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Francis E Owens

Military

LWG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. 'Bud' Owens was on B-17F 42-29928 when it was shot down near la Coulonche, Normandy on 4th July 1943. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161.
He evaded with Lt Ballinger for months until the Lt dropped out of the border crossing due to leg troubles. S/Sgt Owens was left behind in the Pyrenees due to exhaustion. He was left with Lt Harold Bailey and T/Sgt William "Bill" Plaskett.
He managed to evade capture only to die of exposure attempting to cross the Pyrenees in October 1943. Buried in the Ardennes AMC. Plot A, Row 8, Grave 16.
S/Sgt Owens was awarded the Soldiers Medal for dragging wounded men out of harms way during the explosions on June 23, 1943 at Ridgewell Station 167.
Pittsburgh, PA

Service

People

  • Olof Ballinger

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Pilot, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down July 4, 1943 on B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Evaded capture, EE 248. Evaded for months with S/Sgt Owens until Lt Ballinger dropped out...

  • Harry Bauscher

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    RWG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Killed in Action (KIA). Unknown burial site. Cincinnati, OH

  • John Carah

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
    Co-pilot, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 over Normandy while on bombing mission to Gnome-Rhone engine factory in LeMans, France in B-17 #42-29928. Evaded to Switzerland where he served as a military attache at the American...

  • Byron Gronstall

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 381st Bomb Group
    ETTG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory at Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Landed near Lt Ballinger who observed Sgt Gronstal was wounded with a broken nose and facial...

  • William Howell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    TG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Evaded. EE 328. Wounded in the head, hand, arm and both legs. Goldsboro, NC

  • John Lane

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 381st Bomb Group
    Radio operator, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Wounded by 20mm shell in the right arm and side. Prisoner of War at Stalag VIIA and...

  • Paul McConnell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
    Navigator, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Evaded. EE380. Montgomery, AL

  • Albert Wackerman

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
    BTG, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to the Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Killed in Action (KIA). Possibly killed by flak burst under the aircraft. Buried in the...

  • George Williams

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 381st Bomb Group
    Bombardier, Ballinger Crew. 381st BG, 533rd BS. Shot down 4 July 1943 in B-17 #42-29928. Mission #7 to Gnome-Rhone engine factory in Le Mans, France. MACR 161. Killed in Action (KIA). While assisting the navigator Lt McConnell reload his guns, Lt...

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Units served with

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 533rd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-29928

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 12/3/43; Walla Walla 25/3/43; Metropolitan 13/4/43; Presque Is 29/4/43; Assigned 533BS/381BG [VP-W] Ridgewell 23/6/43; Missing in Action 2m Le Mans 4/7/43 with Olaf Ballinger, Navigator: Paul McConnell,Tail gunner: Bill Howell, Waist...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 71

    4 July 1943
    The aircraft factories at Le Mans and Nantes, France and the lock gates and harbour facilities at La Pallice, France are the primary targets for this mission. The mission is comprised of three elements: ...

Associated Place

  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died Port de Rat, Andorra 25 October 1943

Died of exposure whilst attempting to cross the Pyrenees into Spain

Buried Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial

Plot A, Row 8, Grave 16.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2017 19:25:54 ARowe95 Changes to biography
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
20 October 2017 04:07:27 ARowe95 Changes to biography
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2017 05:21:29 ARowe95 Changes to role, biography, events, person associations and place associations
Sources

ARowe95

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2015 11:14:57 Sean Changes to events
Sources

MACR

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2015 11:01:53 Sean Changes to service number, events, place associations and mission associations
Sources

ABMC

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2015 09:36:47 Sean Changes to events
Sources

E&E report Olof Ballinger

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2015 09:35:13 Sean Changes to events
Sources

E&E report Olof Ballinger

Date Contributor Update
21 February 2015 09:33:33 Sean Changes to nickname, biography and awards
Sources

Sources:
MACR
E&E report of pilot Olof Ballinger
http://budowens.blogspot.fr/

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:09:46 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

381st Bomb Group Memorial Association, March 1999; MACR 161 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 161 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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