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Leroy Desmond Cruse


Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-31721 'Black Magic'. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 5334

First to bale out, chute seen to fully deploy, seen by a fellow crewmate to land successfully, killed by civilian Richard Wegman, later found guilty of his murder.

Awards: PH



  • Clyde McClelland

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 351st Bomb Group
    Shot down 28 May 1944 in B-17 #4231721 'Black Magic. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


  • 351st Bomb Group

    351st Bomb Group

    The 351st Bomb Group flew strategic bombing missions from their base at Polebrook, Northamptonshire from April 1943 to June 1945. The Group's most famous member was Hollywood actor Clark Gable, who flew four/ five missions with them as an observer...

  • 510th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-31721 'Black Magic'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 10/12/43; Kearney 24/12/43; Assigned 510BS/351BG [TU-S] Polebrook 29/1/44; 36m Missing in Action Dessau 28/5/44 with Clyde McClelland, Co-pilot: Dick Francis, Navigator: John Duncan, Bombardier: George Kiely, Flight engineer/top turret...


  • 376

    28 May 1944

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...


Event Location Date
Born Terril, Iowa, USA 16 April 1915

Son of Michael Robert and Della Mae [Staples] Cruse.

Based Polebrook 1944 – 28 May 1944

Assigned to 510BS, 351BG, 8AF USSAF.

Killed in Action (KIA) Dessau, Dessau-Roßlau, Germany 28 May 1944

Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-31721 'Black Magic'. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 5334

Buried Terril, IA 51364, USA 1949

Fairview Cemetery
Dickinson County


Date Contributor Update
12 January 2018 22:15:12 Kauko56 Changes to biography

US trial paper 12-1967

Date Contributor Update
07 December 2017 21:14:52 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, biography, awards, events and unit associations
Mission 376: Battle Over the Reich, May 28, 1944 By Ivo de Jong

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:41 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 5334 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database