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William Patrick Maher

Military

Born in 1915 in New Hampshire, William Maher was working for the Manchester City Street Railway Company as a bus repairer in 1940. He enlisted in April 1942 and was sent overseas. Assigned to the 303rd Bomb Group/358th Bomb Squadron in England. Shot down over France in B-17 42-29635 'Augerhead' on the 31 August 1943 mission to bomb the Amiens/Glisy airfield, France. After bailing out, he landed just South of Abbeville, France. Helped by French patriots and the Belgian Comet evasion network, he crossed into Spain on 22 September 1943, reached Gibraltar on 1 October and was back in England on 5 October 1943. The full story of his evasion : http://www.evasioncomete.org/fmaherwp.html

Maher was a member of the William Monahan crew, which usually flew B-17F #41-24577 'Hell's Angels'. After WWII, William Maher returned to the US and stayed in the Air Force, serving last as a Navigator/ Observer on RB-36 aircraft out of Rapid City. He was Killed in Service on 18 March 1953 flying in a RB-36H Peacemaker #51-13721 of the 28th SRW (Strategic Reconnaissance Wing)/ 718th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. The plane was on a low-level overwater training flight, just 1,000 ft over the ocean whitecaps, from the Lajes airfield in the Azores to its base at Rapid City, South Dakota. The RB-36 became lost in bad weather, had problems with its jet engines and crashed into a frigid wilderness hillside on Random Island, near Burgoyne Cove, Newfoundland. All twenty-three men aboard were killed, including Captain William Maher who was flying as an Observer, Radar Operator. Details at http://www.air-and-space.com/b-36%20wrecks.htm#51-13721

The Senior Officer aboard was Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth, CG of the 28th SRW. The Rapid City AFB, South Dakota, was renamed Ellsworth AFB after Brig. Gen. Ellsworth by order of President Eisenhower on 13 June 1953.

Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters

Service

People

  • Louis Benepe

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 42-29635 'Augerhead. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Alfred Buinicky

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Alfred Buinicky was a bench worker in a machine shop in Claremont, New Hampshire when he enlisted in August 1942. Sent overseas, he was assigned as a Ball Turret Gunner in the 303rd Bomb Group/358th Bomb Squadron in England. Shot down 31 August 1943 in...

  • James Comer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    S/Sgt James Comer Jr was Left Waist Gunner on B-17 "Augerhead" # 42-29635 of 303rd Bomb Group/358th Bomb Squadron when it was shot down on the 31 August mission to the Amiens/Glisy airfield. Prisoner of War (POW) - Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 470.

  • Walter Gasser

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 #42-29635 'Augerhead'. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Walter Hargrove

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 42-29635 'Augerhead. ' Evaded.

  • Marion Ignaczewski

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 303rd Bomb Group
    Marion Ignaczewski was an Engineer in the 303rd Bomb Group/358th Bomb Squadron. He flew missions on the William Monahan crew, but was not flying with his Pilot when Monahan's B-17 "Augerhead" #42-29635 was shot down on 31 August 1943. It is possible...

  • Ripley Joy

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Ripley W. Joy was assigned to the 303rd Bomb Group / 358th Bomb Squadron. Starting as a Co-Pilot, he was upgraded to Pilot on 4 June 1943. After completing 25 missions with the 303rd, he was sent back to the US. He was assigned as a pilot in the 21st...

  • Frank Kimotek

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 #4229635 'Augerhead. ' Evaded.

  • David Miller

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 #4229635 'Augerhead. ' Killed in Action (KIA).

  • William Monahan

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 31 August 1943 in B-17 42-29635 'Augerhead. ' Prisoner of War (POW). POW

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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...

  • 358th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24539 Jersey Bounce

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-K] Kellogg Fd 15/9/42; Molesworth 16/10/42; CCRC Bovingdon 27/7/43; 384BG Grafton Underwood 22/9/43; Salvaged NBD 31/5/45. JERSEY BOUNCE.

  • 41-24577 Hell's Angels

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24577 "Hells Angels" was assigned to 358BS/303BG [VK-D] Bangor 14-Oct-42; arrived at Molesworth 24-Oct-42; in landing accident with Irl E. Baldwin 26-Apr-43; slated to RAF 100 Squadron, but retained by 803rd BS ATD (American Training...

  • 42-29635 Augerhead

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/1/43; Salina 7/2/43; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-M] Molesworth 26/3/43. 18 missions. Missing in Action on the mission to bomb the airfield at Amiens-Glisy, France on 31 August 1943. Pilot: William J. Monahan; Co-pilot: Louis M....

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 88

    31 August 1943
    This mission is composed of two elements. The first element is composed of 170 B-17s from: 91BG (16); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (18); 306BG (18); 351BG (21); 379BG (21); 381BG (19); and 384BG (18). The primary target for this element is German...

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 Manchester, New Hampshire 19 October 1915

the son of Irish-born Mary Maher and William Maher

Enlisted Manchester, New Hampshire, United States 13 April 1942
Evaded (EVD) France 31 August 1943 – 3 October 1943

Landed about 2km from the center of Epagne-Epagnette, southeast of Abbeville, Pas-de-Calais, France.
Helped by French patriots and the Belgian Comète network, he crossed into Spain, reached Gibraltar on 1 October and was flown back to England on 4 October 1943, arriving in Bristol, England the following day. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 118

Died Nut Cove, Newfoundland (Terreneuve), Canada 18 March 1953

Killed in the crash of RB-36H # 51-13721. He served as a radar operator on a training flight

Enlisted
Buried Old Saint Joseph Cemetery, Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2018 20:52:03 wpmaher Changes to nickname, biography and events
Sources

Son: William Patrick Maher Jr.

Date Contributor Update
25 May 2018 08:40:03 Carl Changes to biography
Sources

Notes compiled from articles on file at IWM by historian and volunteer Helen Millgate.

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2017 14:32:52 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography
Sources

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- MACR 470 ;
- Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2015 15:05:06 ED-BB Changes to biography
Sources

23 men on board the RB-36

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2015 15:01:54 ED-BB Changes to awards
Sources

Added Awards

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2015 15:00:29 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, biography, events, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment records
MACR 470
Escape & Evasion Report E&E 118

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:35 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 470, son 2009

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