13 years old, so it must have been around 1990. As with many other servicemen, he didn’t talk much about the war even when I asked explicitly. I do have a few photos I will attach. He lived a very humble life as a trade carpenter in Texas. He married my grandmother, Anna Lois Gunnels (pictured), and had three children. My mother is the youngest. I am now a university professor and I can honestly say that I enjoy the life I have because of his service and labor to provide for our family and this country. I greatly appreciate all of the servicemen and women that are represented here on this site directly or via family/friends. Thanks for any information you can provide.
This message is to Giles Brown. I read your message about your Dad, Loren Brown. My Dad, Sgt. Joseph Pollock, was also in the 572nd ground crew, 391st Bomb Group. He died in 1972 and I know very little about his war experiences. I am a Vietnam Vet and sad to say we never spoke to each other about our time in service. I am correcting that mistake with my own kids. Please forward my e-mail address so that we can contact each other. I hope your Dad might remember him. Another son of a Marauder, Jim Pollock
Happy New Year!