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Merritt E Derr


35 missions. 3 'crash' landings. 4 enemy aircraft destroyed by crew of B-24 'Shack Rat. ' One crew member captured by Luftwaffe. B-24H 42-95209 'Sabrina III'.

Lt Col Derr's 24th mission on 27th June 1944 was to a railroad bridge in France; flying time an estimated 5 hours 45 minutes. As they approached the target the flak became intense and the plane just ahead of them went down on fire. Their plane received numerous hits, No 3 engine was on fire and a fuel line was cut, fuel streaming everywhere. Two of the crew stuffed clothing into the hole and managed to stop the flow. They were losing altitude and had dropped behind the squadron when the waist gunner reported that one of the crew had bailed out. Their pilot had called for assistance and they were escorted home by a P-51. They did make it back to Shipdham - with only vapour for fuel - and landed on the grass. That night they all rode into town and got thoroughly 'soused', several casualties occurring from the guys who rode their bicycles into the ditch.

DFC/ Air Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster


Units served with

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    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...

  • 506th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-95209 Sabrina III

    B-24 Liberator
    Sabrina III, #42-95209, 506 Sq. was built at the Ford Willow Run plant and first flown in combat by the Richard Hruby crew. Her 106 missions were an amazing record for any B-24 at a time when 15 missions were about average. ...

Associated Place

  • Shipdham

    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...


Event Location Date
Born Emmaus, Pennsylvania 16 January 1920
Returned (RTD) France 27 June 1944


Date Contributor Update
29 January 2020 15:22:17 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography

Biography completed by historian Helen Millgate. Information sourced from newsletters of the 44th Bomb Group related to the service of Merritt Derr.

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2017 09:01:00 Lucy May Changes to service number, role, events, place associations and aircraft associations

MACR 6743 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

NARA enlistment record:

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:20:06 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / self, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces vol 3 pg 662 & Page 246 in the book SECOND AIR DIVISIONby Turner Publishing Company, 1998, D790.A2S45