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42-29985

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 22/3/43; Cheyenne 31/3/43; Smoky Hill 5/4/43; Dow Fd 15/4/43; with Rich Jerger force landed Meeks Fd, Iceland 17/4/43; Assigned 545BS/384BG [JD-Y] Grafton Underwood 28/6/43; transferred 367BS/306BG [GY-X] Thurleigh 22/8/43. Missing in Action Bremen 8 October 1943 with Thomas D. Ledgerwood, Co-pilot: John G. Acker, Navigator: Myron L. Sorden, Bombardier: Eugene H. Levy, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Harvey D. Cooke Jr, Radio Operator: Robert Van Dragt, Ball turret gunner: John K. Spell, Waist gunner: Patrick A. Walsh Jr, obs-Capt Paul George (9 Prisoner of War); Waist gunner: Andrew E. Fila (died of wounds 6 Nov), Tail gunner: Art Robinson trapped in tail when ship hit by Me 110 rockets (2 Killed in Action); enemy aircraft set two engines on fire, crashed Handrup, 10 miles NE of Lingen, Germany. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 868. KATHLEEN aka BARREL HOUSE BESSIE.

Service

Units

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 367th Bomb Squadron

People

  • John Acker

    Military | Co-Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    He flew on Clyde Cosper crew. Reported to group on 11 Sept 1943. He was shot down on his first mission. Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie'. POW at Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011...

  • Harvey Cooke

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Andrew Fila

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Paul George

    Military | Major | Assistant Group Engineer Officer; Squadron Executive | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Captain Paul George was flying as an observer on B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie' when it was shot down on the Bremen mission, 8 October 1943. He was the first to jump out of the plane. Prisoner of War (POW). His nickname in camp was 'Pap's' as he...

  • Thomas Ledgerwood

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Thomas Ledgerwood was Pilot of B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie' when it was shot down on return from the Bremen mission on 8 October 1943. Prisoner of War (POW). Thomas Ledgerwood stayed in the Air Force after the war. Serving in Korea, he ended...

  • Eugene Levy

    Military | Sergeant | Bombardier, Bombardier; Togglier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Arthur Robinson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie', Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Myron Sorden

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie'. Prisoner of War (POW) at Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11). He was shot down on his first mission. He was...

  • John Spell

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 8 October 1943 in B-17 #42-29985 'Barrel House Bessie', Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Robert Van Dragt

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Robert G. Van Dragt was Radio Operator and flew his first mission on 15 August 1943 with pilot Ferdinand Otten, the pilot he flew most of his missions with. He was on B-17 #42-29985 with the Ledgerwood crew when it was shot down over Germany on the...

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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 111

    8 October 1943
    The shipyards and industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission, but cloud cover causes some formations to bomb targets of opportunity. The attacking elements have been summarized below: ...

Places

  • Grafton Underwood

    Military site : airfield
    Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Germany 8 October 1943

Shot down by enemy aircraft, crashed near Handrup, Germany

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2020 02:28:27 jmoore43 Changes to description and events
Sources

Added a space before the words "Tail gunner" in the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
15 February 2019 10:24:46 ED-BB Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, person associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 868

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:25 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 868 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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