• 5 August 1944
  • Mission #146
  • Target: Brunswick

For the fifth time, the Group was assigned an aiming point in this target area. Between 0500 and 0600 hours, (27) crews were briefed and, despite a dense fog, take-off for the Group planes began at 0907 hours. A regrettable accident marred this mission, happening just after take-off. The lead aircraft of the 576th, ship #222 with First Lieutenant 0. H. Filkel’s crew including one of the Group’s leading Bombardiers, Captain Amoss, crashed near East Dereham for a reason unknown, killing all aboard. As a result of this unfortunate mishap, the high right squadron took over the Group lead with (25) aircraft going over the target dropping (156) 1000# GPs - (80) percent of the bombs hitting within 2000 feet of the aiming point. One aircraft released on a Target of Opportunity, wide of the aiming point. No enemy aircraft opposition was experienced but flak was accurate and heavy, causing damage to (16) of the returning Liberators. The mission terminated with aircraft landing about 1540 hours.

CASUALTIES NOT LISTED IN MACR

1/LT Filkel, Owen H. (P)       576th  KIA
1/LT Hurd, James S. (CP)       576th  KIA
1/LT McShane, William F. (N)   576th  KIA
CAPT Amoss, Ralph T. (B)       576th  KIA
T/S  Jarratt, Carl W. (EnG)    576th  KIA
T/S  Smith, Ralph C. (R/O)     576th  KIA
T/S  Farnwalt, Walter H. (G)   576th  KIA
S/S  Kilpatrick, Howard K. (G) 576th  KIA
2/LT Coe, John D. (NG)         576th  KIA
S/S  Hoover, Albert L. (TG)    576th  KIA

1/Lt Filkel's crew and aircraft were scheduled as the lead plane for lead block of the 392nd on this mission to Brunswick. According to the Report of Aircraft Accident, "This airplane was the first airplane to take off on a combat mission on the day of the accident. Visibility conditions at take-off was restricted to 600 yds due to haze. The aircraft was last seen to clear the runway and nothing more was known of it until it was reported approximately a half hour later, as having crashed two and one half ( 2 1/2) miles east of the field. The rest of the aircraft made successful take-offs. Due to the restricted visibility conditions, it was impossible to see what happened. The pilot was a lead pilot of exceptional ability. It can be assumed that possibly the instruments 'went out,' but due to the terrific crash, scattering wreckage over a large area, nothing could be determined by examination of the wreckage."

An article in the Summer 1990 issue of the Second Air Division Association Journal provides additional information about the crash. Written by Cyril Jolly, it was titled, "A Gressenhall Wartime Tragedy." The article said, "Many Liberator B-24 bombers taking part in raids over Europe crashed in mid-Norfolk. At least three such tragedies occurred in Gressenhall. A machine which came down in a 15-acre field of Park Farm still yields evidence of the incident, for the plough and cultivator turn up shells and jagged metal.

On Saturday, 5th August, 1944, David Eke, George Cooper and Arthur Lake were working in the 17-acre "Rail" field of Hall Farm (running from the Belts to Bluebell Wood), when a Liberator was seen circling over Dillington. The sound of the four great engines was constant, but the 30 ton plane was in trouble. It lost height rapidly and seemed certain to crash. As it roared towards them, George Cooper yelled, "It's got bombs on board!" and dashed for a nearby ditch followed by Arthur Lake. David Eke was too far from the ditch and stood transfixed as the aircraft, now so low it passed through a gap in the row of oaks bordering the field. Then, as if the pilot was struggling to return to Wendling 'drome, it banked steeply. In so doing, however, a wing-tip clipped a hedge of the 15-acre field of Park Farm and struck the ground with a terrible crash. Throwing off great pieces of metal the plane ploughed through the crop and came to rest. It then erupted in flames. David Eke, seeing the ball of fire envelop the machine, ran through a gateway and scrambled over a ditch and bank, into the field. So intense was the heat, however, he could not get close and also feared that bombs might explode. One bomb was thought to be flung 200 yards. Although wreckage was still smouldering the acrid smoke and pieces of charred material filled the air. Soon, U.S. fire tenders and ambulances arrived from Wendling. Getting as close as he dared, Mr. Eke saw the pilot and co-pilot still in their seats, blackened and slumped forward against their seatbelts. He knew there could be no survivors and so it proved as the grisly task of removing the bodies began. The plane had been too low for the crew to eject.

