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42-39781

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Long Beach 29/8/43; Scott 19/9/43; Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU- ] Molesworth 18/10/43. Flew on 4 missions. Missing in Action on the raid to Solingen, Germany 1 December 1943 with Pilot George W. Luke Jr, Navigator: Gordon A. Ballagh, Bombardier: Leonard L. Dahnke, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Millard A. Boren, Radio Operator: Ben T. Day, Left Waist gunner: Elwood D. Yeakel, Right Waist gunner: Sherman G. Wright, Ball turret gunner: Robert H. Washburn, Tail gunner: Ira J. Walter (9 Prisoners of War). Co-pilot: Frank Mitchell (evaded capture). Flak, crashed Radinghem-en-Weppes, 10km West of Lille (Nord Department), France. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 1325.

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 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...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Gordon Ballagh

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW). An interview of Gordon Ballagh can be heard at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.19979/sr0001001.stream

  • Millard Boren

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Leonard Dahnke

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Bailed out of his damaged plane south of Lille, France. (Missing Air Crew Report 1325). Evaded capture until 8 Jan 1944. Was arrested by the Gestapo at the Lille train station together with Sgt. Sherman G....

  • Ben Day

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • George Luke

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • John McLain

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Bombardier, Enlisted | 303rd Bomb Group

  • Frank Mitchell

    Military | Major | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Frank Mitchell was Co-Pilot on B-17 #42-39781, shot down on the 1 December 1943 mission to Solingen, Germany. Helped by French citizens and members of the Résistance, he was fed, clothed, sheltered and transported in Lille, Tourcoing, Paris, Bordeaux,...

  • Ira Walter

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    From page 119 of the book “Air Forces Escape & Evasion Society” – Turner Publishing Cy, Paducah, KY - 1992 : ...

  • Robert Washburn

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Sherman Wright

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 1 December 1943 in B-17 #42-39781. Prisoner of War (POW).

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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 131

    16 November 1943
    This mission was directed at targets in Norway. It was composed of three elements. The first element was a combined force of 189 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 384BG (21); 303BG (20); 379BG (22); 351BG (20); 91BG (20); 381BG (22); 305BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 138

    26 November 1943
    The industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the target for this massive mission (largest to date) of 505 B-17s which included 14 B-17 Pathfinders from 482BG spread among the B-17 formations - 13 of these completed the mission and 7 were damaged. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 145

    1 December 1943
    This mission was directed at the industrial areas of Leverkusen and Solingen, Germany. The mission is composed of two elements. The first element is a combined force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (27); 92BG (18); 303BG (17);...

Places

  • 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

Not yet known

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 December 2020 21:16:08 jmoore43 Changes to unit associations
Sources

Added a unit connection to the 8th AF since the 303rd BG is part of 8th AF.

Date Contributor Update
25 August 2020 09:07:48 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

MACR 1325

Date Contributor Update
25 August 2020 04:17:28 WDahnke Changes to description
Sources

Corrected spelling of my father's first name: "Leon" to "Leonard"

Date Contributor Update
25 August 2020 04:14:35 WDahnke Changes to nicknames and mission associations
Sources

My father (2nd Lt. Leonard L Dahnke) was on the three missions that "Career Girl" executed.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:50 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 1325 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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