12th Air Force WWII

97th BOMB GROUP (Heavy)

 

414th SQUADRON PLANES and CREWS circa 1943

PHOTOS (unless noted otherwise) are from W.L. ROSS III Photo Album – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Site Edited and Maintained by his son-in-law  Doug Cook

Last Update Feb. 2, 2013

 

Contacts from 97th BG and 414th Squadron Welcome!

 

     

12th AF                             97th BG                            414th BS

 

 
 


    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wing markings for the 97th BG (circa 1943?)....the vertical stabilizer was painted green with diagonal red stripes on the rudder, and had a triangle "Y" on the Vertical Stabilizer with a circle with a number inside, 0 for the 340th, 1 for the 341st, 2 for the 342nd and 4 for the 414th. All 6 B17 Groups in the 5th Wing used the "Y" as a designator......the 2nd BG was the circle "Y"..the 97th BG was the Triangle "Y"..the 99th BG was the Diamond "Y". the 301st BG was the Square "Y", the 463rd BG was the Pie Shaped "Y" and the 483rd was the plain "Y" with a star under the "Y”.    (Corrections credited to John Keegan)

 

It seems that the markings changed over time.   The photos from W.L. Ross blow show 414 squadron planes with the only visible markings as a triangle over 4 for 414th.  Other photos in the collection show only serial numbers on the tail.

 

 

 

 

 

Above and Below  97th BG 414th BS in formation from Tillman's plane. Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

Cockpit of a B-17G, compliments of Capt. Mike and Bombardier's Lounge WWII

 

 

      

2nd Lt. William L. Ross III and B-17 “Smokey Stover”  414th BS

 

        

 

Below-  ‘Smokey Stover’  #731  and unknown crews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above-  ‘Smokey Stover’  #731  and unknown crews

 

 

 

B-17 #223   “THER-N-BAK”  414th BS  

Ross Photo - Crew unknown

 

B-17 #223   “THER-N-BAK”  414th BS  

Ross Photo - Crew unknown

 

B-17 #223   “THER-N-BAK”  414th BS 

(Photo Credit Sgt. Ray Womack from his son Bruce Womack)

L-R crew: Weismann (Co-Pilot ), Cummings (Pilot), Pope (Waist Gunner), Ray Womack (Top Turret/Flight Engineer), Shields (Navigator),  Sample (Bombardier), bottom row, L-R, Spaulding (radio Op), Jones (Ball Turret) and madden (Tail Gun)

 

“My father was Sgt Raymond M Womack, 97th Bomb Group, 414th Squadron, Flight Engineer on B-17 # 223 Ther-N-Bak.  On or about 3-7-43, on a mission to attack a convoy off Bizerte, Ther-N-Bak was shot up by ME-109s. Clausen, the Co-Pilot,  took a round through the shoulder and the aircraft lost hydraulics and crash landed at a British fighter base on the coast. The landing strip was too short for the bomber and according to my dad, they headed into the desert at about 70 mph. They were stopped by the sand. When the Brits reached the plane, red hydraulic fluid was pouring out Ther-N-Bak and the rescuers thought it was blood. I have photos of plane being rescued and of the shot-up windscreen, the bullet that got Clausen. My dad never heard if he lived or died, but always wondered. Ther-N-Bak was able to be flown back to Algeria where it completed 50 missions in July of 43.”    Bruce Womack   Jan, 2009

 

The following dialog was found at the Army Airforces Forum

jeanpgene I am looking for any information about the Ther'n'Bak, 99th bomb group, stationed  Foggia.  My father, Paul Tramble (who is still alive) was flight engineer and was shot down 12/19/1943 and rescued by the English on Christmas  with 6 others.  The pilot was Lt. Simpson, who died as they were picked up by the Germans.

 

jpeters140   B-17 42-5223    Assigned to 97th BG 15 Jan 43; transfer to 99th BG 14 Nov 43; MIA 19 Dec 43 at Innsbruck; Ditched. Flew 11 missions..on 25 Dec 43, seven of the crew were picked up in the Adriatic. Arthur Simpson crew, Rayson, Jacks,Eder,TRAMBLE, Lawson,Scott,Bradbury,Thorne, Smith.  Simpson drowned....Thorne, Smith POW. (MACR 1528).

