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Lead crew 837BS, 487BG, 8th AF.
Rear L-R: 1Lt Bruce S Corby, Capt James S Van Epps, 2Lt Chilton W Castle, 2Lt Ramor W Dippo.
Front L-R: Sgt David J Beck, S/Sgt Harry P Bonnikson Jr, S/Sgt Sidney B Hare.
This is the lead crew of Capt James S. Van Epps in the 837th Bomb Squadron, 487th Bomb Group, 8th U.S. Army Air Force, at Station 137, Lavenham, England. This photo was taken at the base near Lavenham on February 27, 1945.

Back Row (L to R): Bruce S. Corby (bombardier), James S. Van Epps (pilot), Chilton Wilson 'Cork' Castle (navigator), and Ramor William Dippo (radar operator – aka 'Mickey' Operator).

Front Row (L to R): David J. Beck (waist gunner), Harry Peter Bonnikson Jr (radio operator), and Sidney B. Hare (engineer).

Not in photo: William Thomas 'Bud' Searby Jr (copilot). He was attached to the 3d Scouting Force at Wormingford, England by December 25, 1944, and flew P-51 weather reconnaissance missions in support of the bomber force.

Flight Officer Ramor W. Dippo was shot down near Wittenberge, Germany (53°00'N, 11°45'E) with the Joseph D. Conwill Jr crew in B-17G 44-8746 on March 15, 1945, and became a prisoner of war (MACR 13089).

(Photo from the collection of Harry P. Bonnikson Jr, via Janet Stebbins, his daughter)



  • 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. ...

  • 487th Bomb Group

    487th Bomb 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...

  • 837th Bomb Squadron


  • David Beck

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner

  • Harry Bonnikson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator

  • Chilton Castle

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator

  • Bruce Corby

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier
    DFC, Air Medal w 4/Oak Leaf Cluster; EAME Ribbon with 3 bronze stars, Pres. Unit Citation

  • Ramor Dippo

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Mickey Operator, Pathfinder Operator
    Assigned to 837BS, 487BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Orannienburg 15-Mar-45 in B-17G 44-8746. Bailed out. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 13089. Award: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Sidney Hare

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer

  • James Van Epps

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot
    Assigned to 837BS, 487BG, 8AF USAAF.


Date Contributor Update
06 February 2019 01:25:32 PaulWebber Changes to collection and caption

See narrative and sources on the Find A Grave page of Harry Peter Bonnikson Jr
U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 13089

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2018 20:01:56 Al_Skiff Created entry with caption, unit associations and person associations

USAAF Photo.