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James W Branagan

Military

James Branagan enlisted in the Air Corps in October 1942 and followed navigation training. Sent overseas, he was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group / 332nd Bomb Squadron in England as a Navigator. On his sixth mission, the 4 March 1944 one to Berlin, he had to bail out of B-17 # 42-39801, but his parachute failed to open. His body was found by the Germans and buried in nearby Wevelgem. His remains were transferred to the Ardennes American Cemetery after the war.

Service

People

  • Julius Blake

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Julius Blake enlisted in the Air Corps in April 1942 and followed heavy bomber pilot training. Sent overseas, he was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group / 332nd Bomb Squadron in England. He was Pilot of B-17G #42-31150 when it lost an engine on a mission...

  • William Calmes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • David Chang

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    David Chang had 4 years of High School behind him and, unlike older brothers and sisters, was still a Chinese citizen when he enlisted in the Air Corps in October 1942. After completing aerial gunnery training, he was sent overseas and was assigned to...

  • Edgar Finstad

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Evaded (EVD). POW

  • Floyd Franchini

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • James Hiller

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Was assisted by Belgian resistance in moving to Liege, Belgium, where he stayed until liberation....

  • Edward Latham

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Edward Latham enlisted in the Air Corps in October 1942 and followed aerial gunnery training. Sent overseas, he was assigned to the 94th Bomb Group / 332nd Bomb Squadron in England as a Right Waist gunner. On his sixth mission, the 4 March 1944 one to...

  • Luther LeFever

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • George Wedd

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' was hit by flak, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed N of Diksmuide, Belgium on a mission to Berlin on 4 Mar 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

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Units served with

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942; Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

  • 332nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-39801 Double Trouble II, Northern Queen

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 4 September 1943; Gr Island 22 September 1943; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-B] Rougham 27 September 1943. Missing in Action Berlin 4 March 1944 with Pilot Julius O. Blake; Co-Pilot George G. Wedd Jr; Bombardier William P. Calmes;...

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...

Associated Place

  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...

Events

Event Location Date
Born New Jersey, United States 1923

the son of John and Mary Branagan

Lived in Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, United States 1942
Enlisted Newark, New Jersey, United States 21 October 1942
Buried Wevelgem, Belgium March 1944

Initially buried in the Municipal cemetery of Wevelgem near Courtrai / Kortrijk, Belgium

Bailed out 4 March 1944

of B-17 # 42-39801 over Menin, Belgium

Killed In Action (KIA) near Wervik, Belgium 4 March 1944

His body was found by Belgians in a field several minutes before the Germans arrived. His rip cord had not been pulled

Buried

His remains were brought to the American cemetery in Neupré after the war. He rests at Plot: B; Row: 44; Grave: 18

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
20 January 2017 14:57:52 ED-BB Changes to service number, biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 2978
NARA WWII Enlistment records
ABMC website

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:57 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2978 / MACR 2978, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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