12th Air Force WWII

97th BOMB GROUP (Heavy)



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 September 25, 2017 


Contacts from 97th BG and 414th Squadron Welcome!


12th_Air_force   97th Bomb Group_Patch  

12th AF                             97th BG                            414th BS



Smokey Stover




Old Ironsides


Sweet Adeline


Kan Do


Snoozin Susan


Sweet Chariot and Gen. Jimmy Doolittle


Yankee Doodle


All American


Stinky Jr.


Hell’s Kitchen


Pistol Packin Mama




Strictly Baggage




Tird Burd


Reluctant Dragon


Planes Lost in Action


More Planes and Crews


Officer’s Roster

(circa 1943)




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.






_97th BG 414th BS in formation from Tillman's plane

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

_414th Bomb Squadron



Credit: TSgt. W. T. Keller Collection



Credit: TSgt. W. T. Keller Collection




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


Ther-N-Bak Right Nose

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 [KIA] in [the] 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)


ther_n_bak_crew from_jim_upton001

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 42-5147 "OLD IRONSIDES" Shot Down September 8,1943 Frascati, Italy


Dear Mr. Cook,

My name is Lorenzo Fresi, I write you from Italy. I'm a good friend of Jim Upton, nephew of James W. Sandiford, who was in the 414th Bomb Squadron (K.I.A. in Italy 11/27/43). I know You and Jim were in contact some years ago when we were locating the crash site of his uncle's plane. Me and Jim have often collaborated with historical associations and with AF/Army Veterans of the WW2 Italian Campaign providing them information, returning ID Tags, putting people in contact and so on. Recently a museum of Frascati ( Italy ) asked our help to find some pictures of a B-17 of the 414th Bomb Squadron named OLD IRONSIDES which was shot down over Frascati on September 8, 1943. Unfortunately we didn't find the pictures they needed, but during our search we have collected many information from several sources , so we patiently assembled all to reconstruct the story of the last mission of OLD IRONSIDES. We think it's a pity that this story go missing again, so we want to share with you our work, hoping that it could be interesting for your great website.



Lorenzo Fresi and James Upton

                  Crew List of B-17 #147 OLD IRONSIDES  on September, 8,1943


Pilot: 1st. Lt. Charles D. Gueriniere
Co-pilot: 2nd. Lt. Floyd H. Lyon Jr. 
Navigator: 2nd. Lt. Lawrence H. Owens
Bombardier: 2nd. Lt. Irving Linder
Flight engineer/top turret gunner: SSgt. George J. Smith
Radio Operator: SSgt. John W. Mullins,
Left Waist gunner: Tech/Sgt. Andrew H. Camarota Jr.
Ball turret gunner: SSgt. Fred W. Yuvan
Right Waist gunner: SSgt. Harry J. Carroll
Tail gunner: Ssgt. Edward L. Gadouas

                        The Crew after the Crash

The crash caused 6 victims. 4 members of the crew survived and were taken prisoners.

K.I.A. List:

1st. Lt. Charles D. Gueriniere

2nd. Lt. Floyd H. Lyon Jr. 

2nd. Lt. Lawrence H. Owens

2nd. Lt.Irving Linder

Tech/Sgt. Andrew H. Camarota Jr.

SSgt. Fred W. Yuvan


P.O.W. List:

SSgt. John W. Mullins

SSgt. George J. Smith

SSgt. Harry J. Carroll

Ssgt. Edward L. Gadouas



Sweet Adaline crew1a


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 - Skaggs, Dancey, Courdry, Fuchs, Reid

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

Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

Sweet Adaline tail

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


                      _Sweet Adaline Key

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


Elaine P

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


Kan Do - B17 #438

‘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.



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. Rainey's Plane - Chateau Dunn North Africa.

Courtesy Col. Hank Tillman via David Shelby

_Snoozin Suzan Col


Doolittle awards Tillman and others Purple Heart

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

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


Photo Top Row from Left to Right:

2nd Lt James W. Dunn


2nd Lt Carl E. Schultz


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


2nd Lt John R. Dowswell


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)


Staff Sgt Paul W. Haygreen (Top Turret Gunner)


Sgt Raymond C. Lewis (Tail Gunner)


Sgt Frank Hayes (Waist Gunner)



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 Kenneth R. Bragg

Navigator 1st Lt. Harry C. Nuessle







http://www.daveswarbirds.com/b-17/photos/body/b17allamerican.jpg           http://www.daveswarbirds.com/b-17/photos/tail/tail1.gif

"The B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG) flown by Lieutenant Kenneth 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.



Contributed by 1st Lt. Nuessle’s daughter  Linda Nuessle



Back Row, L to R----Elton Conda, ball turret gunner; Mike Zuk, waist gunner; Hank Hyland, ground crew chief; Joe James, engineer; Sam Sarpoulos, tail gunner; Paul Galloway, radio operator.


Front Row, L to R----Harry Nuessle, navigator; Godfrey Engle, co-pilot; Ken Bragg, pilot; Ralph Burbridge, bombadier.




