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Leonard Levere Dahnke

Military

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. Wright, Right Waist gunner. Was accused of being a spy, then interrogated and tortured in Lille for approximately three weeks in an attempt to extract information about the French underground. Obtaining no information, was moved to Frankfurt then onward to Stalag Luft 1 (North 2 Barracks 5 Group 26) until liberation by the Russians. NARA WWII POW record : “Returned to Military Control 6 June 1945.” Prisoner of War (POW).

Service

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).

  • 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).

  • 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).

  • Elwood Yeakel

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

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Units served with

  • 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

Aircraft

  • 42-39781 Career Girl

    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:...

Missions

  • 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);...

Associated Place

  • 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...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Stratton, Hitchcock County, Nebraska, United States 26 July 1921

the son of William C. and Myrtle Minnie (Richards) Dahnke

Lived in February 1942

Burbank, California

Enlisted 3 April 1942

Los Angeles, California

Evaded capture 1 December 1943 – 8 January 1944

initially evaded with the help of French citizens

Prisoner of War (POW) Barth, Germany 8 January 1944 – May 1945

Interned at Stalag Luft 1. Liberated by Russian troops in May 1945.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 December 2020 20:55:02 jmoore43 Changes to events
Sources

Updated the location of the "POW" event per WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).

Date Contributor Update
03 December 2020 20:51:22 jmoore43 Changes to place associations
Sources

Added a connection to Stalag Luft 1 per WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).

Date Contributor Update
29 August 2020 08:46:11 ED-BB Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated Media and chose key image

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2020 12:57:16 ED-BB Changes to middlename, service number, biography, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 1325
NARA WWII Enlistment records
WWII Draft card
NARA WWII POW records

Date Contributor Update
25 August 2020 04:45:20 WDahnke Changes to biography
Sources

My father, Leonard L Dahnke, has information in his effects which support the information that I have added.

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2020 23:08:27 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2020 23:07:10 jmoore43 Changes to service number
Sources

Added a "-" to the S/N to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:38 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 1325 / MACR 1325, Roster / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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