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Robert Amos Benward


Assigned to 534BS, 381BG, 8AF USAAF. 26 x combat missions. Mechanical failure caused force landing in wheat field in B-17 44-6418 'Smashing Thru'. A/C nosed over into unseen railway cutting and fire caused bomb load to explode. Killed in Action (KIA). 13-Jul-44 No MACR

Awards: PH.



  • Donald Herrin

    Military | Waist Gunner, Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    May -September 1944

  • John Houston

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 534BS, 381BG, 8AF USAAF. 26 x combat missions. Survived crash in B-17 44-6418 'Smashing Thru'. Badly burned in accident. ETD ...

  • Lloyd Jackson

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 534BS, 381BG, 8AF USAAF. Martyniak crew. On mission to Kerlin-Bastard, France 8-Jun-44 in B-17 42-97238 'Our Captain'; Ditched in channel 30 miles W of Jersey due to flak damage, rescued by ASR. RTD Re-assigned to Houston crew. On first...

  • John Lundberg

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 22 June 1944 in AC #4297084

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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


  • 42-31569 Sweet Patootie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 23/11/43; Gt Falls 25/11/43; Cheyenne 11/12/43; Kearney 21/12/43; Romulus 6/1/44; Grenier 9/1/44; Presque Is 10/1/44; Assigned 534BS/381BG [GD-E] Ridgewell 19/2/44; Missing in Action 4m Ludwigshafen 3/9/44 with Omar Fulton, Co-pilot:...

  • 44-6148 'Smashing Thru'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 14/5/44; Kearney 24/5/44; Dow Fd 1/6/44; Assigned 534BS/381BG [GD-M] Ridgewell 16/6/44; 11+m crashed on take off for Munich 13/7/44 with John Houston(severe burns), Co-pilot: Bill Scruggs (same, plus broken leg) (2 Returned to Duty);...


  • 423

    19 June 1944
    Bombed an airfield. Nine hour mission. Shortly after retiring we were called again but mission was called off at briefing room.

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 Wichita, KS 7 December 1922

Son of William and Merle Benward.

Lived in Kansas, USA 1942
Based Ridgewell 1944 – 13 July 1944

Assigned to 534BS, 381BG, 8AF USAAF.

Died Vicinity of Great Yeldham 13 July 1944
Buried 14 July 1944

Cambridge American Cemetery

Buried Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, NE June 1949

Fort McPherson National Cemetery
Maxwell, Lincoln County, NE
Section F, Site 1204


Date Contributor Update
15 May 2019 11:39:31 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:56 AAM AAM ingest

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