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First 8th Air Force Operation (04 July 1942)

4 July 1942

Official description

Not yet known

Description

12 Boston (A-20) aircraft are despatched from Swanton Morley by No. 2 Group, 226 Squadron, RAF, to bomb four German airfields in Holland: De Kooij airfield, Bergen/Alkamaar airfield, Haanstede airfield and Valkenberg airfield. 6 of these aircraft are assigned to 15th Bomb Squadron (8th AF USAAF) and are crewed by American airmen.

The US serviceman in this picture is from the early stages of WW2 and is wearing a WW1-era "Kelly helmet" based on the British Brodie helmet. The gas mask bag in the picture is one which US servicemen carried in training and in North Africa and Southern Italy. When gas was less of a threat they ditched the gas mask "kidney bag" because of weight and the bag was replaced at the D-Day Landings by a rubberized bag on the chest like the ones they are wearing in the opening scene of the film, Saving Private Ryan.

Mission details

1. BERGEN / ALKMAAR

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

A-20 Havoc

Notes

Two of the US-crewed aircraft attack De Koog Airfield and one, tail number A677, is listed Missing in Action (MIA). This aircraft is shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashes on Texel Island, Holland. The crew are: Pilot - 2Lt. Frederick A. Loehrl, O-432079, (KIA) commemorated on the Wall of Missing, Netherlands American Cemetery and awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart; Navigator - 2Lt. Marshall D. Draper O-724624, (POW) held at Stalag 7A Moosburg, Bavaria, officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 24-Jul-45. He was the first American airman form 8th Air Force to be captured; Gunner - James W. Wright, 19000376, (KIA) buried at Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot C, Row 36, Grave 7, awarded the Purple Heart; Dorsal Gunner - Sgt. Robert L. Whitham (KIA). His remains were recovered on 11-Jul-42 and he was buried in the general cemetery of Huisduinen, Den Helder, Holland.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 6
Number of aircraft Effective 1
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of people Killed In Action 2

2. DE KOOG

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

A-20 Havoc

Notes

Two 8th Air Force-crewed Bostons (A-20) are-assigned to this target. One is flown by CAPT. Charles C. Kegelman and his three crewmen: Navigator - Lt. Dorton; Gunner - SGT Cunningham; and Dorsal Gunner - SGT Golay. Captain Kegelman and his crew are awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (11-Jul-42) by GEN Ira Eaker for their participation in this mission. The aircraft was badly damaged but Captain Kegelman was able to return it to the UK. Captain Kegelman was killed in the Pacific theater in 1944 when commanding a B-25 Group. The other A-20, tail number AL741 was listed as Missing in Action (MIA) on this target. This aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed near Bergen-aan-Zee, Holland. The crew of this aircraft were: Pilot - 2Lt William G. Lynn, O-432081, (KIA) buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Plot B, Row 5, Grave 10, awarded the Purple Heart; Navigator - 2Lt Boyd S. Grant, buried in the Allied Plot of the general cemetery of Bergen, Holland; Gunner - SSgt William A. Murphy, (KIA) buried in the Allied Plot of the general cemetery of Bergen, Holland; Dorsal Gunner Cpl Charles P. Kramarewicz, 1109157, (KIA) buried at Netherlands American Cemetery, Plot I, Row 14, Grave 18, awarded the Purple Heart.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 2
Number of aircraft Effective 2
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 1
Number of aircraft Damaged Beyond Repair 1
Number of people Killed In Action 4

3. HAANSTEDE

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

A-20 Havoc

Notes

One 8th Air Force-crewed Boston (A-20) attacks this target.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 1
Number of aircraft Effective 1

4. VALKENBERG

Description

AIRFIELD

Aircraft type

A-20 Havoc

Notes

Two 8th Air Force-crewed Bostons (A-20) attack this target with no losses or casualties.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 2
Number of aircraft Effective 2

Service

People

  • Randall Dorton

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 301st Bomb Group

  • Marshall Draper

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Became the first member of the 8th AAF to become a Prisoner of War (POW). Flying July 4, 1942 the 15th BS Boston III AL677 MQ-P (a RAF training plane borrowed for the unit until US planes arrived) was shot down by flak and crashed on sandbar opposite...

  • Boyd Grant

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA)/On 4 July 1942 t/o from Swanton Morley at 0714 hrs. Shot down by flak and broke up in air north of Bergen-aan-Zee, Holland. Lt. Grant was on special assignment from the 97th BG/414th BS. Two crew, the pilot and the doral gunner...

  • Charles Kegelman

    Military | Major | Pilot | 301st Bomb Group

  • Charles Kramarewicz

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Dorsal Gunner
    Assigned to the 15th Bombardment Squadron (Light) attached to 226th Squadron RAF and was Killed in Action (KIA) on 4-Jul-1942 while serving as a Dorsal Gunner in the crew of 2Lt. William G. Lynn, Jr. on a Boston III (A-20), tail number AL741, which was...

  • Frederick Loehrl

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    Boston III AL677 MQ-P (a RAF training plane borrowed for the unit until US planes arrived) was shot down by flak and crashed on sandbar opposite DeKooij af, Island of Texel, Holland. 15th BG was a liaison squadron.

  • William Lynn

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    First American airman of the Eighth Air Force who went down while flying in RAF Boston over occupied territory. Mission was to Holland and was first mission from England for the 8th AAF. This happened on 4 July 1942 and we have no record of his MACR...

  • William Murphy

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 388th Bomb Group

  • Harold Radetsky

    Military | Colonel | Pilot, Squadron Commander, 15th bomb squadron
    Col. Harold A. Radetsky, USAAF. Most of his World War II years were spent overseas, initially participating as an "A-20" bomber pilot with the first U.S. military unit, 15th Bomb Squadron, to attack occupied Europe from England on July 4, 1942. The...

  • Robert Whitham

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner
    Killed in Action (KIA). Boston III AL677 MQ-P (a RAF training plane borrowed for the unit until US planes arrived) was shot down by flak and crashed on sandbar opposite DeKooij af, Island of Texel, Holland. 15th BG was a liaison squadron. Whitham's...

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Aircraft

  • AL677

    A-20 Havoc
    Aircraft was originally part of the complement of 226 Squadron RAF but given over to 15th Bombardment Squadron to be flown by an American crew. The aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed on Texel Island, Holland while on a mission to...

  • AL741

    A-20 Havoc

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 July 2017 15:18:15 mattattack Changes to description
Sources

Personal knowledge

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2014 10:51:41 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated media based on images associated with mission in Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary

Date Contributor Update
12 November 2014 19:52:40 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Nov-2014. Minor edit to description De Kooij

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2014 20:09:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to person associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Oct-2014 People connections extracted from my database and information of "Losses of the 8th and 9th air Forces" Stan Bishop and John A. Hey MBE

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2014 18:46:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to person associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Oct-2014, POW service numbers from National Archives Records Administration; burial locations in American Cemeteries from American Battle Monuments Commission. Mission details from Roger A. Freeman's "Mighty Eighth War Diary."

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2014 18:20:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 17-Oct-2014, Roger A. Freeman's "Mighty Eighth War Diary."

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2014 18:12:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to name
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Oct-2014, Roger A. Freeman's "Eighth AIr Force War Diary"

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:43:14 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Lee Cunningham, 8th Air Force missions research database / Stan Bishop's 'Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces', the Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces and the work of Roger Freeman including the 'Mighty Eighth War Diary'.

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