Skip to main content
Edit entry 

42-3317

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 6 May 1943; Dow Field 30 May 1943; assigned 384th BG Grafton Underwood 10 June 1943; transferred to 412th BS/95th BG [QW-Y/V] Horham 28 June 1943; 23missions. Missing in Action Solingen 30 November 1943 with Pilot Arthur C. Hensler Jr; Co-Pilot Robert C. Gilchrist; Bombardier Paul E. Gregory; Navigator William L. Lohmann; Radio Operator/Gunner Max Gottlieb; Engineer/Top Turret gunner Elmer C. Gilcrease; Ball Turret gunner: Francis J. McDermott; Left Waist gunner/Assistant Engineer: Jack B. Hyatt; Right Waist Gunner/Assistant Radio Operator Paul W. Appleby; Tail Gunner Charles J. Higgins. Hit by Flak in right wing after bombs away; oil pressure loss in 2 engines, dropped back, seen leaving the formation 15 minutes before target. Over Holland, at about 1400m altitude, engine #1 exploded and the bail out order was given. Crashed Sterrebos, near Haelen, 5km NW of Roermond, The Netherlands. Missing Air Crew Report 1559. Navigator Bill Lohmann landed in the River Maas and drowned. His body was not recovered until 21 July 1944 (initially buried in Kessel, Holland. His remains were re-interred after the war at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium). The other 9 crew members survived. Pilot Hensler and gunner Jack Hyatt were almost immediately captured and made POW (Prisoner of War). McDermott, Appleby and Higgins all initially managed to evade for some weeks until their capture in Belgium (all three POW).
Gilchrist and Gregory were helped by Dutch and Belgian patriots in their evasion, reached Spain and Gibraltar and were back in England respectively in January and February 1944. Gottlieb was also helped and stayed hidden in Belgium until Liberation in September 1944. Gilcrease also evaded and was helped to Switzerland where he stayed until his return to England at the end of September 1944. Those seven evaders/POWs, helped by the Belgian COMET evasion network, have a page at www.evasion.comete.be (alphabetical list under the 'Fiches' tab).

Service

Units

  • 384th Bomb Group

    384th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 412th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Paul Appleby

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 #42-3317 'The Spirit of '76. ' Initially evaded, was later captured. See the page with full details about his evasion and capture at https://www.evasioncomete.be/fapplebpw.html

  • Robert Gilchrist

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 #42-3317 'The Spirit of '76'. Evaded with the help of Dutch, Belgian and French people. See the page with full details about his evasion at https://www.evasioncomete.be/fgilchrrc.html .

  • Elmer Gilcrease

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 #42-3317 'The Spirit of '76. ' Evaded. See the page with full details about his evasion at https://www.evasioncomete.be/fgilcreec.html

  • Max Gottlieb

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator/Top Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 412BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF. 18 + combat missions. Flew with Thomas Batcha, Richard Robinson, Edward Komurka crews. Failed to Return (FTR) Solingen in B-17 42-3317 'The Spirit of '76' 30-Nov-43; hit by Flak in starboard wing, baled out. Evaded...

  • Paul Gregory

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 95th Bomb Group
    Paul Gregory was a graduate of St Aloysius Academy and Niagara University in New York. After graduation he worked for the Bethlehem Steel Company in Baltimore, Maryland, before he enlisted in July 1941. He trained in the US Army Air Forces as a...

  • Arthur Hensler

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 42-3317 'The Spirit of '76'. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Charles Higgins

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 #42-3317 'The Spirit of '76', Evaded (EVD). See the page with full details about his evasion at https://www.evasioncomete.be/fhiggincj.html

  • Jack Hyatt

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in B-17 #42-3317 "The Spirit of '76", Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • William Lohmann

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 95th Bomb Group
    After 2 years of college in Ohio, William Lohrmann enlisted in the Air Corps in April 1942. After following aerial navigation training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 95th Bomb Group/412th Bomb Squadron. ...

  • Francis McDermott

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 95th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1943 in 'The Spirit of '76'. Initially evaded with the help of Dutch and Belgian people. Captured in a false evasion line, Antwerp 30 April 1944. Prisoner of War (POW). See the page with full details about his evasion and capture...

Show more

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 114

    10 October 1943
    This mission was intended to be a massive attack of 307 B-17s on the railroad facilities and waterway (canals) at Munster, Germany. This attack was to be supported by a diversion 39 B-24s. The formation was attacked by hundreds of German fighters which...

  • VIII Bomber Command 143

    30 November 1943
    This mission is directed at a single target - the industrial areas of Solingen, Germany. The mission consists of three elements. The first element is a force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (24); 92BG (20); 303BG (20); 305BG (16...

Places

  • Grafton Underwood

    Military site : airfield
    Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...

  • Horham

    Military site : airfield
    Horham airfield was planned and built for RAF use, but handed over to the Eighth Air Force and used initially by the 47th Bomb Group. When they joined the Twelfth Air Force in January 1943, it became home to the B-26 Marauders of the 323rd Bomb Group....

Events

Event Location Date
Crashed near Haelen, The Netherlands 30 November 1943 – 30 November 1943

Missing in Action Solingen 30/11/43. Dropped back, crashed Sterrebos, near Haelen, Holland.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 May 2022 09:15:44 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

AAM DB Entry.
http://95thbg.org/j3migr/95thbg-aircraft/95th-b-17-s-1942

Date Contributor Update
13 April 2022 10:23:10 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

Updated website address of www.evasioncomete.be

Date Contributor Update
20 December 2016 11:49:40 ED-BB Changes to description and events
Sources

MACR 1559
Research for website www.evasioncomete.org on crew members who evaded

Date Contributor Update
14 December 2015 19:50:34 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, markings, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

AAM DB Entry.
http://95thbg.org/j3migr/95thbg-aircraft/95th-b-17-s-1942

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:43 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 1559 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Share