Place where 42-3436 crashed on October 14, 1943 - 13.45 h local time.
Tail part in The Netherlands
Nose part in Germany
Missing - nose
- Donald Paul Breeden/co-pilot
Probably interred with Martin and/or Manley
Source: George Kuhl - Wrong Place! Wrong Time! - page 149
KIA - nose
- William James Martin/navigator
- Harvey Arlie Manley/bombardier
KIA - tail
- Leonard Roy Henlin/left waist gunner
- Robert G Wells /right waist gunner
All others POW
- Hosea Crawford
- Dominic Lepore
- Arthur Linrud
- Benjamin Roberts
- Dennis McDarby
Feldwebel (sergeant) Helmut F Brinkman (* 13 June 1920) who was shot down with his Me-109 by the tail gunner of A/C 42-3436 Dominic C Lepore. Brinkman went missing after he crashed in a field near Chevremont (NL) on 14-10-1943.
Near or over Eygelshoven there were 3 German fighter planes involved of which one was probably shot down by tail gunner Dominic Lepore: the Me-109G-6 / White 12 ‘Werknummer’ # 15389 of ‘Feldwebel’ (sergeant) Helmut F. Brinkmann. He crashed in a field in ‘de Vink’ (between Kerkrade-Chevremont and Eygelshoven) killing him. He belonged to the 7th ‘Staffel’ (III. Gruppe) of Jagdgeschwader 1 then flying from Eelde? His body was not recovered. These details are mentioned by Mr. Ron Pütz in a letter to Mr. Linrud of November 27, 1988 and in a ‘Proces verbaal’ of the police of 14 October 1943 in Mr Pütz’ book ‘Duel in de wolken‘.
Ger van Megen (*1928) was on his way back to the MULO school in Kerkrade after his mid day meal at home at Op de Kamp in Eygelshoven on 14 October 1943. Halfway between the hamlets De Vink and Chevremont he witnessed the German and American fighters shooting at each other. ‘They flew that low, they flew in between the houses.’ He realized that being that close was dangerous and ducked for cover. At a certain moment he heard a big bang to the right of him and looking up he saw a cloud of dust and the tail part of an airplane sticking out of the ground. About 1,5 meter of the grey green tail was visible. ‘And there was hair on the top of that tail. Must have been hair from the pilot.’
Ger van Megen thinks the crash location was some 10 meters from the road. He tried to get closer to have a better look but he was sent away by the police.
He also went to see the tail part of the B-17 near the rowing pond in Eygelshoven. He thinks the tail was some 4 to 5 meters away from that pond.
Mr Sjir Handels (*1937) saw the aerial battle above the village of Eygelshoven from the backyard of his parental home in the Koningin Emmastraat (now Eiswinkel) where he stood watching this fight together with his father.
‘I heard the machine guns rattle both from the 3 German planes and from the B-17 crew. The German planes circled around the B-17 trying to shoot it down. But he B-17 crew fought back because at one moment we saw that a German Me-109 was hit and passed over us with a smoke trail in the direction of Chevremont. My dad said: "Richtig zoe" (All right). That was the Me-109 of Brinkmann.'
Helmut F. Brinkmann was born in Stade-Camp (G) on 13-6-1920 and declared dead on 31-12-1945 by the ‘Amstgericht’ in Stade on 31-8-1959. Helmut Brinkmann moved to Klein-Fredenbeck in 1928. There his name is mentioned on the ‘Gefallenendenkmal’ - a memorial for all victims of the war from and in Fredenbeck.
Brinkmann must have been a new pilot in his Staffel because in the document of I got from WASt in Berlin he is still noted as being part of the 1. Kompanie Flieger-Ausbildungs-Regiment 61 in Heiligenbeil (now Russia-Kaliningrad).
His dogtags indicate that he was first an infantry soldier of Inf.Reg. 47.
