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Melvin F Wilson


Radio operator. Zum, B. Crew, Local Flight. 381st BG, 535TH BS.
Transferred to the 534TH BS after the loss of Zum, B. crew 3 September 1943.
Credited with one German fighter damaged on the 9 October 1943 mission.
Crashed on landing after a local test flight on 31 Mar 1944 in B-17F 42-29751 'Stuff'. Killed in Action (KIA).

Awards: AM (4OLC), PH.



  • Ferdinand Christofero

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Tail gunner, Zum crew. 381st BG, 535th BS. Shot down 3 September 1943 in B-17 #42-29789 'Big Time Operator'. Mission #25 to the airfield at Romilly, France. MACR 473. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft XVIIB. Brooklyn, NY POW

  • Benjamin Zum

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Pilot, Zum crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 3 September 1943 in B-17 #42-29789 'Big Time Operator'. Mission #25 to the airfield at Romilly, France. MACR 473. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I. Brooklyn, NY

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 534th Bomb Squadron
  • 535th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-29751 'Miss Abortion' aka 'Stuff'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 9/2/43; Assigned 96BG 19/4/43; Transferred 534BS/381BG [GD-D] Ridgewell 7/12/43 MISS ABORTION aka STUFF; 21m. On test flight #2 feathered entered circuit too slow, crash landed 1 mile E base 31/3/43 with Wayne Schomburg, Co-pilot:...


  • VIII Bomber Command 113

    9 October 1943
    This mission is composed of 6 elements. The first element is a combined force of 115 B-17s from: 303BG (20); 379BG (20); 384BG (21); 351BG (21); 91BG 16; and 381BG (16) dispatched to bomb the industrial areas of Anklam, Germany. 106 aircraft are...

Associated Place

  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...


Event Location Date
Born Colorado, USA 10 February 1920

Son of Joseph Alexander and Goldie Lavonne [Cowdrey] Wilson.

Lived in Colorado, USA 1941
Enlisted Los Angeles, CA, USA 6 March 1942
Based 1943 – 31 March 1944

Assigned to 535BS 381BG, 8AF USAAF.

Died Belchamp St Paul, Sudbury CO10 7DP, UK 31 March 1944

Crashed on landing after a local test flight on 31-Mar-44 in B-17F 42-29751 'Stuff'. Killed in Action (KIA).

Buried 1000 N Hillside St, Wichita, KS 67214, USA 1949

Maple Grove cemetery
Sedgwick County,
Whichita, KS.


Date Contributor Update
10 April 2018 20:50:38 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, awards, events, unit associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
04 April 2018 22:33:45 rwksict Changes to biography and unit associations

Update to Biography, Units (added 535th Bomb Squadron, his first assigned squadron)

Date Contributor Update
15 December 2017 02:17:48 ARowe95 Changes to biography, person associations, place associations and mission associations


Date Contributor Update
22 February 2017 03:50:44 rwksict Changes to highest rank and awards

Updated by Melvin's nephew

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:02 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /, 381st Bomb Group Memorial Association, March 1999, Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces