Missing Air Crew Report for the loss of P-51 Mustang Serial 44-15405 – MACR 11855 – page 4 of 5, depicting the circumstances of Lt Kester's loss.
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
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...
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...
Units served with
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...
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...
||New York State, United States
||29 August 1923
||Ebenezer, New York, United States
||Buffalo, New York, United States
||9 November 1942
as a Private in the Air Corps
||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)
||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.
||New York, United States