Skip to main content
Edit entry 

42-31565

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 21/11/43; Gr Island 7/12/43; Selfridge 14/12/43; Presque Is 15/12/43; Assigned 335BS/95BG [OE-U] Horham 26/12/43; 13m, Missing in Action Berlin 4/3/44 with Pilot Rodney P. Roehm; Co-pilot: David F. Wolter; Bombardier: Donald R. Egan; Ball turret gunner: Eugene S. Purnell; Left Waist gunner: Floyd C. Noullet; Tail gunner: Emory T. Kesterson (6 Prisoner of War); Right Waist gunner: John P. Wesp (Killed in Action); Navigator: Johnathan Pearson; Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Charles A. Strackbine; Radio Operator: Thomas L. Yankus (3 evaded capture). Hit by Flak in the nose cone after dropping its bombs, one of 42-31565's engines ran out of fuel. It was seen to turn slowly to the left and go into a steep dive, under control. No fire, smoke nor chutes were seen as the formation headed for its base. Missing Air Crew Report MACR 2795. Crew photo at http://95thbg.org/j3migr/crews-p-r/view-image/c8fb258c4811b32bc9de33222e...
42-31565 crashed "on its own" near St Symphorien, three miles SE of Mons, Belgium. The pilot ordered to bail out and put the plane on auto-pilot with the aim of having it crashing in the North Sea. Due probably to tranfers of oil from one wing to the other, the plane banked and slowly lost altitude, nearing the ground and landed in a field in Saint-Symphorien, near Mons, Belgium. The surviving crew members knew nothing about the plane's crash location until 2004 when Belgian researchers found the real story. Missing Air Crew Report 2795. Yankus and Pearson were helped by the Belgian COMET Line in their evasion and were hidden in the secret camp in the Freteval Forest, near Châteaudun, France until Liberation in August 1944. (see www.evasioncomete.org ). Strackbine was hidden elsewhere in France until also liberated.

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 335th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Donald Egan

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down by flak immediately after bombs away and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 in B-17 #42-31565. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Emory Kesterson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Emory Kesterson was Tail Gunner on B-17 #42-31565, shot down by Flak immediately after bombs away on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium. Initially evaded, he was arrested on 3 June 1944 in France. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Floyd Noullet

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Floyd Noullet was Left Waist Gunner on B-17 #42-31565, shot down by Flak immediately after bombs away on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium. Initially evaded he was later made a Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Jonathan Pearson III

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down by flak immediately after bombs away and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 in B-17 #42-31565. Evaded with the help of the Belgian COMET evasion network. Hidden in the secret camp in the Fréteval Forest near...

  • Eugene Purnell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Eugene Purnell was Ball Turret Gunner on B-17 #42-31565. Shot down by flak immediately after bombs away and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944. He landed in parachute near Saint-Quentin, Northern France and was made a...

  • Rodney Roehm

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Born in Ontonagon where he spent his youth, Rodney Roehm was raised by his uncle and aunt Clyde and Irene (Roehm) Hayward. He graduated in 1940 from the Ontonagon High School. In the summer of 1942, he was in the US Air Corps Reserve Officer Training...

  • Charles Strackbine

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Charles Strackbine was Top Turret Gunner on B-17 #42-31565, shot down by Flak immediately after bombs away on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium. Evaded. Escape & Evasion report E&E 1586. ...

  • John Wesp

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    John Wesp was Right Waist Gunner on B-17 #42-31565, shot down by Flak immediately after bombs away. The plane crashed SE of Mons, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944. Sgt John Wesp was Killed in Action (KIA), when his parachute didn't open.

  • David Wolter

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 4 March 1944 in B-17 #42-31565. MACR 2795. "Was returning home from aborted daylight raid on Berlin. Bailed out of plane over Northern France/Belgium. One crew member died, John Wesp, but rest of crew survived. I evaded capture from March 4...

  • Thomas Yankus

    Military | Corporal | Radio Operator | 95th Bomb Group
    Thomas Yankus was Radio Operator/Top Turret Gunner on B-17 #42-31565, shot down by Flak immediately after bombs away on a mission to Berlin on 4 March 1944 and crashed SE of Mons, Belgium. ...

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 247

    4 March 1944
    The industrial areas in the suburbs of Berlin, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. All three Air Divisions despatch formations. However, the despatch from 2nd Air Division aborted the mission because of severe weather in the assembly area...

Places

Events

Event Location Date
Crashed Saint-Symphorien, near Mons, Belgium 4 March 1944

Missing in Action Berlin 4/3/44. Hit by Flak in the nose cone after dropping its bombs, one of 42-31565's engines ran out of fuel. It was seen to turn slowly to the left and go into a steep dive, under control. No fire, smoke nor chutes were seen as the formation headed for its base. Missing Air Crew Report MACR 2795.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2017 23:26:58 timnoullet Changes to nicknames
Sources

Aircraft Name from Floyd C. Noullet

Date Contributor Update
11 December 2015 13:45:43 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, markings, events and unit associations
Sources

AAM DB Entry.

Date Contributor Update
30 July 2015 14:59:43 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

added MACR number

Date Contributor Update
29 July 2015 12:40:48 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

Link to crew photo

Date Contributor Update
26 July 2015 10:26:20 ED-BB Changes to place associations and mission associations
Sources

Added station and mission number

Date Contributor Update
26 July 2015 09:20:49 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

Added details

Date Contributor Update
25 July 2015 11:51:15 ED-BB Changes to markings, description and events
Sources

MACR 2795
Research in collaboration with other Belgian researchers and witnesses.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:39 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 2795 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Share