 

The B-17 "Ther N Bak" below was given the same name but has a different serial number.

 

 

“My uncle SSgt James W. Sandiford (Left Waist Gunner) was shot down in  B-17 "Ther N Bak"  on November 27, 1943 over the skies of Apecchio, Italy while enroute to Bomb a RR Marshaling Yard in Rimini, Italy.  In my search for the remains of the aircraft, I re-read your web page and noticed at the very bottom of the list a B-17 called "Ther N Bak."  Yesterday I was cataloging all of my research and reading this over, and I found the following that had been sent to me back in June of 2005.  When the B-17 was attacked by ME-109's, the right waist gunner and the pilot managed to parachute out before it blew up and crashed.  Mr. Joseph Christie was the right waist gunner, and along with the pilot were taken P.O.W. for the duration of the war.  Re-reading some of my research, found this entry on item number 108 and it reads as follows:  JOSEPH CHRISTIE JR. P.O.W. 18 MONTHS.  PLANE BLEW UP OVER RIMINI NOV.27, 1943.  "THER N BAK."

 

I have a picture of the crew that was taken days prior to the crash and Mr. Christie was the one who sent me the pictures along with the crew members identified in the picture.  If you want a copy of the picture, send me your mailing address and I will send it to you so you  update your web site for that entry.”   Jim Upton     Glock57@bellsouth.net  ( photo below sent Jan. 1, 2008)

 

B-17F-115-BO     42-30705 “THER-N-BAK”  414th BS   Christy photo from Jim Upton

 

Crew Standing L-R ID’d by Christy:  1) SSgt James E. Melton, Ball Turret Gunner   2) unknown   3) TSgt Ray A. Schupe, Aerial Engr. 

4) SSgt Joseph S. Christy Jr.,  Right Waist Gunner   5) SSgt James W. Sandiford, Left Waist Gunner 

6) SSgt Clarence W. Vaughn Jr., Radio Operator      7) unknown     8) kneeling- unknown

Not pictured:  9) SSgt Milton E. Snyder, Tail Gunner    10) 2nd Lt Walter R. Parks, Bombardier

 

 

 

B-17 Sweet Adaline Crew in Rabat, Morocco July, 1943:   Pilot Hank Tillman (second from right);

Ball Turret Gunner Frank Dancey (far left)

Sweet Adaline 42-30307, which was named after Tillman's mother.  Frank said that they never flew this in combat and it was transferred to

another crew and renamed the "Bonnie Sue".   It was shot down by an Italian captured P-38 on 11 August 1943.  (via David Shelby)

 

‘Sweet Adaline’ – Tillman, Skaggs, Dancey, Courdry, Fuchs (see Kan-Do incident below), Reid 

Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 
“Sweet Adeline” Tail    Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

                     

                        Ignition Key to ‘Sweet Adeline’  Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

Elaine “P”   #938   Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

‘KAN-DO’  #438     Crew    (Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby)

B-17F-105-BO     42-30438 (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Oct 14, 1943.  MACR 973
Frank Dancey’s log records “Paul was killed”
 
Front row third from left T/Sgt Anthony P. Hajkowski  
Front row far left Roland Garretson
 
‘KAN-DO’  Crew Killed in Action  Oct 14, 1943
 

Pilot                                Laird K. Walker                       1ST Lt

Copilot                           Leo L. Magee                          2nd Lt   

Bombardier                   John R. Shores                       2nd Lt   

Navigator                       Daniel Ulrich                            2nd Lt   

Aerial Engineer             Paul H. Fuchs                          T/Sgt

Radio Operator             Anthony P. Hajkowski             T/Sgt

Ball Turret Gunner         John H. Carruthers                  S/Sgt

Right Waist Gunner      Wayne E.Herrick                     S/Sgt

Tail Gunner                    Norman K. Mathews               S/Sgt

Left Waist Gunner         John S. Michalik                      S/Sgt

 
 
Recently recounted to David Shelby: “Col. Tillman and his crew were scheduled not to fly on Oct 14, 1943
Sgt. Paul Fuchs was the Engineer and gunner with Col. Tillman and Frank Dancey's crew.  Paul had accepted 
an additional mission on the "Kan-Do" on October 14th as Frank Dancey had done on "Ther-N-Bak" so that
they could get in their required missions sooner. Frank said that when the two of them showed up at  the 
field for duty as volunteer replacement gunners, that Paul was sent to one ship and Frank to another. 
Sgt. Paul Fuchs was killed when the  “Kan-Do” was lost in action.”
 

