Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Wilfred M Husband


Shot down 11 December 1943 in B-17 #423488. Killed in Action (KIA).

Staff Sergeant Husband's B-17 was shot down over the Dutch province of Groningen during its return from a bombing run on the industry and U-Boat harbour installations of Emden in Northern Germany on December 11, 1943.

Extensive research on the mission has been compiled by Mr. Alexander Tuinhout of Leeuwarden, the Netherlands who has authored 'A Story of B-17 #42-3488 and its Crew'.

The fortress had been damaged by heavy flak above the target area, and was straggling behind the formation when attacked by four German fighters. Wounded tailgunner Joseph La Via tried to free Sergeant Husband from the damaged ball turret but it was torn from the Fortress before the plane crashed.

Husband's body was found still inside the ball turret some distance from the crash site in Sneek, Holland. It was Sergeant Husband's first mission. Eight of the 10 member crew were able to bail out, but several at such a low elevation as to be injured upon hitting the ground.

Several crew members were hidden from the Nazis by the Dutch people at great risk, but the men were eventually caught and imprisoned in the German prison camp made famous in the movie, 'The Great Escape'.


Units served with

  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 548th Bomb Squadron


  • 42-3488 Weidner’s Wildcat

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 13/7/43; Scott 15/8/43; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-L] Gt Ashfield 25/8/43; Missing in Action Emden 11/12/43 with Edwin Pollock, Co-pilot: Milo Raim, Navigator: Maurice Alexander, Bombardier: Max Weinstein, Flight engineer/top turret...

Associated Place

  • Great Ashfield

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was built in 1942 by John Laing & Son Ltd. 108,000 tons of concrete was used in its construction, creating a Class 'A' airfield suitable for heavy bombers. The 385th Bomb Group took up residence in the summer of 1943, and remained at the...


Event Location Date
Born North Tonawanda, New York
Died 11 December 1943
Buried Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, The Netherlands

Plot O Row 21 Grave 4


Date Contributor Update
16 January 2017 16:58:31 Lucy May Changes to firstname, service number, biography, awards, events, place associations and media associations

Changed spelling of first name from 'Wilford' to 'Wilfred'. See:

MACR 1665

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

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 1665; nephew