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John Ward Lafferty Jr


Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 43-38725. Prisoner of War (POW).

John's B-17 was shot down by German Flak during a raid on the Lutzkendorf Oil Refinery near Merseburg, Germany. German Flak hit the midsection, which caused the tail to separate. In the process of that explosion, the tail gunner Sgt. Ralph Corning along with the ball turret gunner Sgt. Charles Agantovich, along with the radio operator/waist gunner Sgt. Anthony DeMarco was killed. Waist gunner Sgt. John Lafferty Jr. was able to escape by parachute. Secondary explosions killed the navigator Lt. Marvin Brawer. Lt. Curtis Chapman, the bombardier, was thrown from the nose and temporarily knocked out, came to in time to pull his chutes ripcord. The pilot Lt. Raymond Buthe and his copilot Lt. Charles Norris were trapped in their seats as the bomber began a nosedive. S/Sgt. Jack Flynn had been knocked out of his top turret position on the first explosion that separated the tail section. He landed on his chute and was able to connect one hook seconds before another explosion literally blew him out the open bomb bay doors.

The three survivors were immediately captured by the German military on landing. All three were taken to the Dulag Luft in Oberursel for interrogation. From there, the three were transported to the Dulag Luft in Westlar. That was the last time the three would see each other. Lt. Chapman went to Stalag Luft I. Sgt. Lafferty was taken to Stalag Luft III. S/Sgt. Jack Flynn went to Stalag Luft IV. S/Sgt. Flynn would be held there until the 6th of February. With Russian forces advancing, the Germans decided to move the eight thousand prisoners to the interior of Germany. This began an eighty-six day forced march later called "The Death March" covering six hundred. During brutal weather conditions, lack of food, shelter, and medicines. His journey ended the 2nd of May, 1945 near Lübeck when British and Canadian forces arrived.

S/Sgt. Flynn, along with Lt. Chapman and Sgt. Lafferty, would return home, marry and raise families. Sadly Lt. Chapman died in July 1963 at age 43. The remains of their six comrades would be recovered and returned to their families



  • Charles Agantovich

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 #43-38725. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Marvin Brawer

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 43-38725. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Raymond Buthe

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30-Nov-44 in B-17 43-38725. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Curtis Chapman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 43-38725. Mission: Lumkendorf Oil Refinery, Merseburg, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW) Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany. ...

  • Ralph Corning

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 43-38725. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Anthony De Marco

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 43-38725. Killed in Action. ...

  • John Flynn

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down the 30th of November 1944 in B-17 #4338725. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Charles Norris

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Shot down 30 November 1944 in B-17 #43-38725. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

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Units served with

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 708th Bomb Squadron


  • 43-38725

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 12/9/44; Dow Fd 25/9/44; Assigned 708BS/447BG Rattlesden 28/9/44; Missing in Action Merseburg 30/11/44 with Ray Buthe, Chas Norris, Marvin Brawer, Tony DeMarco, Chas Agantovich, Ralph Corning (6 Killed in Action); Curtis Chapman, John...

Associated Place

  • Rattlesden

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the Eighth Air Force in 1942, Rattlesden had three concrete runways, 50 hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. Intended to be a twin-engine B-26 bomber base, it was originally a satellite for nearby Rougham, and first occupied from...


Event Location Date
Born Pleasantville, New Jersey 10 November 1923

Parents: John and Anna (Ward) Lafferty

Last Mission on 43-38725 Zeitz, Germany 30 November 1944

B-17G #43-38725 took off, with a crew of 9, from Rattlesden, England on a bombing mission over Lutzkendorf, Germany. They were hit and shot down by ground anti-aircraft fire and crashed near Leipzig, Germany. "John Lafferty, the waist gunner, was able to jump out the waist window before the plane exploded..." - MACR 11149

Died Cape May, New Jersey 25 March 1995

Died at the Court House Rehab and Convalescent Center after an extended illness.

Buried Port Elizabeth, New Jersey 28 March 1995

Port Elizabeth Methodist Cemetery


Date Contributor Update
24 May 2021 12:49:17 acbernstein1 Changes to biography

S.Sgt Jack Flynn (courtesy of Richard412)

Date Contributor Update
24 May 2021 01:49:49 acbernstein1 Changes to middlename, biography and events

The Daily Journal (Vineland NJ) 27 Mar 1995, Page 4

Date Contributor Update
25 May 2020 14:09:55 Richard412 Changes to unit associations and media associations

Source: Richard Frohm (S/Sgt. Jack Flynn)

Date Contributor Update
23 May 2020 19:08:04 Richard412 Changes to person associations

Source Update: Richard Frohm

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:48 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 11149