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17th May 1943 Mission Target Ijmuiden, 322 BG /450 & 452 SQ

Scheduled:- 11 B26's

Aborted:- 41-18058 ER-S Capt. R D Stephens 450BS

Point of Entry:
Forced south of intended point of entry after being fired on by flak from German coastal convoy and flew over heavily defended Rozenburg island. Continued to target and subsequent fate. As the first flight flew over the sand dunes a hail of 20mm flak hit the lead B26 piloted by Lt. Col. Robert W Stillman, killing Lt. Resweber, the copilot. The plane snap rolled and crashed. Three severely injured crewmen were dragged from the wreckage by the Germans. A mile or two to the south the following flight also encountered heavy flak on landfall in. Lt. Garrambone, leading the second element, could not maintain control after being hit and crashed into the Maas river, he and three of his crew survived. The surviving B26’s headed between Delft and Rotterdam with Capt. Converse leading the first flight. Near Bdegraven, while carrying out violent evasive action, Converse collided with Lt. Wolfe who was leading the second element. Both B26’s crashed in flames with only two survivors. Lt. Wurst’s aircraft, severely damaged by debris from the   two colliding aircraft, bellylanded his unmanageable B26 into a field at Meije. All escaped although Sgt. Heski lost a foot. Now only the third element of the leading flight remained. Lt. F.H. Matthew, leading Lt. E.R. Norton and apparently lost, turned to join Lt. Col. Purinton’s flight, but Purinton too had no idea where he was. Forty five miles into Holland he decided to turn for home and his navigator, Lt. Jefferis, gave him a course of 2700. Almost simultaneously Jefferis reported that he had sighted the target. Bombs were dropped on what they thought the the Haarlem works, but it was in fact a gas holder in the suburbs of Amsterdam. Having climbed to bombing altitude several Marauders failed to reduce height as they headed for the coast. Unknown to the crews they were heading directly towards Ijmuiden and its murderous flak barrage. Purinton’s bomber was hit, but he managed to ditch offshore near a fishing boat, manned by Germans. Jefferis was killed in the crash, but the rest of the crew were rescued to become prisoners of war. The Ijmuiden flak also claimed the bombers of Lt. Jones and Lt. Norton. One, with an engine on fire, turned back and crashed into the sea near Castricum, the other went into the sea a few miles west of Ijmuiden. Tail gunner Longworth was the only survivor from Norton’s B26 and Lt. Alaimo from Jones. Lt. Matthews and Capt. Crane had survived the Ijmuiden flak, and several miles apart headed for England. At 12.18hrs Capt. Crane was shot down into the sea by Feldwebel Niederreichholz of II/JG1 and at 12.30hrs Lt. Matthews was shot down into the sea by Ober-Feldwebel Winkler of 4/JG1. The only survivors of these two actions were S/Sgt. George W Williams and S/Sgt. Jesse H Lewis from Capt. Crane’s B26. They were picked up from their rubber dinghy on 22 May 1943 by a Royal Navy vessel.

11.51 hrs Stillman Flak, crashed
11.52 Garrambone Flak, crashed into Maas river
11.58 Converse Mid air collision, crashed
11.58 Wolfe Mid air collision, crashed
11.58 Wurst Hit by debris from mid air collision, crashed
12.12 Purinton Flak, ditched at sea
12.13 Jones Flak, crashed at sea
12.13 Norton Flak, crashed at sea
12.18 Crane Shot into sea by enemy fighters
12.30 Matthew Shot into sea by enemy fighters

Casualties and Aircraft:-
Crews listed in order as pilot; copilot; bomb/nav, engineer/gunner, radio/gunner and tail gunner
41-17982  DR-P
Lt. Col. Robert W Stillman XXXX760 POW HQ. 322BG
Lt. Ellis J Resweber XXXX727 KIA 452BS
2Lt. William R Betz XXXX934 KIA 452BS
S/Sgt. Morgan S Freeman XXXX852 POW 452BS
T/Sgt    Clyde D Willis XXXX397 POW 452BS
S/Sgt    Edward K Hagetter XXXX978 KIA 452BS

41-18052  DR-N
Lt. Vincent S Garrambone XXXX712 POW 450BS
2.Lt. Leonard S Lang XXXX023 POW 450BS
2.Lt. James R Hoel XXXX753 POW 450BS
Sgt. John L Stefanowicz  XXXX189 KIA 450BS
Sgt. John Logan XXXX065 POW 450BS
Sgt. Melvin O Cage XXXX278 KIA 450BS

41-18080  DR-K
Capt. William Converse XXXX585 KIA 452BS
2Lt. Berton H Ramsey   XXXX308 KIA 452BS
Lt. Arthur E Garni XXXX583 KIA 452BS
T/Sgt. James D Thompson XXXX464 POW 452BS
Sgt. Kenneth H VonLindern XXXX818 KIA 452BS
Sgt. Frank Lamonica  XXXX387 POW 452BS

41-17991  DR-S
Lt. Richard O Wolfe XXXX745 KIA 452BS
Lt. Jack E Vandergrift XXXX107 KIA 452BS
2Lt. John H Burns XXXX019 KIA 452BS
Sgt. Kleber L Jones XXXX505 POW-suicide 452BS
Sgt. Chester J Walas XXXX892 POW 452BS
Sgt. John L Nash XXXX388 KIA 452BS

41-17999  DR-W
Lt. David V Wurst XXXX713 POW 452BS
2Lt. Robert L Starr XXXX320 POW 452BS
2Lt. A E Speer XXXX308 POW 452BS
Cpl. George Heski XXXX684 POW 452BS
S/Sgt. Robert J Dempsey XXXX207 POW 452BS
Sgt. Reginald Foster XXXX754 POW 452BS

41-17979  DR-O
Lt. Col. William R Purinton XXXX835 POW HQ. 322BG
2Lt. William H Kinney XXXX525 POW 450BS
Lt. Edward F Jefferis, Jr. XXXX596 KIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Jean J Duhamel XXXX080 POW 450BS
S/Sgt. Robert J Gunther XXXX927 POW 450BS
Sgt. Lester F Miller XXXX124 POW-repatriated 450BS

41-18086  ER-U
Lt. Joseph H Jones XXXX700 KIA 450BS
2Lt. Anthony A Alaimo XXXX487 POW 450BS
2Lt. Norris K. Calkins XXXX020 KIA 450BS
Sgt. Marvin L Harbour XXXX633 KIA 450BS
T/Sgt. Robert Steffen XXXX782 KIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Milton E Littrell XXXX802 KIA 450BS

41-18090  DR-L
2Lt. Edward R Norton XXXX299 MIA 452BS
2Lt. James A Norton XXXX300 KIA 452BS
Lt. Alvin X Zeindenfeld XXXX330 KIA 452BS
S/Sgt. Ralph H McDougall XXXX539 KIA 452BS
S/Sgt. Harrison E Kegg XXXX961 MIA 452BS
Sgt. Bennett W Longworth XXXX379 POW 452BS

41-18099  ER-V
Capt. Jack Crane XXXX487 KIA 450BS
2Lt. Charles F Elliott XXXX498 MIA 450BS
Lt. John B Champlin XXXX246 MIA 450BS
S/Sgt. George W Williams XXXX189 Returned 450BS
T/Sgt. Jesse W Southworth XXXX996 MIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Jesse H Lewis XXXX474 Returned 450BS

41-17998  DR-V
Lt. Frederick H Matthew XXXX062 MIA 450BS
2Lt. Joe B Dalton XXXX488 MIA 450BS
Lt. Joseph R Chaswick XXXX025 MIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Joseph T Vandling XXXX191 MIA 450BS
T/Sgt. James W Belote XXXX212 MIA 450BS
Sgt. Jose M Basaldu XXXX457 MIA 450BS

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