advanced

    Friesland wartime history     by Willem de Jong       <   page 21   > 

Shipdham Airfield and the USAF 44th

 

 

68th Bomb. Sqdn. Official Reports

 

 

D

Leeuwarden Airfield

Schiermonikoog

Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland

Vlieland

Terschelling

St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

     Hindeloopen

     Liberator 41-23819, the 'Rugged Buggy', flown by Capt. James O ' Brien and his crew

 

Shipdham Airfield at Norfolk was assigned to the 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arriving from Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma on 10 October 1942. The 44th was assigned to the 14th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-A". It's operational squadrons were: 66th Bombardment Squadron (Squadron code letters QK), 67th Bombardment Squadron (Squadron code letters NB), 68th Bombardment Squadron (Squadron code letters WQ), 506th Bombardment Squadron (Squadron code letters GJ)  The group flew B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign. 

The 44th was the first USAAF group to be equipped with the Liberator and the unit had helped form other groups destined to fly the type. The 44th was initially under strength, one of its four squadrons having been detached in the US. In March 1943 the 506th Squadron was assigned to it.  

The 44th Bomb Group's operations consisted primarily of assaults against strategic targets in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Austria, Poland, and Sicily. Among the targets attacked were submarine installations, industrial establishments, airfields, harbours, shipyards, and other objectives, November 1942 - June 1943.

The unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an extremely hazardous mission against naval installations at Kiel on 14 May 1943. Its B-24's flew in the wake of the main formation and carried incendiaries to be dropped after three B-17 groups had released high explosive bombs, thus the 44th's aircraft were particularly vulnerable lacking the protection of the firepower of the main force. This vulnerability increased when the group opened its own formation for the attack; but the 44th blanketed the target with incendiaries in spite of the concentrated flak and continuous interceptor attacks it encountered.

44th Bombardment Group Liberators ready for take-off at Shipdham

A

Late in June 1943 a large detachment moved to Libya to help facilitate the Allied invasion of Sicily by bombing airfields and marshalling yards in Italy. The detachment also participated in the famous low-level raid on the Ploesti oil fields on 1 August 1943. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in this raid and its commander, Colonel Leon W. Johnson, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his daring and initiative in leading his men into smoke, flame, and alerted fighter and antiaircraft opposition over the target, which already had been bombed in error by another group.

Before returning to England at the end of August, the detachment bombed an aircraft factory in Austria and supported ground forces in Sicily. In September 1943 the 44th struck airfields in Holland and France and convoys in the North Sea. Also in September, a detachment was sent to North Africa to support the Salerno operations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found your site and the bit on the crash of spirit of 76. You have all but 67th's squadrons code letters wrong, they should read as follows; 66th QK, 67th NB, 68th WQ & the 506th GJ, you also have the eight ball patch wrong, its a group patch not a 68th, it was painted for me by Jack Lamon who painted many of the groups art work, I used it on the cover of my book. I have attached it.

Steve Adams                 Thanks for pointing that out Steve -  Willem & Tom

 

 

The Disastrous first German Mission

 

On January 27th 1943 the 68th sent out seven aircraft, 690, 816, 776, 800, 819, 813, and 699, to bomb the submarine pens at Wilhelmshaven. Due to severe weather with resultant poor navigation as well as losing contact with the main formation, it was decided by the 68th to hit a “target of opportunity” at Lemmer, Holland. The unescorted seven released their bombs which landed on the town and its fields and marshes. 

Reports show that there was only one civilian casualty. Jan Huitema, a Dutch farmhand at Follega, a mile north-east of Lemmer, was found dead in a field he was at work in. There were no marks on his body and it is assumed he was killed by the blast from one of the 92 badly targeted 459 kg bombs. It does now appear that apart from some fallen roof tiles and broken windows in the town, it was mainly the meadows and marshes of Lemmer that were damaged - a total of 28 craters in the north-eastern area were revealed when the action was over.

Immediately after the bombing, the formation was attacked by around 35 Me 109s and FW 190s.

The first German fighter shot down in this air battle was FW-190A-4, Wn. 0629, of 4./JG.1 (Schiphol), piloted by Uffz. G. Brunke. The nose of his Fw-190 was hit, probably by 23832's left waist-gunner, Staff Sergeant Lester C Klug, and the aircraft exploded and fell in pieces over South-West Friesland in an area named "Het Heidenschap" (the Shire of Hell in English) west of the Fluessen, an inland lake near Elahuizen. 

 

  Aircraft 23776. "Spirit of 76"

This B-24's name originated from its serial number. In the air battle one or more 20-mm shells from an Fw190 hit 23776 in a vital spot and the bomber’s no.3 engine burst into flames. The airplane dropped out of formation. Shortly after, three men were seen to bail out, but only two parachutes opened. 

There was an explosion, ripping the aircraft apart in mid-air. The rear fuselage and tail units fell into Terschelling Harbor; the rest was scattered over the Noordsvaarder shallows and Terschelling beach. 

The lifeboat, “Brandaris” was only able to save one man, 2nd Lt. Albert W.Glass. He was taken to Terschelling Harbor and a doctor was sent for immediately. Dr. Smit arrived a bit late after attending to a woman who was in childbirth, and found it necessary to amputate part of Lt. Glass’ foot in order to save his life. 

Lt. Glass was the only survivor from both of these 68th Squadron crews. 

He later stated that when the plane exploded he was blown clear and somehow the parachute opened. Around July 1943 Albert Glass was sent to a POW camp and at a later time repatriated home to the States. S/Sgt. Harry L.Ottman and S/Sgt. Glen C.Pierson were recovered from the tailsection. Both were drowned.

Our photo shows nine of the "Spirit of 76" crew (at present no individuals named) with their aircraft in the background.

The crew were - lst Lt Maxwell W Sullivan Jnr - Pilot, 2nd Lt. Duane E. Nelson - Co-pilot,  1st Lt. Raymond C. Lunenfeld - Navigator, 2nd Lt Albert W Glass - Bombardier,  S/Sgt. Frederick W. Clark - Engineer, M/Sgt Benjamin F. Duke - Radio Operator,  S/Sgt Harry L. Ottman - Asst. Radio, S/Sgt. Glen C. Pierson - Waist Gunner, Sgt Thomas W. Crook Jnr - Gunner,  S/Sgt Philip J. Bloomfield - Tail Turret. 

The downing of this  B-24 was claimed by Uffz. Herbert Hanel of 12/JG. He himself was killed three days later,  (30th January) 35 kilometres north-west of Terschelling, when his Fw 190A-4, after shooting down an RAF Wellington, was hit by the exploding debris and plunged into the North Sea.

Thomas W Crook, one of the gunners on the Liberator, was the 19 year old son of Thomas & Anna Crook from Allagheny County, Pennsylvania.
See official report about Thomas W. Cook.

Recollections from my Dad. by Jenifer Wagner.  Thomas William Crook, Jr. was born on August 11, 1923 in the Mount Washington region of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Allegheny County). He was the son of Thomas William Crook, Sr. and Anne Ely Crook.

Tom's childhood was spent living with his family at 715 Boggs Avenue, Pittsburgh, where he attended Pittsburgh public schools. He graduated from South Hills High School (part of the Pittsburgh public school system) in 1940. He was among the first of his family to graduate from high school, an accomplishment of which his family was very proud.

Tom possessed superior building and mechanical abilities, about which his father, Tom Sr. would often say, "You only have to show Tom something once, and then he knows how to do it forever." His stepmother, Dolores, liked to credit Tom for 'inventing' the alarm clock-radio, relaying the story of how he had figured out how to make his radio play when his bedside alarm went off in the morning.

After graduating from high school, Tom worked for the City of Pittsburgh Building and Grounds Department. He aspired to be an architect, and his family always believed that, if he had returned from the war and been given the educational opportunity, he would have made a fine one.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tom enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He chose to enlist rather than wait to be drafted, because he had a great interest in aviation and believed that, if drafted, he would be assigned as a ground soldier.

Tom attended gunnery school in Harlingen, Texas, where the first gunners of WWII were trained on B17s and where gunners were subsequently trained for B24 duty. The B24 in which Tom was performing his duties as a gunner, called the 'Spirit of 76', was shot down over Holland on January 27, 1943.

Though presumed Killed In Action that day, his remains have never been officially identified. Tom's younger brother, Ralph Crook, recalls that when he was a boy, his family would console themselves by fantasizing that Tom had evacuated the plane and landed safely in a friendly country on that fateful day, taking up residency and living out a long and happy life. He also recalls standing alongside his siblings, looking down the family driveway, even long after the war's end, hoping that Tom would suddenly appear in their sight.

In 2013, the Crook family submitted a DNA sample to the US military in the hopes that Tom's remains will someday be identified, so that he can receive the proper burial he deserves for his service and giving the ultimate sacrifice to his country.

