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Clayton S. Balcombe

Military

06-Mar-42 Assigned as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 [PU-C] "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Ooold Soljer"

31-Mar-42 While serving as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS the aircraft sustained a mid-air collision with B-17F 42-29573 "Two Beauts", 303BG/358BS about an hour after take off in 10/10 cloud cover over Wellingboro, UK. "Ooold Soljer" was completely demolished and was seen to have lost its right wing from the #4 engine. TSGT Balcombe was severly injured in the collision and managed to bail out of the aircraft along with RWG SGT Tom McGriffin. The remaining 8 airmen were killed in the crash. Three airmen managed to baiiled out of "Two Beauts" with 7 others killed.

From 31-Mar-43 until 6-Jun-44 TSGT Balcombe was in hospital for a time and then had a period of recovery from his injuries. He returned to combat duty on 6-Jun-44 and flew another 12 credited missions completeing a 30-Mission tour on 22-Jun-44.

Mission participations (UNDER CONSTRUCTION) See Biography events.

Service

People

  • Keith Bartlett

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    12-Mar-42 Assigned to 303BG/360BS in B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soldier" as 2LT and Co-Pilot. Gowen Field (Boise), Idaho. ...

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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...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24579 Thumper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper" was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-F] 17-Feb-42 Gowen Field, Idaho; Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Aircraft damaged by AA fire and enemy fighters on mission to Lorient, France on 23-Jan-43. 11 man crew. Belly-landed at...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

  • VIII Bomber Command 29

    13 January 1943
    The primary target for this mission is the Atclier d'Hellemmes locomotive works, associated steel works and the railroad marshalling yards at Lille, France. The attacking force is composed of 72 B-17s from: 91BG (13); 303BG (19); 305BG (23) and 306BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 31

    27 January 1943
    First successful attack by 8th Air Force into Germany. The 306th Bomb Group gets the distinction of being the first American Bomb Group to drop bombs on Germany. O Original target was Vegesack but clouded over. Col. Frank Armstrong lead the group. Two...

  • VIII Bomber Command 32

    2 February 1943
    All six 8th Air Force Bomb Groups operting from Great Britain are ordered on a mission to bomb the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. 61 B-17s and 22 B-24s are despatched but the formation runs into severe weather over the North Sea and the mission in...

  • VIII Bomber Command 33

    4 February 1943
    The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are again designated as the primary target for this mission follwing the abortive attempt of 2-Feb-43. However, weather and extreme cold frustrate this operation also. The main attacking force consists of 65 B-17s...

  • VIII Bomber Command 34

    14 February 1943
    The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are once again slated at the primary target for this mission. A force of 74 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (17); 305BG (17); 306BG (20), but weather once again forces the mission to be recalled before...

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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
Assigned to Aircraft Boise, ID, USA 6 March 1942

Assigned as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho.

Arrived in UK Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 16 October 1942

Arrived at Molesworth, UK as Radio Operator aboard B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS.

Mission #1, SGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #2, SGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #3, SGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Lille, France 6 December 1942

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the carriage and wagon works at Lille, France. RTB OK.

Promotion to SSGT Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 1 January 1943

Effective 1-Jan-43, promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Mission #4, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 3 January 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #5, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Lille, France 13 January 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the Lille Fives Locomotive Works at Lille, France. RTB OK.

Mission #6, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Lorient, France 23 January 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. RTB OK.

Mission #7, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 27 January 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the naval facilities and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshave, Germany. RTB OK.

Mission #8, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS - Aborted 2 February 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, but severe cold and weather forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #9, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Osnabrück, Germany 4 February 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the industrial areas of Osnabruck, Germany, but mechanical failures force the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #10, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Hamm, Germany 14 February 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany but severe weather force Wing Command to recall the entire 303BG formation. RTB OK.

Mission #11, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 16 February 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #12, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Brest, France 27 February 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the port facilities and U-Boat pens at Brest, France. RTB OK.

Mission #13, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Rotterdam, Netherlands 4 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rotterdam, Holland. RTB OK.

Mission #14, SSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Lorient, France 6 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. RTB OK.

Promoted in Rank 8 March 1943

Promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant.

Mission #15, TSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Rouen, France 12 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Roeun, France. RTB OK.

Mission #16, TSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Amiens, France 13 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Amiens, France. RTB OK.

Mission #17, TSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 22 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the naval facilities and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK.

Mission #18, TSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Rouen, France 28 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. RTB OK.

Mission #19, TSGT Clayton S. Balcombe, W/ B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS - Injured 31 March 1943

Served as Radio Operator on B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the shipyards at Rotterdam, Holland. The aircraft sustaiend a mid-air collision with another B-17 of 358BS. He was able to bale out but was seriously injured.

In Hospital Leicester, UK 31 March 1943 – 1 June 1944

Remains in Hospital to recover from his injuries. Returned to Duty RTD and flew another 12 missions to complete a 30-mission tour.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2019 22:18:42 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Fixed typos in the "Summary biography".

Date Contributor Update
29 October 2019 21:58:42 jmoore43 Changes to person associations
Sources

Added a connection to pilot Keith O. Bartlett.

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:19:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added In Hospital event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:13:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission #19 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 31-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/027.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:10:22 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission #18 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 28-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/026.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:08:27 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission #17 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 22-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/025.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:06:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission #16 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 13-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/023.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:03:22 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-43. Added Promotion in Rank to TSGT per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 22:01:08 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016. Added Mission #15 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 12-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/022.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 21:58:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Feb-2016. Added Mission #14 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 6-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/020.pdf

Date Contributor Update
06 March 2016 21:54:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 6-Mar-2016 Made connections to Missions of 27-Jan-42, 2-Feb-43, 4-Feb-43, 14-Feb-43, 16-Feb-43, 27-Feb-43, 4-Mar-43, 6-Mar-43, 12-Mar-43,13-Mar-43, 22-Mar-43, 28-Mar-43 and 31-Mar-43 pere 303BG wesbite, Mission Reports of dates stated: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:37:48 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Feb-2016. Added Mission #13 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 4-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/019.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:35:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Feb-2016. Added Mission #12 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 27-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:31:11 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Feb-2016. Added Mission #11 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 16-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/016.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:28:28 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #10 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 14-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/014.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:24:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #9 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 4-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/014.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:21:41 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #8 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 2-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/013.pdf

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 18:18:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #7 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 27-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/012.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:55:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #6 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 23-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:54:14 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #5 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 13-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/010.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:51:28 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #4 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 3-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:46:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Promotion to SSGT event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 3-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/009.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:44:27 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 6-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:42:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:40:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #1 event per 303BG website, Gray Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 17-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/001.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:34:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Arrived in UK event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, HIstorian, Lewis E. Lyle crwe page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-lyle.html

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:32:35 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Assigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, HIstorian, Lewis E. Lyle crwe page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-lyle.html

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 19:29:15 Lee8thbuff Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added New Person entry; made connections to Place, Aircraft (through 23-Jan-43) and MIssions (through 23-Jan-43) per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Lewis E. Lyle crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-lyle.html

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