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Harry C Erickson

Military

As a bombardier, Erickson occupied the glass cabin in the B-17's nose. It was his job to release the bombs accurately over the target.

The son of a steam railroad engineer from Mankato, Minnesota, Erickson only completed eight mission. In October 1942, his friend Lieutenant Ben Rushing recorded in his journal: 'Erickson was lost. He went in someone else's plane and happened to [have] hard luck. You begin to realise that it is war when they get your best buddies... I can hardly realise that he is definitely lost... May his soul rest in peace.'

However Erickson did not die: he was captured and became a Prisoner of War for nearly three years.

Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Bombardier. Prisoner of War (POW).

Service

People

  • Joe Gray

    Military | Captain | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Navigator. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Ned Herzstam

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis' as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW)

  • Kenneth Laud

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Radio Operator. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • William Lynch

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    On 12 August 1942, a fire in a/c B-17E 41-9115 forced crew to bail out during a training flight. Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Kenneth Maeran

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as a Waist Gunner. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Ben Rushing

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 97th Bomb Group
    Served with the 97th Bomb Group from June 1942 to July 1943. Kept a journal of his service which has been transcribed by his relatives at http://drbenspice.com/spiceblog/wednesday-october-21-1942/

  • Francis Schwarzenbek

    Military | Captain | Pilot / Intelligence, S-2 Officer | 379th Bomb Group
    On 14 August 1942, a fire in B-17E #41-9115 forced crew to bail out during a training flight. All Returned to Duty (RTD) ...

  • Mitchell Small

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA)

  • William Tingle

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17F 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Co-Pilot. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • George Whitham

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 97th Bomb Group
    Shot down 21 October 1942 in B-17 41-24441 'Francis X' while serving as Tail Gunner. Killed in Action (KIA)

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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...

  • 342nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24441 Francis X

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 326BS/92BG at Bangor 31-Jul-42; Transferred to 326BS/97BG Polebrook 12-Aug-42. Missing in Action 21-Oct-42 while on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient . 6KIA 4POW. FRANCIS X. ...

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

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2020 16:00:03 Emily Changes to biography
Sources

IWM, Somewhere in England, p 47

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2019 10:57:15 ED-BB Changes to person associations
Sources

Conections with other crew members

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2015 18:58:53 Jenny Changes to middlename
Sources

His enlistment record gives his middle name as 'R' but Find a grave says 'C'.

Date Contributor Update
17 November 2014 21:43:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 17-Nov-2014. Added POW event details.

Date Contributor Update
27 October 2014 19:05:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to service number, biography, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:12:27 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

97th Bomb Group Association, Inc., Roster - June 1, 2000; Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. 1, p. 38 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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