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Loren E Jackson Sr

Military

B-17 Crash Wagon III (#42-31762) hit by flak, crashed at Boisemont 12 Jun 1944. Prisoner of War (POW).

Autobiography Excerpt:

Early the next morning, June 12, Major Masters woke up our crew. Then, as if apologizing, he said that he had awakened us by mistake. We were not to fly today because we would be starting to lead crew school in a day or two. Since we were not on the schedule for today, he told us to take the day off. However the four officers were up, dressed, and ready to go to breakfast and the briefing, so I asked him if we could go anyway since we were up and ready. He agreed to let us go. We all jointly decided that we could get one more mission out of the way and might as well go through with it. It turned out to be a very bad decision.

The target for that day was the railroad marshaling yards at Montdidier, France, a lightly defended installation and one which would not give us a great deal of trouble. We would be the highest plane in the Eighth Air Force that day, which is about as safe a place as one can get. Our group was the high group, our squadron was the high squadron, and our element was the high element. And I would be the high airplane in the element. We were off. We had not yet reached the target area when we were hit by flak and lost our #4 engine. We were able to feather the propeller and continue the mission, but we were falling behind the formation. I increased the power on our three remaining engines, but still could not keep up. We suffered another hit in the number #2 engine just outside my window. We salvoed our bombs to lighten our load but were unable to keep up. Number two engine was leaking black oil all over the left wing; then it caught fire from the hot exhaust. Our combat airplanes were not equipped with fire extinguishers, so we were practically helpless. The fire continued to grow and shortly the wing was a mass of orange flames. I rang the alarm bell and ordered the crew to abandon the ship. Joe Haught was the first one out of the forward Hatch, followed by Shaffer. Blake had gone down into the nose to follow them out. I was flying with a chest parachute that day and had it stored under my seat. I still had the harness on. When I leaned over to get the chute, it was caught on something under the seat and I couldn't dislodge it. I bent over as far as I could, jarred it loose, and hooked it to my harness. When I looked out my window, the fire was out. We had dropped to 16,000 feet from our original altitude of 24,000. I called to the crew by interphone and asked if anyone was still on board. I said that if anyone was still with me to stay in the airplane because the fire was now out. No one answered. I thought that Blake might still be in the nose, so I took off my oxygen mask and threw it into the front end of the airplane to attract his attention. He stuck his head up and I shouted at him to stay on board-that the fire was out. He waved goodbye and bailed out. I'm sure he did not understand. He had been without oxygen for sometime and was undoubtedly somewhat woozy. I turned the airplane around and stayed with it for another five minutes or so when the fire erupted again. I think I put it out the first time when I leaned against the wheel trying to get my parachute lose. In the process, I put the airplane into a dive and built up excessive airspeed, or, to say it another way, I blew the fire out. It was burning furiously by now, and I could see no future in staying with the ship. So I went down into the nose and went out headfirst through the hatch. My first sensation was that I was being sucked back up into the propellers by this wounded, flaming bird. It made two circles around me, once coming so close that I threw my hands up in front of my face and screamed. As I descended, I looked the land over carefully. I was coming down in an open field but could see a forest nearby. I thought I would try to get into the forest and hide until nightfall. Then I would try to contact a Frenchman. On the way down, I took out my flimsy and tore up into tiny pieces and scattered them into the wind. When I hit the ground, I lay perfectly still in the tall grass while I unhooked my parachute. I rose slowly and looked around. My nose was bleeding. Seeing no one in my way, I started for the forest. shortly I heard someone shout, "Halt!" I looked around and saw an individual coming toward me. I thought that if he was a Frenchman, he would catch up and help me. And if he was a German, I had better keep going. Our instructions were that if we landed in France, get in touch with a civilian. And if we went down in Germany, get in touch with the military (German civilians were known to kill allied flyers with pitchforks). I continued toward the forest. Just then a German staff car drove up the road I was going to have to cross and stopped squarely in my intended path. The individual behind me was gaining and still shouting, "Halt!" When I looked around at him, he was on his knees with his rifle pointed at me. I stopped and threw up my hands. When he got to me, I was humiliated to note that he was barefoot. "How can these Germans continue to hold out when they don't even have shoes?", I wondered. he made me keep my hands up while he searched me. In broken English, he uttered the words we all dreaded hearing, "For you, the war is over." Then he asked, Where are your arms?" His belt buckle was etched with the German words, "Gott Mitt Uns."

Service

People

  • Ross Blake

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 385th Bomb Group
    B-17 Crash Wagon III (#42-31762) hit by flak, crashed at Boisemont 12 Jun 1944. Prisoner of War (POW).

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Units served with

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 551st Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-31762 Junior aka Crash Wagon III

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 12/12/43; Gt Falls 16/12/43; Denver 20/12/43; Kearney 31/12/43; RAF Nutts Corner 15/1/44; Assigned 551BS/385BG [HR-M] Gt Ashfield 17/1/44; Missing in Action French A/fds 12/6/44 with Loren Jackson, Co-pilot: Ross Blake, Bombardier: Joe...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Bourbon, Missouri, USA 28 October 1916
Prisoner of War (POW) France 12 June 1944 – 29 April 1945

Stalag Luft III

Moosburg

Liberation by General Patton

Died Studio City, CA 10 August 2017

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 19:16:59 jaj23 Changes to events
Sources

I am the grandson of Loren E Jackson Sr. I have email records of his death.

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 15:00:04 jaj23 Changes to events
Sources

Autobiography of Loren E Jackson Sr

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 01:30:23 jaj23 Changes to biography
Sources

Autobiography of Loren E Jackson Sr

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 01:28:02 jaj23 Changes to suffix, highest rank and events
Sources

Autobiography of Loren E Jackson Sr

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 01:12:03 jaj23 Changes to awards
Sources

Autobiography of Loren E Jackson Sr

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 01:08:35 jaj23 Changes to awards
Sources

Autobiography of Loren E Jackson Sr

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 01:02:42 jaj23 Changes to media associations
Sources

I am the grandson of Loren E Jackson Sr. Photos from personal collection and from Loren's autobiography.

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 00:49:08 jaj23 Changes to awards
Sources

I am the grandson of Loren E Jackson Sr. His autobiography contains a photograph of the telegram to his parents about the air medal.

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2020 00:46:29 jaj23 Changes to media associations
Sources

I am the Grandson of Loren E. Jackson, Sr.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:19:04 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 5628 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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