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John Edwin Kester

Military

John Kester was a pilot in the 55th Fighter Group / 338th Fighter Squadron. He was flying on P-51D Serial 44-13663 (CL-N) on an escort mission of bombers to Ludwigshafen, Germany, 26 Aug 44. On the way back to base, Kester and Squadron mates Samuel D. Gevorkian and Samuel E. Hansard strafed a railway depot in Nancy France. Flying over Belgium in the vicinity of Ghent on a flight path to the Belgian seaport of Zeebrugge, they flew through a violent thunderstorm. Flying on, they didn't notice that their navigational instruments had been put out of order and, following the readings on their compass, they headed South instead of North. Fearing to be too short on fuel, Kester and Gevorkian decided to crash-land their planes on a beach and they landed a few hundred meters from each other. It was only later that they found out they had landed in the South of France, near Cap Ferret, West of Bordeaux. Lt Hansard was seen by witnesses to have continued flying towards the sea, which he most certainly thought to be the Channel, hoping to reach England. Nor his Mustang nor his body were ever found. Some sources mention that he would have been recovered by an English naval vessel and presumably buried at sea.
Lt John Kester flew again on operations with the 338th FS. He was flying on P-51 Serial 44-15405 “Sunday Morning” on the 14 January 1945 escort mission to Stendal, Germany. After strafing the Luftwaffe Parchim airfield, his Mustang was hit by Flak and he warned Major Darrell S. Cramer who was leading the Acorn Yellow Section. Cramer saw Kester’s plane streaming coolant. When he called back some minutes later, Cramer heard Kester tell him first that he was trying to fly back to base, then that he was going to bail out. That’s the last that was heard from John Kester, whose plane apparently crashed near Parchim, Germany.
► See John Kester’s page at http://www.evasioncomete.org/fkesterje.html

Service

People

  • Samuel Gevorkian

    Military | Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 55th Fighter Group
    Sam Gevorkian was a pilot in the 55th Fighter Group / 338th Fighter Squadron. He was flying on P-51D Serial 44-13954 (CL-P) on an escort mission of bombers to Ludwigshafen, Germany, 26 Aug 44. On the way back to base, Gevorkian and Squadron mates Lts...

  • Samuel Hansard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 339th Fighter Group
    Samuel Hansard was a pilot, assigned to the 55th Fighter Group / 338th Fighter Squadron on 29 February 1944. He is credited with one Ju88 destroyed on the ground near Magdeburg, Germany on 21 May 1944 and one Me109 destroyed in air combat over Danville...

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Units served with

  • 55th Fighter Group

    55th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...

  • 338th Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

Associated Place

  • Wormingford

    Military site : airfield
    Wormingford was a Royal Flying Corps/RAF anti-Zeppelin aircraft Landing Ground First World War, rebuilt for the Eighth Air Force 1942-43. It was a Ninth Air Force base from 1943-44, and home to the 362nd Fighter Group. Switching back to the Eighth Air...

Events

Event Location Date
Born New York State, United States 29 August 1923
Lived in Ebenezer, New York, United States 1942
Enlisted Buffalo, New York, United States 9 November 1942

as a Private in the Air Corps

Evaded France 26 August 1944 – 9 September 1944

Lt Kester crash-landed his plane on a beach near Cap Ferret West of Bordeaux, France. Together with Lt Sam Gevorkian, he was helped by French patriots and both men were flown back to England by C-47 on 13 September 1944.

Killed in Action (KIA) Parchim, Germany 14 January 1945

Back into service with the 338th FS, he was flying on P-51 Serial 44-15405 “Sunday Morning” on the 14 January 1945 escort mission to Stendal, Germany. After strafing the Luftwaffe Parchim airfield, his Mustang was hit by Flak and he was killed in the crash of his plane near Parchim, Germany.

Buried New York, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 September 2015 15:52:53 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Connecting with Media (MACR page)

Date Contributor Update
23 September 2015 15:51:33 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, role, biography, events, person associations, place associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment Records
MACR 8532
Escape & Evasion Report E&E 2050
ABMC website
www.station131.co.uk

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:15:55 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 11855 / MACR 8532 / MACR 8532/MACR 11855 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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