The Liberator, No. 222, piloted for 2/Lt Filkel, was part of 27 aircraft setting out from Wendling to bomb Brunswick. There was still a heavy mist at 9 a.m. when the plane took off. It got into trouble as soon as airborne and, circling over Gressenhall, tried to return to base. Being the lead plane those following saw the crash and must have felt sick at heart as they had to fly on with the funeral pyre of their colleagues below.

Alfred Barnard, cycling to Park Farm on threshing business, seeing the machine about to crash, flung himself into a ditch. He heard the cracking of exploding ammunition and what he thought must be a bomb flung towards the hedge where he was. One piece of flaming wreckage set fire to a telegraph pole near him. The charred pole is still there. As he got out of the ditch, Mr. Harold Riches came running from the farm toward him.

For a long time a large patch of scorched earth marked the spot where the ten airmen died, but later a memorial was erected at the Beeston entrance to the 'drome and the great cemetery at Maddingly, near Cambridge, may show with white marble headstones the resting place of the crew. Here in Gressenhall, as the cycle of the seasons brings corn and roots to cover the one blackened earth, a passer-by can only pay "the tribute of a sigh" for the ten gallant young men who left the security of the New World to aid the embattled Old in the hour of need."

The ship crashed at 0925 hours near Sparrow Green, Gressenhall, Norfolk, killing all aboard including the mission's lead bombardier, Capt Amoss. The aircraft was B-24H Model #42-95222, Call Letter "Q" with no nickname; the ship had completed a total of 33 missions up to this accident. Two crew members are buried at the CAMBRIDGE, England, U.S. National Cemetery: 1/Lt Owen Filkel in Grave E-2-68 and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart; and Capt Ralph T. Amoss in Grave E-1-68, awarded the same citations as 1/Lt Filkel.

The wreckage of B-24 #42-95222. It crashed shortly after take-off, killing all aboard.
Click on images to enlarge.
flagline

CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #146

5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 659
P Martin, R.C. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Hilbert, H.S. 2nd Lt.
N Freeman, G.L. 2nd Lt.
B Wear, H.E. 2nd Lt.
E Blees, K.H. T/Sgt.
R Thiel, J.G. T/Sgt.
RW Cannon, M.H. S/Sgt.
LW Minton, D.C. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Roberts, M.E. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 299
P Evans, A.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Fenton, J.S. 2nd Lt.
N Shoenberger, R.W. 2nd Lt.
B Wise, D.C. 2nd Lt.
E Patterson, R.C. T/Sgt.
R Glowienke, G.A. T/Sgt.
RW Naber, H.W. S/Sgt.
LW Buonocore, F.L. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Powell, L.R. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 409
P Paroly, B. 1st Lt.
CP McDonald, W.L. 2nd Lt.
N Tooman, H.K. 2nd Lt.
B Supp, J.W. 2nd Lt.
E Standley, G.A. T/Sgt.
R Conley, J.M. T/Sgt.
RW Friemuth, H.E. S/Sgt.
LW - -
BT Clarke, A.B. S/Sgt.
TG Tart, E.E. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 387
P Hofmann, H.W. 1st Lt.
CP Gorton, C.E. 2nd Lt.
N Randall, J.A. 2nd Lt.
B Conner, J.K. 2nd Lt.
E Boney, R.E. T/Sgt.
R McNutt, W.H. Cpl.
RW Kamacho, J.A. S/Sgt.
LW Sanders, O.B. S/Sgt.
PG Streicher, H.P. 2nd Lt
TG Goo, R.F. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 991
P Smith, K.A. 1st Lt.
CP McFarland, J.D. 2nd Lt.
N Levin, W. 1st Lt.
NG Jean, R.P. T/Sgt.
E Glover, B.E. Sgt.
R Isebrands, T.E. S/Sgt.
RW Woerth, J.B. Sgt.
LW Simpson, C.S. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Young, R.E. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 480
P Peifer, K.W. 1st Lt.
CP Nielsen, P.H. 2nd Lt.
NG Planakis, B.J. S/Sgt.
B Ott, C.A. 2nd Lt.
E Thornborrow, R.R. T/Sgt.
R Fitzmorris, T.L. T/Sgt.
RW Nichols, L.E. S/Sgt.
LW Parrish, J.I. S/Sgt.
BT Sherman, I.G. S/Sgt.
TG Calvitt, J.L. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 222 (no mission credit;
crashed in U.K., all KIA)
P Filkel, O.H. 1st Lt.
CP Hurd, J.S. 1st Lt.
N McShane, W.F. 1st Lt.
B Amoss, R.T. Capt.
E Jarrett, C.W. T/Sgt.
R Smith, R.C. T/Sgt.
RW Farmwalt, W.H. S/Sgt.
LW Kirkpatrick, H.K. S/Sgt.
NG Coe, J.D. 2nd Lt.
TG Hoover, A.L. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 151
P Anundson, P.F. 1st Lt.
CP Hadley, L.R. 2nd Lt.
N Fehrenbacher, D.E. 2nd Lt.
B Scott, W.J. 2nd Lt.
E Cooke, W.B. T/Sgt.
R Clendening, R.D. T/Sgt.
RW Berry, H.F. S/Sgt.
LW Schliesmayer, R.N. S/Sgt.
BT Farrar, R.E. S/Sgt.
TG Kleber, W.M. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 223
P Weaver, L.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Hamill, R.E. 2nd Lt.
N Brandi, J.G. 2nd Lt.
B Taylor, J.L. 2nd Lt.
E Kampfe, R.E. S/Sgt.
R Beckwith, R.B. S/Sgt.
RW Broffman, K.W. Sgt.
LW Williams, C.L. Sgt.
BT Holland, M.D. Sgt.
TG Meyer, T.H. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 096
P Brizendine, T.O. 2nd Lt.
CP Lach, R.F. 2nd Lt.
N Putziger, S. 2nd Lt.
B Gump, J.A. 2nd Lt.
E Bodkins, F.C. T/Sgt.
R Rue, A.W. T/Sgt.
RW Ligon, A.C. S/Sgt.
LW Friedel, C.F. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Scheide, H.W. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 323
P Buecheler, J.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Wardell, J.R. 2nd Lt.
N Luttrell, W.T. F/O
B - -
E Potts, B.F. S/Sgt.
R Cooper, J.P. S/Sgt.
RW Richards, R.H. Sgt.
LW Johnson, J.M. Sgt.
BT Jurgens, H.F. Sgt.
TG Longacre, H.N. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 058
P Solomon, R.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Kressig, E.L. 2nd Lt.
N Cleverdon, R.N. 2nd Lt.
B Mace, J.E. 2nd Lt.
E Moeller, H.E. Sgt.
R Herzlich, L. Sgt.
RW Farquharson, G. Sgt.
LW Psyk, E.L. Sgt.
BT Capik, J.H. Sgt.
TG Valenti, F.J. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 164
P Pierson, L.R. 1st Lt.
CP Hart, H.E. 2nd Lt.
Nose Nav. Schug, E.W. 2nd Lt.
N Schofield, D.J. 2nd Lt.
B Fiebig, P.E. 2nd Lt.
E Hartline, J.B. S/Sgt.
R Dawson, J.C. S/Sgt.
RW Gover, G.W. S/Sgt.
LW Cyran, T.J. S/Sgt.
BT DelSol, E.J. S/Sgt.
TG Vandeventer, L.V. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 040
P McGrath, T.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Cooke, B.J. F/O
