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Ralph Wetley Franke


Ralph Franke was a passenger on the last flight of the 43-37776. He was killed when it crashed on the 27th of September 1944.



  • Michael Primus

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 490th Bomb Group

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 490th Bomb Group

    490th Bomb Group

    The 490th Bomb Group, like the 486th and 487th Bomb Groups transitioned from flying B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses, which were used in combat missions from late August 1944. Based at Eye, Suffolk, the Group were focused in the early months...

  • 10th Motor Transport Section


  • 43-37776 Heavenly Body

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 20/5/44; Kearney 31/5/44; Grenier 7/6/44; Assigned 849BS/490BG Eye [W8- ] 11/6/44; on routine navigation night flight 27/9/44 with Mike Primus, Co-pilot: Louis Deputy, Navigator: Rich Herman, Bombardier: Bob Simmons, Flight engineer...

Associated Place

  • Eye

    Military site : airfield
    Eye air base was not a Class A base but was constructed to a less demanding standard by the 827th and 859th Battalions of U.S. Army Engineers in 1943 and was finished in early 1944. Unusually, a group of its hardstandings were on the other side of the...


Event Location Date
Born Beaver, PA 28 January 1913
Enlisted New Cumberland, PA 10 April 1942
Died near Nailstone, UK 27 September 1944

Died in the crash of B-17G 43-37776 while on a night training mission

Buried Cambridge American Cemetery October 1944

Plot E Row 2 Grave 20
Cambridge American Cemetery
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Madingley Road
Coton CB23 7PH
United Kingdom


Date Contributor Update
12 December 2020 03:40:16 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, events, person associations and unit associations

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2015 15:48:45 usxpat Changes to events

Find A Grave Memorial# 56289799

Date Contributor Update
16 March 2015 15:47:44 usxpat Changes to highest rank, biography, place associations and media associations

Find A Grave Memorial# 56289799

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:54 AAM AAM ingest

490th Bomb Group Unit Personnel / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia