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Darwin H Wissenback


Shot down 20 December 1942 in B-17F 41-24495 'Rose O'Day' while serving as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf Near Krems Austria 48-15. He flew on James Stewart crew, but was shot down with Lt. McKee. He was shot down on his 7th mission.

His twin brother Erwin was in the 367th BS and flew on John Olsen (B-17F 41-24510 "Snoozy II" MIA 9-Oct-42 ro Lille) crew. Darwin's most unusual experience: 'was when I saw my twin brother (E/TTG TSgt Erwin D. Wissenback, 19004589) shot down on our first combat mission. Their plane was flying to the right side of ours. We were attacked by German fighter planes and their plane was the first plane hit. It seemed to me that the whole top part of the plane blew off in an explosion and then the airplane went into a spin falling towards the ground. I watched until it was out of sight and did not see any parachutes come out. That evening when back to England a gunner from a plane behind our squadron came to me and said he saw two parachutes from the plane my brother was in. Somehow I knew Erwin was one of them. One day, several months later while I was a Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 7A, a group of American airmen who had just been shot down were brought to the Prisoner of War (POW) camp where I was. Two of them saw me and said 'Erwin, how did you get here?' It was then I learned Erwin had returned to England alive. I learned he had managed to get into the French underground and with their help made his way to Gibraltar (See Escape & Evasion Report #11 at for detais). There he hitched a ride to England on a B-17 bomber which was later shot down on a mission over Germany. These two men who thought I was Erwin were part of the bomber crew who gave Erwin the ride back to England'

POW, PH, AM, 5 Battle Stars,


Units served with

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 367th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24495 Rose O' Day

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24495 'Rose O' Day' was assigned 367BS/306BG Westover 17-Aug-42; Thurleigh 13-Oct-42; Missing in Action 20-Dec- 42 while on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. Shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed Creil, France...


  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

Associated Place

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...


Event Location Date
Born 21 June 1920
Prisoner of War (POW) Krems an der Donau, Austria 20 December 1942 – 3 July 1945

Held at Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf, near Krems, Austria. Officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 3-Jul-45.

Died 24 October 2003
Buried Salem, Oregon


Date Contributor Update
05 December 2014 22:08:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added details concerning Erwin Wissenback to biography from within existing website data.

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2014 21:57:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to awards

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added decorations per existing data.

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2014 21:56:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added crew position to biography per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; Added POW event and SN per National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database; made connections to Place, Aircraft and Mission within existing website data.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:06:57 AAM AAM ingest

306th BG Association Directory, 1 September 1999 Edition; Roll of Honor,  Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Hey and Bishop p.55, NARA, First Over Germany 4-5 & 56;   / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia