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Cecil E Craft

Military

17-Feb-42 Assigned as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F #41-24579 [PU-F] "Thumper", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oc-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Thumper"

23 January 1943 while serving as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F #41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS the aircraft received battle damage on mission to Lorient, France and on return nine crew members bailed out over England. Four men were injured. The pilot and co-pilot landed wheels-up at Lulsgate Bottom airfield near Bristol. SGT Craft was injured and hospitalized but returned to duty on 17-May-43.

29 May 1943 shot down in B-17F #41-24602 "Yardbird II", 303BG/360BS while serving as Radio Operator. The aircraft sustained damage from flak over the target at St. Nazaire, France and was later finished off by fighters. S/Sgt Craft was able to bail out of the stricken aircraft and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). Dispatched on 8 Operations (6 credited).

Mission Participations (UNDER CONSTRUCTION) See Biography events.
POW

Service

People

  • John Castle

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    17-Feb-42 Assigned as Pilot of B-17F #41-24579 [PU-F] "Thumper", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK as pilot of "Thumper". ...

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Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24579 Thumper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper" was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-F] 17-Feb-42 Gowen Field, Idaho; Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Aircraft damaged by AA fire and enemy fighters on mission to Lorient, France on 23-Jan-43. 11 man crew. Belly-landed at...

  • 41-24602 Yardbird II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24602 was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-A] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; On the 29-May-43 mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France the aircraft was damaged by flak over the target and then attacked and shot down by fighters...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 61

    29 May 1943
    Three primary targets are selected for this mission. The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are selected as the target for a force of 169 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (23); 92BG (22), 303BG (30); 305BG (25) 306BG (24); 351BG (21) and 379BG (24). This is...

Associated Place

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned to Aircraft Boise, ID, USA 17 February 1942

Assigned as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho.

Arrived in UK Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 16 October 1942

Arrived at Molesworth, UK as Ball Turret Gunner aboard B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS.

Mission #1 SGT Cecil E. Craft, w/b-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #2 SGT Cecil E. Craft, w/b-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #3 SGT Cecil E. Craft, w/b-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Lille, France 6 December 1942

Served as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the carriage and wagon works at Lille, France, but mechanical failures forced the pilot to abort the sortie. RTB OK.

Mission #4 SGT Cecil E. Craft, w/b-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

Served as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the Greman air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. RTB OK.

Hospitalized with Injuries Lulsgate Bottom, Bristol, North Somerset BS40, UK 23 January 1943 – 17 May 1943

Injured and hospitalised in crash-landing of B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper:, 303BG/360BS at Lulsgate Bottom, Bristol upon return from mission to Lorient, France.

Mission #5 SGT Cecil E. Craft, w/b-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS BO/INJ 23 January 1943

Served as Ball Turret Gunner on B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. The aircraft sustained battle damage but managed to make in back to England where it was crashe landed. He baled out but was injured.

Prisoner of War (POW) 29 May 1943 – 12 June 1945

Held at Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf (near Krems), Austria. Officially Returned to Military Control 12-Jun-45.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2020 18:49:03 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2019 20:33:42 jmoore43 Changes to biography and person associations
Sources

Added a connection to John A. Castle, the pilot of A/C 41-24579. Also corrected typos in "Summary biography".

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:41:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #5 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 23-Jan-43: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:38:27 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #4 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 20-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/007.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:35:03 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 6-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/005.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:32:15 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:30:31 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Mission #1 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 17-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/001.pdf

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:24:51 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Arrived in UK event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John A. Castle crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-castle.html

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:22:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added Assigned to Aircraft event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John A. Castle crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-castle.html

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2016 21:17:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 3-Feb-2016. Added initial assignment and arrival in UK info to Summary Biography; made conncetions to Missions (through 23-Jan-43) per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John A. Castle crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-castle.html

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2015 18:56:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to role, biography, awards, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 13-Feb-2015. Added decoration and POW event per National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database; Added RTD event, mission and loss details and crew positions in Biography based on "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.; made connection to Place, 2 Aircraft and 2 Missions within existing website data.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:18 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor; Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Bishop and Hey p. 66

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