Harry Ray Erickson

Military
Lieutenant Harry R. Erickson, from Mankato, Minnesota, a bombardier of the 97th Bomb Group inside the nose of a B-17 Flying Fortress. A censor has obscured the ammunition to the bottom left of Erickson. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Ministry of Information 25 Jul 1942.' [stamp], 'Air(Boeing).' [written annotation] and '212091.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'AMERICAN FLYING FORTRESSES WAIT FOR ZERO HOUR. Associated Press Photo Shows: Lt. Harry Erickson from Mankato, Mi media-379324.jpg FRE 888 Lieutenant Harry R. Erickson, from Mankato, Minnesota, a bombardier of the 97th Bomb Group inside the nose of a B-17 Flying Fortress. A censor has obscured the ammunition to the bottom left of Erickson. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Ministry of Information 25 Jul 1942.' [stamp], 'Air(Boeing).' [written annotation] and '212091.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'AMERICAN FLYING FORTRESSES WAIT FOR ZERO HOUR. Associated Press Photo Shows: Lt. Harry Erickson from Mankato, Minn. Bombardier of one of the Bombers, in the glass cabin in the nose of the plane.' Roger Freeman Collection

IWM, Roger Freeman Collection

Object Number - FRE 888 - Lieutenant Harry R. Erickson, from Mankato, Minnesota, a bombardier of the 97th Bomb Group inside the nose of a B-17 Flying Fortress. A censor has...

Assigned to 342BS, 97BG, 8AF USAAF. As a bombardier, Erickson occupied the glass cabin in the B-17's nose. It was his job to release the bombs accurately over the target. The son of a steam railroad engineer from Mankato, Minnesota, Erickson only completed eight missions.

    In October 1942, his friend Lieutenant Ben Rushing recorded in his journal: 'Erickson was lost. He went in someone else's plane and happened to [have] hard luck. You begin to realise that it is war when they get your best buddies... I can hardly realise that he is definitely lost... May his soul rest in peace.' 

However Erickson did not die: he was captured and became a Prisoner of War for nearly three years. 

Shot down 21-Oct-42 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Bombardier. Prisoner of War (POW).

Connections

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Units served with

Ground personnel of the 97th Bomb Group reservice a B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 41-9023) nicknamed "Yankee Doodle", following the raid on Rouen. Image stamped on reverse: 'Associated Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for Publication 18 Aug 1942.' [stamp], 'Air=SER (Boeing).' [written annotation] and '216112.' [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'U.S FLYING FORTRESSES RAID ROUEN IN DAYLIGHT. Associated Press Photo Shows: No sooner had one of the huge Fortresses landed after the raid than ground crew im
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

Joe Gray Jr
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14012196 / O-419578
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Navigator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 39165066
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
Kenneth Laud
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 20744087
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14073155
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12043729
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Francis X
  • Unit: 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron

Missions

Places

  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Dulag Luft Grosstychow Dulag 12
Prisoners of war, including Colonel Hubert Zemke of the 479th Fighter Group at Stalag Luft I.
  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Mankato, Minnesota 17 June 1920 BornMankato, Minnesota

Died

14 November 2017

Buried/ Commemorated

Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery Sierra Vista, Arizona 17 November 2017 InterredSouthern Arizona Veterans Memorial CemeterySierra Vista,  Arizona

Revisions

Date
ContributorEmily
Changes
Sources

IWM, Somewhere in England, p 47

Date
ContributorED-BB
Changes
Sources

Conections with other crew members

Date
ContributorJenny
Changes
Sources

His enlistment record gives his middle name as 'R' but Find a grave says 'C'.

Date
ContributorLee8thbuff
Changes
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Nov-2014. Added POW event details.

Date
ContributorLee8thbuff
Changes
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date
ContributorAAM
Changes
Sources

97th Bomb Group Association, Inc., Roster - June 1, 2000; Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. 1, p. 38 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Harry Ray Erickson: Gallery (1 items)