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John Joseph Ahern Jr

Military

Killed in Action (KIA) Saved village of Bozeat England by keeping plane from hitting village church. All the rest of the crew bailed out. The mission had been recalled because of bad weather. Three engines quit, the plane still had its bomb load. A/C crashed and exploded on pilot, the rest of the crew bailed out.

Service

Units served with

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 527th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 44-8275

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 28/7/44; Cheyenne 4/8/44; Grenier 3/9/44; Assigned 338BS/96BG Snetterton 6/9/44; transferred 379BG Kimbolton 26/9/44; crashed on take off at Bozeat, Northamptonshire., UK 16/12/44 with John Ahern; 9 bailed, 1KIA; Salvaged n/battle...

Associated Place

  • Kimbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned for RAF use, Kimbolton airfield was built by W and C French Ltd. in 1941. The airfield was increased in size to accommodate a full US heavy Bomb Group, and the first such unit to us it was the 91st Bomb Group, who arrived in September 1942....

Events

Event Location Date
Born Atlantic Beach, Florida
Died Red Gables Farm, Bozeat 16 December 1944

On December 16, 1944, the 379th was to attack rail targets at Stuttgart, with other groups of the 1st Bomb Division and groups of the 3rd Bomb Division. Due to extremely poor weather conditions, the 1st Bomb Division abandoned the mission while still over England. During assembly for this abandoned mission, a/c 44-8275 crashed in the village of Bozeat. Leaving RAF Kimbolton, soon after take-off the plane developed engine trouble and Lt Ahern ordered his crew to bail out, saying he would follow. He never did. He managed to steer the fully armed aircraft away from the village but apparently wasn't able to parachute out before the plane crashed in a field beyond Red Gables Farm, exploding on impact. The farm buildings were damaged by the blast, but the farmer's family were unharmed. Lt Ahern's actions averted a major disaster; the result, had the bombs exploded in the village, doesn't bear thinking about. In gratitude to Lieut. John Ahern, who thus gave his life for Bozeat, the villagers made a house-to-house collection for his mother in America, organized by the members of the Women's Voluntary Service. Bozeat acknowledges his sacrifice every year on Remembrance Day.

Buried Minnesota

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
09 January 2019 10:54:04 SteveC Changes to middlename, nickname and events
Sources

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~aherns/ltjahern.htm
http://www.vets-hall.org/stories/world-war-ii/john-jack-ahern-jr
http://www.379thbga.org/Looking4%201280-1271%20p28.htm

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:12 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Anthology 379th BG; 379th Bombardment Group Anthology, pg 333 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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