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Gerald Lane


Assigned to 334BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF. 17 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Chowhound mission to Utrecht, Netherlands in B-17 44-8640; crashed into English channel. Killed in Action (KIA)

Before the day was over 11 of the 13 souls on board would perish. Two who parachuted at the low altitude of 500 feet would survive the frigid waters of the North
Atlantic to live into old age. Fire in number 2 engine.


Pilot 1st Lt.. Lionel Sceurman
Co-Pilot 2ndLt James R Schwarz
Navigator 2ndLt Russel H Cook Jr.
Engineer Top Turret No crew assignment
Radio Operator S/SGT Gano H. Mcphearson
Ball Turret Gunner S/SGT John J Keller
Waist Gunner S/SGT Norbert Kuper
Tail Gunner S/SGT William R Lankford
Toggler S/SGTt Davic C. Condon


Staff Sergent Gerald Lane Voice Interpreter
Staff Sergent Edward Bubloz Jr., Voice interpreter
Staff Sergent Robert W Korber Chief Adminstrative Clerk Photo Unit
Private George Walteri Attributed to photo unit but really a
Sergent Joseph Repisca Photo Unit but had trained as a bombardier

Tony Braidick bombardier who had been part of the original Sceurman crew has been reassigned to another crew. Spider asked him to fly with them that day to switch with toglier David Condon and for reasons he said he could not explain chose to go with his new crew

Today on this Monday; May 7 1945 there would be 5 volunteers on the plane. One would be a seasoned addition to air crews as he had been an aerial German voice interpreter on a number of missions. A second German voice interpreter would join Staff Sergent Gerald Lane. He was Staff Sergeant Ed Bubloz Jr from Texas. Gerald Lane was called Derry by his family and friends. His sister told me at the end of 2020 that as a little girl she could not say Jerry and it came out Derry and the name stuck. Derry had an interesting background in that he was British in every way except one he was an American; being born and raised in the suburbs of London of an American father and British mother. His father served with the RAF Eagle Squadron in administrative capacity and went on to serve as a Major in the US Army Air Forces. Ed Bubloz Jr was from a German immigrant family that first lived in Minnesota then migrated to rural Texas. It appears that Ed may have been originally trained as a gunner but it is now known through the efforts of Colonel Tyler Morton USAF that he was an Ariel linguist like Derry. Why these 2 were on the flight can only be open to speculation. From an oral history by one of Derry’s sister that now resides in the Library of Congress she said he volunteered for paper drives in high school and was very civic minded.
Ed Bubloz came from a religious family and in a press clipping from Florida in 1944 it is noted that he was the 30,000 visitor to a Lutheran church visit center for servicemen, At the time of his death Ed had a 10 year old brother and was survived by his bother and parents. Enlistment records from the Austin area indicate he may have been married.

All of the volunteers are mistakenly lumped together in a number of books, articles, and blogs as being from the photo section. For Gerald Lane and Ed Bubloz it is an error that erases their contributions to the war effort as aerial linguists. It is through the research of Col. Tyler Morton that we learn that Sgt.’s Lane and Bubloz were aerial linguists, pioneers of their time. It is known that Staff Se regent Robert W Korber was from the photo lab. Private George. Waltari was a mechanic and Sergent Joseph Repiscak was originally trained as a bombardier but it is not clear that he completed that training and he may have been from the photo lab.

Lt. Sceurman was president of his fraternity at Buckman College in Pennsylvania. He left college being called up in the reserves in 1943 beginning his fourth year of college but not completing it. He was a political science major and had planned on attending law school. In high school he had a swing band and played locally for dances in Perth Amboy NJ where he lived. He played the saxophone. He was survived by his parents and his 14 y/o sister Noreen. He was first interred at Cambridge American Cemetery in 1945 and in 1947 reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery. He was 24 when he died

Lt, James Schwarz attended Catholic Schools in Charleston West Virginia and was attending Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina when he entered the service. He was one of the 2 survivors. He would return to that college, graduate, marry and have 2 daughters. He would live to 91 and worked as an accountant in Birmingham Alabama. His birthday was August 29, 1924. He was slightly 3 and 1/2 months shy of his 21st birthday when he bailed out at 500 feet into the North Sea.

Lt Russel Cook the navigator grew up in Roanoke Virginia. He wanted to return home and become a farmer. His younger brothers went on to serve in Korea. He is burred in his beloved Virginia. He was 21 when he died.

S/Sgt Gano Mcphearson was married. He was from Tennessee. Very little information is
available on him. He was the radio operator.

Gunner John J Keller was from Montana Very little is known of him

Waist gunner S/Sgt Norbert Kuper Very little historical record of him exist

Tail gunner S/Sgt William R Langford was from Birmingham Alabama. A memorial plaque was place at his high school in 1948 with his along with other alumni who died in the war.

Togler David C Condon was from New York. one of the 2 survivors. Returned to New York. Attended college. He lived to old age

Technical Sgt Korber was from a prominent family in Albuquerque New Mexico. He attended the University of New Mexico for 3 years. He was engaged to be married to his college sweetheart. He was 23.

There were several Joseph Repiscas that swerved in the war. The individual on 44-8640 is believed to be from Chicago. Originally trained as a bombardier but no record is found of him serving in that role. He was one of the passengers on44-8640

Private George Walteri was from Montana. he was married The newspaper account of his loss states he was a mechanic. His wife had a wartime job in Washington DC.

Official Army Air Force documents state that 44-8640 went down due to mechanical failure of the number 2 engine. Derry Lane”s mother and father visited Horham shortly after their son’s death and there is no indication that Major Lane was told anything other than that the flight had a mechanical failure. That the 44-8640 received battle damage can only be attributed to speculation. Stories of this possibility have peculated among veterans, family members and writers over the years. Official documents produced by Army Air Force officials at Horham during the week of May 7 1945 attribute the loss to “a number 2 engine failure.” A full appreciation of the lives of this crew and the volunteers on the last flight of 44-8640 is a goal I sought but with advances of time and loss of relatives and decedents the task remains unfinished. Perhaps other can fill in some of the missing pieces.

Awards: AM (OLC), PH.



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  • Lionel Sceurman

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 95th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 334BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF. 9 x combat missions. Day before VE day. Failed to Return (FTR) Chowhound mission to Utrecht, Netherlands in B-17 44-8640, despite "free passage guarantee", flak hit in engine and crashed into North Sea off Benacre...

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Units served with

  • 95th Bomb Group

    95th Bomb Group

    The 95th Bomb Group was the only Eighth Air Force Group to be awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations. The first, shared by all four Bomb Wing Groups, was for the bombing of an aircraft factory under intense enemy fire at Regensburg on 17 August...

  • 334th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-97194 Good Pickin'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/2/44; Kearney 24/2/44; Presque Is 11/3/44; Assigned 336BS/95BG [ET-O] Horham 11/3/44; with G.M. Jackman force landed B-53 Merville, Belg., 10/5/45; with Lt Henderson force landed A-70 Laon, France 20/5/45; 114m Returned to the USA...

  • 43-38281 KIMMIE KAR FOR 9

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/7/44; Kearney 25/7/44; Grenier 9/8/44; Assigned 326BS/92BG [JW-A] Podington 10/8/44; transferred 412BS/95BG [QW-Z] Horham 11/8/44; with F.W. Volz force landed Deblin, Poland 15/2/45; sal 1/3/45; 70m, Returned to the USA Bradley 21...

  • 43-38776 Passion Wagon/Victory Devils

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 20/9/44; Grenier 11/10/44; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-B] Horham 13/10/44; 67m, Returned to the USA Bradley 26/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 28/6/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 29...

  • 44-8640

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 14/11/44; Dow Field 3/12/44; Assigned 388BG Knettishall 4/12/44; transferred 334BS/95BG [BG-D] Horham 5/12/44; after 58 missions was Missing in Action Operation Chowhound (6th such mission) 7/5/44 with Lionel Sceurman, Navigator:...

Associated Place

  • Horham

    Military site : airfield
    Horham airfield was planned and built for RAF use, but handed over to the Eighth Air Force and used initially by the 47th Bomb Group. When they joined the Twelfth Air Force in January 1943, it became home to the B-26 Marauders of the 323rd Bomb Group....


Event Location Date
Born England 21 September 1924
Enlisted 7 June 1943
Based Horham December 1944 – 7 May 1945

Assigned to 334BS, 95BG, 8AF USAAF.

Died Off Benacre Ness 7 May 1945
Buried 1946

Tablets of the Missing
Cambridge American Cemetery Coton, Cambs, UK

Buried Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery San Antonio, Bexar County, TX 24 April 1997

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas


Date Contributor Update
18 May 2022 09:09:06 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, events and place associations

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2022 23:18:44 Philipd Changes to biography and events

Personal research and family contact USAAF records, Col. Tyler Morton US Air Force

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2022 22:53:51 Philipd Changes to biography

personal research, historical documents

Date Contributor Update
03 August 2021 16:07:11 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname, service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:19 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia