Name: Harry H. Selling
Rank: Major (Retd)
Branch of Service: U. S. Air Force
Unit: 8th Air force, 1st Division, 94th Combat Wing, 457th Bomb Group, 751st Bomb Sqdn.
Specialty: 1st Pilot, B-17s
Active Duty Dates: November 6, 1942 to December 15, 1945
Reserve: December 1945 to April 6, 1963
Theater of Operations: European
Decorations & Awards:
Air Medal, Purple Heart, ETO Theater. American Defense, American Theater, WWII Victory Medal
Seven bombing missions over Germany, shot down on September 12, 1944 - sole survivor - Aircraft - B-17 #4231383, Named 'American Eagle'. Prisoner of War for 9 months in Stalag Luft #1 - Barth on the Baltic.
Eight hundred and fifty bombers hit at targets deep in Germany. The route took the formation north and east of Berlin where they turned south to the aluminum works at Lauta. Another Wing which overran the 457th caused the two groups to scatter. The Luftwaffe took this opportunity to strike with 50 to 60 planes and caught many bombers out of formation. The other wing took most of the attack and lost six to eight of their planes. The 457th had one plane hit (s/n 42-31383 named 'American Eagle') just after the turn on the IP by Fw190 fighters, piloted by Lt. Harry H. Selling. Cannon shells from the fighters hit the pilots compartment and Bomb bay. The plane spiraled down, caught fire and exploded.The group reported bombing results were good.
Harry's account: “Everything normal till flak area reached over Berlin. Group commander took evasive action and in so doing shuffled the deck with another group. As I dropped under another ship, many fighter attacked, shooting the tail off my plane. Ship went into climb and then stalled and then into a tight spin. When ship was hit, copilot left seat going down through catwalk. Fire broke out in the cockpit. Last I saw, copilot was standing in catwalk covering his face. I remember ship trembling and imagined wings sheared off. I was knocked unconscious. When I regained consciousness everything was quiet. I found myself in the V of the windshield. Tried to get out through the window and realized I was floating down in the wreckage of the pilots compartment. Having on a backpack, I went out at about 800 feet. After parachute opened I was aware of pieces of wreckage falling around me. I was picked up about three hours later. I did not see any of the crew members or wreckage of the ship.”
Units served with
The 457th Bomb Group began combat operations during the Big Week of 20-25 February when American bombers carried out concentrated raids against German aircraft bases, factories and assembly plants. The air crews' targets on that first mission were...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Cheyenne 29/10/43; Denver 18/11/43; Kearney 16/12/43; Patterson 8/3/44; New Castle 26/4/44; Grenier 5/5/44; Assigned 751BS/457BG [F] Glatton 31/5/44; Missing in Action Brux 12/9/44 with Harry Selling (Prisoner of War); Co-pilot: Floyd French,...
Military site : airfield
Glatton, which lay mostly in the parish of Conington, was built by the 809th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) of the U.S. Army in the last months of 1942. Unusually, the base's three runways surrounded Rose Court Farm, which remained a working farm...
||Buffalo, NY, USA
||29 May 1920
|Prisoner of War (POW)
||Stalag Luft I
||12 September 1944 – 1945
||12 September 1944