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Ellera J Corwin

Military

Ellera volunteered for military service as the US entered the war, and aimed to serve in the Army Air Corps. Eventually he went through navigator school, completed it, and served on the B-17 numbered 42-5262 (PU-F) 303BG/360BS.

9-Feb-42 Assigned as Navigator on B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS at Molesworth, UK. 303BG records do not indicate that he was in the original complement of aircraft and crews of the 303BG at Molesworth, UK in October 1942. It seems likely that he was part of a replacement crew and was processed through one of the Combat Crew Replacment Centers prior to his assigment with the 303BG.

Shot down over the Bay of Biscay on March 6th, 1943, Ellera survived substantial shrapnel wounds and was ocean-bound on a liferaft until he and the surviving B-17 crewmen were picked up.

An excerpt of mission #20 to Lorient, France, from the 303rd Bomb Group's website, 303rdbg.com:

"Lt Plocher reached a life raft where Lt's Corwin and Kahlden, with their life jackets on, were bobbing in the water. Lt Plocher boarded the life raft and pulled the other two aboard. They then spotted the other life raft with five crewmen aboard. They managed to tie the two rafts together. As the sun began to set, the crew heard an aircraft. A German fighter spotted them and flashed its landing lights before veering away. Around midnight, all of the crew shivering from the cold and wet after floating for 12 hours, saw a light sweeping the water some distance away. A loud and clear English speaking voice asked who we were. Again the voice spoke and was recognized as having a German accent. The German vessel approached the rafts and lowered a 30-foot ladder. Lt Plocher was the last crewman to make the climb. The seven surviving crewmen spent the next 26 months as POWs. Wounded Tail Gunner, S/Sgt Tornow, was repatriated by the Germans."

Participated in 3 Operations (NO aborts) See Biogrpahy events.

Service

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

  • 42-5262

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 27-Oct-42; Bury 6-Dec-42; Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-F] Molesworth 29-Jan-43; Missing in Action Lorient 6-Mar-43. Shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed into the Bay of Biscay, off Penmarch Point. 2KIA 8POW Missing Air Crew Report 15536. ...

  • 42-5723

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-5-VE 42-5723 [PU:D] was delivered Long Beach 30-Sep-42; Tulsa 4-Oct-42; Wayne 5-Nov-42; Salina 27-Nov-42; Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-D] at Molesworth, UK 13-Feb-43; battle damaged over Vegasak on 18-Mar-43 crash landed with wheels up in field four...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 37

    26 February 1943
    After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...

  • VIII Bomber Command 38

    27 February 1943
    With weather and cloud cover continuing to frustrate bombing efforts against targets in Northern Germany, VIII Bomber Command decides to mount a raid against the harbour facilities at Brest, France. A total of 60 B-17s are destached: 91BG (18); 303BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 40

    6 March 1943
    German U-boats continue to attack convoys headed fro Great Britain in the North Atlantic with good success. Many of the U-boat packs operate from St. Nazaire, Lorient and Brest, France, so destroying harbour facilities at these locations remain a...

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 Minnesota, USA 1917

Minnesota

Assigned to Aircraft Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 9 February 1943

Assigned as Navigator on B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS at Molesworth, UK.

Mission #1, 2LT Ellera J. Corwin, w/B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 26 February 1943

Served as Navigator of B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the naval facilities and U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK

Mission #2, 2LT Ellera J. Corwin, w/B-17F 42-5723, 303BG/360BS Brest, France 27 February 1943

Served as Navigator of B-17F 42-5723, 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the port area and U-Boat pens at Brest France. RTB OK.

Based Molesworth 6 March 1943
Mission #3, 2LT Ellera J. Corwin, w/B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS - POW Lorient, France 6 March 1943

Served as Navigator of B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. Aircraft was shot down by fighters but the pilot managed to ditch the aircraft into the Bay of Biscay. He and 7 other airmen were able to get in rafts and were eventually captured by the Germans. Two other crew were KIA in the attack.

Prisoner of War - Camp 1 Moosburg, Germany 7 March 1943 – 13 October 1943

Held at Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Bavaria until 13-Oct-43, then relocated to Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf (near Krems) Austria until liberted by American forces on 15-Apr-45.

Last Report Date - Discharged 8 June 1945

Evacuated to the United States and Discharged.

Prisoner of War - Camp 2 Krems an der Donau, Austria 13 October 1945

Held at Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf (near Krems), Austria until liberated by the 3rd Army (Patton) on 15-Apr-45.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
29 February 2016 21:09:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 29-Feb-2016. Correcting typos.

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:52:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added Last Report Date event per NARA WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:50:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added POW-Camp 2 event per NARA WWII POW database and historical records of Stalag 7A.

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:48:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added noted to POW-Camp 1 event per NARA WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:45:30 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 6-Mar-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/020.pdf

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:39:26 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 27-Feb-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/018.pdf

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:32:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Added Assigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, 303BG Personnel Roster: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
27 February 2016 23:31:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, biography, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Feb-2016. Made connections to Place, Aircraft and Missions; Added Assignment statement and Participations statement to Summary Biography per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, 303BG Personnel Roster; http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2015 20:30:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunnungham 3-Jul-2015. Added Decoration and POW event per National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database; Made connections to Place and Mission within existing website data; Added unit and crew position to Description per MACR 15536.

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2015 09:22:06 Lucy May Changes to events
Sources

Added 'Minnesota' as a location to Ellera's Born event.

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2015 09:18:26 Lucy May Changes to media associations
Sources

Re-associated the photograph of Ellera Corwin with his record.

NordicFox - I think that it might not have shown up the first time you did it because you were editing the Person record at the same time as the Media record. The archive can't make an association with a record that is in the edit mode.

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2015 06:05:36 NordicFox Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events, mission associations and media associations
Sources

I am Ellera's grandson, and have performed extensive research into his service with the 303rd bomb group.

Lots of info from www.303rdbg.com

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:08:49 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 15536 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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