The Leo Belskis crew :
Top row, from left to right : Pilot Leo Belskis; Co-Pilot Glenn C. Vaugh; Navigator James V. Collett; Bombardier Ross W. Perrin Jr.
Bottom, from left to right : Top Turret Gunner Walter R. Newman; Right Waist Gunner Durward V. Suggs; Tail Gunner Robert P. Rogers; Radio Operator Elvis A. McCoy; Ball Turret Gunner Lynn J. Lauret Jr.
All except Mc Coy and Lauret were killed on the 11 December 1944 mission to Mannheim – B-17G Serial 43-38780 of 381st Bomb Group / 532nd Bomb Squadron. (Photo via the Perrin family).
Ross W. Perrin Jr (photo via his nephew, J. Ross Greene)
Lynn J. Lauret Jr (photo Ms Bettye J. Lauret, sister)
Robert P. Rogers (Photo via the Perrin family).
Walter R. Newman (photo Perrin family)
Delivered Lincoln 21 September 1944; Grenier 7 October 1944; Assigned 532BS/381BG [VE-J] Ridgewell 14 November 1944; Missing in Action 12m Mannheim 11 December 1944 with Pilot Leo Belskis, Co-pilot Glenn C. Vaughn, Navigator James V. Collett, Bombardier Ross W. Perrin Jr, Flight engineer/top turret gunner Walter R. Newman, Ball turret gunner Lynn J. Lauret, Tail gunner Robert P. Rogers (7 Killed in Action); Radio Operator Elvis A. McCoy, Right Waist gunner: Durward V. Suggs (2 Prisoner of War).
The aircraft, hit by Flak in the target area, was last sighted above Gommersheim, SW of Mannheim. It had its No. 2 engine on fire. The engine fell off and the fire extended back to the waist section. The left wing was on fire and exploded. The aircraft was seen to go down into a deep spin, apparently out of control, then to slip off to the left and roll over on its back. Six parachutes were reported but they disappeared in the clouds and there was no report with regard to whether or not they opened. The Fortress crashed in a field in Mannheim-Neckarau. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 11341. Bombardier Ross Perrin's nephew, J. Ross Greene has written a book about his uncle, the mission and the fate of the crew as well as his commitment to preserving their memory : "A Fortress and A Legacy" ( http://afortressandalegacy.com )
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...
Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
Of Lithuanian descent, Leo Belskis loved flying and logged a lot of air time from Scott Field in Madison, Wisconsin before he enlisted in the Air Corps. Always wearing his crusher hat at a jaunty angle, he was loved by his crew who felt they were in...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Counter Measures/Right Waist Gunner | 452nd Bomb Group
Prisoner of War (POW) crashed near Zwickau on 19 Mar 45 in B-17 'Daisey Mae' #4338368
Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 381st Bomb Group
The oldest of four children born to WWI veteran Clarence and his wife Anna, Jim Collett had one year of college and had worked as a skilled tradesman in the aircraft industry before enlisting in February 1943. Sent overseas in 1944, he was a Navigator...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
Lynn Lauret was the only son of the family and had three younger sisters. He proudly talked about his family’s ancient French heritage. His grandfather, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Lauret emigrated to the US with his brother to escape military service. Jean...
Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 381st Bomb Group
Elvis McCoy (spelled Mc Coy in NARA's WWII Enlistment records) grew up in rural Oklahoma and attended the Miami High School there, graduating in 1940. He worked in the machine shop at Eagle-Picher Mining & Smelting before his enlistment in late 1942....
Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
Walter Newman was a Top Turret Gunner in the 381st Bomb Group / 532nd Bomb Squadron. Killed In Action (KIA) in the loss of B-17G # 43-38780 on the Squadron’s 11 December 1944 mission to bomb the bridge over the Rhine at Mannheim, Germany.
Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 381st Bomb Group
Ross W Perrin Jr was a Bombardier in the 381st Bomb Group / 532nd Bomb Squadron. Killed In Action (KIA) in the loss of B-17G # 43-38780 on the Squadron’s 11 December 1944 mission to bomb the bridge over the Rhine at Mannheim, Germany. Bombardier Ross...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
Robert’s mother, born in 1896, died in 1930, aged 34, one month after giving birth to her daughter Mary. Her chicken farmer husband Clint was left with raising Charles, Dorothy, Prince (Robert), Billie Jack, Harold (“Gene”) and Mary on the rural farm...
Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 381st Bomb Group
Durward Suggs was a Right Waist Gunner in the 381st Bomb Group / 532nd Bomb Squadron. Captured on 11 December 1944 in Mannheim-Käfertal, Germany after the crash the same day of B-17G # 43-38780 on the Squadron’s mission to bomb the bridge over the...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 381st Bomb Group
The fourth of eight children, Glenn Vaughn loved singing like everybody in the family and they often held songfests for their relatives and neighbors in their Stokesland home near Danville, Virginia. An accomplished athlete, Glenn was a golf fan and a...
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...
|Failed to Return (FTR)
||near the Neckarauer Waldweg, Mannheim, Germany
||11 December 1944
Hit by Flak, crashed in a field