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Ralph J Gaston

Military

On 9 November 1942 assigned target U/B at St. Nazaire, France. On return, crashed into field beyond runway in B-17 41-24494.

Shot down 18 November 1942 in B-17 41-24474 'Floozy' while serving as Pilot. Aircraft ditched 2 miles of the Ile d'Oussant on the tip of the Brest Peninsula, France. Prisoner of War (POW).

Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag Luft 7 from Dec 1942-29 Jan 1945; moved to Stalag Luft 7A 05 Feb 1945 to 29 Apr 1945.

POW

Service

Units served with

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 367th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24474 Floozy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to 306BG/367BS at Westover 17-Aug-42; Thurleigh 17-Sep-42. Damaged by anti-aircraft fire over St. Nazaire, France while on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at La Pallice, France. The aircraft was then attacked by German FW-190 fighters over...

  • 41-24494

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned to 306BG/367BS at Westover 16-Aug-1942; Thurleigh 13-October-1942. 9-Nov-42 despatched on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France it was damaged by flak. Upon return it landed at Portreath, over-ran the runway, overran a dirt...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

Associated Place

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...

Events

Event Location Date
Born 24 October 1924
Prisoner of War (POW) Moosburg, Germany 18 November 1942 – 9 July 1945

Held at Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Bavaria. Officially Returned to Military Control 9-Jul-45.

Ditched Ushant, France 18 November 1942

Managed to exit the aircraft when he ditched it into the sea.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2014 21:39:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Nov-2014. Added aircraft association to 41-24494.

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2014 20:34:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Nov-2014. Corrected typo in ditching date year.

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2014 20:33:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events and aircraft associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Nov-2014; Rearranged description to chronological order of events; added ditching event and location per "Losses of the 8th & 9th AIr Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; made aircraft association per MACR 16448.

Date Contributor Update
04 November 2014 21:38:41 Lee8thbuff Changes to mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2014. Mission connection.

Date Contributor Update
04 November 2014 21:14:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2014. National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
04 November 2014 20:38:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, awards, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2014. Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 16448; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:50 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs by Hey and Bishop pp.45-46

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