Captain Ralph S. Bryant
Squadron Operations Officer - Command Pilot
466th BG - 786th BS
KIA 29 April 1944 when the 389th BG a/c he was flying in as command pilot, B-24H-15-DT #41-28784, was forced to ditch in the North Sea. After helping every crew member exit the aircraft, he stepped into the rescue boat and collapsed dead, presumably from exposure/hypothermia.
Crew of unknown aircraft of the 466/786.
This is an interesting photo. First these men didn't go into combat as a crew. Of the officers in the front row:
1LT Eugene Drebert was the navigator on Crew #566 - Bigby Parrott Crew
1LT (later MAJ) Ralph Bryant was the squadron operations officer of the 786th BS - He was KIA 29 April 1944
CPT (later LTCOL) Edward Anastasio was the 786th BS Commander
1LT (later Captain) Huggard was the 786th BS Squadron Bombardier
Three of the enlisted men (Holly, Hodson and Hall) are all from the J.B. Warren Crew - Crew #601
The photo appears to have been taken stateside during training. Maybe this was going to be a crew and then Bryant and Anastasio were promoted. The out of place person is Drebert. He didn't appear to start flying missions with the 466th BG until 5 months after Bryant was KIA.
Page 2 of 466th Bomb Group 'Roll of Honor' at All Saints Church, Weston Longville.
The grave of Captain Ralph S. Bryant at Cambridge American Cemetery
BRYANT, Ralph S. CPT
Air Medal Certificate
06 May 1944
Shot down 29 April 1944 in B-24 41-28764. Plane ditched in North Sea. Killed in Action (KIA).
When asked about the saddest event that he remembered from his tour with the 466th BG, William Lakeman, a pilot in the 786th BS stated; "The loss of Captain Ralph Bryant on a mission that our crew didn't go on. He landed a crippled plane in the Channel and was helping others to safety when he keeled over dead, we were told. We had called him the "scout master" and snickered behind his back. Not until he was dead did we realize what a leader he had been. I went to his burial service at Cambridge."
Units served with
The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...
The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...
Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Berlin, generator problems soon after take off compromised electrical system, on return leg noted fuel shortage, preparations for ditching carried out. Plane ditched in North Sea. 7...
Military site : airfield
Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...
Military site : airfield
Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...
||Marion, SC, USA
||Atlanta, GA, USA
||12 July 1941
|Killed in Action (KIA)
||29 April 1944
Captain Ralph S. Bryant Squadron Operations Officer - Command Pilot 466th BG - 786th BS KIA 29 April 1944 when the 389th BG a/c he was flying in as command pilot, B-24H-15-DT 41-28764, was forced to ditch in the North Sea. After helping every crew member exit the aircraft, he stepped into the rescue boat and collapsed dead, presumably from exposure/hypothermia.
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
South Cambridgeshire District
Plot: Plot A Row 5 Grave 32