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Harry H Selling


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

  • 457th Bomb Group

    457th Bomb Group

    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...

  • 751st Bomb Squadron


  • 42-31383

    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,...

Associated Place

  • Glatton

    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...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born Buffalo, NY, USA 29 May 1920
Prisoner of War (POW) Stalag Luft I 12 September 1944 – 1945
Shot Down 12 September 1944


Date Contributor Update
26 November 2014 15:45:16 Emily Changes to events

Self, via American Air Museum Memory Book Correspondence

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 11:26:40 Tony A Changes to biography

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 11:19:32 Tony A Changes to awards

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 11:17:27 Tony A Changes to biography

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 11:07:02 Tony A Changes to media associations

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 10:59:59 Tony A Changes to highest rank, role and place associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:12:23 AAM AAM ingest

1993 457th BGA Roster, MACR 10207 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 10207 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database