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William Ellsworth Schimke

Military

Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Ball Turret Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

Service

People

  • William Adams

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Radio Operator, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Thomas Calhoun

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Left Waist Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Robert Carlberg

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Robert Carlberg was assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, and was sent to England. Shot down on 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Co-Pilot on a mission to bomb U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Fortress was hit...

  • John Hughes

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Right Waist Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Roy Nalley

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Note : the 1930 US Census has his family's name wrongly spelled as Nally... This was corrected in the 1940 one > Nalley... A Top Turret Gunner, Roy Nalley was shot down on 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443, Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Ewart Sconiers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 97th Bomb Group
    Lt Ewart Sconiers was Bombardier on B-17 #41-9089 'Johnny Reb', one of the 12 B-17s participating in the first heavy bomber raid of the 8th Air Force on 17 August 1942. The target were the shipyards of Rouen/Sotteville, France. ...

  • James Simmons

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 #41-24443 while serving as Tail Gunner, Prisoner of War (POW). After being held at Stalag Luft 1 (Barth, Germany), he was transferred to Stalag XIII (Hammelburg, Germany), where he was head of the escape committee.

  • Harold Spire

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Note : In both the 1930 and 1940 Censuses, Harold and his parents are listed as Spires. All later documents, including his Enlistment records, his Escape & Evasion Report have him as Harold Spire... ...

  • Richard Starks

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Richard Starks grew up in Woodford County, Kentucky. He attended the Midway High School and the University of Kentucky before enlisting in April 1941. After his enlistment, he was sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma for primary training, starting to fly the...

  • Milton Stenstrom

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Milton Stenstrom enlisted in April 1941 and followed pilot training. Assigned to the 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron, he was sent to England. ...

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Units served with

  • 97th Bomb Group

    97th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 97th Bomb Group flew the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber mission from the UK when they bombed a marshalling yard at Rouen on 17 August 1942. Just a month later though the Group were reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force and left England for the...

  • 414th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24443 Johnny Reb II, Johnny Reb Jr

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG Bangor 1-August-1942; transferred to 414BS/97BG Polebrook 24-August-1942; Missing in Action 21-October-1942 on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient/Keroman, France. The Navigator, 1Lt Harold Spire provided the following...

  • 41-9089 Johnny Reb

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Sarasota 15/4/42. Assigned 414BS/97BG Polebrook 4/42. Flew on first 8th Air Force heavy bomber mission 17 August 1942 with Pilot Lt. Richard S. Starks (WIA 21/8/42); Co-pilot: Donald A. Walter (KIA 21/8/42); Navigator: Harold Spire;...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 15

    21 October 1942
    German U-Boat pens are Lorient, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission along with the German airfield at Cherbourg, France. 93BG despatches 24-B-24s to Lorient, but cloud cover prevents them from bombing. The main attack force to Lorient...

Associated Place

  • Polebrook

    Military site : airfield
    Polebrook was laid down for RAF Bomber Command use in 1940-1941. Built by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd, it had short runways which were lengthened for USAAF heavy bomber use. The RAF used the base for operational trials - including of B-17 Flying...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan, United States 19 February 1919

the only son of William Charles Schimke and Naomi L. Schimke

Lived in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan, United States 1940

the US 1940 Census has him as Ellsworth Schimke, working as a sewer in a shoe making business

Enlisted Detroit, Michigan, United States 27 January 1942

as a Private in the Air Corps (married to Ardis M. Schimke)

Captured Quimper, France 21 October 1942

after the ditching of B-17F 41-24443 off the coast of Brittany, France and being rescued by a French fishing boat which brought him and 8 other crew members to shore

Prisoner Of War (POW) 21 October 1942 – June 1945

held at Stalag XVIIB in Braunau/Gneikendorf near Krems, Austria - Barracks 17A. The NARA WWII POW Records have him erroneously listed as made prisoner on 10 September 1942. He officially returned to Military Control (RMC) on 14 June 1945.

Died Mansfield, Wisconsin, United States 25 April 2017

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2020 00:58:44 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "#" to the A/C serial number in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
30 November 2017 11:34:41 ED-BB Changes to middlename and events
Sources

US Censuses 1930 and 1940
NARA WWII Enlistment Records
NARA WWII POW Records

Date Contributor Update
22 November 2014 19:48:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to awards and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 22-Nov-2014. Added POW event. National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2014 18:09:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 31-Oct-2014. Stalag Location. National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
28 October 2014 20:03:51 Lee8thbuff Changes to surname, service number, biography, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 28-Oct-2014. "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hery MBE; National Archives Records ADministration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:27:57 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol 1, pp 38-39 by Bishop and Hey

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