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41-24441

B-17 Flying Fortress

Assigned 326BS/92BG at Bangor 31-Jul-42; Transferred to 326BS/97BG Polebrook 12-Aug-42. Missing in Action 21-Oct-42 while on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient . 6KIA 4POW. FRANCIS X.

P 2Lt Francis Schwartzenbeck (KIA) CP 1Lt William L. Tingle (KIA)
N Capt Joe H. Gray, Jr. (KIA); B 2Lt Harry R. Erickson (POW)
E/TTG TSgt William T. Lynch (KIA); RO Sgt Kenneth K. Laud (POW)
BTG Sgt Mitchell Small (KIA): WGSgt Kenneth V. Maeran (POW)
WG Sgt Ned R. Herzstam (POW); TG Sgt George Whitham, Jr. (KIA)

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the aircraft on fire, flying about 500 ft above the ground, and reported that no one had bailed out.

Service

Units

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 342nd Bomb Squadron

People

  • Harry Erickson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    As a bombardier, Erickson occupied the glass cabin in the B-17's nose. It was his job to release the bombs accurately over the target. ...

  • Joe Gray

    Military | Captain | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Navigator. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Ned Herzstam

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis' as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW)

  • Kenneth Laud

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Radio Operator. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • William Lynch

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    On 12 August 1942, a fire in a/c B-17E 41-9115 forced crew to bail out during a training flight. Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Kenneth Maeran

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Francis Schwarzenbek

    Military | Captain | Pilot / Intelligence, S-2 Officer | 379th Bomb Group
    On 14 August 1942, a fire in B-17E #41-9115 forced crew to bail out during a training flight. All Returned to Duty (RTD) ...

  • Mitchell Small

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA)

  • William Tingle

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Co-Pilot. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • George Whitham

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Tail Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA)

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 15

    21 October 1942
    German U-Boat pens are Lorient, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission along with the German airfield at Cherbourg, France. 93BG despatches 24-B-24s to Lorient, but cloud cover prevents them from bombing. The main attack force to Lorient...

Places

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...

Events

Not yet known

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2020 16:35:13 Emily Changes to description
Sources

Information from the journal of Ben Rushing (97th Bomb Group, and a friend of Harry Erickson), transcribed by his family on their blog

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2018 10:31:37 Lucy May Changes to description
Sources

Corrected 'George Whitman Jr' to 'George Whitham Jr': https://abmc.gov/node/546480#.Wo_tE01LGM8

Date Contributor Update
02 October 2016 07:14:13 ngilmore Changes to media associations
Sources

From family archive

Date Contributor Update
17 November 2014 21:06:28 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Nov-2014. Formatted Description for crew and edited entry for consistency; Added MIA event details.

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 18:22:29 Lee8thbuff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A Hey MBE; "The B-17 Flying Fortress Story" Roger A Freeman & David Osborne; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database; American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:02 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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