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William S Humphrey

Military

William Humphrey was Top Turret Gunner on board B-17 #42-30259 'Damifino II' on a 24 September 1943 practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted by enemy fighters and shot down. Ditched North Sea. 5 men died. William was among the 5 men who were rescued by Royal Navy torpedo boats and spent the night with them on the French coast. MACR 778. Returned to duty and flew on other missions. He was a replacement TTG on 'Murderer's Row' B-17G #42-39817 on the 3 March 1944 mission to Berlin with Pilot Robert D. Vollmer. Attacked by a swarm of FW110s, shot down, exploded and the debris fell in a radius of 3km between Drage and Peissen, 10km N of Itzehoe (50km N of Hamburg), Germany. MACR 3029. Immediately captured in Peissen. Prisoner of War (POW).

Service

People

  • John Adams

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 100th Bomb Group
    Crashed N of Itzehoe, GR on a mission to Berlin on 3 Mar 1944 in B-17G #42-39817 'Murderer's Row'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Bruce Alshouse

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 100th Bomb Group
    Completed 25 missions from 23 September 1943 - 6 March 1944. Shot down 24 September 1943 in B-17 #42-30259 'Damifino II' on a practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted and attacked by enemy fighters, the Fortress was riddled and...

  • Donald Becker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner
    Crashed N of Itzehoe, GR on a mission to Berlin on 3 Mar 1944 in B-17G #42-39817 'Murderer's Row'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Ernest Clark

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Bombardier | 100th Bomb Group
    Crashed N of Itzehoe, GR on a mission to Berlin on 3 Mar 1944 in B-17G 42-39817 'Murderer's Row'. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • James Dalton

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator
    James Dalton was Navigator on board B-17 #42-30259 on a 24 September 1943 practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted by enemy fighters and shot down. Ditched North Sea. James was picked up by a Royal Navy torpedo motor boat, but...

  • Francis De Cooman

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner
    Francis De Cooman was Ball Turret Gunner on board B-17 #42-30259 on a 24 September 1943 practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted by enemy fighters and shot down. Ditched North Sea. He was among the 5 men killed, 5 others were...

  • Theodore Don

    Military | Captain | Bombardier
    Theodore Don was Bombardier on board B-17 #42-30259 'Damifino II' on a 24 September 1943 practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted by enemy fighters and shot down. Ditched North Sea. 5 men died. Theodore was among the 5 who were...

  • Arthur Gibbons

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator

  • Michael Gillen

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator
    Michael Gillen was Radio Operator on board B-17 #42-30259 'Damifino II' on a 24 September 1943 practice flight to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted by enemy fighters and shot down. Ditched North Sea. 5 men died. Michael was among the 5 men...

  • John Gossage

    Military | Lieutenant | Co-Pilot / Pilot | 100th Bomb Group
    Shot down 24 September 1943 on a practice flight in B-17 #42-30259 'Damifino II'. Plane ditched in the North Sea. 5 Killed In Action; 5 rescued, Gossage among them - Missing Air Crew Report MACR 778. On a mission November 5, 1943 to Gelsenkirchen on B...

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Units served with

Aircraft

  • 42-30259 DAMIFINO II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 8/5/43; Smoky Hill 25/4/43; Kearney 27/5/43; Dow Fd 7/6/43; Assigned 349BS/100BG [XR-N] Thorpe Abbotts 10/6/43. Was flying on a practice flight 24 September 1943 to test PFF equipment and technique. Intercepted and shot down by enemy...

  • 42-39817 “Murderer's Row”

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 9/9/43; Assigned 394BS/100BG [XR-A] Thorpe Abbotts 27/9/43. Missing in Action Wilhelmshafen 3 March 1944 with Pilot Robert D. Vollmer, Navigator: Edward G. Sullivan, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: William S. Humphrey ...

Missions

  • VIII Air Support Command 70

    24 September 1943
    The German airfield of Beauvais/Tille, France is the target fro a combined force of 72 B-26s freom 323BG (36) and 322BG (36). 66 aircraft are effective on the target. There are no losses, but 14 aircraft are damaged. The bomber gunners claim 1-0-0 of...

  • 8th Air Force 246

    3 March 1944
    A combined force of 748 heavy bombers are despatched to bomb the primary targets of Berlin, Erkner and Oranienburg, Germany, but weather and dense contrails forced most of the formations to turn back or seek Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 1st Combat...

Associated Place

  • Thorpe Abbotts

    Military site : airfield
    Home of the 'Bloody Hundredth’, a Bomb Group with a reputation for high casualty rates, Thorpe Abbotts was under USAAF control from June 1943 to the end of the war. Some of the airfield survives today, and the control tower houses the 100th Bomb Group...

Events

Event Location Date
Born 12 February 1914

Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan

Lived in 1941

Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan

Enlisted 24 December 1941

as a Private in the Air Corps, in Detroit, Michigan

Rescued in the North Sea 24 September 1943

by a Royal Navy torpedo boat after ditching of B-17 42-30259
and returned to duty

captured 3 March 1944

in Peissen, North of Itzehoe, Germany, after parachuting out of B-17 42-39817

Prisoner of War (POW) 3 March 1944 – May 1945

Interned at Stalag Luft 4 in Gross Tychow (Tychowo), Poland. Force-marched to other camps. Liberated. NARA WWII POW records : "Returned to Military Control 23 May 1945."

Honorably discharged 30 October 1945
Died 3 July 1995

Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2020 01:13:24 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 17:06:16 lowbuckbob Changes to media associations
Sources

TJDon archives

Date Contributor Update
25 April 2019 13:58:21 ED-BB Changes to person associations
Sources

Removed connection to duplicate

Date Contributor Update
25 April 2019 09:47:52 ED-BB Changes to service number, biography, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 778 and MACR 3029
NARA WWII Enlistment records
WWII Draft Cards
NARA WWII POW records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:28:44 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

100th Bomb Group Foundation Directory, 2000 - 2001; MACR 778; MACR 3029, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3029 / MACR 778 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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