 

The Wall of the Missing at Margraten

 

We are working with the US Military through DNA testing to try to identify his remains someday so he can have a proper burial. I have always regretted not trying to contact Albert Glass, the only survivor, for information on my uncle while he was still alive. But now I know he probably wouldn’t have talked anyway based on your website. Jenifer Wagner

 

A Westpoint Memorial

Sully's father was a Colonel in the Army and stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA.

2nd Lt. Albert W. Glass. During 1975-1976, Mr. Marcel N. Huizenga (a colleague researcher) and I tried to make contact - via letters in those days - with former 2nd Lt. Albert W. Glass, via the US - Air Force authorities, and the Internernational Red Cross and even through the local Salvation Army in Georgia. We also tried the International B-24 Liberator Club in San Diego, California, because we had received more then one signal that he was still alive after the war and living again in his home town of Macon, Georgia. He was of course our "No.1 man", to interview if possible, as an involved crewmember and important witness. One of the Salvation Army officials even visited and spoke to him, but he wouldn't say anything about those "bad memories" (!). Of course we respected his wishes and immediately stopped our research in his direction...... Willem

One can only try to imagine the trauma that Albert Glass suffered. Not only did he lose his nine crewmates, but his close friend who enlisted with him at Atlanta. 1st Lt. Reginald Donohue Grant from Thomaston, GA, the bombardier on the third Liberator (23819) which was piloted by Capt. James O'Brien, was one of the two crewmen killed on that aircraft.  When Capt. James O'Brien was himself captured in May 1943 he caught up with 1st Lt. Glass at Stalag Luft III. He later related that Albert was still in a state of shock although he had received good medical care.  Tom

1st Lt. Albert Wilbur Glass (1922-1998) was the son of Macon pharmacist Albert Wilbur Glass and Elizabeth Hudson. Enlistment information. Enlisted 21 January 1942 at Atlanta, Status: Single, without dependents. Height: 69. Weight: 165.

After returning home from Europe he married Ruth Hodgson Powell in 1944. They had three sons and a daughter -Albert Wilbur Glass III (1945), Thomas Powell Glass (1949), Robert Patrick Glass (1953), and Laura Ruth Glass (1960). Albert died at Vero Beach, Florida in June 1998.

His sister, Elizabeth Glass (1921-1983), married Elmo Lee Draughon in 1940. Elmo was a World War II navy officer, who became an executive vice president of First National Bank and later, the president of Sun Trust Bank of Northwest Georgia in Rome.

28 June 2014 - Today I was trying, during many and many hours, and in many and many ways also, all via Google, to find 'something more' regarding that airman, who would not tell us his 'bad memories' in the past: Born in 1922, 2nd Lt. Albert W. Glass (no. O-727333), of Macon (city), Bibb County, Georgia, the Bombardier of  the 'Spirit of '76', who survived that dramatic happening, but was wounded and taken prisoner. To be honest, most 'trails' were not successful; although the date of his death is now known, 6 March 1998, via that 'In Memoriam' of 44 BG I found before. No cemetery in Macon, like Rose Hill Cemetery, Riverside Cemetery, Macon Memorial Park Cemetery or Saints Rest Cemetery, could give me more info. (grave number, grave photo, etc.) No local obituary either, in newspapers etc. (maybe he is cremated in silence and not buried ?). As a volunteer researcher it's my own choice, and my own free time of course, but...... very frustrating sometimes. But just at the moment I was 'complete finished' with it .....when suddenly BINGO!!!  Via clippings of 3 November 1943, on page 3, of ' The Dothan Eagle ', and 6 November 1943, on page 4, of the ' Salt Lake Tribute ', I found the following and very interesting texts:   Willem.

(1) " US Soldiers Returned In Washington : 1st Lt. Albert W. Glass of Macon, Ga. (he was promoted in the meanwhile ?!) and 13 other wounded American soldiers, repatriated under an agreement with Germany for an exchange of wounded and sick prisoners of war, arrived here last night by plane from England (on the night of 2/3 November I guess). Those first Americans to be returned under this agreement, they were taken from German prison camps and brought to Gotenburg, in neutral Sweden, then send to England by ship under safe conduct. They were all taken to Walter Reed Hospital on their arrival here. The Lieutenant is the 1st son of Mrs. Albert W. Glass Sr., of 125 North Nottingham Drive, in Macon, Georgia. "

(2) " The American prisoners apparently had scant notice that they were to be exchanged, although there were  'scuttlebut' rumors of three weeks before the event. A mixed commission of Swiss (of the Red Cross, I guess) and German doctors made the decisions, as Lieutenant Albert W. Glass of Macon, Ga., related. The young Georgian himself got about 10 minutes notice to pull out, on October 17 (in 1943). ' I just grabbed my tooth brush and was gone ', he exclaimed. "

Five injured soldiers and two nurses conversing on a porch of the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C in 1943. In October 1943 several thousand allied repatriated servicemen were transported on the S/S Drottningholm from Göteborg to Liverpool, UK

.

Prisoner exchange 1943. The first task of the Swedish Red Cross was to negotiate with the British and German legations in Stockholm in order to establish a plan for the exchanges. Count Bernadotte af Wisborg, soon to be popularly known as Folke Bernadotte, was appointed leader of the negotiations. On October 14, 1943 a plan was set, stating that allied soldiers were to be transported from Germany to Göteborg on German ships, or by ferry to Trelleborg, Sweden, and continue by special train. German soldiers were to travel to Göteborg on British ships. Allied soldiers were transported on the S/S Drottningholm from Göteborg to Liverpool. To make this possible, cooperation was established between the affected Red Cross district ogranizations, military authorities, the harbor and police authorities in Gothenburg, and the Swedish American Line. All ships were ready to sail on October 21. 4,159 allied soldiers were exchanged via Göteborg to Great Britain, and 831 German soldiers to Germany. In Göteborg, every soldier received a gift package from the Red Cross containing cigarettes, matches, fruit, and chocolate. Another exchange in Gothenburg was carried out in September 1944. That time both the Drottningholm and the Gripsholm were used and the gift package contained chocolate, fruit, Läkerol, matches, postcards and razor blades. 2 636 allied and 2 136 German soldiers were brought back to their homelands. In addition 583 civil internees on each side were exchanged. Tom

 

S/Sgt Harry Lincoln Ottman by Willem.  I found some family details about S/Sgt. Harry Lincoln Ottman, of Elmwood, Pierce County,Wisconsin (USA). He had 6 brothers & 1 sister. His father was Clarence Ross Ottman, born 27 June 1879 - died 16 May 1945 (in Elmwood) and his mother was Rose Mae Funk (born in 1880). However, the most 'crazy thing' now, I downloaded already a portrait photo of his parents....... but alas, could not find not any picture of him!

Birth: Feb. 12, 1914. Ellsworth Pierce County Wisconsin, USA. Death: Jan. 27, 1943. West-Terschelling Terschelling Municipality Friesland .

Enlistment Date: 4 Mar 1942 Enlistment State: Illinois Enlistment City: Fort Sheridan Branch: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law.

Education: 4 years of high school. Civil Occupation: Sales clerk. Marital Status: Single, without dependents. Decorations : Air Medal and Purple Heart.

 

 

His gravestone in their local cemetery at Maple Grove at Ellsworth and his parents Clarence and Rose.

 

 

 

Hello. While researching a request from the Netherlands re: Harry Ottman I found your webpage: I also read that you would like photos of Harry Ottman, so I am attaching those which were made available by the Crain-Ottman American Legion Post 207. See their Facebook page where I also posted today: Crain-Ottman American Legion Post 207        Joanne Baier - Elmwood, WI Historical Group. 1st July 2014.

A

A

I am a niece of Harry Ottman who was on that plane. I am 83 years old and have been doing genealogy for over 40 years. My name is Carol (Ottman) Yauch. My father was Harry's eldest brother. Harry has families that reach back many hundreds of years. I have all the old pictures of the family. He has Cherokee Indian blood and royal blood reaching through most of the countries of Europe. He was very athletic in his high school years and was a very good uncle. I have all the clippings of when he was killed, where he was buried in Holland, and also when his body was brought back. I remember it well as I was 12 years old at that time.

A

Our gratitude to Joanne and to the Crain-Ottman American Legion Post 207, Elmwood, WI.

 

Staff Sergeant Glen C. Pierson

A post from Ancestry.com  March 2014. My name is René Bosma and I live in the little Dutch town of Oosterwolde. Since 4 years I have been investigating the Air war over the Northern part of the Netherlands. It is my main objective to gather as much information as possible about the aircraft and the airmen which came down over the province of Friesland during the Second World War. We consider it very important to keep the memory of the Air war alive, especially the many flyers paid with their lives for our Freedom.

One of the American aircraft I am researching is the B-24 41-23776 “Spirit of ‘76” of 44th bomb group. It made a crash near into the Harbour of the Dutch island of Terschelling. It was on the 27th of January 1943. It came back from a bombing mission on De Lemmer. This is a little harbour village in the north of The Netherlands.

Lemmer was the Target of Opportunity for this mission.