          B-17 42-5147 "OLD IRONSIDES" Shot Down September 8,1943 Frascati, Italy







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

Stinky Jr Corrected crop1
Stinky Jr

                          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_02-22-2010 090422PM

B-17   Marquerite  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_Strictly_Baggage_02-23-2010 073307PM

B-17   Strictly Baggage  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_31622_02-23-2010 073741PM

B-17   31622  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_46197_02-23-2010 073040PM

B-17   46197  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_46553_02-22-2010 084512PM

B-17   46553  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_2102944_02-22-2010 092431PM

B-17   2102944  97th BG 414th BS

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

_B_17_23340_crash_02-23-2010 071131PM

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

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

_B_17_238084__crash_02-23-2010 073558PM

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

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

Submitted by Tom Angle:  My grandfather,  TSgt. W. T. Keller , was in the 97th Bomb Group 414th Squadron as flight crew Engineer.  He flew on 2 planes that I know of, the Sixty-Fifty II (I believe an F model) and the Tird Burd (G model).

First base:  Chateaudun in Algeria 19 July, 1943.
Second base:            Pont du Fahs 12 August, 1943.
Third base:                Depienne 13 August, 1943.
Fourth base:              Foggia, Italy 12 December, 1943.
Fifth base:  Arignola, Italy 15 December, 1943.
Sixth base: Cerignola, Italy 3 January, 1944.
Seventh base:           between Foggia and Manfredonia, Italy 18 January, 1944.

 The crew listed:
 Pilot:                                                       M. H. Teigen

Copilot:                                     2ndLt. R. B. Murray

Navigator (journal author):       2ndLt. J. J. Jaskiewicz

Bombardier:                                             TSgt. K. E. Koffroth

Engineer (my grandfather):      TSgt. W. T. Keller

Radio Operator:                      SSgt. H. B. Dennison

Engineer:                                  Sgt. C. J. Sell

Radio:                                                      SSgt. C. Z. Ballard

Gunner:                                    SSgt.  F. H. Bird

Gunner:                                    1st Lt. P. E. Macey

_crew3_Turd_Burd  _crew4_Turd_Burd

Submitted by Tom Angle: Engineer (my grandfather) TSgt. W. T. Keller



Herman Walters

Sgt. Herman "Jack" L. Walters (Waist Gunner)

My name is Don Powell Jr. and my grandfather, Sgt. Jack Walters, served overseas from June 1942 until August  1943.  I have just recently been given information about his military career:  Twenty-two years in the Air Force serving in both WWII and Korea (Distinguished Flying Cross 1951). 

I have been trying to determine “where and with whom” he actually served during World War II.  His original European Theater I.D. is listed as 32nd BS 301 BG, but he was sent home by the group surgeon from the 97th BG (Heavy) for combat fatigue after 51 missions and 255 operational hours.   

I found a picture of him and what I assume is his crew under a plane named “The Reluctant Dragon.  A military web forum was able to provide  this information about the plane…B-17F 42-5346 was assigned to  414BS/97BG  on 31/12/42 and remained until transferring to 347BS/99BG on 14/11/43… (after my grandfather had returned to the United States). 

I also have a newspaper article quoting my grandfather about a few his missions.  In the article he mentioned the pilot was Capt. Marion Jones.  There is a Capt. Marion Jones listed on the 414th officer’s roster circa 1943.   

I absolutely love your site about the 97th Bomb Group.  My dad (James V. Wiseman, Jr. Lavernia, Texas – B17 Reluctant Dragon) served in this group as a pilot and co-pilot.  He passed away this last Dec.  He rarely talked about his experiences, but on those rare occasions we could get him started the stories were amazing.  Thanks for honoring this group of amazing men.


Jim Wiseman

Vice President of Enrollment

Carroll University



414th  BS B-17 Ball Turret Gunner  Frank Dancey’s story and DANCEY MISSION LOG:  He logged several missions on the Reluctant Dragon.



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 



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’.


b_17_001_oxygen  b_17_002_crew2

2nd Lt. W.L. Ross III  on oxygen





Tail Gun Position






b_17_004_camp_crew3   b_17_004_Virgin_Surgeon








Submitted by Tom Angle:  My grandfather,  TSgt. W. T. Keller , was in the 97th Bomb Group 414th Squadron as flight crew Engineer.

First base:          Chateaudun in Algeria 19 July, 1943.
Second base:     Pont du Fahs 12 August, 1943.
Third base:         Depienne 13 August, 1943.
Fourth base:       Foggia, Italy 12 December, 1943.
Fifth base:          Arignola, Italy 15 December, 1943.
Sixth base:         Cerignola, Italy 3 January, 1944.
Seventh base:    between Foggia and Manfredonia, Italy 18 January, 1944


Photos below credit TSgt. W. T. Keller

_crew2 _crew5

_crew6  _crew7











Col. Wm. Ross Collection


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

Kenneth 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)

414th BS Pilot Col. Robert Rast’s story: B-17 downed on 49th mission and became POW

http://www.northhillakron.org/images/airm.jpg    http://www.northhillakron.org/images/MedLogoShadow.jpg   http://www.northhillakron.org/images/97bg.jpg

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.



414th BS INDEX