Alfred Kruer Hollritt

Military
The Charles Johnson Crew UPL 50256 UPL 50256 The Charles Johnson Crew
(Back L-R) 1Lt Alexander Dombrowski, 1Lt Charles E Johnson, Jr. (P),
1Lt Aloysius R. Pero (Nav), 1Lt Richard E. Gable (CP)
(Front L-R) S/Sgt Alfred Pruett (WG), S/Sgt Alfred K. Hollritt (BTG),
S/Sgt Thomas J. Conlan (WG), S/Sgt Walter C. Yonge (R),
T/Sgt Madison I. Alston (E)

updated connections

Off

Object Number - UPL 50256 - The Charles Johnson Crew (Back L-R) 1Lt Alexander Dombrowski, 1Lt Charles E Johnson, Jr. (P), 1Lt Aloysius R. Pero (Nav), 1Lt Richard E. Gable...

Written by his son Todd.

Memorial Day 2021 ~ Today I honor my Father's WWII 303rd Bomb Group, 427th Sq. with the HELLS ANGELS combat crews based in Molesworth, England. Lt. Johnson's crew became one of the lead crews shortly after arrival with the 8th Air Force at Molesworth in 1944. Later they were stationed at the 305th Bomb Group at Chelveston, England late in the summer of 1944, they would fly their Pathfinder H2X radar equipped B-17G's over to Molesworth to lead the 303rd on raids. S/Sgt Hollritt lost his ball turret due to the radar dome mounted under the fuselage there in the H2X radar equipped B-17G's of the Pathfinder lead crews and he became a waist gunner. (Dad said they experienced plenty of boo's and choice words in the 303rd mess hall because combat crews would be flying in the worst weather due to radar bombing). They were still a 303rd 427th BS crew. This crew completed all their assigned missions, but my dad said he completed 27, and then he went home to end up training on B-29s in preparation for action in the Pacific theater – but the "A bomb" was dropped, VJ Day and the wars end soon followed.

His Navigator Pero and Bombardier Dombrowski were excellent in their craft and this is why they were chosen as a 1st Air Division lead crew. Being a lead crew a commanding officer was usually in the co-pilot's seat. Co Pilot Richard Gable would fly in the tail gunner position as a gunner/observer. Because of D-Day and the amount of missions being flown their tour lasted from May 1944 until October 1944. Later Richard Gable got his own crew and did another tour. An interesting note is that Top Turret/Engineer Madison I. Alston came from the 15th Air Force in Italy where he had just completed 50 missions! He was the oldest crew member at a reported 40 years old, the other crew members were only half his age!

Some of the aircraft flown by this crew were Shoo Shoo Baby (first mission), Betty Jane (D Day), The Flying Bison (a war weary wreck as dad recalled!), My Yorkshire Dream, Aloha the an un-named B-17 s/n #42-97096 and many on Sweet Rose O'Grady (a real nice flying aircraft) plus a few others including PFF radar equipped B-17G’s from the 305th BG.

Some strange missions included the GB-1 Glide Bomb raid and a very strange mission that they flew on July 22, 1944. Lt. Gable and my father recall that they were scrambled for a "Night leaflet" mission. [Actually it was an afternoon mission with at take-off time of 1513 hours and return to base at about 2100 hours.] They never did this before! An attempt was made on Adolph Hitler's life two days earlier. 8th Air Force Mission #488 dispatched seven B-17s (3 305th & 4 306th) to Bremen, Hamburg & Kiel that afternoon to drop leaflets about Hitler's death (He survived). All dad remembers is flashing a beacon out the tail gunner’s position for the other 305th aircraft to follow, he said he never saw any of them due to the horrible weather conditions. Records also show the 4th fighter group provided escort. Thirty four P-51 Mustang's as fighter cover flew that evening, one crash landed in Audley End after take-off killing the pilot and another P-51 crashed on return in Carlton Hawthorne but the pilot sustained no injuries.

Quite a lot of history for a crew photo! The 303rd BG Association helped my Father find his Co-pilot 2Lt Richard Gable, 2Lt Alexander Dombrowski and 2Lt Aloysius R. Pero. Just a few years after attending the “Final Mission” reunion at Molesworth, England in 2000. My Father Alfred Hollritt passed away in May 2005, the final crew member Mr. Pero passed away in 2007. They will forever fly together in this photo.



Awards: AM (2OLC), WWII Victory, EAME (1 x Battle Star).

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

Official emblem of the 303rd Bomb Group approved 7 November 1942.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

The Charles Johnson Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 38092623
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Flight Engineer
The Charles Johnson Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32209897
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
The Charles Johnson Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32279403 / O-762154
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
The Charles Johnson Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13099530 / O-819099
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot
The Charles Johnson Crew
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-813003
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 358th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Betty Jane
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron
Technical Sergeant Howard E. Isaacson and his fellow airmen of the 303rd Bomb Group with a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Empress of "D" Street (The Mighty Bison)". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'T/Sgt. Howard E. Isaacson, 427th Bomb Sqdn, 303rd Bomb Group, Molesworth, Eng. "Empress of 'D' Street"; after 32 missions, renamed "The Mighty Bison".'
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Empress of d street, the flying bison
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: My Yorkshire Dream
  • Unit: 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Squadron

Places

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Clifton, New Jersey 9 March 1923

Died

West Paterson, NJ 17 May 2005 HOLLRITT - Alfred Kruer of West Paterson on May 17, 2005. Beloved husband of the late Eleanor (nee Mowrey). Devoted father of two sons. Dear brother of the late William Hollritt. Funeral Services will be 10:30 AM Friday Morning at Bizub-Parker Funeral Home, 47 Main Street, Little Falls. Private Cremation to follow.

Based

Molesworth Assigned to 427BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF.

Revisions

Date
ContributorRayWells
Changes
Sources

Updated bio

Date
ContributorRayWells
Changes
Sources

Changed connections

Date
ContributorAAM
Changes

Alfred Kruer Hollritt: Gallery (2 items)