For what its worth, I can help you with a piece to the puzzle.  In that photo of the ‘Kan-Do’ you have on your website, my grandfather is in the front row, far left.  His name was Roland Garretson.  He was a waist gunner on that plane.  From what I understand, he was grounded with an illness on the day the ‘Kan-Do’ made her last flight.  I suppose Sergeant Paul Fuchs was the man who volunteered to fly in my grandfather’s place.  I never met my grandfather, but I think he carried a great remorse after the ‘Kan-Do’ was lost, I think he regretted not being with his crew that day for the rest of his life.

 

Sincerely,

Brandon Roland Garretson   bgarretson@camber.com

 

My grandmother's brother, Anthony P. Hajkowski, was in the 414th during the war. His B-17 went missing on Oct. 14, 1943, and he was never found. I'm interested in learning more about the squad.  Do you know what model B-17 the 414th flew at the time?  Are there other resources you could guide me to? 

-Mark Arsenault  (mark0079@comcast.net)  Easton, Mass.

 

After some correspondence between Mark Arsenault, Doug Cook and David Shelby, it was determined that Mark’s Great Uncle Anthony P. Hajkowski is pictured front row third from the left with the Kan-Do crew. David provided the “Kan-Do” info below from a book called "The B17 Flying Fortress Story":

This lists the bases where the ship was stationed.   Pont-du-Fahs and Depienne (below) are in Tunisia where my father-in-law, Col. Wm. Ross, was stationed in 414th BS.  The “Kan Do” crashed at sea off Ancona, Italy (See below- Italy east coast- east of Florence).  Tactical reports from that day indicate that weather hinders tactical aircraft operations.  The mission was aimed at a RR marshalling yard at Ancona (below center) and must have run into flak even though not able to drop their bombs (Frank Dancey’s log does not count this as a completed mission.)

 

 

MACR 973 on the lost B-17 ‘Kan-Do’  (courtesy Mark Arsenault)

Note the coordinates put the ‘Kan-Do’ last seen off the coast of Tunisia (below) at odds with her being lost off

Ancona (mission objective) as shown above.

 

 

 

 

97th BG 414 BS B-17 ‘Snoozin Susan’_Col. Raney's Plane - Chateau Dunn North Africa.

Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

Gen. Jimmy Doolittle awards Tillman and others the Purple Heart.  B-17 97th BG 414th BS ‘Sweet Chariot’

 
Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

                           

Navigator Dick Alhouse in front of his tent

Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

 

B-17E (41) 19023  Yankee Doodle,” 414th Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, USAAF at Grafton Underwood 

On 17 August,1942, 18 B-17Es of the 97th, including Yankee Doodle, flown by Captain Rudolph E. Flack accompanied by Brigadier General Ira Eaker, were escorted by RAF Spitfires on the first USAAF raid over Europe, against railroad marshaling yards at Rouen, France. The operation was a success, with only minor damage to two aircraft.

Captain Rudolph E. Flack was the Pilot of the Lead aircraft in the 2nd flight of B-17E’s (6), Commander of the 414th Bomb Squadron and Mission Commander.  General Ira C. Eaker flew with Captain Flack because US Command concluded that Captain Flack was the best Pilot/Commander for this historic mission. The following is a photo of the B-17E “Yankee Doodle” (41-9023) and crew for the 17-Aug-42 mission:

                                          (Photo and Text Submitted by Fredrick Richard "Rick" Flack  RFlackAttack@hotmail.com

1942-08-16 414th B-17E 41-9023 Yankee Doodle Crew with Rudy-1a

                                              The full name (and rank at the time of the 17-Aug-42 mission) of each crewman in the referenced photo are as follows:

