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22 April 1944 Mission #70 Target: Hamm

The marshalling yards at Hamm were assigned for this mission with (27) aircrews being briefed between 1300-1330 hours and taking off starting at 1530 one of the first late missions ever flown with recovery being after nightfall. On this date the 392nd’s losses in aircrew member casualties would be high. During the bomb run on the Primary the leading PFF ship was hit by AA fire causing the Deputy Lead ship to take over lead which was then too late to bomb the assigned target. This first Section of Group ships continued around to bomb a Target of Opportunity believed to be the airfield at Chievres, Belgium, southwest of Brussels. The second Section led by Captain Everhart in ship #605, made a 360° turn over the target area and dropped on the city of Hamm. Bombing results were good for this Section. Shortly after target, Captain Everhart’s formation was hit by approximately 60 single and twin engine enemy fighters. AA fire was also severe and accurate between fighter attacks. Captain Everhart’s ship and aircrew were lost on this mission and the Group suffered a heavy toll of (26) casualties. Aircraft #605 was last seen after target on fire with (6) men believed to have bailed out at that time. The ship continued on a return heading to England, flying near the deck under control, following the formation. Near Brussels, (3) more chutes were seen and short of the Dutch coast, (2) more were observed just prior to the aircraft’s exploding. A total of (17) aircraft returning in both Sections received battle damage from both fighters and flak. Among those injured by flak was Lieutenant H. E. Schildknecht. All mission aircraft landed after dark and it was on this date that enemy aircraft followed the returning bomber forces home to England and hit various Group bases with low-level attacks.

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MISSING AIR CREW REPORT SECTION

22 APRIL 1944
TARGET: HAMM

MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #04171 AIRCRAFT: #42-52605 (NO NICKNAME) "J-BAR" 2nd Mission

AIRCREW: EVERHART     *     SQUADRON: 579th

CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:

CmndP CAPT Everhart, Wyeth C. POW
P l/LT Hammond, Gordon L. POW
N l/LT Kornman, Harold C. EVD
B 2/LT Sands, John E. POW
R/O T/S Beard, James W. POW
EnG T/S Rinke, Alfred P. POW
BT T/S Ross, Jack R. POW
WG T/S Andrews, William E.POW
WG S/S Fowler, Robert G. POW
TG S/S Beseda, John F. POW
B/NG 2/LT Weber, Fred J. POW
P/OBS MAJ Cox, Robert L. POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: Returning eye-witness accounts stated "aircraft was hit by fire from enemy aircraft attack near Hamm and No. 4 engine oi fire. Parachutes were seen to come out of the plane in this area. Later (3) to (5) more chutes were observed as plane made way towards coast, following formation by and behind, now with wing on fire. Finally, at about 51 -07N, 02-41 E, ship was seen to blow up and crash into marshy area below. Before this happened, 3 or 4 additional chutes were seen". (Note: All (11) crewmen on this aircraft were later accounted for as having bailed out of the stricken plane with possibly (4) having parachute( immediately after the target and on the withdrawal leg, and the remaining (7) bailing out on the route out over Belgium and Holland. This conclusion is based on the German Report #KU1494 which noted that the latter group (with the exception of LI Kornman who evaded and never was taken prisoner) was captured near the towns of Oostkeerke and Wevelghen, and the earlier jumpers were never accounted for ii this last crewmen group, these being "at large" and captured elsewhere in Germans.

According to 1/Lt Hammond, this was to be Capt. Everhart's last mission and Maj. Keilman (579th Sqdn. Commander) told Everhart that he "was to instruct [Hammond] in leading, in that [Hammond] was to be my next lead pilot." Maj. Robert L. Cox, Operations Officer of the 489th Bomb Group, was along as an observer. Hammond flew the plane for 1 hour and 40 minutes while it was on fire, to the Belgian Coast, until he was forced to bail out "when the end of the right wing melted off.

In a letter to Mrs. Hammond dated May 20, 1944, 2/Lt John F. Chatten provided this information: "Yes, Gordon Lee was flying co-pilot in the lead ship. The crew happened to be mine, with the exception of myself. We had just bombed the target when enemy fighters made an attack. They only made one pass at us but the lead ship's right wing caught afire. Immediately we saw several chutes come out. The plane, apparently still under control, flew all the way to the coast with 2 or 3 of our own ships protecting it. At the coast we saw several more chutes come out. It was nearly dark and I believe they stood a very good chance of escaping after landing. There was no opposition at the time they bailed out. It is the belief of everyone who saw the accident that all the boys got out safely."

