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William J. Waldron Crew at the completion of B-17 crew training at Ardmore, Oklahoma, about September 1944.
B-17G-45-VE #44-8055 - 222nd Base Unit - Ardmore AAF
Back row (L to R):
William J. Waldron (pilot), Oscar F. Eshleman (copilot), Joseph S. Shuster (navigator), and Russell C. Neu (bombardier)
Front row (L to R):
Benedict A. Andrew (engineer-top turret gunner), George J. Ferenchak (radio operator), Eugene S. Isley (armorer-waist gunner), Charles K. Brokke (waist gunner), Reuben F. Baganz (ball turret gunner), and James P. Naughton (tail gunner).

The crew deployed to England and was assigned to the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group, at Army Air Forces Station 137 near the village of Lavenham, Suffolk, England on 19 October 1944. Charles Brokke was taken off the crew after arrival at Lavenham. The crew flew with only waist gunner, as was the custom at that time.

The crew was shot down near Liege, Belgium on December 24, 1944. Eshleman, Shuster, Andrew, Ferenchak, Baganz, and Naughton were killed in action. Waldron, Neu, and Isley survived.

Connections

Units

  • 487th Bomb Group

    487th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 487th Bomb Group began operations as preparations for D-Day were reaching their crescendo and played their part by bombing airfields in northern France. Like the 486th Bomb Group, the 487th switched to B-17 Flying Fortress for missions from 1...

  • 836th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Benedict Andrew

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Flight Engineer
    Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willie' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters.

  • Reuben Baganz

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner
    Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters on 24 Dec 1944.

  • Charles Brokke

    Military | Gunner

  • Oscar Eshleman

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot, Co-Pilot
    Killed in Action (KIA). B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' Exploded in air after being hit by enemy aircraft fire.

  • George Ferenchak

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Radio Operator
    Killed in Action (KIA). B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters. Exploded in air after being hit by enemy aircraft. Crashed in Belgium AM w/ Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Eugene Isley

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner
    All but 3 crew members killed when B-17G AC#43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters and crashed in Belgium. Isley, Russel Neu and Walron survived.

  • James Naughton

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner
    Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters

  • Russell Neu

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier
    Survived when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters and crashed near Chateau de Warnomont in Belgium. Rescued by 2 Belgians and picked up by Military Police Companys attached to armed division....

  • Joseph Shuster

    Military | Flight Officer | Navigator
    Killed in Action (KIA) 24 December 1944. Killed in Action (KIA) when B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters and crashed in Belgium. AM w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ PH

  • William Waldron

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    On 24 Dec 1944, B-17G #43-38926 'Weary Willy' piloted by Lieutenant William J. Waldron was attacked by fighters and crashed in Belgium near where a tank battle raged. Waldron and Russell Neu survived and returned. ...

Aircraft

  • 44-8055

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Ardmore 20/5/44; Amarillo 28/5/44; used in training by 452BG; 222 BU Ardmore 19/6/44; 332 BU Ardmore 3/8/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Walnut Ridge 11/12/45.

Locations

  • Lavenham

    Military site : airfield
    Lavenham was built as a standard USAAF bomber airfield, with fifty hardstandings, T2 hangars and 2,000 and 1,400 feet runways. John Laing and Son Ltd. carried out the work in 1943, and the airfield opened in April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group occupied...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 August 2016 23:39:54 466thHistorian Changes to caption and aircraft associations
Sources

"The B-17 Flying Fortress Story" - Roger Freeman
page 285

Date Contributor Update
05 August 2016 23:02:00 466thHistorian Created entry with caption, unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=67753631&PIpi=1190...

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