Yankee Doodle B-17E (41-9023) Crew Listing for 17-Aug-42 Mission

Duty

Photo Top Row from Left to Right:

2nd Lt James W. Dunn

Navigator

2nd Lt Carl E. Schultz

Bombardier

Captain Rudolph E. Flack (414th Squadron and Mission Commander, Flight Leader)

Pilot

2nd Lt John R. Dowswell

Co-Pilot

2nd Lt Will A. Hadden -- Did Not Fly (replaced by Sgt E. B. Clark -- Waist Gunner)

 

Photo Bottom Row from Left to Right:

Sgt Shiller Cohen (Photo) -- Did Not Fly on Yankee Doodle, Flew on "Big Punk"

 

Staff Sgt Edwin N. Breedlove

Radio Operator

Sgt Ernest B. Clark (Ball Turret Gunner)

Asst-Radio-Op

Staff Sgt Paul W. Haygreen (Top Turret Gunner)

Engineer

Sgt Raymond C. Lewis (Tail Gunner)

Gunner

Sgt Frank Hayes (Waist Gunner)

Asst-Engineer


Courtesy of Frank Booth

Below submitted by  Steve Birdsall from the Aero Vintage Forum.

The 97th Bomb Group was unique in having three very early B-17Fs that completed more than 100 combat missions:

41-24370 Berlin Sleeper II on September 13, 1943 was the first, followed by 41-24378 War Eagle. Their third B-17 to beat the odds was this one,

Hell's Kitchen, 41-24392 of the the 414th Bomb Squadron.



This B-17 was delivered on
June 27, 1942 and flown overseas by a 92nd Bomb Group crew. She was transfered to the 97th Bomb Group in England in August and flown to North Africa by Captain Richard J. Murfit and his crew in November.

The records show that she was transferred to the 2nd Bomb Group on
November 14, 1943 but there is no evidence that she ever flew with them, and Hell's Kitchen was salvaged overseas in May 1944.

Just to further muddy the waters there's a fascinating little item in the
Los Angeles Examiner on September 28, 1943. Titled "Veteran Flyers Homeward Bound" it reports: En route to the United States are more than 50 officers and enlisted men who have flown at least 50 combat missions over Europe, North Africa or Italy. With them go some of the most famous American flighter planes in the Mediterranean war, including two Flying Fortresses, the "Berlin Sleeper" and "Hell's Kitchen". The "Berlin Sleeper" has been on 106 combat missions, believed to be a record for Fortresses in any war theater.

Unfortunately this official Air Force photo is undated and none of the people are identified. The official caption? 'The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "HELL'S KITCHEN" and officer personnel.

414th BS B-17 41-24489  Shot Down  The mission was to bomb a road junction at Cecchina, Italy Crew list: P: J. L. Brennan; CP: Shapiro; N: 1LT Everatt Anthony; B: 2LT Sidney Morse; TTE: T/S L.I. McKinley; RO: T/S F.A. Bealin; BT: S/S R.C. Hodges; RW: S/S T.P. Smith; LW: Sgt A.G. Dickie; TG: S/Sgt J.H. Kirkpatrick .  There was heavy and intense flak with 19 A/C receiving minor damage. 

 

414th Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, USAAF at Grafton Underwood  1942

Photo Album of Donald A. Martin

 

B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) flown by Lieutenant Kendrick R. Bragg

A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded or dead pilot. It crashed into the lead aircraft of the flight, ripped a wing off the Fortress, and caused it to crash. The enemy fighter then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut approximately two-thirds through, the control cables were severed, and the electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. Although the tail swayed in the breeze, one elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew-miraculously! The aircraft was brought in for an emergency landing and when the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off for not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until three men climbed aboard through the door in the fuselage, at which time the rear collapsed. The rugged old bird had done its job.

http://www.daveswarbirds.com/b-17/fuselag2.htm

 

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-vetscor/1467564/posts

 

http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-general/30377-amazing-story-all-american-b-17-a.html

 

 

 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you Doug for your great site.

I would like to update your info however, as my father was the navigator on the All American in 1943 when it sustained injury. Mom kept a wonderful scrapbook and I have more photos to send you if you wish to post them. But for today, in honor of Veteran’s Day and all veterans...here is the list of crew members and a note from my dad. Let me know if you would like more, including his written account of the incident.

Thanks

Linda Nuessle 

       

 

 

B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) Crew

Pilot- Ken Bragg Jr.

Copilot- G. Boyd Jr.

Navigator- Harry C. Nuessle

Bombardier- Ralph Burbridge

Engineer- Joe C. James

Radio Operator- Paul A. Galloway

Ball Turret Gunner- Elton Conda

Waist Gunner- Michael Zuk

Tail Gunner- Sam T. Sarpolus

Ground Crew Chief- Hank Hyland

 

Photo from Nuessle collection.

           Photo from Nuessle collection.

Photo from Nuessle collection.

Photo from Nuessle collection.

 

 

Description: Description: 02-22-2010 082242PM

This was the inspiration for the 414th BS Logo

"The B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) flown by Lieutenant Kendrick R. Bragg, its tail section almost severed by a collision with an enemy fighter, flew 90 minutes back to its home base, landed safely and broke in two after landing."

The ONLY reason that machine broke apart on landing is that, notice, the rear landing wheel has been carried away, and all the weight is being put on the bottom of the rear gunner's station. The machine is not designed to do this with such structural damage.

The rear surface control cables are remarkably tough. Two sets of overhead control cables can be seen in the waist photos. I wonder if there is another port and starboard set under the floor. Hard to see how they remained functional otherwise, the top of the fuselage is gone so far down.

Losing the port stabilizer left the starboard stabilizer functional, apparently. Cannot see how the machine could be controlled otherwise. This was designed in, otherwise impossible.  A machine designed, intended, for war.

 

 

MACR 16152  B-17 ACCIDENT REPORT  JULY 6, 1943 NORTH AFRICA OPERATION TORCH

 

KILLED IN ACTION

Sgt. John W. Cold (Pilot)

F/O Leslie Johnson (Copilot)

2nd Lt. Gordon Lowe

Sgt. Bennie T. Morris

S. Sgt. John W. Showers

2nd Lt. Paul B. Slaten

2nd Lt. William K. Stude

Sgt. Walter Well

Sgt. Alexander Wodopian

Sgt. George E. Gallant

 

97th BG was based at Chateaudun-du-Rhumel, NE Algeria  from Feb to Aug, 1943        

JULY 6, 1943 Mission Target:  Gerbini  Aerodrome, Sicily

B-17 41-24532           Lawrence                    414th 97th       26.12.1942     Tunisia     Lost

B-17 41-24413           Thomas H. Borders    414th 97th       26.12.1942     Bizerte, Tunisia   Lost

B-17 41-24415           John Holmes              414th 97th       09.05.1943     16254 Chateaudun-du-Rhumel Airfield, Algeria   Crash-landed

B-17 41-24343           St. Donat                     414th 97th       15.03.1943     Oran, Algeria   Crashed   scrapped

B-17 E –BO         41- 9019  (97th BG, 414th BS) transferred to 327th BS, 92nd BG, "Little Skunkface") scrapped Aug 21, 1945

 

 

B-17F-1-BO         41-24342 “Stinky Jr.”  414th BS, shot down Sept 7, 1943, Foggia, Italy.   MACR 642.  All crew KIA.
 
Tribute to Tailgunner: SSGT Albert E. Cahill
 

My Father was a waist gunner in 'Stinky Jr" tail# 12434342.    My father, Harrison William Welch, flew in N. Africa from Mar 10, 1943 through Aug 26, 1943 when he completed his 50 missions.  I’ve attached some photos- they aren’t all that great but real.  One photo is of his jacket patch.  Please pass this info along to other interested parties.

