Darwin Harold Wissenback

Military

Object Number - UPL 54558 - My uncle, Porter D. Clemens, never told anyone that he carried Darwin Wissenback across Austria on his back so that he wouldn't be shot.

Shot down 20 December 1942 in B-17F #41-24495 'Rose O'Day' while serving as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf Near Krems Austria 48-15. He flew on James Stewart crew, but was shot down with Lt. McKee. He was shot down on his 7th mission.

His twin brother Erwin was in the 367th BS and flew on John Olsen (B-17F 41-24510 "Snoozy II" MIA 9-Oct-42 ro Lille) crew. Darwin's most unusual experience: 'was when I saw my twin brother (E/TTG TSgt Erwin D. Wissenback, 19004589) shot down on our first combat mission. Their plane was flying to the right side of ours. We were attacked by German fighter planes and their plane was the first plane hit. It seemed to me that the whole top part of the plane blew off in an explosion and then the airplane went into a spin falling towards the ground. I watched until it was out of sight and did not see any parachutes come out. That evening when back to England a gunner from a plane behind our squadron came to me and said he saw two parachutes from the plane my brother was in. Somehow I knew Erwin was one of them. One day, several months later while I was a Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 7A, a group of American airmen who had just been shot down were brought to the Prisoner of War (POW) camp where I was. Two of them saw me and said 'Erwin, how did you get here?' It was then I learned Erwin had returned to England alive. I learned he had managed to get into the French underground and with their help made his way to Gibraltar (See Escape & Evasion Report #11 at http://media.nara.gov/nw/305270/EE-11.pdf for detais). There he hitched a ride to England on a B-17 bomber which was later shot down on a mission over Germany. These two men who thought I was Erwin were part of the bomber crew who gave Erwin the ride back to England'

POW, PH, AM, 5 Battle Stars,

Connections

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Units served with

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 367th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19004589
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Rose O Day
  • Unit: 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers 367th Bomb Squadron

Missions

  • Date: 20 December 1942
  • Official Description: 72 HBs attack air de pot at Romilly-sur-Seine in effective raid. 6 bmrs are lost to ftrs.

Places

  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Stalag 17b, Krems an der Donau, Austria

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Hunters, Stevens County, Washington, USA 21 June 1920

Other

Prisoner of War (POW)

Krems an der Donau, Austria 20 December 1942 - 3 July 1945 Held at Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf, near Krems, Austria. Officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 3-Jul-45.

Died

24 October 2003

Buried

Portland, Oregon, USA Willamette National Cemetery Section COL-3 ROW 287 Site E

Revisions

Date3 Jan 2022 07:02:29
Contributortorinoscj
Sources

My uncle Porter D. Clemens, carried Darwin across Austria on his back.

Date1 Mar 2021 20:25:32
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added an association to Stalag 17B per WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).

Date15 Feb 2020 19:52:13
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added middle name, Born, and Buried info per Find-a-grave Memorial ID 36454553.

Date15 Feb 2020 19:35:05
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Made a connection to his twin brother Erwin.

Date15 Feb 2020 19:32:51
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" for clarity.

Date5 Dec 2014 22:08:34
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added details concerning Erwin Wissenback to biography from within existing website data.

Date5 Dec 2014 21:57:46
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added decorations per existing data.

Date5 Dec 2014 21:56:13
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 5-Dec-2014. Added crew position to biography per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; Added POW event and SN per National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database; made connections to Place, Aircraft and Mission within existing website data.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:06:57
ContributorAAM
Sources

306th BG Association Directory, 1 September 1999 Edition; Roll of Honor,  Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Hey and Bishop p.55, NARA, First Over Germany 4-5 & 56;   / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Darwin Harold Wissenback: Gallery (1 items)