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Norbert Alfonz Lorentz Jr

Military

Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-6037. Prisoner of War (POW).
From Norbert Lorentz Jr’s obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 29 May 2006 © :
Norbert Lorentz Jr’s father had emigrated to the USA after service in the German Army. Born in New Jersey in 1920, Lorentz Jr was studying chemistry at Columbia University in New York when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
"He went to Times Square on Dec. 7 and was one of the crowd that lined up to sign up," said his wife, Mary Lorentz. He was stationed in England and tried to get his 25 missions in before June 1944 so he could return to the States and marry, said his son, Bill Lorentz of Jacksonville.
On his sixth mission, he was shot down over Cognac, France, was rescued by the French Resistance, later captured by the Germans, then spent 14 months in Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany, he said.
Lorentz was trained as a B-24 bomber but volunteered for B-17 missions. "Their intelligence officer assured them this would be a milk run," his son said. Only four of the 11 crew members survived.
"One hook did not take on his parachute," his wife said. "He's going down on one hook, just hanging. His boots had come off and his face was black from burns."
Nearby, members of the French Resistance were preparing a bonfire for New Year's Eve and watched him descend. They rescued him and placed him near the fire to warm up before he went into shock, she said.
"The French Resistance knew he required medical treatment," his son said. "They moved him in a clandestine fashion to a country doctor's house where he was treated. There were a number of people in the house. Word had gotten out about the wounded American flier.
"As he moved to the back of the house, he noticed all the women would look him in the eyes and start crying. When he walked by a mirror, he realized he had been disfigured."
His rescuers tried to get Lorentz to the safety of an underground network. As the wounded flier crept under the cover of hedges, to his amazement he saw a dazed crew mate walking down the country road, his son said. Lorentz jumped up to call out to his crew mate, who he did not realize was being escorted by two German soldiers, and was captured, his son said. In the prison camp, Lorentz was treated by a German doctor whom he credits for keeping him from being permanently disfigured, he said.
While he was a POW, Mr. Lorentz documented his entire ordeal in a hardback, blank-page book provided by the Red Cross, his son said. Norbert Lorentz was liberated when the war ended, returned to the States and married, a year later in June 1945. His wife, Lucia F. Lorentz, died in 1990. He married Mary Lorentz in 1991.
Wherever he was assigned, he grew roses and a vegetable garden, worked with wood and built radios, television sets and stereos from kits. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1965 after being trained in criminal investigations and counterintelligence, his son said. He had a second career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigating fraud, graft and corruption. He retired again in 1986 and moved to the metro area in 2001. Sixty years after his rescue, his wife said, he returned to France and was treated like a hero. The family military legacy continues, his son said, through five of his children and five of his grandchildren who have served in the U.S. military.
NOTE : According to the MACR, another crew member stated that the injured Lt Lorentz had been seen by him in a house in Cognac and was with him in Paris, where they were separated...[SIC]

Service

People

  • Edward Allard

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • John Bickley

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Arthur Dauenhauer

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Arthur Mahy

    Military | Top Turret Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Paul McGill

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Henry Patterson

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radar Operator | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Crashed near Royan. Patterson's body was never recovered and he is listed on the Wall of the Missing at Rhone American Cemetery.

  • Henry Richard

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Paul Schatzau

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • John Silvia

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #426037. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Stanley Wainwright

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 December 1943 in B-17 #42-6037, Prisoner of War (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...

  • 331st Bomb Squadron

    331st Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Part of 94th Bomb Group.

  • 333rd Bomb Squadron

    333rd Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Part of 94th Bomb Group.

Aircraft

  • 42-6037

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 30 June 1943; Amarillo 3 July 1943; Love Field 9 August 1943; Dallas 10 August 1943. Assigned 331BS/94BG [QE-P] Rougham 9 October 1943. ...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 171

    31 December 1943
    This mission is the last heavy bomber operation of 1943. 1943 had been a very "tough" year for the 8th Air Force in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). 23365 B-17s had been despatched on missions and 881 had Failed to Return (FTR) for a loss...

Events

Event Location Date
Born New Jersey, United States 26 March 1920

the son of Norbert A. and Florence Lorentz

Lived in Hasbrouck Heights, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States 1941
Enlisted Newark, New Jersey, United States 10 March 1942
Bailed out of plane near Cognac, France 31 December 1943

Left the stricken B-17 and landed in France

Made a Prisoner of War France February 1944

Arrested while being helped by the French Underground and notably by a doctor who had treated his burned face

Prisoner of War (POW) February 1944 – 1 May 1945

Hospitalized by the Germans after his capture. His wounds were cared for and he was interned at Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany. The camp was liberated by Russian troops on 1 May 1945. NARA WWII POW records : "Returned to Military control 1 June 1945."

Died Loganville, Walton County, Georgia, United States 25 May 2006

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 January 2016 15:41:35 ED-BB Changes to middlename, nickname, service number, biography, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 1755
NARA WWII Enlistment records
NARA WWII POW records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:36 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 1755

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