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Neil G Bartholme

Military

1st Lt Neil G. Bartholome was the co-pilot of the B-26 Marauder 42-96199 when it took off from station 162 Chipping Ongar, Essex UK on a mission to bomb Chartres’ airfield. Around 1755, just as the plane, part of the first bombing group, was starting its run, a flak barrage scored a direct hit on the No.2 engine. The latter plummeted free of the aircraft and landed near the town church. The plane itself went into a slow dive. The pilot dropped both 900 kg bombs in order to free the bay door for a potential bail out. The rest of the group thought it to be the attack signal and dropped theirs as well. The damage caused was enormous, killing about 50 civilians and setting the town library on fire. However, only half the crew had time to don their parachutes before the aircraft plummeted to the ground. Lt Bartholome hid in some hay until French citizens wisked him away to the Picourt underground network through subterfuge and acting (one young lady pretended to be the Lieutenant’s passionate girlfriend to get through a checkpoint). However, the network was infiltrated by Jacques Desoubrie, a Gestapo agent, who handed Lt Bartholome and Sgt Owens over to the Gestapo in Paris. The former was sent to Stalag Luft II in Barth, from which he was freed only at the end of the war, in May of 1944.

In Memoriam

'To Honor the crew of a B-26 Marauder of the 557th Squadron, 387th Bomb Group which was shot down on the bomb run over Chartres, France on 26 May 1944.

*Clyde N Morton- KIA
*George S Farfaras- KIA
*William L Brown- KIA
Walter L Wright- POW
Neill G Bartholme- POW
Robert N Smith- POW

*Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends. (John 15:13).'

Remembered by Robert Nathan Smith, Flushing MI, in the Memorial page in 'The Honor Book' on permanent display in the Academy Library, US Air Force Academy, Colorado.

Service

People

  • William Brown

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 387th Bomb Group
    Flew in B-26 #42-96199. Shot down during mission over Chartres, Killed in Action ...

  • George Farfaras

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 387th Bomb Group
    Shot down in B-26C s/n 42-96199 on 26 May 1944 over Chartres, France KIA. The enginner and the radio operator never bailed out has they were trying to assist the tailgunner with his parachute harness who had neglected to put it on before the mission...

  • Clyde Morton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Mechanic | 387th Bomb Group
    SSgt Clyde N. Morton was the mechanic of the B-26 Marauder 42-96199 when it took off from station 162 Chipping Ongar, Essex UK on a mission to bomb Chartres’ airfield. Around 1755, just as the plane, part of the first bombing group, was starting its...

  • Robert Smith

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 387th Bomb Group
    'I am very proud and honored to have served our countries in World War II'- Robert N Smith. B-26 Pilot, 60 combat missions in the ETO. Show down on bomb run over Chartres, France 26 May 1944, POW 26 May 1944- 29 April 1945.

  • Walter Wright

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier/Navigator | 387th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt Walter L. Wright was the bombardier of the B-26 Marauder 42-96199 when it took off from station 162 Chipping Ongar, Essex UK on a mission to bomb Chartres’ airfield. Around 1755, just as the plane, part of the first bombing group, was starting...

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Units served with

  • 387th Bomb Group

    387th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 387th Bomb Group flew just under thirty missions with the Eighth Air Force before being transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943. The Group remained at Chipping Ongar, Essex after being reassigned and continued to hit targets in France....

  • 557th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-96199

    B-26 Marauder
    #42-96199 took off from station 162 Chipping Ongar, Essex UK on a mission to bomb Chartres’ airfield. Around 1755, just as the plane, part of the first bombing group, was starting its run, a flak barrage scored a direct hit on the No.2 engine. The...

Associated Place

  • Chipping Ongar

    Military site : airfield
    The air base was constructed by the 831st Engineer Battalion (Aviation) in late August 1942. The 387th Bomb Group were the only American group to be based there, flying B-26 Marauders in strategic missions over France, first for the Eighth and then for...

Events

Event Location Date
Shot Down Chartres, France 26 May 1944

Shot down near Chartres France on 38th mission. This flight was with a 'pick-up' crew & didn't know the others on the crew.

Prisoner of War Stalag Luft II June 1944 – May 1945

Assisted by the French Underground but betrayed by spy and turned in to the Gestapo in Paris. Stalag 1 Barth Germany

Memorial Fontenay-sur-Eure, France

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2020 03:31:42 Joan Doehrel Changes to media associations
Sources

from my father's records

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2020 03:02:45 Joan Doehrel Changes to nationality, awards and events
Sources

Information is from my father's account of events that he recorded before his death.

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2014 10:54:51 Emily Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, service number, highest rank, role, biography and memoriam
Sources

Robert Nathan Smith, via American Air Museum memory book correspondence.

Page at US Memorials Overseas

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