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42-29656

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 2/2/43; Salina 9/2/43; Assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-F] Molesworth 21/3/43 "THE TERRIBLE TEN"; transferred 322BS/91BG [LG-S] Bassingbourn 5/7/43 "SKUNKFACE". Missing in Action on its 19th mission, to Aschersleben, Germany on 20 February 1944. Pilot Ernest B. Kidd; Co-pilot: Benjamin G. Beauclair; Bombardier: Charles M. Betzel (initially evaded then captured); Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Ober L. Torvik; Radio Operator: Theodore J. Mazor; Left Waist gunner: Billie L. Ramsey; Right Waist gunner: Ernest B. Serna; Tail gunner: Francis A. Hentges (8 Prisoner of War); Navigator: Billy H. Huish (initially evaded, but caught 22 April 1944 by Gestapo and shot, along with some aircrew from other units; Ball turret gunner: Rex Wertman (2 Killed in Action). Enemy aircraft shot out two engines. Crashed near Lens railway station, seven miles NW of Mons, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460.

Service

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    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...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 322nd Bomb Squadron
  • 358th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Benjamin Beauclair

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Benjamin Beauclair was Co-Pilot of B-17 "Skunkface" #42-29656 of 91st Bomb Group/322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed behind the railway station at Lens, NNW of Mons, Belgium. Hit in the leg...

  • Charles Betzel

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Charles Betzel was a graduate of Davenport High School and was employed at the Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co before entering the service in April 1942. Assigned to the Air Corps, he started his training at Santa Ana, California and later at Blythe,...

  • Fred Dioquardo

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Flew 28 combat missions. Served as ball Turret Gunner with many pilots and on many different aircraft in the 360th Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group. ...

  • Francis Hentges

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Francis Hentges was Tail Gunner on B-17F #42-29656 "Skunkface" of 91st Bomb Group / 322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed NNW of Mons, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460. Prisoner of...

  • Billy Huish

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Billy Huish was Navigator on B-17 "Skunkface"#42-29656 of the 91st Bomb Group / 322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by enemy fighters on 20 February 1944 over Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460. Initially evaded with the help of Belgians, the...

  • Ernest Kidd

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Ernest Kidd was Pilot of B-17 "Skunkface" #42-29656, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed behind the railway station at Lens, NNW of Mons, Belgium. Kidd was suffering from a broken upper thigh and was hospitalized...

  • Theodore Mazor

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Theodore Mazor was Radio Operator on B-17F #42-29656 "Skunkface" of 91st Bomb Group / 322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed NNW of Mons, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460. Prisoner of...

  • Billie Ramsey

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Billie Ramsey was Left Waist Gunner on B-17F #42-29656 "Skunkface" of 91st Bomb Group / 322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed NNW of Mons, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460. Prisoner...

  • Ernest Serna

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Ernest Serna was Right Waist Gunner on B-17F #42-29656 "Skunkface" of 91st Bomb Group / 322nd Bomb Squadron, shot down by fighters on a mission to Leipzig on 20 February 1944. Crashed NNW of Mons, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 2460. Prisoner...

  • Jack Timken

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 358BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. Flew as pilot of 41-24562 "Sky Wolf" on the 19-May-43 mission. 4-Jul-43 fighter attack on B-17 41-24562 'Sky Wolf' piloted by Lieutenant J. C. Timken. Awards: AM, WII Victory, EAME.

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Missions

  • 8th Air Force 226 BIG WEEK - DAY 1

    20 February 1944
    This mission is the opening salvo of the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive known officially as "Operation Argument" but remembered in 8th Air Force History as "BIG WEEK". The immediate strategic objective of this six-day operation is the degradation of...

Places

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Lens, near Mons, Belgium 20 February 1944

Shot down by fighters, crashed behind the Lens-sur-Dendre railway station, Belgium

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 November 2015 09:39:01 ED-BB Changes to markings, description, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 2460
Details from Robert Delepiesse, Belgium

Date Contributor Update
20 February 2015 07:53:55 flysubs Changes to nicknames and markings
Sources

THe co-pilot was my father

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:23 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 2460 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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