 

Blitz Welch  blitz4569@yahoo.com   Jan 27, 2008                                              

 

Thanks Blitz-  The photos are great! Your father got home a lucky man!    Regards, Doug Cook

 
 
 


 
                      
                          Welch’s Jacket patch for B-17 Nut Cracker 97th BG 414th BS
 
B-17  42-31586 Pistol Packin Mamma  97th BG 414 BS
 
Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   Marquerite  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   Strictly Baggage  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   31622  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   46197  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   46553  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   2102944  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   crash landing  23340  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 

B-17   crash landing  238084  97th BG 414th BS

Photo credit Sgt. Lloyd Merrifield submitted by his son Tim Merrifield
 
 
B-17F-5-BO         41-24406  (97th BG, 414th BS)   damaged over Tunis Feb 1, 1943 in collision with a 
Fw 190 during mission to Bizerte, landed safely.  Repaired and continued to fly missions.  Salvaged Mar 6, 1945
 

B-17F-100-BO           42-30407 wore the name "War Pappy" It flew with the 414th Bomb Squadron completing

100 missions on 14 May 1944. It was a weather aircraft from 15 July 1944 until returning to the U.S. (Bush Field)

with RFC on 4 July 1945.

 

B-17F-100-BO           42-30416   “Lil’ Joan”  Served  414th 43 to early 44.

 

B17F                    42-30307  “Bonnie Sue”  (97th BG, 414th BS)  Shot down by an Italian captured P-38 on August 11, 1943.

 

B-17F-10-DL       42-2985     (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Aug 1, 1943.  MACR 355.

 

B-17F-35-BO      42-5090     (97th BG, 414th BS) MIA Jul 8, 1943.  All crew KIA.  MACR 69
 
B-17F-35-VE       42-5943     (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Apr 23, 1944, Austria.  MACR 4393
 
B-17F-90-BO       42-30169  (97th BG, 414th BS) shot down over Austria May 24, 1944.  MACR 5070
 
B-17F-95-BO       42-30319  (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Jun 2, 1944. Hit by flak , exploded over Debrecen; Pilot - Lt. Bond.  MACR 6310   
 
B-17F-100-BO     42-30405  (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Mar 24, 1944.  MACR 3292
 
B-17F-105-BO     42-30436  (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Apr 3, 1944.  MACR 3962
 
B-17F-105-BO     42-30438 (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Oct 14, 1943.  MACR 973
 
B-17F-105-BO     42-30462 (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Mar 18, 1944.  MACR 3521.  Crashed near Udine.
 

B-17F-115-BO     42-30705 (97th BG, 414th BS) “THER-N-BAK”  lost Nov 27, 1943.  MACR 1303  (See crew photo above)  My uncle, Staff Sgt. James W. Sandiford was a left waist gunner on a B-17 and was assigned to the 414th Bomb Squadron--97th Bomb group.  On 11/27/43 his plane(42-30705) was enroute to bomb a Marshalling yard in Rimini, Italy along with other B-17,s when they were attacked by German ME-109,s  His plane along with another B-17 were shot down and the pilot and right waist gunner managed to bail out and were taken POW upon landing.  My uncle and the rest of the crew went down with the plane.  After a year of investigation and obtaining all of the Government reports, the location of my uncle’s plane has been located on the side of a mountain in Apecchio, Italy and will soon be searched by a group called "Area" from Italy.  My contact in Italy (Lorenzo Fresi) is in charge of this and is a great person.  I have spoken with the lone survivor of my uncle’s plane (right waist gunner Joseph Christie) who resides in PA., but he really does not want to talk much about it as I feel he is still haunted by the memories and I can fully understand.  I have never been able to find out the name of my uncle’s plane and was wondering if you could help me on this.  Once the crash site is searched, any personal items will be photographed, collected and will be sent to me and I will make every effort to have them returned to the family members as I have all the names of the crew and their home towns.  I will have this story released to the Associated Press so they can assist me on this.  My uncle was returned to West Palm Beach, Fla. and was buried in March of 1949.  I was three years old at the time and for some reason remember attending the funeral, but that is my only memory.  If there is any way you or someone you know can obtain the name of my uncle’s plane, I would really appreciate it.  The MACR listing for his plane is 1303 and the other B-17 is MACR 1304 (tail number 42-5875).  The crash site for this B-17 has also been located.

