Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Charles Frank Hess

Military

Completed 25 bombing mission as a Pilot with the 401st Bomb Group between 26 November 1943 and 12 June 1944. He was Pilot of B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Six crew members baled out (1 of them managed to evade capture; five others, initially evaded, were made Prisoners of War). Charles Hess and Co-Pilot John W. Mitchell brought the Fortress back to base. (see the pages for the evaders at www.evasioncomete.be > Fiches). Having completed his tour, Charles Hess returned to the US and visited his family in Russellville, Pennsylvania. He then went back to England and was assigned to the experimental 1st Scouting Force, based at Honington. On his first checkout flight from there on 24 October 1944, piloting Mustang P-51B 43-6768 with the 555th Fighter Training Squadron of the 496th FTG, the engine started smoking and losing power right after take-off. Trying to regain control, turn around and land, he lost too much altitude and, bailing out too low, his parachute didn't fully deploy. Died Non-Battle (DNB).

Service

People

  • Mark Bauer

    Military | Corporal | Ball Turret gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Mark Bauer was Ball Turret gunner on B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Evaded capture for 10 days before he was arrested. See the story of his evasion and capture at https://www...

  • Charles Bryant

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 401st Bomb Group
    Charles Bryant was Navigator on B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Aircraft flown back to base. Returned to Duty (RTD). Six members of the crew baled out over Belgium. See their individual...

  • Joseph Burns

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Joseph Burns was Engineer on board B-17 #42-39840 on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen and Leverkusen, Germany. Severely damaged by Flak and thinking the plane was lost, Burns and five other crew members bailed out and landed near Alken, Belgium....

  • James Gibson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    James Gibson was Left Waist Gunner on B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Baled out; aircraft flown back to base. Evaded capture for 10 days before he was arrested. See the story of his...

  • Ruben Miller

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Ruben Miller was Right Waist gunner on B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Baled out; aircraft flown back to base. Evaded capture for 10 days before he was arrested. See the story of his...

  • John Mitchell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 401st Bomb Group
    John Mitchell was Co-Pilot of B-17 #42-39840 "The Lopin' Lobo", hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen. The Fortress was flown back to England, but six men had baled out over Belgium (see their pages at www.evasioncomete.be >...

  • Raymond Nield

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 401st Bomb Group
    Raymond Nield was Right Waist gunner on B-17 Serial 42-39840, hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Aircraft returned to base. Baled out and evaded capture. Was back in the UK on 6 February 1944. See the story of...

  • Robert Rowe

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 401st Bomb Group
    Robert Rowe was Bombardier of B-17 #42-39840 "The Lopin' Lobo", hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen. The Fortress was flown back to England, but six men had baled out over Belgium (see their pages at www.evasioncomete.be >...

  • Irving Tatkin

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 401st Bomb Group
    Irving Tatkin was Radio Operator on B-17 Serial 42-39840 "The Lopin' Lobo", hit by Flak on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen/Leverkusen, Germany. Baled out; aircraft flown back to base. Evaded capture until he was arrested in February 1944. See...

Show more

Units served with

Aircraft

  • 42-39840 The Lopin' Lobo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 17/9/43; Scott 3/10/43; Assigned 613BS/401BG [IN-A] Deenethoprpe 13/10/43; transferred AFSC 6/6/44 as development and test aircraft and designated XB-17G; Returned to the USA, used by US Navy from 20/11/45; 4148 BU Bedford 30/1/46;...

  • 42-39993 'Hells Angels Out Of Chute 13', 'Grossly Inadequate'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 26/10/43; Assigned 612BS/401BG [SC-C] Deenethorpe 1/1/44; 118m landing accident at base with Jim Nolan 7/5/45; sal 2 SAD Watton, Nfk 8/5/45. HELL’S ANGELS OUT OF CHUTE 13 aka GROSSLY INADEQUATE. ...

  • 43-6768 'Black Lace'

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 336FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred 555FTS, 496FTG, 8AF USAAF. A/C lost 24-Oct-44. Capt Charles F Hess (1st Scouting Force) killed in training accident, bailing out too low due to engine failure.

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 145

    1 December 1943
    This mission was directed at the industrial areas of Leverkusen and Solingen, Germany. The mission is composed of two elements. The first element is a combined force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (27); 92BG (18); 303BG (17);...

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...

  • Goxhill

    Military site : airfield
    Goxhill opened in June 1941 as an RAF Bomber Command airfield, before being handed over to RAF Fighter Command in December. The Eighth Air Force took ownership in August 1942, and used the airfield, which they quickly dubbed 'Goat Hill' for operational...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Pennsylvania, USA 23 October 1922

Son of George and Caroline A [Mueller] Hess.

Lived in Chester County, PA, USA 1940

Russellville, Upper Oxford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Enlisted Philadelphia, PA, USA 30 October 1940
Detached Service (DS) 1944

Detached Service from 401BG with which he had completed 25 missions. Went home on rotation and upon return to England, was assigned to 1st Scouting Force (Experimental), in training unit (496 FTG/ 555 FTS.

Died Goxhill, Barrow-upon-Humber, North Lincolnshire DN19, UK 24 October 1944

Killed in Training (KIT) (DNB) in P-51B 43-6768 of 496th FTG/555th FTS, on first checkout flight. Engine trouble, lost too much altitude and parachute didn't deploy.

Buried Cambridge American Cemetery 1945

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District
Cambridgeshire, England. Charles Hess rests at Plot F, Row 6, Grave 37.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2021 12:38:37 ED-BB Changes to biography, events and place associations
Sources

Research on the crew of 42-39840 for website www.evasioncomete.be

Date Contributor Update
02 May 2019 09:33:13 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, biography, awards, events, person associations and mission associations
Sources

NARA WWII Enlistment records
WWII Casualties for Chester County, Pennsylvania
ABMC website
Details in an April 2005 posting by nephew Charles W. Hess
https://www.chescoheroes.org/468/Hess-Charles-F

Date Contributor Update
01 June 2016 14:01:34 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56290660
https://www.fold3.com/page/529901053_charles_f%20hess/details/
https://www.fold3.com/page/83722808_charles_f%20hess/details/

Date Contributor Update
12 May 2015 12:03:46 general ira snapsorter Changes to role and biography
Sources

Merged with duplicate entry to include details :
drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /
The Mighty Eighth Combat Chronology Supplement, 1942-45; p. 171.,
http://www.401bg.org/Main/History/Members/Details.aspx?ID=123

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:38 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

Share