In a letter to 1/Lt Hammond's father dated June 1, 1944, 579th Sqdn CO Maj. Myron Keilman gave these details: "On the day that Gordon was reported missing he was leading the squadron on a mission to Hamm, Germany as pilot of the lead ship along with Capt. Everhart as command pilot, and who was about to complete his tour. As Gordon was to be my next lead crew I wanted him to have the experience of a lead with an old crew.

It so happened that they were hit by fighters after leaving the target area and suffered what appeared to be a 20mm exploding in the wing. They maintained their lead though a fire was burning in the wing. When it became too intense with no hopes of it smothering out, Gordon began bailing the crew out.

Near Brussels, Belgium, they left the formation and the remainder of the chutes (11 in all) were accounted for-shortly after which the ship went out of control and was seen to crash.

This has been authenticated by all ships in the formation and due to the location in which they were at it is readily assumed that their chances of escape are very good. If they are not on their way back, which takes from three to six months or more, we will eventually hear as to their being prisoners of war. In either case you will no doubt be the first to receive that information. The information we receive is always after the folks have been notified.

It is with hopes that this letter will help you realize Gordon's value to his outfit and that we do not consider him lost. He was a fine officer and gentleman, an excellent pilot, and certainly trained a fine crew-all of which have now finished their tour except Lt. Rodriguez and T/Sgt Sullivan. Rodriguez has been the bombardier on several very successful missions this past month which has aided in maintaining both this Group's and Squadron's very high rating in the Division and 8th Air Force. Gordon was certainly proud of his crew as I was proud of him."

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: German Report #KU1494, date( 3 May 1944, Air Base Command at Coxyde, summarized the downing of this aircraft and capture of various crewmembers. The plane was reported to have exploded while still in the air and crash near the town of Oostkeerke, (4) kilometers northwest of Dixmuiden at 2115 hours. A total of (5) crewmen were taken prisoner near this crash site of Oostkeerke - Cox, Hammond, Sands, Everhart, and Weber while (2) others were captured nearby the town of Wevelghem - Fowler and Beard. This report continued to note that (5) additional crewmembers were considered "escaped, and still at large" - Kornman, Rinke, Ross, Beseda, and Andrews (The Germans originally had the latter’s name in error as ‘Anderson’). This report also recorded the cause c the ship’s downing as due to flak and it was identified further as belonging to the "392 Group, Wendling, 118". On the ultimate apprehension of Sgts. Ross, Rinke Beseda, and Andrews who were initially reported by the Germans to be "at large and these being crewmembers who had successfully bailed out earlier (during the route outbound after target and over Germany presumably), only the capture circumstances of Sgt. Ross were given in a German Report #728A, dated the following day of 23 April from a Wehrmacht 2nd Infantry Battalion element. This account was sent to the ‘Main Prisoner of War Camp for Enlisted Men II Limbury/Lahm’ and stated: "Today the American Aviator Jack R. Ross, No. 1806422 (Note: last digit quoted incorrectly and should have been '229'), Home address; Linnie Quellen, 401 E. Rusk, Mexia, Texas who bailed out near Roosbach/Oberwesterwald on 22 April 1944 was delivered by Cpl. Gross. The Mayor of Roosbach was instructed to send all articles taken from the Prisoner of War to the main Prisoner of War Camp IIIA without further delay. Enclosed are two identification tags". This same report also listed the capture of Sgts. Rinke, Beseda, and Andrews, but did not disclose where or when. The home town addresses of these latter crewmen were reported, however, as: Rinke, 31890 Hoover Road, Warren, Michigan; Beseda, % Zelma M. Beseda, General Delivery, Godley, Texas; and Andrews,% N.M.T. Andrews, RFD #1, Fairmonte, North Carolina. One last account given on Lt. Kornman , the lone crewmember who managed to evade capture was made by Lt. Hammond on 23 October 1945 after the latter’s repatriation. His report noted Lt. Kornman, the Navigator, as bailing out near Brussels, Belgium, that the plane had caught fire (100) miles east of the Rhine and crashed into the English Channel (Note: it is speculated that ‘west of the Rhine’ was meant?) - and that while he (Hammond) was A-2 Officer of Stalag Luft Ill, West Camp, later, he could never find Lt. Kornman’s name on any list of prisoners to various (POW) camps in Germany. Additional accountings in these German reports had some POW ‘File Numbers’ on (5) of the captured airmen: Sands, RW. File No. 1230/44; Everhart, P.W. File No. 1231/44; Hammond, RW. File No. 1292/44; Fowler, RW. File No. 1293/44 and Beard, RW. File Jo. 1292/44. Dates of birth of these crewmen along with serial numbers and rank were also recorded in one such prisoner account.