Now I was searching on the internet to find some information about the crew of this B-24. En specific for Staff Sergeant Glen C. Pierson. Glen was the Left waist Gunner on this B-24 bomber. He was born on the 26st of February 1905 in Kansas. Who his parents were I don’t know. Glen was married to Mary Pierson en together with his 2 stepdaughters Bettie June Carman en Donna Patricia Pierson they lived in 1930 at Wallace, Shoshone County, ID. Glen worked as a Carpenter. But something went wrong between Glen and Mary I think. Because the two daughters lived in 1940 with their grandmother Martha Kearney on Banks Street 218 at Wallace. In 1940 Glen lives in his one at Murray, Shoshone County, ID en worked here as a miner.

On the 20th of March 1942 Glen assigned for the Army at Spokane, Washington. After the war his body was reburied at Nine Mile Cemetery, Wallace, Shoshone County, ID.

I hope to find some relatives of Glen or someone who could help me with some additional information about him that’s not on ancestry.com. René Bosma, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands.     

my email: rene_bosma21@hotmail.com

 From his enlistment form. Name: Glen C Pierson. Birth Year: 1905. Kansas State of Residence: Idaho County or City: Shoshone. Enlistment - Date: 20 Mar 1942. Enlistment State: Washington. Enlistment City: Spokane Branch..

Education: Grammar school. Civil Occupation: Semiskilled miner, and mining-machine operator. Marital Status: Divorced, without dependents.  Height: 71  Weight: 154.

 

M/Sgt. Benjamin Franklin Duke, from Alabama, the radio operator, was born 28 December 1910, thus just 22 years old when KIA (!) As we learn now from his grave marker (this downloaded picture of his grave); he was reburied after the war, August 10th 1949, back in the USA (a strong family wish, I guess) at the Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, section 13 - site 645.

He was the son of William & Rose Duke. Age: 29. Birthplace: Alabama. Marital Status: Single. Montgomery, Alabama resident on farm in 1935. Home in 1940 was 29th Bombardment Group, GHI AF, Langley Field, Virginia.  American Citizen Born Abroad. Occupation: Radio Operator. Completed: High School, 1st year. In 1940 he was a radio operator with the 29th Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Virginia. 

 

 

He is also remembered in the Hall of Honor temple, at Birmingham, Alabama which houses the individual names of over 11,000 Alabamians who lost their lives in the defense of freedom. Their sacrifice will be forever remembered in the etched stone. An important mission of the Alabama Veterans Memorial is to educate young people about war and peace and civic responsibility.

1st Lt. Raymond Clayton Lunenfeld. Raymond was the navigator on this B-24. He was born on the 9th of November 1919. His parents were Bernard & Beatrice Lunenfeld. He had two brothers, Leonard J. Lunenfield (1912-1998), Robert L. Lunenfield (1931), and a sister, Hermene Rita Lunenfeld (1915-2011). In 1930 & 1940 they lived at Highland Avenue, Jamaica, Queens County, New York.

From his enlistment form - Raymond C Lunenfeld. Birth Year: 1919. Race: White, citizen.  State of Residence: New York County or City: Queens. Enlistment Date: 29 Aug 1941. Enlistment City: New York City. Branch: Air Corps Grade: Aviation Cadet. Education: 2 years of college. Civil Occupation: Laboratory technician and assistant. Marital Status: Single, without dependents. Height: 69.   Weight: 157.

Interred at Long Island National Cemetery 27th April 1949.

2nd Lt. Duane E. Nelson was the 2nd pilot on this B-24 bomber. Duane was born on the 25 April 1923 at Juneau County, Wisconsin, USA.

His parents were Tilman “Tim” Nelson (1891-1963) and Mabel E. Kuhn Nelson (1898-1993). He had two brothers Merlyn G. Nelson (1923-1980) and Gordon L. Nelson (1926-2003) In 1930 and 1940 they were living at Waupun, Dodge County, Wisconsin. He enlisted in Wisconsin.

From Enlistment details - Duane E Nelson. Birth Year: 1921.  State of Residence: Wisconsin County or City: Dodge. Enlistment Date: 14 Jan 1942. Enlistment State: Wisconsin Enlistment City: Milwaukee Branch: Air Corps Branch  Aviation Cadet Grade Code: Aviation Cadet Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law Component: Army of the United States - includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter. One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service. Officers appointed in the Army of Source. Education: 1 year of college. Civil Occupation: Clerk, general office. Marital Status: Single, without dependents. Height: 70   Weight: 152

He is buried at Margraten Cemetery - Eijsden-Margraten Municipality Limburg, Netherlands.  Holder of the Purple Heart Medal and Air Medal.

The graves at Margraten

S/Sgt. Frederick W. Clark was the engineer. He was born in 1916 and had three years of college education. His civilian occupation was listed as 'draughtsman' and he enlisted at Hartford, Connecticut on 18th September 1941. He was single with no dependents. Height: 67. Weight: 164

S/Sgt Philip J Bloomfield, the tail-turret gunner, was born at Troy, New Jersey in 1920 and was the son of William F. and Rose Mary Keaney Bloomfield. He had two brothers, William and John, and a sister Rose Mary. Before enlisting in the Air Corps in February 1942 he was in high school for four years and then employed as a construction worker, probably with his father's business, Bloomfield Building Wreckers. His brother William F. Bloomfield (1916-2007), was the first person from the Troy area to be drafted into military service at the beginning of World War II. He served in the U.S. Army Corps as a 1st lieutenant in the South Pacific Theater. Upon completion of his military service, William returned home and went to work in the family business and eventually becoming the co-owner. His other brother, John J. Bloomfield (1918-2000), was a Navy veteran serving in the Pacific Theater who later became the co-owner and president of Bloomfield Building Wreckers.

 

Trying to identify individual Spirit of 76 crewmen from that crew photograph


Do you think that my uncle Tom is pictured in this photo? If so which one do you think he is? Jen.

Till now it is hard to say alas who is exactly who on the ' Sully crew photo ', and also, who is missing, because only 9 airmen are pictured on it. And I can't recognize any Sergeant's stripes etc. on that photo. But most likely one thing is clear: the ' artillery crewmen of the ship ' are in the frontline, while the ' flight-deck personnel ' are standing in the background, with their commander/captain at extreme right.

Because of the fact that your uncle was one of the ' main defenders of the ship ', one of the gunners of 'Spirit of '76', he is pictured in the frontline for that reason I think. And therefore, looking at their faces, of which some are known more or less by their portraits now, I would say, he is positioned in front, at extreme left. Who knows, maybe we can find out more, with the help of other people?

At this moment I would guess the following: (1) Second pilot - 2nd Lt. Duane E. Nelson  (2) unknown . (3) unknown.(4) unknown. (5) - Captain ' Sully ' - 1st. Lt. Maxwell W. Sullivan Jr. (6)  Waist Gunner - S/Sgt. Thomas ' Thom ' William Crook Jr.   (7) Lieutenant Albert W. Glass  (8) Navigator - 1st. Lt. Raymond Clayton Lunenfeld.  (9) unknown.

 Perhaps someone in your family has a better photo of your late uncle? By the way, I really hope, you, your dad as well maybe others in your family too, are ' sleeping well ' after all this ' heavy and surprising mail exchange ' etc., during the last days, and also, that no one is ' hurt again '......even though it happened a long time ago. Our goal is trying to only help by hoping to tell a realistic and true story on our site in grateful memory of those boys worldwide for everyone to see.  Willem  July 3rd 2014

Looking closely at Harry Ottman's portrait I would be inclined to disagree with Willem and make him no.2 on the crew photo. At this moment its all purely 'guesswork'. Any help or ideas would be gratefully accepted.    Tom

I am Robert Lunenfeld, the youngest brother of Raymond  who was killed over Holland on January 27,1943.   My brother was the Navigator and a First Lieutenant.     

In your photo the bottom row are the officers (four) and the upper row are the Sgts.

My brother is on the bottom row in the middle (incorrectly shown as #8).   No #7 was   Allan Glass, the  Bombardier, and at the ends are the Pilots . If possible can it be corrected?     January 28 2015

 

 

 

 

Captain Howard L. Adams, piloting Maisie, had to abort this mission at 17,OOOft with a clogged line to the supercharger on No.3 engine. He went down to watch the others return to Shipdham after dinner and noticed that two Liberators were missing. He wrote in his diary: Later I found out that they were my friend and West Point classmate, Lt Maxwell W Sullivan [Flying Spirit 0176], and a Lt [Nolan B] Cargile, both of the 68th.

On talking with the others, I learned what had happened. As they neared the German border around thirty enemy fighters came up to meet them - mostly Fw 190s and Me 109s. For around half an hour they were under attack and not being able to find their target, they dropped their bombs on a [Dutch] coastal town [at Lemmer]. During one of the numerous frontal attacks, the Huns scored a hit on Sully's No.3 engine, setting it on fire, which soon grew in fury as he dropped out of formation.