N Wright, H.R. 2nd Lt.
B Brennan, A.F. 2nd Lt.
E McFadden, R.J. S/Sgt.
R Stewart, G.S. S/Sgt.
RW Vines, V.L. S/Sgt.
LW Walsh, H.R. S/Sgt.
BT Shoemaker, D.R. S/Sgt.
TG - -
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 293
P Ellis, A. 2nd Lt.
CP Carleton, D. 2nd Lt.
N Bauer, H.H. 2nd Lt.
B Donohue, J.J. 2nd Lt.
E Thomas, C.B. S/Sgt.
R Jewell, R.B. Sgt.
RW Collins, S.J. Sgt.
LW Faucette, E.W. Cpl.
BT Pataki, S.M. Cpl.
TG - -
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 446 (no mission credit)
P Shelley, J.H. 1st Lt.
CP Scarpino, P. 2nd Lt.
N Maroun, N.P. 2nd Lt.
B Chinchilla, F.P. 2nd Lt.
E Kane, F.M. S/Sgt.
R Smith, P.E. Pvt.
RW Hollenbeck, C.E. S/Sgt.
LW Stewart, S.R. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Childers, J.E. Pvt.
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 295
P Smith, W.C. 1st Lt.
CP Wilson, E.R. 2nd Lt.
N McMahon, E.J. 2nd Lt.
B Jackson, C.R. 2nd Lt.
E Seaton, K.L. T/Sgt.
R Kostrewski, G.T. T/Sgt.
RW Humphreys, E.E. S/Sgt.
LW McRight, W.O. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG VanVliet, P. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 966
P Quinn, L.F. 1st Lt.
CP Ritter, W.R. 2nd Lt.
N Kostlan, A. 2nd Lt.
B Lips, T.J. 2nd Lt.
E Wilson, H.W. T/Sgt.
R Morgan, L.E. S/Sgt.
RW McLain, B.G. S/Sgt.
LW Brown, H.C. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG DeStefano, A.F. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 337
P Kohl, W.F. 1st Lt.
CP Shultz, G.R. 2nd Lt.
N Foote, B.F. Jr. 2nd Lt.
B Kerley, A.D. 2nd Lt.
E Higdon, R.E. T/Sgt.
R Scales, R.R. T/Sgt.
RW Agalsoff, D.N. S/Sgt.
LW Ehring, E.O. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Peters, J.M. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 241
P Rudd, C.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Benson, R.J. 2nd Lt.
N Dawson, J.B. 2nd Lt.
B Spencer, W.A. 2nd Lt.
E Maynard, C.R. S/Sgt.
R Clapp, R.E.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
RW Hoganson, H.G. Sgt.
LW Dobson, O.F. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Modlin, R.E. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 896
P Maris, J.R. 1st Lt.
CP Holmes, F. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Silverman, H.I. 2nd Lt.
B Taylor, J.W. 2nd Lt.
E Fitzgerald, M.B. T/Sgt.
R Trinkle, C.E. T/Sgt.
RW Legendre, V.J. S/Sgt.
LW Young, H.M. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Miller, M. S/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 697
P Wick, N.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Bonifant, J.T. 2nd Lt.
N Behr, A.J. F/O
B Buckles, R.R. F/O
E Knierim, R.A. S/Sgt.
R Taylor, P.W. S/Sgt.
RW Makovy, V. Sgt.
LW Sheppard, R.E. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Reimund, S.J. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 647
P White, E.J. F/O
CP Whalen, J.M. F/O
N Long, W.S. 2nd Lt.
B Alexander, R.W. 2nd Lt.
E Hayden, R. S/Sgt.
R McAllaster, R.W. S/Sgt.
RW Sabolish, G. Sgt.
LW Egler, M.G. Sgt.
BT Ziehm, R.W. Sgt.
TG Peterson, W.S. 2nd Lt.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 789
P Gerow, J.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Vallarelli, F.J. 2nd Lt.
N Grandon, D.P. 2nd Lt.
B Sulkowski, J.T. 2nd Lt.
E Kieras, E.J. Sgt.
R Baker, M. S/Sgt.
RW Brink, B.E. S/Sgt.
LW Ely, L.E. S/Sgt.
BT - -
TG Hebert, N.B. Cpl.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 448
P Niederriter, R.A. 1st Lt.
CP Spencer, F.R. 2nd Lt.
N Richert, G.W. F/O
B Correnty, R.D. 2nd Lt.
E Maertens, H.J. T/Sgt.
R Underwood, J.W. T/Sgt.
RW Greenwood, I.G. S/Sgt.
LW Flowers, W.C. S/Sgt.
BT Fletcher, A.S. Jr. 2nd Lt.
TG Spurgeon, E.F. S/Sgt.
G Asseln, E.O. T/Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 623
P Tuchel, R.H. 2nd Lt.
CP Hay, G.R. 2nd Lt.
N Smith, F.D. 2nd Lt.
B O'Rourke, R.L. Sgt.
E Tvergyak, P.A. S/Sgt.
R Johnson, H.K. S/Sgt.
RW Warrick, H.E. Sgt.
LW - -
BT Vincent, J.W. Sgt.
TG Carter, D.J. Sgt.
5 Aug 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 593
P Clark, D.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Jones, G.B. 2nd Lt.
N Munter, L.M. F/O
B McGarry, T.J. 2nd Lt.
E Keba, J. S/Sgt.
R Howeth, G.W. S/Sgt.
RW Kopperud, C.M. Sgt.
LW Faust, K.E. Sgt.
BT - -
TG Tharp, R.N. Sgt.