As Ken was an independent and rather adventurous young man, he attempted several times to enlist in the military, but was always turned down because of his age. He was finally accepted in late November 1941 at the age of 19. He wanted to be in the Corps of Engineers, but after a battery of tests, he was placed in the Army Air Corps and consequently was sent to Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi. He was there when the bombing of Pearl Harbor was announced on the radio. He became proficient in armament and was sent to Bendix School in Gary, Indiana. He came back as an instructor in 50 caliber machine guns (NOTE: it was said that he could put a gun back into place blindfolded). He was not a "regular" flyer; more or less an auxiliary when a crew was short-handed, and he was always a left waist-gunner.
From Keesler Field, he was sent to Barksdale Field in Bossier City, Louisiana with the newly formed 44th Bomb Group. While at Barksdale, Ken volunteered to go sub-hunting in the Gulf of Mexico, not only for the flying experience, but to use the machine guns. From Barksdale Field, the 44th Group was sent to Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ken was only there a short while before leaving for Port of Embarkation in New York. The 44th Bomb Group boarded the Queen Mary and took a 5-day zig-zag course to avoid the U-boats, which were on the prowl, and were known as "The Wolf Pack." The Queen Mary landed at Firth o' Clyde, Scotland1 and troops were sent overland to Shipdham, England.
Early in the morning of 8 March 1943, Ken was about to go on his 13th mission over enemy territory. He had had a premonition he would not come back and told several of his friends, "See ya at the end of the war." His buddies told him, "Hell, Kenny Boy, if you feel that way, report for sick call." Of course, he refused, and Miss Dianne was the lead plane of the 16 bombers (B-24s) set out to bomb the marshalling yards at Rouen, France. Enemy ME-109s came out of the sun's glare and met head-on with the B-24s.
Shot down 8 March 1943 in B-24D 41-23784 [NB:R] 'Miss Dianne', 44BG/67BS while serving as Right Waist Gunner. The aircraft was attacked and shot down by German fighters near Villers-Ecalles, France while on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. Prisoner of War (POW). His account of the attack by FW 190's as well as flak amidship, crew injuries, deaths and the bailout is in Lundy's book p. 57. He was wounded and treated for his burns and taken to Stalag VII-A Mooseburg, then later to Stalag XVII-B where he remained until repatriated 8 February 1945.
Units served with
The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...
B-24D-5-CO 41-23784 [NB:R] "Miss Dianne" was assigned to the 44BG/47BS. On 8-Mar-1943 the aircraft was despatched on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. The aircraft sustained significant damage from German fighters near...
8 March 1943
The railroad marshalling yards at Rennes and Rouen, France are the primary targets for this mission. A formation comprised of 67 B-17s: 91BG (14); 303BG (19); 305BG (16) and 306BG (18) is despatched to bomb at Rennes. Conditions are good with no cloud...
Military site : airfield
Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...
||21 December 1922
|Prisoner of War (POW)
||8 March 1943 – 12 June 1945
Held at Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Germany. Officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 12-Jun-45