 

James M. Upton

Dandridge, TN 

Glock57@bellsouth.net

 

B-17F                    42-5875   (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Nov 27, 1943.  MACR 1304

 

B-17G-15-BO      42-30169 (97th BG, 414th BS) shot down by ME 109 fighter May 24, 1944 over Sisak (near Zagreb), Yugoslavia.  MACR 5070   Mission:  Ploesti, Romania

 

B-17G-20-BO      42-31472 (97th BG, 414th BS) shot down and crashed near Fiume

 

B-17G-20-BO     42-31489 (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Feb 10, 1944.  MACR 2305

 

B-17G-25-BO     42-31644 (97th BG, 414th BS) lost Mar 18, 1944.  MACR 3290

 

B-17                    43-30319 (97th BG, 414th BS)   Shot down on 2 June 1944, while enroute to target of Debreczen, plane 43-30319 went down either due to flak or a fire that started in the #2 engine which caused an explosion.

  

Crew list:
P: 2LT Alfred D. Bond, O-754319  KIA
CP: F/O Warren E. DeVilbiss, T-1910  KIA

B: 2LT Robert Schratweiser O-745832 KIA
N: F/O William M. Metz, T-123609  KIA
TT: S/S Robert J. Carbery, 19085573  POW
RO: S/S Charles B. Collum, 1203729  POW
LWG: Sgt Walter F. Bazia 36351268  
RWG: S/S Austin J. Cronin, 31089525 POW
TG: T/S Ray D. May, 20934363  KIA
BT: Sgt James J. Whitty, 35540409  KIA
Crew Chief: T/S John J. Sikina, 6994978  POW

 

B-17 44-6334             A ship assigned to my father at Gulfport 7/44. It was received by the 97th/414th that month at Amendola, where my father flew his missions and kept a diary. This is referenced in all original docs.: "Operations Orders, from state side mid July '44 thru Jan.'45 at the 414th/Amendola. Many crews of the 414th flew missions in this ship-- Bryan Minner.

 

Courtesy of Frank Booth

#334, 414th. squadron 8/15/44 Southern France, 9/17/44 Budapest

 
 


Below from Col. Wm. Ross’ collection

                            

Tunisia 1943   414th Squadron Rollout on steel mesh runway.  B-17 on the right is ‘Ther-N-Bak’.

 

 

2nd Lt. W.L. Ross III  on oxygen

 

    

 

Tail Gun Position

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

1943 ROSTER OF OFFICERS EMERGENCY ADDRESSES

 

Comp=Completed 50 missions to rotate home!

 

Gilbert Pritchard                http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=6820

Clare Smartt                               http://www.accident-report.com/Crew_Names/namesloa_stee.html

Abraham Dreiseszun         http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=5269

Clarence Thacker             http://accident-report.com/Crew_Names/namet-thr.html

Orville Chatt                     http://www.flyinghouse.org/publications/pdf/catalogs/2006_JustArtCatalog.pdf

Kendrick Bragg                           http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/reports-aircraft-were-f-u-b-r-yet-kept-flying-831.html

Rexford Bauman               http://accident-report.com/Crew_Names/nameb_benj.html

Vincente Ximenes             http://legis.state.nm.us/Sessions/05%20Regular/memorials/house/HM056.html

Will Hadden                      http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cocoon/vhp/bib/35252

Robert H. Rast                            Shot down and taken prisoner (above)

                                         http://www.reddog1944.com/RAST_97th%20BG%20414th%20BS.htm

 

       

Stuart S. "Stew" Hulse - graduated from North · January 1936 · 654 Carpenter Street 

US Army Air Forces · Sergeant · 414th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group - Heavy · Service # 20518454 · b. 27 August 1914 in Akron, OH · Son of Edison G. Hulse (1878 -     ) and Edith L. Hulse (1881 -     ); sister Audrey R · Entered military service October 1940 · Killed In Action 17 April 1943 by a gun shot to the chest in Algeria ·  Awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart · Buried at the North Africa American Cemetery Carthage, Tunisia Plot B Row 17 Grave 1 · Twenty-eight years old at the time of his death.

 

 

 
 


INDEX