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42-107009

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 25/1/44; Kearney 16/2/44; Grenier 10/3/44; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-F] Deenethorpe; on return from mission 12 May 1944 with Lt J.C. Sharp, Waist gunner: Alfred A. Tomkinson (KIA- flak hit - died in in base hospital).

Missing in Action Hamburg 6 November 1944 with Pilot Raymond H. Hillestad; Co-Pilot John H. Emch; Navigator Frederick L. Campbell; Bombardier Chris A. Montoya; Top Turret Gunner James B. Dryden Jr; Radio Operator Raymond E. Kriz; Ball Turret Gunner Robert M. Andren; Waist Gunner Patsy C. Di Cicco; Tail Gunner Harold Fishbein (9 Prisoner of War); flak, crashed near Medemblik, The Netherlands. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 10349.

Here’s a summary of Fred Campbell’s own account, written 28-30 November 1995:
After B-17 #42-107009 “Lady Jane” had dropped its bombs over Hamburg, a Flak burst hit the No. 2 engine which started to run away with no way to stop it and feather it. The “Lady Jane” gradually dropped behind the rest of the formation. By the time it had flown westward, homeward across the base of the Denmark peninsula, it had dropped to 21,000 feet, off Cuxhaven.

In order to stay out of the coastal flak range, it flew out over the North Sea, skirting the German antiaircraft guns that could easily bring it down as it was now flying lower and slower. Off to the north was the German island of Helgoland, out of range to hit the Fortress. Heading westward, hoping to reach Belgium, recently freed by Allied forces, the plane descended to about 10,000 feet and the crew no longer had to be on oxygen.

After a while, staying clear of the Frisian Islands, engine No. 1 conked out. Now with just engines No. 3 and No. 4, and with the drag of No. 2 prop’s windmilling, the B-17 was even faster losing altitude. It soon became clear they definitely could not make it to England across the cold North Sea. Attempting to ditch in the sea would certainly be fatal for all.

Flying down the Zuider Zee, turning south, the low-flying ship caught small arms fire as it crossed the Frisian Islands. When it was down to less than 7,000 feet, engine No. 3 gave up too. Pilot Raymond Hillestad and co-Pilot John Emch turned to the right toward land and found a plowed field, managing to bring the Lady Jane down, in an as smooth as possible wheels-up landing on the grounds of a family farm in a place called Middenmeer, a few kilomers Northwest of Medemblik.

All nine crewmen got out of the plane with no one even suffering a scratch, though the plane, according to Dutch witnesses, was riddled with bullet holes and flak damage. John Emch took the flare gun and shot a round up between the wing and flaps of the right wing, hoping to set fuel tanks of the Lady Jane afire. It didn’t work as the fire burned through the flap and fell to the ground.

About that time, a Dutchman from a nearby farmhouse showed up and counted the Americans and said there were too many of them to hide, that they had crashed just a half-kilometer away from a German radar station and that German soldiers would be there quickly. A 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl who lived on the farm showed up also.

The girl, Tineke Iwema, asked the crew members for their parachutes to use in making her wedding dress. Before she could get them, a truck drove up on the nearby road, German soldiers got out, set up a machine gun and called “Hands up!” to the airmen, who complied.

They were loaded in the back of a truck and were taken to the German naval station. The Germans detonated the plane and also took prisoner the owner of the farm, Raang Iwema, as they thought he was hiding a crewmember since the normal B-17 crew was 10 men. The Germans did not know that B-17 crews were reduced to nine by that point in the war because the German resistance had grown weaker.

The nine men of “Lady Jane” became Kriegsgefangeners, prisoners of war of the Third Reich.

Service

Units

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 613th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Robert Andren

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Frederick Campbell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Patsy DiCicco

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42-107009, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • James Dryden

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • John Emch

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Harold Fishbein

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Louis Grate

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator; Bombardier | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 34 x missions. Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (Battle stars).

  • Raymond Hillestad

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Raymond Kriz

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

  • Chris Montoya

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Bombardier | 401st Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed near Medenblick on 11/6/44 in B-17 'Lady Jane' #42107009

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Missions

  • 704

    6 November 1944

Places

  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) near Medemblik (Zuid Holland - West Friesland), the Netherlands 6 November 1944

Hit by Flak. Forced landing 5km North of Medemblik (Zuid Holland - West Friesland), the Netherlands

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
20 October 2015 15:59:48 ED-BB Changes to description and events
Sources

MACR 10349
http://401bg.org/Main/
Recollections of Navigator Campbell (1995)

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2015 16:53:20 ED-BB Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 10349
http://401bg.org/Main/

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:15 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 10349 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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