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Samuel Byrd Bennett


Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. 8 x combat missions. Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-102580. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 5307.

Awards: PH.

Samuel Byrd Bennett was born on December 20, 1918 in Bald Creek, North Carolina. His parents William and Nell were also born in North Carolina. His father was a physician. He had two older sisters, two older brothers, and two younger sisters. Samuel was a graduate of Mars Hill College and also attended North Carolina State College. At the time of his enlistment, he was employed in Baltimore as a shipfitter.
Samuel enlisted March 28, 1942 in the US Army Air Forces aviation cadet program and attended pre-flight school at Maxwell Field, Alabama. He was trained as a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier at Roswell Army Air Field and received his commission as a 2nd Lt. in June 1943.
In March or April 1944 2nd Lt. Bennett was part of a replacement B-17 crew assigned to the 401st Bomb Group, 613th Bomb Squadron of the 8th Air Force, based at Deenethorpe, England. The crew’s first mission was on May 1, 1944 and they completed seven more missions over the next three weeks. On May 28 during the crew’s ninth mission, the aircraft was hit by flak or cannon fire from an enemy aircraft causing a fire in the radio room, and then exploded, tearing the aircraft in half. Five members of the crew were able to bail out and became POWs. 2nd Lt. Bennett and four others were not so lucky and did not survive the explosion. Pieces of the aircraft were strewn across the countryside in the vicinity of Dessau, Germany, the intended target.

Samuel Byrd Bennett was initially buried in Susigke Cemetery in Germany and was later reinterred in Holcombe Cemetery, Burnsville, North Carolina. Both of Samuel’s brothers served in the US Army and survived the war.



  • William Protz

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
    Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-102580. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 5307. Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 613th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-102580

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 16/3/44; Gr Island 1/4/44; Dow Fd 8/4/44; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-Q] Deenethorpe 3/5/45; Missing in Action Dessau 28/5/44 with Bill Protz, Ball turret gunner: Frank Bartak, Waist gunner: Alby Reinhardt, Waist gunner: Glenn Cliff,...

  • 42-97395 Chute The Works

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 25/2/44; Kearney 17/3/44; Grenier 6/4/44; Assigned 614BS/401BG [IW-F] Deenethorpe 16/4/44; mechanical fault, with Dave Stauffer, caused fire and burnt out at RAF Saltby 25/43/45; 111m, Salvaged 2 SAD 25/3/45. CHUTE THE WORKS.


  • 376

    28 May 1944

Associated Place

  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...


Event Location Date
Born Burnsville, North Carolina, USA 20 December 1918
Enlisted Baltimore, MD, USA 28 March 1942

Baltimore, Maryland

401st BG Combat Tour Deenethorpe 4 May 1944 – 28 May 1944

Assigned to 613BS, 401BG, 8AF USAAF.
8 Combat Missions

Died Dessau, Dessau-Roßlau, Germany 28 May 1944

Shot down 28-May-44 in B-17 42-102580. Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 5307.

Buried Holcombe Cemetery Burnsville Yancey County NC 1949

Holcombe Cemetery
Yancey County
North Carolina


Date Contributor Update
24 November 2021 16:28:07 Al_Skiff Changes to service number, biography, awards and events

Date Contributor Update
09 June 2019 22:22:00 BobF13 Changes to firstname and events

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2017 02:34:45 466thHistorian Changes to events

Date Contributor Update
28 November 2017 20:41:54 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, biography, awards, events, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:54 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 5307 / MACR 5307, / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database