The 96th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses to targets across occupied Europe from May 1943 to April 1945. ...
Shot down 13 April 1944 in B-17 #4240016 'The Character. ' Killed in Action (KIA).
Cyril Joseph Mullin or C.J. as he was called, was born in Walnut, Kansas on June 27, 1917. After high school, C.J worked at the Mullin store in Dodge City in the parts department. He regularly sent home a portion of his earnings, about $2 - 3. Once he sent home a radio that worked on 2 large batteries which were saved for special programs. C.J. entered active service in the U. S. Army Air Corps on January 9, 1942 at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. From there he spent the next two years at various AAC bases:
Sheppard Field, Texas Jan 14 - Feb 17, 1942
Barksdale Field, Texas Feb 18 - Sept 16, 1942
SAACC, San Antonio, Tex Sept 17 - Dec 14, 1942
AAF, Corsicana, Texas Dec 14, 1942 - Feb 17, 1943 (pilot training)
Greenville AAF, Texas Feb 17 - Mar 11, 1943
Keesler Field, Mississippi Mar 14 - Mar 27, 1943
Harlingen, Texas Mar 30 - May 22, 1943
(6 week gunnery school)
AFTS, Sioux Falls, SD May 25 - Nov 1, 1943
AAF, Salt Lake City, Utah Nov 13 - Nov 19, 1943
Kearns, Utah Nov 19 - Nov 25, 1943
Sioux City AAB, Iowa Nov 27, 1943 - Feb 23, 1944
AAF, Kearney, Nebraska Feb 24 - Feb 29, 1944
From Kearney, he was assigned to the 339th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group stationed in Snetterton-Heath, England as a gunner for a B-17G Flying Fortress #42-40016 nicknamed "The Character".
The crew completed four previous missions prior to the final one:
Achmer Airfield - April 8, 1944
Warnemunde - April 9, 1944
Airfield Belgium - April 10, 1944
Rostock - April 11, 1944
Augsburg - April 13, 1944
The final mission came on April 13, 1944 when The Character was sent as one of 20 Fortresses from the 96th to form part of the Eighth Air Force's "four bladed attack on aircraft plants at Augsburg and Oberptoffenhofen, airforce installations at Lechfeld, and a ball bearing works at Schweinfurt. More than 500 bombers, accompanied by 750 to 1,000 fighter planes went on this operation, and the announcement observed: 'The targets, all highly important to the German airforce, had been hit previously and today's blows were designed both to disrupt repairs and inflict new damage.'" The 96th was assigned to the aircraft plants at Augsburg. Enemy attacks began in the Manheim area and continued intermittently for an hour and fifteen minutes. ME-109 markings, camouflaged to resemble P-15s confused the American gunners. Not only were the Messerschmitts camouflaged but they were flown in American-type formations. The gunners hesitated and C.J.'s plane was the last of five that paid the price. It was the fifth mission for the pilot when it was hit by flak probably ruining all radio and intercom possibilities. Just after the target, the pilot and co-pilot of another plane last sighted the aircraft with the #2 engine feathered and the #4 on fire headed for Switzerland apparently under control.
The pilot brought the aircraft down to 8000 feet where those in front bailed out. Realizing that those aft of the bomb bay may not have received the bail-out signal, he then put the plane on auto pilot and went to deliver the bail out instructions personally to the gunners. Then he returned to the controls long enough to allow the men to bail out, but the plane suddenly dove from the 8000 feet. The pilot and one of the gunners bailed out but they were too low. The pilot hit the ground just as the chute opened and the gunner hit a telephone pole. The sacrifice of the pilot was for nothing; the men aft of the bomb bay didn't make it and the plane crashed at Jetzendorf, Germany some 40 miles northwest of Munich. The three other officers and another gunner survived the war as POWs at Dulag Luft. Fred and Nellie were notified on April 28, 1944 that Cyril was reported missing in action until June 14, 1944 when conclusive evidence of death was received by the Secretary of War from the German Government through the International Red Cross. Through the International Red Cross, the Germans reported burying 5 members of the crew of the Character on April 15, 1944 at the Cemetery Hochmutting near Scheussheim, Germany, 8 miles north of Munich.
