Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Norman Robert Crosson


Served a combat tour as a B-24 pilot with the 90th BG - 321st BS in the South Pacific. Survived a bailout and 12 day trek to be rescued in the outback of Australia.

Served as Air Inspector and Command Pilot with the 466th BG at Attlebridge.


Units served with

  • 392nd Bomb Group

    392nd Bomb Group

    The 392nd Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators out of Wendling, Norfolk from August 1943 until April 1945. They were the first Group allocated B-24H Liberators, the first B-24 series fitted with a nose turret on the production line. The adaptation increased...

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

  • Headquarters (392nd Bomb Group)
  • Headquarters (466th Bomb Group)


  • 42-95592 Black Cat

    B-24 Liberator
    On 21 April 1945 B-24 Liberator "Black Cat" became the last heavy bomber to be shot down in the European Theatre of Operations. ...


  • 665

    5 October 1944

  • 676

    14 October 1944
    Black Week

  • 741

    6 December 1944

  • 894

    18 March 1945

Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...


Event Location Date
Born Cincinnati, OH 20 August 1915
Lived in Cincinnati, OH, USA 1941

5848 Montgomery Road

Enlisted Fort Thomas, KY 20 August 1941
Survived bail out over Australia Burketown QLD 4830, Australia 3 December 1942

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 321st Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilot Lt. Norman R. Crosson. Nicknamed "Little Eva" by Crosson. Another bomber in the 320th Bombardment Squadron also had the same nickname B-24D "Little Eva" 41-23772.

Mission History
One of four B-24s that took off from Iron Range Airfield (Lockhart River Airport) on a high-level bombing mission against a Japanese convoy spotted north of Buna. During the mission, this bomber became separated from the formation and aborted the mission. Returning to to base, the bomber became lost over the Gulf of Carpentaria and ran low on fuel. Pilot Crosson ordered the crew to all bail out and assemble at the crash site.

The B-24 flew onward without any pilot before impacting onto its belly near Moonlight Creek. Although all of the crew were ordered to bail out, it is believed McKeon, Hilton and Gurdas were working to free Workman's parachute which became caught in the door frame and all died when the bomber impacted the ground.

Fates of the Crew
The rest of the crew successfully parachuted to the ground, but landed in a very remote and desolate area of the Australian outback.

Only Crosson and Wilson managed to reach the bomber as planned and walked eastward for twelve days until spotted by a rancher and Aboriginal walking across Escott Station, roughly 15km west of Burketown on December 15, 1942. During their ordeal, Crosson's weight dropped from 205 lbs to 155 lbs while wandering the outback. Both were hospitalized and later returned to duty.

Grimes, Dyer, Speltic and Gaston landed near each other and headed to the west, attempting to walk across the outback to safety. Grimes reached Robinson River around December 25, 1942 but was swept into the ocean and drown. His body was found on the beach a few days later. Speltz died of exposure on February 24, 1943.

Gaston reached a paper bark hut on Seven Emu Station on March 23, 1943. He had gray hair and only weighed about 80 lbs from his ordeal in the outback. He returned to the United States and worked for the US Postal Service then retired in Alabama until he died in 1998.

Died Greenville, SC, USA 23 May 1989
Buried Greenville, SC, USA 28 May 1989

Woodlawn Memorial Park
Greenville County
South Carolina, USA
Plot: Garden of Memories


Date Contributor Update
20 May 2020 23:10:20 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations

466th BG Archives - Report on Mission 150 - Bielefeld, Germany - 6 December 1944

Date Contributor Update
20 May 2020 22:51:04 466thHistorian Changes to middlename and events

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2016 00:58:34 466thHistorian Changes to media associations

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
18 October 2015 03:48:56 466thHistorian Changes to service number, role and events

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
19 January 2015 02:17:08 466thHistorian Changes to highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:41 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / SO#173, 29Aug44,