Soon the fire had burnt a large section of the wing away and in no time the right wing folded back along the fuselage and Sully plummeted down [into Terschellina harbour] for his last landing. The crews in the other planes watched helplessly as his plane disintegrated in the air and fell into the sea like a burning rag. Two men were seen to jump out and float towards the sea in their parachutes. A third man jumped but his chute trailed out behind him, never seeming to open fully. Their fate is still unknown. [Lt Albert W Glass was the only survivor but he had to have a leg amputated after being rescued.]

A little while later another Fw 190 came in on a head-on attack aiming at Cargile's plane. Either through accident or design, as he went to turn away, his wing clipped the wing and then the right tail fin of Cargile's B-24, knocking both off. The Fw 190 [possibly Fw Fritz Koch of 12 Staffel JOl, who was apparently killed by fire from a 68th Squadron Liberator] seemed to fold up and then go into its last dive.

With part of his wing gone the big B-24 dropped away like a fluttering leaf, finally going into a tight spin, its fate sealed. None of the crew was seen to jump. Capt Wilkinson, a very swell fellow and friend, was the navigator in Sullivan's ship. As the attack continued many of our ships were shot up, but no more were knocked down. Capt O'Brien, also of the 68th, had a waist gunner and bombardier killed and his navigator wounded. Nearly every ship had a hole in it somewhere, Billings having a shell come through the cabin between him and his co-pilot. Everyone was sobered up by this raid and we're beginning to realize that war is no picnic.

Howard Adams lost his life during a raid on the Uboat pens at Wilhelmshaven a month later when Maisie was downed by Lt Heinz Knoke. On February 26th, his blazing B24 (41-23777), crashed into a farmhouse 200 yards from Zwischenahn airfield in northwestern Germany. Only two of the crew, the navigator and the assistant radioman, managed to bail out. Also on board was a New York Times war correspondent, Robert Perkins Post.

 

 

Debris from the wreckage of Flying Spirit 0176 recovered in the 1970s. The piece of aluminium was found on Noordsvaarder beach and the recovered filter switch was restored to this condition by Willem.

 

This is how the filter switch appeared on the B-24. It was where the headphone and microphones were plugged in. There were probably three of these on the aircraft for those flight crew positions connected with navigation - the pilot, co-pilot, and navigator. Tom

 

A cutaway showing the interior and crew positions from a B-24

 

Aircraft 23690.

 

Liberator 23690 was attacked by an Fw 190 which then was fired on by their right waist gunner Sgt Herbert Gentry. Portions of its fin and rudder flew off. This resulted in the damaged Fw 190, flown by 25 year old Feldwebel Fritz Koch of Luftwaffe unit 12./JG1, colliding with the left wing-tip of Liberator 23690 and both aircraft being forced into a flat spin and then crashing into the shallow Wadden Sea.

No one was able to parachute from either plane, and there were no survivors. Despite a large-scale search by both the Germans and Dutch, only the bodies of three American airman, Capt. Oscar Wilkinson, S/Sgt. Verne C. Stewart, and T/Sgt Saul Siskind, were found and identified. The others are remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten cemetery.

The crew of 23690 were -

Pilot 1st Lt. Noland B. Cargile from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Co-pilot 2nd Lt. Kenneth H. Moore from Enid, Oklahoma.

Navigator Capt. Oscar H. Wilkinson from Jackson, Mississippi.

Bombardier 2nd Lt. Paul H. Keilman from Missoula, Montana.

Engineer T/Sgt. Saul Suskind from the Bronx, New York City.

Radio Operator S/Sgt. Michael Geriok from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Asst. Radio S/Sgt. Verne C. Stewart from Delta, Colorado.

Asst. Eng. S/Sgt. Paul M. Crane from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Asst. Radio S/Sgt. Solomon I. Wise from Chicago, Illinois.

Gunner S/Sgt. Arthur A. van Cleef from Roselle, New Jersey.

 

One of the 3 lost German fighters, the one crashing into the Wadden Sea together with the first B-24D, was FW-190 Wn. 5604, "Gelbe 3" (Yellow 3) - of the 3rd Staffel  - piloted by Feldwebel Fritz Koch and as far as I know he started from Schiphol Airfield / Amsterdam (occupied Holland). His body was recovered 7 April 1943, at the sea dike near Roptazijl village /Friesland (N.E. of Harlingen). Fritz Koch was buried in Leeuwarden some days later, in the Noorder Begraafplaats (plot of the German Ehrenfriethof there), a/h. Schapendijkje. He was reburied after the war, in the German War Cemetery at Ysselstein / Limburg (Southern Holland).  Willem

 

A memorial stone to Tootsie Cargile, who played for Tulsa University, and the grave at Margraten of Capt. Oscar H. Wilkinson

1st Lt. Noland B. 'Tootsie' Cargile was one of twin sons born to farmer James Cargile & Mattie Cargile at Arkansas on 24th September 1915. He was an alumni of Oklahoma Military Academy and attended Tulsa University before joining the USAAF. Clippings from his home town local newspaper reveal him as a man of many talents. At 18 he was president of the Hope Community Band, a successful boxer, and a useful member of his college football team.

Nolan Cargile was named president of the high school and Hope Community Band at election of officers Tuesday night, it was announced by L. E. Grumpier, bandmaster. Other officers are: Dolan Cargile, vice-president; David Davis, secretary- treasurer; and Herman Valentine, band reporter. Hope Star, 1934.

A sensational four-round battle between Nolan (Tootsie) Cargile of Hope and Milton Powell, the pride of Patmos, climaxed a night of furious fighting which claimed four knockouts at the South Walnut street arena Thursday night. The Cargile-Powell fight. which held spectators tense throughout the four rounds, ended in a draw. It was hard-fought from the opening bell to the final minute, and was the second time the two athletes have battled to a draw. A big delegation of Patmos fans, which helped swell the stadium to capacity proportions, rallied around Powell. Cargile had an equal number of boosters pulling for him. At the start of the battle Cargile rushed from his corner and pounced upon his opponent, with two stiff left jabs to the face. Powell took it and then retaliated with blows to Cargile's head. Determined to win, both fighters fought fast throughout the four rounds, giving the appearance of a first-class grudge buttle. Cargile brought blood ill the second round, but it was a minor injury to Powell's lip which did not handicap the Patmos pounder.  The Hope Star, Hope, Arkansas. Friday, August 6,1937

His twin brother Dolan was also well known locally. Dolan B. Cargile, son of Mrs. Mae Cargile of Hope, a student in Louisiana State University, has been promoted to assistant manager of the Paramount theater at Baton Rouge, according to a news item from L.S.U. Mr. Cargile was graduated from Hope High School in 1935, entered Magnolia A. and M. that fall, and entered L. S. U. the fall of 1937, being enrolled in tho College of Agriculture. He will continue his studies along with his theater work. He is a member of the university concert band, and had been working at the Varsity theater, near the university campus, prior to his promotion to the Paramount. The Hope Star

Corporal Dolan Cargile has been selected to attend the Coast Artillery Officer Candidate School according to an announcement from the headquarters of the Anti-aircraft Replacement Training Center. Corporal Cargile was one of nine men selected this week to attend the Camp. If he successfully completes course of approximately three months he will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps of the United States. Students for the Officer Candidate Schools arc selected on a basis of an ability to learn, and leadership characteristics as well as education. The new system of Officer Candidate Schools for enlisted men is part of the program for the rapidly expanding armed forces of the USA. In Hope Corporal Cargile resided at Shover. The Hope Star, 1942.  (Unlike his twin brother, Dolan B. Cargile fortunately survived the war. The distinguished veteran died at Tulsa on Monday, December 3rd, 2007. He was 92.)

Technical Sergeant Saul Suskind, the engineer on 23690, was born September 12, 1921 at the Bronx, New York City, the son of Isaac and Freda Suskind. He joined the USAAF in late 1939.

Going through recruit training with him was Mr. Alfred Suskind, unrelated to Saul and from Manhattan. He later wrote: "He and I went through recruit training together and his bunk was right next to me in the barracks after we were turned to duty. He  went to instructor school at Chanute Field, Illinois. We stayed in touch with each other until he went overseas. His picture appeared in the daily news paper and the article read that he was the first casualty reported by the Red Cross. Of course we confused a lot of people in the New York area who thought it was me. I went into the NCO club at Mitchell Field where we first met and the bartender said I was dead."

The 1940 census lists Saul among the trainees at Fourth School Squadron Ac Chanute Field Rantoul, Champaign, Illinois. From 1922 to 1938 Chanute Field had provided the only technical training for the small peacetime air arm of the U.S. Army. In late summer 1938 work began on two massive hangars. By the following year the headquarters building, hospital, warehouses, barracks, officers' quarters, test cells, a fire station, and a 300,000 gallon water tower were all finished. The total expenditure amounted to $13.8 million with most of it being funded by President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA). Two additional hangars, theaters, numerous barracks and family housing units, a gymnasium, and a network of concrete runways were also added. These projects were completed in 1941, just months before Pearl Harbor.

Saul Suskind is buried at Margraten in Holland. Listed as his beneficiaries in 1968 were his mother, Frieda Suskind, living at 600 Timpson Place, Bronx, NY, and his sister, Ethel Kovel, living at 1749 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY.

