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William A Adams

Military

Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Radio Operator, Prisoner of War (POW).

Service

People

  • Thomas Calhoun

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Left Waist Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Robert Carlberg

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Robert Carlberg was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, and was sent to England. Shot down on 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Co-Pilot on a mission to bomb U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Fortress was hit...

  • John Hughes

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Right Waist Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Roy Nalley

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Note : the 1930 US Census has his family's name wrongly spelled as Nally... This was corrected in the 1940 one > Nalley... A Top Turret Gunner, Roy Nalley was shot down on 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • William Schimke

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Ball Turret Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Ewart Sconiers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt Ewart Sconiers was Bombardier on B-17 #41-9089 'Johnny Reb', one of the 12 B-17s participating in the first heavy bomber raid of the 8th Air Force on 17 August 1942. The target were the shipyards of Rouen/Sotteville, France. ...

  • James Simmons

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Tail Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW). After being held at Stalag Luft 1 (Barth, Germany), he was transferred to Stalag XIII (Hammelburg, Germany), where he was head of the escape committee.

  • Harold Spire

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Note : In both the 1930 and 1940 Censuses, Harold and his parents are listed as Spires. All later documents, including his Enlistment records, his Escape & Evasion Report have him as Harold Spire... ...

  • Richard Starks

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Richard Starks grew up in Woodford County, Kentucky. He attended the Midway High School and the University of Kentucky before enlisting in April 1941. After his enlistment, he was sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma for primary training, starting to fly the...

  • Milton Stenstrom

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Milton Stenstrom enlisted in April 1941 and followed pilot training. Assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, he was sent to England. ...

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Units served with

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 414th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24443 Johnny Reb II, Johnny Reb Jr

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bangor 1-August-1942; transferred to 414BS/97BG Polebrook 24-August-1942; Missing in Action 21-October-1942 on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Navigator, 1Lt Harold Spire provided the following...

  • 41-9089 Johnny Reb

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Sarasota 15/4/42. Assigned 414BS/97BG Polebrook 4/42. Flew on first 8th Air Force heavy bomber mission 17 August 1942 with Pilot Lt. Richard S. Starks (WIA 21/8/42); Co-pilot: Donald A. Walter (KIA 21/8/42); Navigator: Harold Spire;...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 15

    21 October 1942
    German U-Boat pens are Lorient, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission along with the German airfield at Cherbourg, France. 93BG despatches 24-B-24s to Lorient, but cloud cover prevents them from bombing. The main attack force to Lorient...

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Georgia, United States 21 May 1921

The son of William A. Adams

Lived in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina, United States April 1930

with his stepfather William Alva Swaffar [widower of Leila B. (Howard) Swaffar who died in October 1913, aged 27] and his stepmother Edna B. (Tate) Swaffar, who had been married first to Lawrence C. Tate before marrying William A. Adams, father of the airman, and marrying a third time, to William Swaffar...

Lived in Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina, United States April 1940

working as a truck driver in a lumber yard

Enlisted Charlotte, North Carolina, United States 30 November 1940

as a Private in the Air Corps

Captured Quimper, France 21 October 1942

after the ditching of B-17F 41-24443 off the coast of Brittany, France and being rescued by a French fishing boat which brought him and 8 other crew members to shore.

Prisoner Of War (POW) Braunau, Austria 21 October 1942 – 22 September 1944

Initially interned at Stalag XVIIB (Barracks 15B) in Braunau-Gneikendorf, Austria, ended up at Stalag 4D/Z in Annaburg, Sachsen, Prussia (Torgau, Saxony), Germany.
NARA WWII POW Records : "Returned to Allied Military Control 22 September 1944." This RMC date probably indicates that he was wounded and was returned to US forces in a Prisoner Exchange Program. This sometimes occurred, possibly for humanitarian reasons, but probably because the Germans did not want any wounded POW to take up hospital space that could be used for their own wounded.

Buried Robinson Memorial Gardens, Easley, South Carolina, United States 1997
Died Greenville, South Carolina, United States 3 February 1997

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2020 00:39:08 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
29 November 2017 15:19:57 ED-BB Changes to events
Sources

Corrected family details

Date Contributor Update
29 November 2017 13:04:16 ED-BB Changes to events and person associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment Records
NARA WWII POW Records
US Censuses 1920, 1930 and 1940
VA Gravesite Locator

Date Contributor Update
22 November 2014 19:43:14 Lee8thbuff Changes to awards and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 22-Nov-2014. Added POW event. National Archives Records Administration. (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
28 October 2014 20:10:31 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, biography, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Oct-2014. "losses of the 8th 7 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & john A. Hey MBE; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:27:34 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol 1, pp 38-39 by Bishop and Hey

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