Lt Finis E. Harris, Jr., was the son of a judge in Cookeville, Tennessee, USA. The oldest of three sons, he joined the Army Air Corp. His two other brothers enlisted, as well. Returning from a mission on Kassel on 15/Dec/44 and the B-17 having been heavily damaged by flak and the number one engine out, they were flying in zero-zero weather with their location uncertain.
Harris reportedly was concerned about being able to land successfully and told the crew to bail out if inclined. Only one did. While trying to land using radio beacons, one wing hit the stay of the Air Ministry Gee Mast at Borough Hill, Daventry. The nine remaining crew members were killed in the crash.
Harris is buried in Cambridge American Cemetery along with four other members of the crew. A plaque to commemorate this crew was erected in Daventry at the town's War Memorial in August 2015, within sight of Borough Hill.
His brother, Cpl. Perry Rowe Harris, 498th Bomber Squadron, 345th Bomber Group, (B-25), was killed in action on Leyte, in the Philippines just weeks before Finis (12/Nov/44) and is buried in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The surviving brother, Mark, was in training in the Army Air Corp in Nashville, Tennessee, USA at the time of his brothers' deaths and did not see action.
Units served with
The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Hunter 24/10/44; Dow Fd 1/11/44; Assigned 422BS/305BG Chelveston 5/12/44; ex-Kassel 15/12/44 with Finis Harris, John Griffin, R.L. Mason, Laverne Ridge, Herschel McCoy, Cliff Melton, Robert L Burry, Willie Barnes, Charles Nordland (9 Killed...
Military site : airfield
Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...
||Cookeville, TN, USA
||15 December 1944