William John Doherty

Military

Object Number - UPL 15002 - Original caption : "A bomber crew of the 96th Bomb Group led by Second Lieutenant Charles Geyer, with their B-17 Flying Fortress." Picture taken on 3...

Shot down on B-17 42-3439 of 96th Bomber Group / 413th Bomber Squadron. MACR 1018. Navigator William Doherty landed in parachute near Erp, Holland. He quickly reunited with his Engineer Frank Killarney and both were helped by Dutch underground member Richard van Nunen. He brought the two airmen to Zijtaart and made them hide in some bushes until evening. Later that day, other people came to fetch the airmen who were first sheltered by Harry Otten, in the village of Erp. On 23 October, they were guided to Sevenum and then to Maasniel where they were helped by Mathieu Pollaert and were sheltered by the family of Gerard ("Sjra") Gorris. From there, helped by J.F. van Eerdewijk, they arrived in Tilburg where they stayed at the home of Jacoba (“Coba”) Pulskens, Diepestraat 49. After a few days there, they had to leave hurriedly as the Germans were on the trail. They were on their way to Antwerp, Belgium when they were both arrested in Tilburg on 5 November 1943.
Note :
About midday on 7 July 1944, Jacoba Pulskens, aged 60, was arrested at her home by a commando group of the Gestapo (German Secret State Police). She was then sheltering 3 RAF airmen who were having a meal with her. Dressed in civilian clothes, the three airmen rushed to the back door, but a German soldier shot them on the spot with his machine gun. They were F/O Jack S. Nott, from New South Wales, Australia; F/L Ronald A. Walker from Lancashire, England and F/O Roy E. Carter, from Ontario, Canada. Their bodies were cremated 3 days later in the concentration camp at Vught, 20km NE of Tilburg. They have thus no grave and are memorialized at the Runnymede Memorial near Windsor, Surrey, England.
Jacoba Pulskens was deported to Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women. In February 1945, she died in the gas chamber. According to survivors she voluntarily took the place of a mother with children hoping that her gesture would have saved their lives.
A stone memorial to Coba was unveiled on 6 February 1947 on the façade of her house at the corner of the Diepenstraat and the Jan Steenstraat in Tilburg. A video (in Dutch) of the 1947 ceremony at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O_7dpBJvsE
The block of houses there was later demolished and the memorial, although in bad shape, was conserved by a Tilburg historical association. After the new buildings had been constructed, a replica of the memorial was placed at the same spot in 1989. Additional details about Coba and the circumstances of her arrest and the murder of the three airmen at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/dutch-heroine-coba-pulske…
See the Geyer crew page at http://www.aircrewremembered.com/gallery/index.php?/category/5

Connections

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Units served with

The insignia of the 96th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12155334
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator / Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 388th Bomb Group 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron 563rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14078651 and O-793406
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 33273658
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 32416220
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19140382
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 96th Bomb Group 413th Bomb Squadron

Missions

Places

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Massachusetts, United States 15 April 1919

Enlisted

Boston, Massachusetts, United States 19 February 1941

Other

Prisoner of War (POW)

Barth, Germany 5 November 1943 - 1 June 1945 Initially evaded; arrested; NARA WWII POW database : "Stalag Luft 1 Barth - Returned to military control 1/6/45"
Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Died

Massachusetts, United States

Revisions

Date12 May 2021 07:57:35
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Corrected Pilot's name in website address

Date12 May 2021 07:52:58
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Added website address for the Baker crew

Date12 May 2015 11:12:22
Sources

Merged with duplicate record to include details from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 1018; Snetterton Falcons pg 76

Date23 Apr 2015 13:22:40
ContributorED-BB
Sources

Additional details about Doherty's initial evasion and about Dutch Helper Jacoba Pulskens.

Date22 Apr 2015 16:15:08
ContributorED-BB
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment records
NARA WWII POW records
MACR 1018

Date27 Sep 2014 18:28:16
ContributorAAM
Sources

Combat Chronology; Snetterton Falcons pg 60 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

William John Doherty: Gallery (1 items)