On April 1. 1943 the III. group of JG 1 was newly established on Deelen airfield. Part of the staff came from the flyings schools and Helmut Brinkmann was probably one of them. They were ready to fly on 10. June 1943 and flew with Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6. In September they moved from Deelen to Eelde - near Groningen. From there Brinkmann made his last flight.
He was one of the 37 dead or missing pilots of this group in 1943; 28 were due to actions of allied forces.
The III. group lost 76 planes that year; 53 were shot down by allied forces. They shot down 49 allied planes in 1943.
Source: Lexikon der Wehrmacht.
In a message I got from Dennis Lepore - son of tail gunner - in February 2017 he said his father told him he shot down one German airplane. Most probably it was Brinkmann’s Me-109. This was confirmed by local people who spoke to Ron Pütz before November 1988 and written down in his letter to Arthur Linrud mentioned above.
More on Feldwebel Helmut F Brinkmann - in German - see http://home.kpn.nl/slang075/wim-slangen/Helmut-F-Brinkmann-D.html
Crash site Me-109 Feldwebel Helmuth F Brinkmann near Kerkrade-Chevremont (NL).
A view of the memorial stone and plaque at the day of the unveiling on 13-10-2018.
Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW).
Dominic C. Lepore was born March 25. 1921 in Elizabeth, New Jersey and went to Thomas Jefferson Highschool in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he was captain of the werstling team in 1938. He was a Sergeant in the Army during World War II. Dominic resided in Ocean County, New Jersey before enlisting on September 25. 1942. At the time of enlistment, Dominic was 21 years old, had a grammar school education and was single, without dependents. One year later, Dominic had to baile out after being injured by 20 mm shell in his plane (MACR 1034), then captured by the Nazis and sent to Stalag 17B near Krems - north of Vienna in Austria where 3,219 other American POWs were held.
From his son Dennis: ‘Very quickly he came home to Elizabeth NJ and married my mom, Margaret Lucille Crincoli. Dominic opened up a used car lot and worked very hard. The law permitted being open on Sundays at this time so he was rarely home. Dominic and Margare had a daughter who they named Donna Michelle Lepore and later a son, me, named Dennis Charles Lepore.
By 1955 and working hard, Dominic became the owner of a General Motors Oldsmobile Dealership in Linden NJ. As that dealership and surrounding property grew he added on a Japanese Mazda Automobile Dealership to his property. They are all gone now and as the economy in the U.S. under President Jimmy Carter, went downhill and inflation rose, sales dwindled to a standstill. It was the deepest and longest recession in the U.S. and even took 2 years into Ronald Reagans term to pull us out.
Both automobile franchises are gone now, however they gave the family a gracious and debt free living and growing up in the best private schools and universities.
He never ate potatoes after being a POW because when they did get food in the camp it was potato soup with no potatoes in it. So I will never forget the night my father was invited to eat over my father and mother in laws home in Edison, N.J. and they served all of us potato soup first before the main course. He excused himself from not eating it, we understood.‘
Mr Dominic Lepore did not want to remember anything about the war, let alone being a POW but one evening when his son Dennis was young at the kitchen table I asked him why there were no uniforms or really any military memorabilia in the house in Linden. He told me that he threw everything in the ocean on his trip back to the states.
His son Dennis: ‘One of he few times he opened up he told me that he had 3 ranks in one day while in England. Apparently he got into a fight with an officer during the night and that officer busted him down one rank. Next day his crew was ordered to fly a mission. But they were short a tail gunner for Dennis’ dad could not go because he was busted down a rank. So when he told his captain why he could now go, the captain replied: “OK so I just promote you a rank; lets go.” So my dad held 3 ranks in one day.’
His last known address was in Pompano in Broward County-FL (before that in Metuchen - Middelsex County-NJ). Mr Lepore died May 3. 1995 and is buried at Saint Gertrudes Roman Catholic Cemetery in Colonia - Middlesex County.
More see http://home.kpn.nl/slang075/breeden-crew-members-42-3436.html
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||Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
||25 March 1921
|Prisoner of War (POW)
||Krems an der Donau, Oostenrijk
||14 October 1943