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Roy B Erwin Jr


Joined Sqd 3/20/42. ETO/Flight Echelon 10/2/42.

Killed in Action (KIA) (St Nazaire) on January 3, 1943 B-24 #41-23806 'Bat Out of Hell' crashed south-west of Haverfordwest returning from target U/B yards (submarine) at St. Nazaire, France. Fuel shortage caused the crash. Pilot Hilliard was killed.

He went on Sub patrol in the months of April and May with Lt. Diehl and Capt O'Brien over the Gulf of Mexico. They flew a ship from the 66th squadron and used men from the 68th for the crew. On 10 July 1942 they destroyed a submarine at 2010 hours.


Units served with

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 68th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-23806 Bat out of Hell

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D 41-23806 "Bat out of Hell" was assigned to 44BG/68BS at Shipdham, UK. The aircraft was despatched 3-Jan-43 on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. Aircraft returned to England but ran out of fuel and crashed south-west of...


  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

Associated Place

  • Shipdham

    Military site : airfield
    Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...

  • Dreenhill

    Crash site


Event Location Date
Born Shreveport, Louisiana
Killed on Mission (KOM) Haverfordwest, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, UK 5 January 1943

Died of injuries 5-Jan-43 received in the crash landing of the aircraft on 3-Jan-43 upon return from a mission to St. Nazaire, France. The American Battle Monuments Commission has no record that his remains are currently interred in any American cemetery in Europe. It is possible that his remains were repatriated to the United States after the war.


Date Contributor Update
13 May 2020 18:18:00 jmoore43 Changes to biography

Added a "-" to the A/C serial # in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
17 January 2015 20:12:17 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 17-Jan-2015. Added KOM event per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE. made connections to Place, Aircraft and Mission within existing website data.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:33 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Webb Todd, Losses of the 8th and 9th Air Forces Vol. 1 by Bishop and Hey p. 61, 44th BG Roll of Honor and Casualties by Lundy p. 39, The 44th BG in WWII by MacKay and Adams p.27