Prisoner of War (POW) Crashed at Merseburg on 9/28/44 in B-17 'Shy Ann' 42-102953.
On September 28,1944, my crew and I took off in a B-17 around 5:00 A.M. from a land base in England. I was ball turret gunner on my crew. We flew with the 8th Air Force, 3rd Division, 388th Bomb Group, 563 Squadron. We reached the I.P. of the bomb run around 10:30 or 11:00 AM. Our mission was Meresburg, Germany. The flak over Meresburg was very heavy.
Our first hit was near the tail section of the plane. No one was hurt, nor the plane damaged to such an extent that it was out of control. We then dropped our bombs. We carried five 1,000lb bombs and two of them stuck in the bomb bay.
Right after bombs away we were hit by flak again. This time we were hit in the nose section. My interphones ware knocked out and I lost contact with the rest of the crew.
Right after the second hit we received a third and direct hit in the waist. I felt the plane blow up in the air and then start to fall. I swung my ball turret in escape position and opened the ball turret hatch which blew off right away. It was then that I saw what had happened. The plane had been blown apart and only approximately three feet was left from my ball turret. After I found out what had happened, I tried to get out of the ball turret and get my parachute, but my parachute had been blown out in the explosion and by then the force of the diving plane had caught me and forced me back into the turret. I couldn't even lift my hands. I didn't lose consciousness until the plane hit the ground because I remembered feeling my gloves, helmet and oxygen mask tear off of me and fly out of the plane.
When the plane crashed, I lost consciousness for how long I do not know. When I finally came to, I managed to crawl clear of the plane. As I looked back at the plane, I saw it lying on its back with the wings ripped off and burning. The plane had crashed next to the munitions factory on the outskirts of Meresburg and the slave workers came and picked me up and carried me to the factory, handing me over to the military police. They kept me in the town prison there in Meresburg for the rest of the night and part of the next day.
The next day I was taken out of the town and taken to the Dulag Luft at Frankfurt where I started the familiar course all prisoners were forced to take.
From information I could pick up in the prison camps and the knowledge I had myself of the crash, I believe that all the men in my crew except Wesley G. Rood and myself had dled in that crash in MERESBURG, GERMANY.
Units served with
The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Cheyenne 22/4/44; Kearney 2/5/44; Grenier 13/5/44; Assigned 563BS/388BG [P] Knettishall 16/5/44; Missing in Action Magdeburg 28/9/44 with Bernard Lord, Co-pilot: Don Trachsel, Navigator: Irving Podolska, Bombardier: Walter Norwicki, Flight...
Military site : airfield
Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...
||St. Louis, MO. USA
|Prisoner of War (POW)
||28 September 1944