His service photo was kindly passed to us by Barry Wall.

 

S/Sgt. Verne C. Stewart from Delta, Colorado, the assistant radio operator, was born at North Loup, Valley County, Nebraska. He was the son of Noble and Bernice Stewart, and brother of Denzil, Ruby, Everettme and James. He enlisted in the Air Force on the 24th of March 1942.

His aircraft crashed about 11.55 hrs, 27th January 1943, in the Wadden Sea shallows between Harlingen and Terschelling but his body was only washed ashore on Terschelling island almost one year later, apparently on the North Sea side beach - not on the Wadden Sea side. It was recovered on 21 January 1944, and after ID-checks (including his dog tag, which had the number 38148621 T420), he was buried the next day in the Longway Cemetery at West-Terschelling village, grave 113. At present we do not know why he was reburied after the war in Belgium when his crewmates were taken to Margraten in Holland.

 

S/Sgt. Michael Geriok, the radio operator, was from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Born there in 1911, he was the son of railroad boilermaker Harry Geriok & Francis (Fanny) Geriok, and brother of Mary and Stephen.

His parents were Ukranian migrants from Galicia in Austrian-governed southern Poland who arrived in the USA in 1906.

Michael enlisted at Pittsburgh on 14th May 1941. His civilian occupation was listed as stock clerk. He had four years of High School education, was single with no dependents, weighed 151lbs, and was 5ft 10.

He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

He has no known grave and his name is remembered on the the Wall of the Missing at Margraten Cemetery.

 

 2nd Lt. Paul H. Keilman, the bombardier, was from Missoula, Montana.

The son of petrol & oil merchant Nicholas Keilman and his wife Caroline, he was born at Judith Basin, Montana in 1919.

Paul had two brothers, Lester & Myron. He enlisted at Missoula as an aviation cadet on 1st November 1941. Education: 3 years of college. Civil Occupation: Actor. Marital Status: Single, without dependents. Height: 68. Weight: 148.

Paul has no known grave and is remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten.

 

 

S/Sgt Arthur Abram Van Cleef, one of the gunners, was born in Union County, New Jersey in 1903. He was the son of railroad engineer Isaac Van Cleef and his wife Elizabeth, and brother to Edgar and Margaret. In civilian life he was a clerical worker at the Stock Exchange, married to Elizabeth and living in Roselle, New Jersey. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart. He is also remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten.

 

 

 

Arthur's name on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten and his parent's graves at Pluckemin Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Somerset Co., New Jersey.

 

As far as is known by me, his family is descended from farmer Jan van Cleef (born in 1622), who came over from the Dutch - German borderline area, ' Rhenish Duchy ', Cleve (in Dutch is Kleef), which is situated in Western Germany, between the river Rhein and the (Dutch) city of Nijmegen. He migrated to the ' New World ' and eventually settled on Long Island.

In the 1940's, during those wartime years, his dear mother was living a very sad life. Her daughter Margaret Fraser van Cleef who was married in 1922 to John Wingfield King, died in 1941. And then, one of her two sons, Arthur Abram Van Cleef, 'our airman', was MIA from 27-01-1943; and later, her husband, the father of Arthur and Margaret, died in 1944 (!). How much pain can someone suffer..?  Willem.

 

S/Sgt. Paul M. Crane, aged 17, the  Assistant Engineer, and belly gunner, was from Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. We have no information about his family but it is recorded that he was single with no dependents, was 5ft 11 and weighed 158lbs. Paul enlisted at Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania on the 2nd January 1942.

His name is recorded on the Lackawanna Honor Roll. The monument shown here at Lackawanna, was dedicated in 1977. It is meant to depict the faith, hope, and love of the war veterans for the nation they served. It honors the 2,000 Lackawanna County veterans who died in the nation's wars of the 20th century. Paul Crane is also remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten. He was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

 

Two City Youths on Casualty List of U.S Forces

Sergeant Crane Missing in Action and Marinucci Suffers Wounds

Lackawanna County casualties in World War 2 were increased by two yesterday when word was received here that Staff Sergeant Paul Crane, 452 Market Street, was missing in action since Jan. 27 in the Western European area.

Believed to be one of the youngest soldiers from the region to hold the post of bombardier in the USAAF, Sgt Crane arrived in England last June 11, the anniversary of his seventeenth birthday. He is the son of Martin and Lourdes Crane. His mother last heard from him in a letter sent on Jan. 22 from England in which he disclosed that he was enjoying a three day furlough and " was glad to get it to rest my nerves". He enlisted Jan 2 1942.       

The Scranton Times - from February 12, 1943

Our sincere thanks to Martina Soden from Scranton Public Library and to Brian Fulton.

 

 

Capt. Oscar Hudson Wilkinson was the navigator on this aircraft. He was born in Franklin County, Mississippi on 15th April 1915, the son of Stephen & Rosa Wilkinson, and brother to Edward and Earl. He was awarded the Purple Heart. Oscar was first buried on Terschelling island, but reburied at Margraten cemetery after the War on 24th October 1945 in Plot O, Row 8, Grave 10.

 

 

The grave of Oscar H. Wilkinson. My grandmother adopted that grave in 1945 and after her passing in 2000 my father adopted the grave so it's still in our family.     Frank Gubbels.

 

"My friend Kevin Refermat and I visited the Netherlands in May to film a documentary about the cemetery in Margraten and the adoption program there.We are American university students."

Here is a preview of our film.


S/Sgt. Solomon Wise was the Assistant Radio Operator on this aircraft.  He came from Chicago, Illinois and had a brother Leon Wise who lived at 7817 Essex Avenue, Chicago. We have no record of his age or parents but one record gives Solomon's last known address as 'the Netherlands Hotel' in Kansas City, Missouri. It was from that city that he enlisted in the USAAF. He was awarded the Purple Heart & Air Medal. Solomon has no known grave and his name is remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten.

 

 

The spectacular World War Two Memorial at Chicago

 

2nd Lt. Kenneth H Moore the co-pilot was from Enid, Stephens County, Oklahoma. He was born in 1917 had two years of college and was a book-keeper in civilian life. He enlisted in the USAAF on 19th August 1941 at Oklahoma City. Kenneth was listed as divorced with no dependents. He was 5ft 11 and weighed 139lbs. He is remembered on the Wall of the Missing at Margraten cemetery.

 

 Aircraft 23819

 

In Aircraft 23819 (Rugged Buggy), piloted by Capt. Jim O'Brien, both his bombardier Reginald D. Grant and navigator Lt. Leroy Perlowin had been hit by 20-mm shells, killing Lt. Grant and seriously wounding Lt. Perlowin. Another shell hit the fuselage and gave S/Sgt. Guilford a leg injury. One of the gunners, Sgt. Manford S. Deal, was hit by a bullet and died almost immediately. The machine guns in the nose of the ship were destroyed by a 20-mm shell and the tail turret became inoperative, as was the radio equipment. Smoke was coming from the fuel cells behind no.2 engine and the aircraft quickly lost 5,000 feet, and was quite alone in the sky. Engineer Robert Billman probably saved the ship by quickly transferring the precious fuel from the burning cells to others. 

Our 44th Group lost sight of the lead B-17 groups because of clouds over the channel.

When we broke through the clouds at 18,000 ft at the Dutch Coast we were jumped by the best of the Luftwaffe-about 35 FW 190s. The Group leader was lost and had no hopes of reaching the target so we salvoed our load at Lemmer, Holland. On the first head-on fighter attack my flight lost Lt Nolan Cargile and crew in AC #23690 when a dead FW 190 pilot crashed into them. Lt Maxwell Sullivan and his crew also went down in AC #23776. The bombardier Albert Glass, was blown out of the AC and survived with a broken leg when he was picked up by a German shore patol. When I saw him later at Stalag Luft III he was still in a state of shock although he had received good medical care. He was repatriated on a POW exchange in June 1944 because of his injuries.

We had one propellor feathered and smoke from our left wing. Flight EngineerT/Sgt Bob Biliman calmly used his technical skills to transfer the fuel out of three fuel cells in the left wing to fuel cells in the right wing and we made it home to Shipdham where fire crews found three left wing fuel cells. They were just a heap of ashes when we landed at Shipdham having smoldered for 250 miles across the North Sea. Boy, were we lucky except for Grant and Deal who gave their lives for their country. 19 other buddies from our flight had also perished. Capt. Jim O'Brien.

Because radio communications were inoperative, 819's skipper Capt. O'Brien signaled to Lt. Diehl in 816 who then examined the aircraft through binoculars and realised that its nose had been hit by enemy fire and that the navigator and bombardier were injured. He broke formation and dropped down to aid the severely damaged aircraft, which by now was almost powerless to protect itself, and the two Liberators returned together on the hazardous journey to base. Although A/C #819 was about 5000 feet below the formation and off to the left, Lt. Diehl jeopardized his aircraft in order to give protection to Capt. O'Brien's aircraft #819, which would have been a complete loss including the lives of the remaining crew members aboard. Captain O'Brien's aircraft had no protection from the nose or the tail guns, for both sections had been put but of commission by enemy action, and his aircraft was in grave danger of attacks from twin-engine bombers, which were hovering above, waiting for a possible attack on any straggler. Aircraft #816 took over lead position and both aircraft lost altitude to 8000 feet. Both planes returned to the home base as a result of excellent navigation on the part of Lt. Kelly who aided the pilots of these two lonely aircraft all the way across the North Sea.

1st Lt. Reginald D. Grant, the 23 year old bombardier. When a civilian, he lived at 506 Nottingham St, Thomaston, Georgia. He was single, without dependents, 5ft 6 and weighed 128lbs. Then on his eighth mission, he was a close friend of fellow Georgian, bombardier 21 year old Albert Glass, the sole survivor from 'Spirit of 76' on that January 27th mission. They had enlisted in Atlanta at the same time and trained as bombardiers together. Another good friend was Sgt Hugh Salter, also from Thomaston, Georgia, his crew chief on AC #23819.

Reginald D. Grant, United States Army Air Forces, was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy while serving with the 8th Air Force in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. General Orders: Headquarters, 8th Air Force, General Orders No. 38 (1943). He was buried at Thomaston.

 

Sgt. Manford Solwold Deal was born at Clay County, Minnesota on August 5th 1917, the son of carpenter Manford Joseph Deal and his wife Marion Solwood. He had four years of High School, was 5ft 10 inches tall, and weighed 162lbs. He was living at Grand Traverse County, Michigan when enlisting at Fort Custer in March 1942. After his death he was awarded the Silver Star, Air Medal, and Purple Heart. He is buried in England at the Cambridge American Cemetery. He has a memorial at Circle Hill Cemetery, Williamsburg, Grand Traverse County, Michigan.

Bombardier Reginald D. Grant and navigator Lt. Leroy Perlowin had been hit by those 20-mm shells, killing Lt. Grant and seriously wounding Perlowin. Another shell hit the fuselage and gave S/Sgt. Guilford a leg injury. Sgt. Manford S. Deal was hit by a bullet and was killed almost immediately.

 

His monument at Circle Hill Cemetery, Williamsburg, Grand Traverse County, Michigan.

 

Aircraft 23819's luck finally ran out when it was brought down by two German ME109s during the Kiel mission on May 14th 1943. Three of the crew were killed and Capt. O'Brien and six of his crewmates taken prisoner.

 

 

 

 

see original film of a bombing raid by the 44th from Shipdham (no audio or date)

 

 

 

 

 

A Bf109 encountering a B-24

 

 

 

German Pilots' Claims for 27 January 1943

A

Oblt. Hugo Frey: 5 2./JG 1 B-17 - 20 km. N.W. Tossens: 800 m. 11.15

Fw. Siegfried Zick: 5 2./JG 1 B-17 - E. Jadebüsen [Jade Bay]: 4.500 m. 11.23

Uffz. Otto Werner: 1 3./JG 1 B-17 - Wallen: 7.500 m. 11.25

Lt. Paul Arlt: 1 1./JG 1 B-17 - 15 km. N. Wilhelmshaven: 9.000 m. 11.30

Uffz. Herbert Hänel: 1 12./JG 1 B-24 - 543 7C3: 7.000 m. in Waddenzee 11.53

Uffz. Josef Löhr: 1 12./JG 1 B-24 - 544 7B2: 6.000 m. West-Terschelling 11.55

 

Oberleutnant Hugo Frey made his claim for the first B-17 downed over Wilhemshaven on 27th January 1943. He was shot down and killed in his first Fw 190 during the first major USAAF raid on Berlin on March 6th 1944 near Erm-Sleen Holland, after shooting down 4 four-engined bombers himself, when his A-6 was hit by return fire from 452 BG gunners, and crashing at Sleen, near Erm and Coevorden, Holland. His first victory, a P-24 in the Poczalkowo Poland area, 4 September, 1939. His 2nd, a Potez 63 SW of Amiens on 27 may, 1940. He was one of the Home Defense's most successful four engined killers, with 32. His victories were all in the West. His 5th, a B-17 20 km northwest of Tossens on 27 January, 1943. His 14th, a Beaufighter N of Langeoog on 4 October, 1943. His 15th, a B-17 SE of Wangerooge on 8 October, 1943. A triple victory, Nos 19, 20 & 21 on 26 November, 1943; a B-17 at Cloppenburg, a B-17 SE of Oldenburg and a P-47 in the Leeuwarden area. His last four victories, 29th, 30th, 31st & 32nd, on 6 March, 1944, all B-17's.

Views from Fliegerhorst Leeuwarden during the summer of 1943. Engine testing of a Me.Bf.109 fighter of III.#JG.1 and a 'welcome siesta' for the ground crew of this Me.Bf.-109  ('Black 8') of 8.#JG.1.

27 Jan.1943, that first large scale US-operation against Germany directly, via Holland during daylight, was an important ' turning point ' in the air battle  for the Luftwaffe defenders at Fliegerhorst Leeuwarden with the arrival of more and more daylight fighters  in the summer of 1943. After the 'debacle' of the forced efforts of the Luftwaffe with some local night-fighters in February 1943 they were quickly losing  their valuable ' Nachtjagd Experten ' in that way. They were needed against the nightly RAF interventions, but were simply unprepared for a role against the ' Fat Cars ' of the 8th A.F. with their close together and self defending combat formations.

 

Siegfried Zick achieved a total of thirty-one confirmed victories-the majority of them during the late stage of the war. He specialized in hunting down U.S. Lightning escort fighters, and several of the casualties in 8th USAAF's 20 FG and 55 FG were due to him. Zick was posted to Jagdstaffel Münster-Loddenheide (later 2./JG 1) in the Netherlands in June 1941. His first victory was achieved against an RAF Blenheim on August 12, 1941. During 8 USAAF's first raid against Germany on January 27, 1943, Zick managed to knock down a 44 BG Liberator. On November 13, 1943, when JG 1 and JG 11 shot down seven U.S. 55 FG Lightnings without any loss to themselves, Zick scored his eighth victory. On January 5, 1944, U.S. 20 and 55 FGs lost seven Lightnings again, and one of them ended up on Zick's killboard as his number twelve. On March 23, 1944, a Liberator fell before his guns as Zick's twentieth confirmed victory. Zick's victories must be seen against the background of the immense suffering brought upon the Luftwaffe units in the Home Defense during this period. JG 11 suffered heavier losses than any other Luftwaffe unit through March 1944-it registered sixty-two fighters lost, with forty-seven pilot casualties. Zick's next two victories were achieved against Lightnings from U.S. 20 FG and 55 FG on April 13, 1944. Another 20 FG Lightning was shot down by Zick on May 22, 1944.

Fw. Otto Werner of  6./JG 11 during an air battle and flying Bf 109 G-5/U2 y (15712) Yellow 14 Combat, was wounded and crashed into the sea on 27 September 1943.

Lt. Paul Arlt was killed in action on 26 July, 1943 during aerial combat at Siemanswolde by Aurich. His 1st victory, a B-17 15 km north of Wilhelmshaven on 27 January, 1943. His second known victory was a B-17 downed 11 June 1943 5 km north of Wilhelmshaven.

Uffz. Herbert Hanel of 12/JG was killed in action on 30 January, 1943 after engaging a Wellington bomber. He was hit by debris from the Wellington and did not survive the impact, crashing into the North Sea, 35 km NW of Terschelling Holland. One known victory, his 1st, a B-24 into the Waddenzee on 27 January, 1943. His 2nd, a Wellington on 30 January, 1943 into the North Sea. Alternate spelling: Haenel.

Fw Josel Löhr was killed in action 12 April, 1944 during aerial combat with a P-47 at Oberkleen, near Wetzlar. No known grave. One known victory, his 1st, a B-24 west of Terschelling on 27 January, 1943. His 2nd, a B-17, at Geldermalsen on 22 June, 1943. His 3rd, a B-17, on 28 July, 1943. A 4th, a B-17 on 5 December, 1943.

 

 

 

 

October 1945 - all the deceased US-airmen from Terschelling isle were brought by inland cargo boat to the mainland for reburial.

 

 

 

The crowd gathered in October 1945 to show respect for the US airmen on their way to re-burial at Margraten.

