Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Robert Zeno Grimes

Military

Served in the AF for 30 years.

Shot down 20 Oct 1943 in B -17 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 on loan from 413th Squadron. Hit by fighters, crashed near Hirson, Belgium. Evaded (EVD) - Escape & Evasion Report E&E 361. Learned that 4 of his crew were killed in action and that five others had survived the crash. 'You never stop thinking about it. '

After receiving medical attention for a leg wound, with the help of the Belgian Comete evasion organization, he went by foot, bicycle and train to the Spanish border. Basque guides took him and others, including Bombardier 2nd Lt Lloyd A. Stanford and Co-Pilot Jim F. Burch (both on B-17 42-3539 of 385th BG/550th BS - MIA 10/10/1943) on an overnight hike in the freezing rain through the Pyrenees and into Spain before dawn Dec 24, pursued by Spanish patrols. Jim Burch drowned in the crossing of the Bidassoa River, a natural border between France and Spain. Bob Grimes was back in England on 30 January 1944.

See the pages for him and the crews of 42-30372 and 42-3539 at www.evasioncomete.org >>> search on the aircraft serials or on the names.

Robert Grimes' awards : Legion of Merit, Air Medal, Purple Heart, AF Commendation Medal, and many more.

Peter Eisner has written a book about Robert Grimes' evasion : "The Freedom Line", first published in 2004 by William Morrow/Harper Collins.

Service

People

  • Charles Carlson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier, Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in 42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 on loan from the 413th Squadron. EVADED. Charles Carlson evaded capture and was helped by the Belgian evasion network "Comete". Too severely wounded, he was kept hidden in various places...

  • George Janser

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Staff Sergeant George C. Janser was born January 26, 1920. His parents were John and Stefania Janser. He was from Terryville, Connecticut. ...

  • Theodore Kellers

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in B-17 #42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III. ' Evaded (EVD) from Belgium with the help of the Comet evasion network. Handed over by Comet to another line, he was on his way to Spain via Tarbes, France, when he was arrested together...

  • James McElroy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in 42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 on loan from the 413th Squadron. Helped by the Belgian evasion network “Comete”, he was guided from Belgium through France and the Pyrenees mountains to Spain. Arrived in Gibraltar from...

  • Frederick McManus

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in B-17 42-30372 'Shack Rabbit II. ' Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Robert Metlen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in B-17 42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 borrowed from the 413th BS. The underground passed him from Belgium through France to Spain. He was back in England by 18 December 1943. Helped by the Belgian evasion network "Comete...

  • Jerome Nawracaj

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Staff Sergeant Jerome C. Nawracaj was born September 27, 1920. He was the son of Stanley and Sophie Nawracaj. He was from Manville, New Jersey. ...

  • Arthur Pickett

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 96th Bomb Group
    Co-Pilot Arthur C. Pickett was shot down 20 October 1943 in 42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 on loan from the 413th Squadron. Killed in Action (KIA). Hit in the head in the first attack, he was unable to get loose from his chute harness and fell to...

  • Harold Sheets

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Shot down 20 October 1943 in B-17 #42-30372 'Shack Rabbit III', a B-17 on loan from the 413th Squadron. Managed to evade capture. Helped by the Belgian evasion network “Comete”, he was back in England on 18 December 1943. See his page at www...

Show more

Units served with

Aircraft

  • 42-30372 Shack Rabbit III

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/5/43; Gore 25/5/43; Gr Isle 4/6/43; Dow Fd 27/6/43; Assigned 413BS/96BG [MZ-P] Snetterton 26/6/43; Missing in Action Duren 10/10/43 with Pilot Robert Z. Grimes; Co-pilot: Arthur C. Pickett; Bombardier: Charles V. Carlson;...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 116

    20 October 1943
    The primary target for this mission is the industrial areas of Duren, Germany. The mission is composed of three elements. The first element is a combined formation of 103 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that includes: 91BG (3); 92BG (14); 303BG (19);...

Associated Place

  • Snetterton Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Intended to be an RAF bomber base, construction of Snetterton Heath started in Autumn 1942 but continued until mid-1943, because it was extended after allocation as an Eighth Air Force bomber base. It had eventually three concrete runways, 50...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Portsmouth, Virginia 24 November 1922
Enlisted Richmond, Virginia, United States 11 March 1942

Enlisted as a Private in the Air Corps

Evaded Capture 20 October 1943
Died Fort Belvoir, Virginia, United States 21 April 2010
Lived in Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Buried

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 May 2015 11:49:43 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography and events
Sources

Merged with duplicate entry to include information from : Combat Chronology; Snetterton Falcons pg 76; MACR 1017 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 1017 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
24 April 2015 12:05:14 ED-BB Changes to biography
Sources

Addition of book reference

Date Contributor Update
18 April 2015 14:57:46 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, biography, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment records
MACR 1017
Escape & Evasion Report E&E 361

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:19 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum Membership List, July 2000/ MACR 1017; Snetterton Falcons, pg 59

Share