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Richard C Browning

Military

28-Feb-42 Assigned as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 [BN-P] "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 25-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids"

31-Mar-43 While serving as Navigator of B-17F 41-24599 B-17 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS The aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with B-17F 42-29537 "Two Beauts", 303BG/358BS. This occured less than an hour from takeoff with each carrying 6 bombs for the mission to Rotterdam. The planes crashed at Mears Ashby and 303rd reports a memorial to the two crews is there.

Participated in 17 Operations (4 were Aborted) See Biography events.
Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster

Service

Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron
  • 360th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24565

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-P] Bangor 9/10/42; Molesworth 25/10/42; force landed RAF Chipping Warden 23/1/43 with Ross Bates, 10RTD; Missing in Action 28m Gelsenkirchen 5/11/43 with Ambrose Grant, Co-pilot: Frank Ball, Navigator: Jim Berger, Bombardier:...

  • 41-24605 Knock-out Dropper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-R] Bangor 22-Sep-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42; First 8th Air Force aircraft to complete 50, then 75 missions- 27-Mar-44; with M/Sgt Buford Pafford as crew chief; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 5-Jun-44; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 41-24609 Holy Mackerel

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24609 'Holy Mackerel' assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-Q] Bangor 3-Oct-42; Molesworth 22-Oct-42. On 23-Nov-43 the aircraft flown by Maj. George L. Robinson was the lead aircraft of the 303BG formation in the attack on the U-Boat Pens at St. Nazaire,...

  • 42-5243 FDR's Potato Peeler Kids

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 23/10/42; Wendover 5/12/42; Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-P] Molesworth 29/1/43; Missing in Action Kiel 4/5/43 with Capt Ross Bales, Co-pilot: Walt Dooley, Navigator: Dan McColl, Bombardier: Rhude Mathis, Flight engineer/top turret gunner:...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • 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...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 27

    30 December 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the target for this mission. A combined force of 77 B-17s are despatched by 91BG (19); 303BG (16); 305BG (13) and 306BG (18). Only 40 are effective on the target. All but 1 B-17 from the 18 despatched by 306BG is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

  • VIII Bomber Command 29

    13 January 1943
    The primary target for this mission is the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive works, associated steel works and the railroad marshalling yards at Lille, France. The attacking force is composed of 72 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 303BG (19); 305BG (23) and 306BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 33

    4 February 1943
    The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are again designated as the primary target for this mission follwing the abortive attempt of 2-Feb-43. However, weather and extreme cold frustrate this operation also. The main attacking force consists of 65 B-17s...

  • VIII Bomber Command 34

    14 February 1943
    The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are once again slated at the primary target for this mission. A force of 74 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (17); 305BG (17); 306BG (20), but weather once again forces the mission to be recalled before...

  • VIII Bomber Command 37

    26 February 1943
    After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...

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Associated Place

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Born New York State
Assigned to Aircraft Boise, ID, USA 28 February 1942

Assigned as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 [BN-P] "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho

Arrived in UK Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 25 October 1942

Arrived at Molesworth, UK as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 [BN-P] "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS.

Mission #1, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #2, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #3, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

Served as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France, RTB OK.

Mission #4, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24609, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Lorient, France 30 December 1942

Served as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner of B-17F 41-24609 "Holy Mackerel", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Loreint, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #5, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24605, 303BG/359BS Saint-Nazaire, France 3 January 1943

Served as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner of B-17F 41-24605 "Knockout Dropper", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #6, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS Lille, France 13 January 1943

Served as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the Lille Fives Locomotive Works at Lille, France. RTB OK.

Mission #7, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24565, 303BG/359BS Lorient, France 23 January 1943

Served as Navigator of B-17F 41-24565 "Idaho Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. RTB OK.

Mission #8, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Osnabrück, Germany 4 February 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the industrial areas of Osnabruck, Germany. RTB OK.

Mission #9, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS - Aborted Hamm, Germany 14 February 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. Severe cold and weather forced Wing Command to recall the entire 303BG formations. RTB OK.

Mission #10, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 26 February 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potatoe Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the naval faciliteis and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK.

Mission #11, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Brest, France 27 February 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the port area and U-Boat pens at Brest, France. RTB OK.

Mission #12, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS Rotterdam, Netherlands 4 March 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball MKII", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rotterdam, Holland. RTB OK.

Mission #13, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Rennes, France 8 March 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rennes, France. RTB OK.

Mission #14, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Rouen, France 12 March 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. RTB OK.

Mission #14, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 42-5243, 303BG/359BS Rouen, France 28 March 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 42-5243 "FDR's Potato Peeler Kids", 303BG/359BS to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. RTB OK.

Squadron Transfer Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 29 March 1943

Transferred from the 359BS to the 360BS.

Promotion in Rank Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 30 March 1943

Promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutanant.

Killed in Action Rotterdam, Netherlands 31 March 1943
Mission #17, 1LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS KOM Rotterdam, Netherlands 31 March 1943

Served as Navigator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the shipyards at Rotterdam, Holland. The aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with B-17F 42-29537 "Two Beauts", 303BG/358BS. This occured less than an hour from takeoff with each carrying 6 bombs for the mission to Rotterdam and he was Killed on Mission (KOM)

Mission #16, 2LT Richard C. Browning, w/B-17F 41-24635, 303BG/359BS Bremen-Vegesack, Bremen, Germany

Served as Navigator on B-17F 41-24635 "The '8' Ball MKII", 303BG/359BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat construction yards at Vegesack, Germany. RTB OK.

Buried

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:23:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Promotion in Rank event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:20:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Squadron Transfer event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:18:02 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #17 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 31-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/027.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:10:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #16 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 28-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/026.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:07:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #15 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/024.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:05:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #14 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 12-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/022.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 23:02:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #13 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 8-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/021.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:59:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #12 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 4-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/019.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:48:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #11 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 27-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/018.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:46:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #10 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 26-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:39:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #9 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 14-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/015.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:36:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #8 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 4-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/014.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:31:40 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #7 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 23-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:28:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #6 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 13-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/010.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 22:24:33 Lee8thbuff Changes to events and aircraft associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #5 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 3-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/010.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:54:06 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #4 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 30-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:50:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 20-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/008.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:47:10 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:45:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Mission #1 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 17-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/001.pdf

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:38:59 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Arrived in UK event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian; Ross C. Bales crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-bales.html

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 21:36:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added Assigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian; Ross C. Bales crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-bales.html

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 19:42:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Added initial assignment and arrival info, participations statement and edited loss paragraph to Summary Biography; Made connections to ALL Units, Aircraft and Missions per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian; Ross C. Bales crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-359-bales.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:26 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit history, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Bishop and Hey, p. 94, 303rd \web site, ABMC web site

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