 

 

 

Terschelling 1943 showing the radar installation on the hill on the left

Combat vapor trails over Terschelling in January 1943

 

 

On the (German?) photo above you can see the vapor trails in the air over West-Terschelling village and harbour, after the air battle  on Wednesday 27 January 1943. Near the middle of this picture, you can see the old brick built Brandaris lighthouse (with the German lookout-post on it) and directly to the right of that (with the flat rooftop and the chimney) you see the naval college in West-Terschelling, named Willem Barendsz Zeevaartschool; and in between these buildings, you can clearly see that damned Wassermann S radar-pylon of the Germans.. The US-air-fleet of this historical day, was flying straight over it!  Not only the Dutch people, the islanders of Terschelling were surprised........ the Marine FLAK-soldiers, all the Germans in the harbour and village, were outside and looking into the clear and sunny winter's sky, following the whole battle, without doing any shooting themselves ! And, the air raid alarm was given late......  Willem

 

 

 

The lifeboat Brandaris 

  Liberators on a mission in 1943

 

 

 

see  68th Squadron's Casualty Report January 1943

Christmas 1944

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January the 27th, 1943. The US air bombardment on the Dutch town and harbour of Lemmer.  (by former local schoolboy Wiebe Feenstra  

It was about half past eleven in the morning, when we were still in the classroom at school, we were suddenly hearing and feeling heavy explosions. Mr. De Vries was teaching us geography and it was almost the end of our lessons of the day (every Wednesday afternoon we were free of school).

With those horrible explosions, the walls of the school - at least 40 cm. in thickness - were shaking. The whole of the building was shaking, like the leaves on a tree in the wind. Plaster was falling down from the ceilings and the blackboard at the front of the classroom, with its Europe map of the "New Great German Reich" on it, tumbled downwards to the floor. 

Our teacher was scared, like every one. He was "white" in his face - but commanded all of us to leave the classroom in a hurry, as far as possible away from the windows, and lay ourselves down in the corridor, face to the floor and with our arms and hands over our heads. After some minutes waiting in this way - not more than 5 minutes - it was passed and silent again; only some girls were screaming for their mums. After some extra minutes, our teacher was looking outside the school, to see for himself if "the coast was clear again" and safe for the children to go home as soon as possible. He told us airplanes were still hanging in the air and probably bombs had fallen....(the reason for the explosions).

My neighbour's girl Roelie Visser and I were running home, through the Schoolstreet and other small streets of Lemmer, via the shortest route. Meanwhile, because of some clouds, we didn't see any planes, but we could hear their engines and the sound of shooting high in the air. At home my mother and sister were in a panic: father was still at work in the coal gas plant (Eastside of Lemmer) - the direction where the bombs came down...... But a happy ending after all, when father came home soon, and not hurt! 

 

Douwe and Klaas Tot

 Crew members of the Brandaris

(1) 1945 photo of the local Terschelling Resistance group with their leader Doctor David Smit (the one who is smoking). He gave medical aid to Albert Glass after the bombardier was brought in by the lifeboat. (2) 1940 pre-invasion photo of Dutch anti-aircraft defences, a Dutch 2.0 cm. FLAK-gun (AC Oerlikon), positioned on the dunes near Terschelling West village.

 

After receiving a message from the Deutschen Wehrmacht that a plane had crashed and there were bodies in the water, the Dutch 'Brandaris' lifeboat, skippered by Douwe Tot, was out by 12 o'clock and soon found only one survivor, Lt Albert Glass.. He was taken on board and brought into the port after being given coffee with rum. The lifeboat crew continued with their search until 4 pm when it was getting dark. At 4.30 they transported the injured Lt Glass to Harlingen, arriving at 7.30pm where it is believed he was taken to the hospital at Leeuwarden.

The next day the lifeboat was again out recovering the bodies of lost airmen.

Douwe Tot (1886-1959), "a man of very few words", served as Skipper of the lifeboat for 20 years from 1930. During that period he participated in 145 rescues and saved 256 people. He and his son Klaas were fearless and skillful sailors and are remembered with affection by the people of Terschelling and nearby islands. The crew in 1943 was - Skipper - Douwe Tot, Cox / Wheelsman - Y. de Beer, 2nd Cox - Klaas Tot,  Engineer - I. Swart, crew - Y. Lettinga, S. Dijken, and I. Bloem.

(1) German 10.5 cm. FLAK-guns, in at least 4 dune positions, from the 'West-Batterie' at the 'Seinpaalduin. (2) The same German 10.5 cm. FLAK-guns at the 'Seinpaalduin' (in 'West-Batterie') under daylight camouflage.

 

(1) The so called 'Berghof' (mountain farmhouse) at the 'Seinpaalduin' - German barracks under camouflage. (2) German safety trench near the harbour, 'Groene Strand' and 'Huize St. Brandariuskercke' in Terschelling West village.

 

 

The Brandaris in 2014

Yesterday, Fri. 4 July, Angeline and I were visiting Harlingen city / harbour for many hours, because of the ' Tall Ships 2014 ' - event there.

Under perfect weather conditions, at least till the evening, and like thousands of other visitors, we were climbing aboard some of many historical and majestic sailing ships, the ' Great Old Ladies of the Sea', the ' Europa ' and the ' Stad Amsterdam ' (both Dutch), the ' Statsraad Lehmkuhl ' (Norwegian), the ' Sørlandet ' (also Norwegian), the ' Pogoria ' and the ' Fryderic Chopin ' (both Polish), the ' Tenacious ' and the ' Pelican of London ' (British), and also the ' MIR ' and the ' Kruzenshtern ' (Russian), the ' Christian Radich ' (Norwegian), and looking around at the many other beautiful ships - very photogenic.

But then suddenly, while positioned at the upper deck of the ' Statsraad Lehmkuhl ' and taking photos, I looked downwards to the KNRM - lifeboat station, and I saw another very nice boat again...... my heart was really beating faster: the ' Brandaris II ', that old rescue boat of Skipper Douwe Tot of Terschelling island!

Very beautiful all those tall ships indeed, but now, I wanted to board right away that small and well known blue tug, because for a while I was back my childhood years....... to see, to hear and to feel again!

I was remembering my first steps on it ever, as a young boy in the late 1950's in West-Terschelling harbour, impressed by that simple but robust boat, and the wonderful heroic sailors' stories about life and death, during winter storms etc., and picking up overthere.

The ' Brandaris ' is now a museum boat, still floating with the help of many sponsors and volunteers, and since 13 June 2014 back home in Terschelling harbour, restored and powered again by 2 original ' Kromhout ' M.P. engines (replacements coming from an emergency power plant out of a hospital in the Netherlands) giving the boat a top speed of about 8.5 knots, and they were sounding....... so beautiful !

Thus, that afternoon I am aboard again that boat which had saved the life of Lt. Albert Wilbur Glass, the Bombardier of the ' Spirit of '76 '. I was only taking pictures this time alas because I wasn't invited for one of the harbour trips in Harlingen.

I think photo no. 2 is the most important picture for our story, showing us the deck between the (open) wheel house/skippers' post, and the safety or jumping net in front of it, the outside deck where Lt. Glass was laid down, his leg badly wounded, when they first picked him up from the surface of the sea (after drifting in the waves in his life jacket).

The ' Brandaris II ' was a Dutch lifeboat, stationed in West-Terschelling harbour and operated by the NZHRM (Dutch) lifeboat company. It still carried out its duties during the wartime on the German occupied Terschelling island, in Friesland/the Netherlands. And although there were more than once ' troubles ' between the (local) military authorities of the Germans and the rescue sailors of the company, most of the time they simply did their rescue work duties the same as before the war, although now with 'extra dangers', because of the sea mines, bombs and torpedoes, and, of course, most bouys and all the lighthouses were out of use!

 

The recovered bodies were originally buried at Terschelling and all believed to be reburied at Margraten in 1945. The following are the Terschelling cemetery details.

 

Grave No. 76 Pierson, Glen, Sgt. Liberator B24-41 23776 

Grave No. 77 Ottman, Harry L, Asst. Radio operator, B24-4123776

Grave No. 78 Clark, Frederick W, Engineer B24-4123776.

Grave No. 79 Sullivan, W. Maxwell, Lt.. 1st pilot - B24-4123776.

Grave No. 81 Lunenfeld, Raymond DL, Navigator 30/01/1943, B2 4-4123776.  Reburied 1949 at Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, Suffolk co., NY.

Grave No. 82 Bloomfield, Philip J., Sgt. Tail Gunner. 30/01/1943, B24-4123776

Grave No. 83 Wilkinson, Oscar H., Capt. Navigator, B24-41-23690

Grave No. 84 Suskind, Paul, Radio Operator, B24-41-23690.

Grave No. 85 Duke, Benjamin F., Sgt. Radio operator, B24-4123776

 

 

 

 

West-Terschelling village and harbour

 

 

 

The aerial view - (1)  Old part of the (fishing) harbour, named "De Kom". Wreckage from a/c. #776 came down here.  (2)  Family house requisitioned by the Germans, named St. Brandariskercke, in the Western outskirts of the village.  (3)  The wartime German MG-post - entrance via tunnel below the road, from St. Brandariskercke - today there is a statue /sailors memorial. (4)  Old brick built Brandaris lighthouse in the middle of the village.   (5)  The harbour, in 1975 it was also the ferry landing.  (6)  Mass of sand dunes, west of the village, and the former place of the Wassermann S radar-pylon or tower and the area of the German West-Battery, with many Atlantikwall - bunkers (type Tobruk etc.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first photograph shows the so called Groene Strand (Green Beach) and part of the crash-site of a/c. #776 (the monument in front of it, is the Sailors Monument, for all the sailors of Terschelling who didn't come home in WW2. It is erected on the site of a former German MG-post; and the concrete bunker of this "Hafenüberwachung" is used as the foundation for the statue!   

The photo on the right is the family-house named St. Brandariskercke (old situation, anno 1970-1980), with a propeller in the garden. This house was requisitioned by the Germans in wartime, and via a tunnel below the street the soldiers of the "Hafenüberwachung" could access their MG-post / bunker.  

 

 

 

Wilhelmshaven

 

The 27th January 1943 target originally was planned to be Wilhelmshaven in Germany. These two photos show the dock area pre-war.

 

 

 


The submarine pens in 1945.


YouTube films from World War Two

Liberators - 1942-1945 film

B-24 Wartime Training Film


Liberators Over Europe 1942-45

A B-24 tail gunner's recollections

B-17s raid Wilhemshaven May 20th 1943

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten

 

 

 

In Margraten is the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, Europe's third largest war cemetery for unidentified soldiers who died in World War II. 8,301 servicemen are buried there under long rows of white crosses and stars of David. 

All graves are adopted by locals, who attend the graves and lay flowers every now and then. 

The idea of adopting the graves of American liberators originated in February of 1945. The "Burger Comité Margraten" (Citizens’ Committee of Margraten) was established to that end. 

The goal adopted by the committee was to generate local support for the American Cemetery with the help of a large-scale adoption campaign. A person adopting a grave was expected to regularly visit that grave, to lay flowers, and - if that person so desired - to maintain contacts with the surviving relatives in the U.S.A.The response to the campaign was overwhelming. The "Citizens’ Committee of Margraten" played a role in launching an extensive series of correspondence between the people adopting the graves and the surviving relatives of the fallen. 

This resulted in a great many contacts and friendships, which survive to this day. At the first Memorial Day celebration in 1945, all the graves were bedecked with flowers. On the second Memorial Day, a year later, all the graves present, which totalled 18,764 at the time, had been adopted. Captain Shomon - the founder of the American Cemetery - praised the members of the committee for all the work carried out. 

 

 

see 1945 youtube film of Dutch civilians honouring the US servicemen

The cemetery in its earliest years

 

 

 

 

Views from more recent times

 

 

 

The Wall of the Missing

 

 

 Airmen from 44 Bomber Group listed on the Wall of the Missing

Sgt. Ausgustus Aho, Lt. Harlan Almlie, Sgt. Eugene Andris, Lt. Joseph Brenner, Lt. Richard Brown, Lt. Nolan Cargile, Sgt. Richard Cate, Sgt. Archie Clemons, Sgt. Paul Crane, Sgt. Thomas Cook Jr,. Sgt. Maurice Dobbins, Sgt. William Gaffney, Sgt. Guy Gandy, Sgt. Michael Geriok, Sgt Stanley Glemboski, Lt. William Goo, Lt. Paul Greno, Lt. George Grimes, Lt. William Hacker, Lt. Gordon Henderson, Sgt. Phillip Idlet, Lt. Paul Keilman, Sgt. Kenneth Klose, Sgt. Edward Lindau, Sgt. Victor Lopez, Sgt. George Millhousen, Lt. Kenneth Moore, Lt. Frank Navas, Sgt. Everett Permar, Sgt. Paul Pest, Sgt. George Price, Sgt. Frederick Robinson, Sgt. Eldo Russell, Lt. Joseph Schexnayder, Lt. Robert Schuyler, Lt. Robert Seaman, Sgt. Stanley Sheldon, Sgt. Emerson Short, Lt. Joseph Smith Jr., Lt. Roy Steadham, Sgt. Glenn Stoffel, Lt. Raymond Townsend Jr., Sgt. Arthur Van Cleef, Capt. Gideon Warne, Sgt. Jerry Wieser, Sgt. Solomon Wise.

 

 

 

In late 1944 and early 1945, as the bodies poured into Margraten, the Dutch town folks responded by assisting in any way possible, including digging graves when the bodies became too many for the American Burial Corp. When the war finally ended, the Dutch communities were at a loss as to how to thank the Americans and to show respect for those who gave their lives.

 

See Youtube 1945 Film

 

On Memorial Day in 1945, just weeks after the end of the war, 30,000 Dutch showed up at this cemetery to honor the American dead. Even more amazing, all 17,000 graves were decked out in flowers provided from Dutch gardens. After the ceremonies were ended, the Dutch refused to go home. They remained at the cemetery to pray for the dead. No one left.

And the next year? 50,000 Dutch showed up at the Margraten cemetery. Yup, 50,000 Dutch to honor our dead.

And so it began.

The request for adoptions from American relatives overwhelmed van Laar. Soon the mayor of Margraten decided to form a committee to organize the adoption process. The Dutch responded to the committee’s request for volunteers in overwhelming numbers. Grave after grave was given a family. And now, nearly 70 years later, every grave is adopted, every missing person has a family. Yup, over 10,000 adoptions.

As for the adopters, sure, they bring flowers to the graves, they write letters to the families when the families request, they send pictures of the grave or pictures of the name on the wall, but, mostly, they remember. They remember when we all might forget. And their remembrance is kept alive by their children. The caretaker at the cemetery said that some graves are tended by the third generation of the same Dutch family. The dead passing on the memory of the dead. Amazing.

On Memorial Day this year, every grave will again have flowers. And, once again, thousands from the surrounding communities will come for the ceremonies to honor the dead. How can this be?

Schrijvers offers a clue: “When the Dutch talk about the soldiers whose graves they have adopted, they rarely mention ranks or last names. Instead, they speak of Jack, or Gustav, or Antonio, or, just as naturally and caringly, of ‘our boys.’” You see, this is personal. As van Laar said to the American soldier, “I will take care of your cousin’s grave as if he was my own family.” And so they do.

Forty sets of brothers are buried here. Side by side. As are four women caught in the maelstrom of the Second World War. When bodies were found that could not be identified, they were given a marker that says: “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God.” There is even one grave with two unidentified bodies together. It is suspected they were killed in a tank explosion. Melded together in the heat, it was felt “unethical” to separate them.

Two long walls separated by a reflecting pool provide the roll call for 1,722 missing American soldiers. In 1994, the remains were found of one young soldier whose name was on this wall of the missing. His funeral was the last to be held at the cemetery, nearly 50 years after the end of the war. from www.joesneighborhood.com

 


The grave of Philip Bloomfield from 'Spirit of 76' and two crewmates from 23690, Oscar Wilkinson from Jackson, Mississippi and Saul Suskind from New York.

 

 

Film of the Memorial to the American B-24D Liberator Bomber 24282 "Ruth-less" from 506 squadron 44th bombardment group that crashed in low cloud into a hill near Eastbourne in Sussex England on February 2nd 1944. The unveiling of this permanent memorial on that hillside is by Arthur King in honour of the American aircrew who perished there. 

See youtube film clip

 

Arthur King climbed the steep hillside on Remembrance Sunday every year for 50 years to lay flowers. Arthur King never forgot. Nor should we. 

Lt. James Bolin's crew were Lt. Orville L Wulff, Lt. Edward J Ackerman, Lt. Harold W Schwab, Sgt James H Bales, Sgt Chester W Yurick, Sgt James L Wilson, Sgt Aubrey J Maloy, Sgt Ralph E Strait and Sgt George M Dewald.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have anything to add to this site, or wish to make a correction, we will be very grateful for your input. You can contact Willem in Holland at  w.jong1@upcmail.nl   and Tom in the UK at     tom.bint2@gmail.com

 

 

 

See 68 Bombardment Squadron Reports for January 1943

 

 

 

 

Willem's Introduction

14

Ameland in war-time

25

Texel  & Den Helder 

1

Friesland War-time Crashes

14b

Ameland,166 & 75 Squadron

26

Hindeloopen

2

Friesland Cemeteries

14c

Ameland Graves

27

Destroy the Scharnhorst!

3

Leeuwarden area

15

Terschelling

28

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 2

3a

Wirdum Remembers

15b

Terschelling 2

28a

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 3

4

Schiermonnikoog

16

Sage War Cemetery

29

12 Squadron in World War 2

4b

Schiermonnikoog  part 2

16b

424 Squadron

30

The Runnymede Memorial

5

Harlingen

17

Vlieland Cemetery

31

Vuren at war

6

Kallenkote Cemetery

18

Jacobiparochie

32

Makkum Cemetery

7

Wartime Harlingen

19

Hampden AE 428

33

A fatal collision?

8

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

20

Willem's War-time photos

34

Hudsons & Venturas

9

Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group

21

USAF 44th

34a

Hudsons & Venturas 2

10

408 Squadron's Leipzig raid

21b

68th Squadron's Casualties

35

101 Squadron

11

Friesland radar

22

Rottum Island

12

Lancasters DS776  & JA921

23

Bergen General Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

back to 626 Squadron

 

 

 

 

 

 email-address:  w.jong1@upcmail.nl

 

 

 

uk                tom.bint2@gmail.com