In July of 1944, Nellie initiated correspondence with the Quartermaster's office for the return of Cyril's personal effects. Three months later, frustrated with waiting six months for the return of the effects, Nellie wrote longtime Kansas U. S. Senator Arthur Capper to enlist his aid saying ". . . If a boy is good and brave enough to fight and die for his country, the Government of that country should be good and loyal enough to see that his belongings are taken care of and sent home to his folks." In March, 1945, when still nothing had been received, Senator Capper was again requested to intervene which resulted in a check for $73.35 and a carton of personal effects being delivered to Walnut on March 27, 1945.
In spring, 1945, the effort to recover and identify the remains of Cyril began. The Graves Registration Command in France was notified that captured German records indicated the place of burial as the Cemetery at Hochmutting near Schleissheim. At the same time, Fred and Nellie were notified of the results of the translation of the German records. Again, Senator Capper's intervention was requested. This resulted in a special investigation being initiated to verify the German information. At the same time, the remains of a large number of unknowns were disinterred from the area around Munich.
Throughout 1948 and 1949, the correspondence between Fred and Nellie and the Army continued requesting a status and the response being that the investigation was still in process. The initial investigation of the remains from Hochmutting revealed that three of the six crewmen from the Character were identified but C.J. was not among them. In early 1950, a burial report was issued stating that the remains and personal effects recovered from the plane wreckage at Jetzendorf and identified as X-4631 during examination by an anthropologist at the U. S. Military Cemetery, Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium were that of Cyril and the two remaining crewmen. This report was returned to the field for investigation when a review of the case determined that, though the personal effects were for three persons, the remains were of only one person.
The investigation was concluded in July, 1950 when additional remains were recovered at the plane site and identified as Cyril and his fellow crewmen as a group since the remains were too fragmentary to individually identify. This identification was based on the identification of the equipment from the Character and an ID tag and bracelet for two of the men and clothing containing the laundry mark of "M 0816" which was Cyril's.
Fred and Nellie were notified of these results on August 6, 1950 and that Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky was chosen for the burial as equally distant from all three families. Finally on October 17, 1950, Fred and Nellie attended military grave side services for Cyril and his two companions to complete the story.
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Long Beach 3/11/43; Kearney 14/11/43; Assigned 339BS/96BG [QJ-H] Snetterton 30/11/43; Bombardier: Douglas Leeper (KIA-by 20mm shell, pilot was Chas Wunnerberg who landed back at RAF Woodbridge, Sfk) 10/2/44; Missing in Action Augsburg 13/4/44...
Military site : airfield
Intended to be an RAF bomber base, construction of Snetterton Heath started in Autumn 1942 but continued until mid-1943, because it was extended after allocation as an Eighth Air Force bomber base. It had eventually three concrete runways, 50...
|Born||Walnut, KS 66780, USA||27 July 1917|
|Enlisted||Fort Leavenworth, KS, USA||9 January 1942|
|Killed in Action (KIA)||Germany||13 April 1944|
|Died||13 April 1944|
|Buried||Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, KY, USA||17 October 1950|
Section C, Grave 425
|09 September 2018 19:35:44||mbholland||Changes to awards and events|
|09 September 2018 16:09:38||mbholland||Changes to mission associations|
|09 September 2018 15:50:11||mbholland||Changes to biography|
Geneology research and Snetterton Falcons book.
|09 September 2018 01:40:25||mbholland||Changes to service number, events and place associations|
|17 November 2015 03:43:35||Sylphy||Changes to middlename and nickname|
Family Research done on Ancestry.com
|27 September 2014 18:06:42||AAM||AAM ingest|
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 4267 / MACR 4267; Snetterton Falcons, pg 132 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database