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Raymond J Check


He was assigned to the 303rd BG on approximately 15 April 1942.
He reported to Group on 23 Jun 1943. He graduated from Pilot Class 42-B at Luke AAB, AZ.
27 October 1942 in B-17F-20-BO #41-24508 while flying in a 2 ship low level formation mission, ac hit trees. Check was able to make a safe landing and all returned to action.
Captain Check took off on his twenty-fifth mission, and which should have been the last of his tour, on June 26, 1943, flying Chennault's Pappy III. It was a milk-run bombing mission of a German airfield in Tricqueville, France. A big party was planned for the evening of their return.
During the bomb run, Check's temporary co-pilot, Lt. Col. James W. Wilson (an old squadron leader who wanted to go on Check's final mission), removed his gloves to make some adjustments to the engine. During the final seconds of the bomb run, a German fighter swooped down unnoticed from the sun. One 20mm cannon shell hit Cap. Check in the neck, exploded and killed him. A fire started in the cockpit, badly burning Wilson's hands. A crewmate put out the fire with an extinguisher. Col. Wilson continued flying with a melted oxygen mask, steering with his arms above the elbows, since his hands were too badly burned.
Still under attack, a machine gun bullet hit the box of flares behind the pilot's seat. The flares exploded, created another fire and blew open the bomb bay doors. Fortunately, there was a third pilot on board, Lt. William Cassedy, Check's normal co-pilot, who was acting as a waist gunner that day. Cassedy replaced Wilson in the co-pilot seat. With only one other uninjured man on board, Cassedy brought Chennault's Pappy III back to base. The radio was out and there were no remaining flares to announce an emergency landing. Instead of landing the plane into the wind as normal, Cassedy purposefully landed the plane downwind against incoming traffic. He wanted to avoid the reception group waiting to celebrate Check's 25th mission. It included an American army nurse who was going to marry Captain Check the next day. Raymond Check rests at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in England, Plot C, Row 4, Grave 41.



  • William Cassedy

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    William Cassedy first flew as Copilot on Capt. Raymond Check's crew. On the 26 June 1943 mission to Tricqueville airfield, Cassedy, the plane's regular Co-Pilot, had filled the post of one of the waist gunners on B-17 #42-3172, piloted by Lt. Col....

  • Lionel Drew

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Lionel Drew was Bombardier on the 26 June 1943 mission to the Tricqueville airfield, France, on board B-17 #42-3172. The Fortress was attacked by fighters and the Pilot, Captain Raymond Check (on his 25th and what had to be the last, mission of his...

  • Ralph Jones

    Military | Colonel | Co-Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Ralph Jones was Co-Pilot B-17F-20-BO #41-24508 on 27 October 1942 while flying in a 2 ship low level formation mission. The Fortress hit some trees and Pilot Raymond Check was able to make a safe landing and all returned to action. On 1 March 1943, Lt....

  • Nicholas Sawicke

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Nicholas Sawicke served as a Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner with the 306th Bomb Group. ...

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Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron
  • 423rd Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24508

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 423BS/306BG Westover 15/8/42; Thurleigh 5/9/42; force landed RAF Graveley, UK, 27/10/42 on practice flight with Ray Check, Co-pilot: Ralph Jones, Navigator: Milton Blanchett, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Francis Bowes, Radio Operator:...

  • 42-3172 Miss Patricia

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/3/43; Dow Fd 13/4/43; Assigned 423BS/306BG [RD-R] Thurleigh "MISS PATRICIA"-5 May 1943. Battle-damaged Tricqueville 26 June 1943 with Lt. Col. James W. Wilson. Co-Pilot Captain Raymond J. Check killed by shrapnel from enemy...


  • VIII Bomber Command 68

    26 June 1943
    The targets for today are all Luftwaffe installations: the Villacoublay air depot SW of Paris, France is the primary; the airfield at Poissy, France is attacked as the secondary because of cloud cover; the airfield at Tricqueville, France; and the...

Associated Place

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...


Event Location Date
Born Granville, North Dakota 27 September 1917
Lived in 1941

Granville, North Dakota

Enlisted 11 July 1941

Fort Snelling, Minnesota

Killed In Action 26 June 1943

hit by shrapnel from German fighter

Buried Cambridge American Cemetery


Date Contributor Update
15 July 2020 13:49:37 ED-BB Changes to biography, events and mission associations

NARA WWII Enlistment records
Cliff Bishop's "Fortresses of the Big Triangle First"
Gerald Astor's "The Mighty Eighth"-Chapter VII "The Buildup"
ABMC website

Date Contributor Update
15 July 2020 10:29:28 ED-BB Changes to service number, events and place associations

NARA WWII Enlistment record

Date Contributor Update
16 January 2020 23:07:09 RayWells Changes to biography, events and aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
02 March 2017 16:09:29 millebr Changes to awards

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:09 AAM AAM ingest

Combat Chronology Supplement p. 205, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs by Bishop and Hey, Vol. 1 p. 40, 501, First Over Germany pg. 25, 39, 48, 105, & 133-8; 306th BGA Collectioni, Russell Strong Index Cards, National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /