Killed when B-24 #42-51343, Shazam, crashed after takeoff in cloudy weather with heavy icing. Cause not determined. There were no survivors.
1st Lt. George E. Benko, O-714616, Co-Pilot, B-24 "Shazam," 564th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomber Group (H), 8th Air Force. Killed in Action on 7 March 1945 when his B-24 Bomber crashed on take-off at Old Costessey, England. Born on 19 November 1921, he entered the service from Ohio.
1st Lt. Benko was a member of the crew of Lt. Dale E. Williams on the aircraft "Shazam." Their target for the day was the Soest Marshaling Yards. They crashed shortly after take off in cloudy weather with heavy icing. Because no one survived the crash and the weather clouded the crash from the view of other aircraft and civilians on the ground, the exact cause of the crash was never determined. Three witnesses on the ground saw the aircraft moments before it hit the ground. All said that the aircraft was on fire when it broke through the low clouds and that the plane appeared to level off before the right wing broke off the aircraft and the fuselage crashed into the ground and exploded. The photos are of the crash scene. They were taken as part of the accident investigation.
Units served with
The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...
Crashed after takeoff in Carr's Hill Wood, Costessey. Entire crew killed.
||19 November 1921
||Carr's Hill Wood, Costessey, Norfolk, UK
||7 March 1945
||Cleveland, OH, USA
Plot: Section 110, Soldier's Plot