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William J Coles Jr


Crash Landed in A/C 238183 on 28 September 1944. Evaded enemy with aid of Belgian resistance and Returned to duty. Plane was hit by flak and caught on fire. The tail gunner bailed out but the rest of the crew stayed with the plane and rode it down.


Units served with

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 524th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-38183 The Lost Angel

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 8/1/44; Albuquerque 12/1/44; Assigned 525BS/379BG [FR-C] Kimbolton 10/2/44; then 524BS [WA-G] ; flak battle damaged during raid on Magdeburg 28/9/44. Took out 2 engines on one wing, flak came through the windshield and glass got into...

  • 43-38874 "Pipe Dream"

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 2/10/44; Dow Fd 11/10/44; Assigned 524BS/379BG [WA-U] Kimbolton 13/11/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 5/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 6/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 23/11/45.

Associated Place

  • Kimbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned for RAF use, Kimbolton airfield was built by W and C French Ltd. in 1941. The airfield was increased in size to accommodate a full US heavy Bomb Group, and the first such unit to us it was the 91st Bomb Group, who arrived in September 1942....


Event Location Date
Born Etna, Pennsylvania 3 August 1920
Died 17 November 1997
Buried Blanding, Utah


Date Contributor Update
26 March 2018 09:14:28 Lucy May Changes to suffix, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations

Information provided by user 'cody1947' on this record:
'Personal remembrances and journal entries of S/Sgt William J. Coles, Jr., Tail Gunner of the 524th BS of the 379th Bombardment Group. He flew missions with the 524th Bomb Squadron from 9/13/44 to 1/1/45. He also flew in different positions: Nose Togglier (Bombardier), Radio Operator/Gunner, and Waist Gunner, but flew most of his missions in the Tail Gunner's position.'

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:27:25 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 9363