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John L. Connell


On 21-Sep-43 while serving as Radio Operator/Gunner in B-26B 41-31721 'Cactus Jack' 387BG/559BS his aircraft was despatched with 36 other B-26s to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tillie, France. The aircraft sustained major damage from AA fire over the target and he and the rest of the crew baled out of the stricken aircraft. He along one other of his crewmates managed to evade capture, 5 others were captured as Prisoners of War (POW) The aircraft crashed about two miles northeast of the target.


Units served with

  • 387th Bomb Group

    387th Bomb Group

    The 387th Bomb Group flew just under thirty missions with the Eighth Air Force before being transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943. The Group remained at Chipping Ongar, Essex after being reassigned and continued to hit targets in France....

  • 559th Bomb Squadron


  • 41-31721 Cactus Jack

    B-26 Marauder
    B-26B-20-MA 41-31721 "Cactus Jack" was assigned to the 387BG/559BS at Chipping Onger, UK. The aircraft was despatched on a mission to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tille, France. During the attack the aircraft sustained damage from AA fire and...


  • VIII Air Support Command 65

    21 September 1943
    A combinded formation of 73 B-26s from: 287BG (37) and 322BG (36) are despatched to bomb the German airfield of Beauvais/Tillie, France. 44 aircraft are effective on the target. 1 aircraft Fails to Return (FTR) 5POW 2EVD and 1 aircraft is Damaged...

Associated Place

  • Chipping Ongar

    Military site : airfield
    The air base was constructed by the 831st Engineer Battalion (Aviation) in late August 1942. The 387th Bomb Group were the only American group to be based there, flying B-26 Marauders in strategic missions over France, first for the Eighth and then for...


Event Location Date
Evaded Capture (EVD) Beauvais, France 21 September 1943 – 12 February 1944

Baled out of stricken aircraft and managed to evade capture. He returned to England on 12-Feb-44. His evasion is recorded on E&E Report 261 which may be viewed at:


Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 20:55:18 Lee8thbuff Changes to surname

Lee Cunningham 21-Jun-2015. Correcting typo on name.

Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 20:53:37 Lee8thbuff Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 26-Jun-2015. Added NEW person entry. All data based on MACR 614; "Losses of the 8th 7 9th Air Forces", Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) Escape and Evasion Report 261