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Julius Otto Blake Jr

Military

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 to Diepholz, Germany on 21 February 1944. The Fortress fell out of formation and lost another engine on return to the UK where it crash-landed at the Debach airfield which was still under construction. (10 Returned to Duty). Blake was piloting B-17G #42-39801 'Northern Queen' on the 4 March 1944 mission (his seventh one) to Berlin. Hit by flak, with one engine out, the crew baled out and the a/c crashed near Zevekote, North of Diksmuide, Belgium. Blake landed near Beselare in Northern Belgium and was helped by Belgian patriots in evading capture. He was hidden in various places in Belgium he ended up in the Liege region. Liberated by US troops 9 September 1944 in Petite Enneille, near Somme-Leuze, about 15 km NW of Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium. He was back in England on 11 September 1944. Escape & Evasion report E&E 1973 available on-line at https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5556603

Service

People

  • James Branagan

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 94th Bomb Group
    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...

  • 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

  • 42-31150

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 25/9/43; Gr Island 8/10/43; Love Fd 12/10/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-Q] Rougham 15/10/43; battle damaged Diepholz 22/2/44 with Julius Blake, crew ? (10 Returned to Duty); crash landed Debach A/fd, Sfk. UK. And skidded into Signal...

  • 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 228 BIG WEEK - DAY 2

    21 February 1944
    Day 2 of BIG WEEK is another maximum effort by 8th Air Force to bomb 6 airfields in Germany as primary targets: Diepholz, Gütersloh, Lippstadt, Werl, Achmer and Handorf. In addition the industrial areas of Brunswick city are included as a primary...

  • 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...

  • Debach

    Military site : airfield
    Debach was one of the last Eighth Air Force heavy bomber bases to be completed. It was built by the 820th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) between late '43 and early '44. Pronounced locally as 'Deb-idge', the base was built to a class A standard with...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Alabama, United States 3 March 1916

the son of Julius Otto and Esther (McGowin) Blake

Lived in Avon Park, Florida, United States 1942
Enlisted Lakeland, Florida, United States 3 April 1942
(Other) Bailed out 4 March 1944

at 6700 meters, the last one out of B-17 # 42-39801

Landed in parachute near Beselare, Belgium 4 March 1944
Evaded capture 4 March 1944 – 9 September 1944

Helped by Belgian patriots, was hidden in various safe places in Belgium

Liberated Petite Enneille 9 September 1944

Liberated by Belgian troops while being sheltered

Died November 1973
Buried Myrtle Hill Memorial Cemetery, Tampa, Florida, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
20 January 2017 14:42:11 ED-BB Changes to middlename, suffix, service number, biography, events, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

SOURCES :
MACR 2978
NARA WWII Enlistment records
Escape & Evasion report E&E 1973

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:17:40 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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