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41-31775

B-26 Marauder

Lost on 25 March 1944, 6 miles from the North Coast of France, all six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

Report added by Astrid van Erp from https://www.fieldsofhonor-database.com/index.php/en/american-war-cemeter...

" We had completed our bombing mission over Northern France and were on our way back to our base when I last saw Lt Bett's plane. It was losing altitude with a smoking right engine and had hits on the right wing after enemy fighter attack. This was about 6 miles out from the French coast and the plane seemed to be under control but making slow progress at around 4000 feet. Statement from Earl C. Pitman, S/Sgt,38165283, Turret Gunner. 2nd Lt Elliott Sanger Bett's, 0681003, Pilot and 2nd Lt Leonard Ralph Burnett Jr., 068102, Co-Pilot were rescued from the English Channel at 1820 hours, 28 March 1944. Lt Burnett stated that he saw five chutes open and that the four missing crew members were within 150 yards of him when he hit the water. However, when he had completed inflating his dingy, he could locate no one except Lt Betts. Lt Betts and Lt Burnett tied their dinghies together. All crew members were instructed and presumed to have had individual dinghies with them when they parachuted from the aircraft.
The aircraft was damaged by enemy fighters and flak from enemy installations. Most, if not all the rudder and approximately one-third of the right wing was shot away. All crew members parachuted out between 2000 and 1500 feet, with the exception of the Pilot, who left the plane at 800 feet. Both engines had quit before the Pilot, Lt Betts, jumped. About half an hour after the crew bailed out, Lt Betts and Burnett heard a call for help, but were unable to locate the person calling. The same thing occurred about dusk and again about 2200 hours that evening. However, no dinghies were seen by Lt Betts during the time they were in the water."

Service

Units

  • 386th Bomb Group

    386th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 386th Bomb Group flew B-26 Marauders for the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. Whilst with the Eighth, the Group developed the formation release procedure for the B-26 on missions that targeted aerodromes, marshalling yards and V-weapon sites along the...

  • 553rd Bomb Squadron

People

  • Elliot Betts

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 386th Bomb Group
    His aircraft was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944, 6 miles from the North Coast of France. All six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

  • John Bowan

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 386th Bomb Group
    John Bowan was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944. His aircraft was lost 6 miles from the North Coast of France, all six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

  • Leonard Burnett

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-pilot | 386th Bomb Group
    His aircraft was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944, 6 miles from the North Coast of France. All six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

  • Robert Curtiss

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator / Bombardier | 386th Bomb Group
    Robert Curtiss was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944. His aircraft was lost 6 miles from the North Coast of France, all six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

  • Walter Milne

    Military | Master Sergeant (1st Grade) | 386th Bomb Group
    Walter Milne was "best buddies" with Charles Powers, John Bowan and Woodrow van Damme.

  • Charles Powers

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 386th Bomb Group
    Charles Powers was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944. His aircraft was lost 6 miles from the North Coast of France, all six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

  • Woodrow Van Damme

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 386th Bomb Group
    Woodrow Van Damme was lost over the English Channel on 25 March 1944. His aircraft was lost 6 miles from the North Coast of France, all six members of the crew managed to escape the aircraft, but only the pilot and co-pilot were rescued three days later.

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Over Water (OW) English Channel 25 March 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2018 11:45:51 general ira snapsorter Changes to description
Sources

Source of information: Astrid van Erp, www.wwiimemorial.com, www.fold3.com, www.ancestry.com, 1930 census

Date Contributor Update
02 November 2018 12:12:24 Emily Changes to nicknames, markings, description and unit associations
Sources

Information provided by Kelli Powers Britt, Niece of Charles Powers, Tail Gunner

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:06 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 4029 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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