BURIAL RECORDS: There were no casualties involved in this crew’s missing status.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: None of record in this MACR except for the information recorded in the German reports cited above.

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CREW LOADING LIST FOR
22 APRIL 1944

MISSION #70      Target: Hamm



22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 670

Stauder, J.B. Capt.
P Barnes, L.J. Capt.
B Hurdle, Q.C. 1st Lt.
N McShane, W.F. 1st Lt.
B Jackson, G.J. 1st Lt.
E Lewis, E.L. Jr. T/Sgt.
R Jenkins, W.B. T/Sgt.
RW Malloy, P.D. S/Sgt.
LW Choromanski, J.E. S/Sgt.
BT Riley, A.J. S/Sgt.
TG Crowley, C.J. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 097

P Kamenitsa, W.T. 2nd Lt.
CP Graham, G.E. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Caulfield, J.J. 2nd Lt.
B Miller, G.A. 2nd Lt.
E Heater, E.J. S/Sgt.
R Trivison, J.R. S/Sgt.
RW Krejci, J.J. S/Sgt.
LW Guillot, O.R. Sgt.
BT Young, A.B. Sgt.
TG Morgan, L.C. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511

P Neff, C.L. 1st Lt.
CP Simpson, H.L. 1st Lt.
N Smith, C.W. 2nd Lt.
B Hadeka, A.A. 1st Lt.
E Benham, C.E. T/Sgt.
R Diaz, C.A. T/Sgt.
RW - -
LW Walter, C.D. S/Sgt.
BT Pennington, E.B. S/Sgt.
TG Ware, J.W. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 617

P Tyler, A.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Ricci, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N Bassett, E.F. 2nd Lt.
B Podolski, P.D. S/Sgt.
E MacDonald, G.E. T/Sgt.
R Metz, W. T/Sgt.
RW Blaida, J.M. S/Sgt.
LW Brown, G.R. S/Sgt.
BT Troutman, E.A. S/Sgt.
TG Miller, C.X. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 433

P Mathias, W.E. 1st Lt.
CP Jones, L.C. 2nd Lt.
N Mateyka, M.R. 2nd Lt.
B Thompson, M.A. 1st Lt.
E Chambless, S.L. T/Sgt.
R Slyhoff, K.G. T/Sgt.
RW Blackwell, R.B. S/Sgt.
LW Burke, W.N. Sgt.
BT Smock, J.M. S/Sgt.
TG Weverka, J.E. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 129

P Meighen, W.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Mason, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Plunkett, F.A. 2nd Lt.
NG Wimberly, W.G. Sgt.
E Austin, L.D. T/Sgt.
R Epstein, B.B. T/Sgt.
RW MacDonell, K.A.. Sgt.
LW Bode, J.E. Sgt.
BT Kuhns, R.H. Sgt
TG Cuevas, D.E. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 371

P Ofenstein, L.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Wall, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Purner, D.J. 2nd Lt.
B Buzzi, H.G. 2nd Lt.
E Krushas, V.P. S/Sgt.
R Kennett, R.L. S/Sgt.
RW Smith, A.M. S/Sgt.
LW Hatton, H.J. Sgt.
BT Schmelzle, O.G. Sgt.
TG Rowlett, R.W. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 027

P Jones, G.E. 1st Lt.
CP Sandoz, R.R. 2nd Lt.
N Morris, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Thomas, H.E. 2nd Lt.
E Bodoh, A.E. T/Sgt.
R McAdams, R.E. T/Sgt.
RW Marvin, H.E. S/Sgt.
LW Lane, T. S/Sgt.
BT Surber, W.C. S/Sgt.
TG Rossi, V.H. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 546 (no mission credit)

P Scheltens, G.A. 1st Lt.
CP Vaughan, H.C. 2nd Lt.
N Coward, D.M. 2nd Lt.
B Desonne, M. S/Sgt.
E Morr, R.J. T/Sgt.
R Borden, K.L. T/Sgt.
RW Mandelkow, E. S/Sgt.
LW Crotty, W.L. S/Sgt.
BT Thompson, I.F. S/Sgt.
TG Freeman, J.B. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 495

P Johnson, O.P. 2nd Lt.
CP Tedford, L.W. 2nd Lt.
N Bober, L. 2nd Lt.
B Feagan, H.C. 1st Lt.
E Whitson, M.D. T/Sgt.
R Perlberg, A.C. T/Sgt.
RW Barnard, C.F. S/Sgt.
LW Joyce, R. S/Sgt.
BT Kaeble, R.R. S/Sgt.
TG Marchuk, J. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 427

P Bradford, M.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Holben, W.P. 2nd Lt.
N Maxfield, W.P. 2nd Lt.
NG Leech, R.M. Sgt.
E Chapman, K.W. S/Sgt.
R O'Brien, W.W. S/Sgt.
RW Reausaw, F.M. Sgt.
LW Macklin, C.D. T/Sgt.
BT Wakelee, D.L. S/Sgt.
TG Yanora, M.R. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 649

P Brauer, G.M. 1st Lt.
CP Clifford, J.F. 1st Lt.
N McGough, J.G. 1st Lt.
B Eldridge, H.N. 2nd Lt.
E LaRue, E.W. T/Sgt.
R Abraham, H.F. T/Sgt.
RW Whited, J.A. S/Sgt.
LW Keller, L.D. S/Sgt.
BT Branciforte, N. S/Sgt.
TG Rachell, W.W. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 517

P Schildknecht, H.E. 1st Lt.
CP Long, J.D. Jr. 1st Lt.
N Hersh, A. 2nd Lt.
B Wasowicz, M.V. 2nd Lt.
E Sadler, R.S. T/Sgt.
R Begley, J.F. T/Sgt.
RW Gegere, G.P. S/Sgt.
LW Reade, G.J. S/Sgt.
BT Reid, H.A. S/Sgt.
TG Reed, B.P. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 100 (no mission credit)

P Stroble, W.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Slafka, C.M. 2nd Lt.
N Daniels, A.S. 2nd Lt.
NG Haukom, C.B. Sgt.
E Vassey, E.E. S/Sgt.
R Bull, F.L. S/Sgt.
RW Spika, C.J. S/Sgt.
LW Vickery, P.C. Sgt.
BT Cook, E.J. S/Sgt.
TG Vetrano, A. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 896

P Cohen, S. 1st Lt.
CP Shoenhair, R.D. 1st Lt.
N Valker, G.E. 1st Lt.
NG Hardy, E.C. Sgt.
E Hayes, F.W. T/Sgt.
R Buckley, G.J. T/Sgt.
RW White, T. S/Sgt.
LW Dellinger, T.C. S/Sgt.
BT Halstead, H.C. S/Sgt.
TG Eckert, J.A. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 028

P Sabourin, R.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Amble, E.F. 2nd Lt.
N Lipschitz, J. F/O
NG Singleton, W.T. 2nd Lt.
E Hollien, F.J. S/Sgt.
R Spagnola, J.T. Pvt.
RW Mateski, W.J. S/Sgt.
LW Robbins, K.H. S/Sgt.
BT Mahon, E.M. S/Sgt.
TG Moran, E.J. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 105

P Fletcher, R.E. 1st Lt.
CP McCarthy, C.G. 2nd Lt.
N Keck, R.W. 1st Lt.
NG Wilk, H. S/Sgt.
E Kelly, J.E. T/Sgt.
R Biska, S.L. S/Sgt.
RW Wukotich, M.L. S/Sgt.
LW Osborne, J.H. Sgt.
BT Mancuso, M.A. S/Sgt.
TG Rider, F.D. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 852

P Bridson, G.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Green, J.A. 2nd Lt.
N White, R. 2nd Lt.
B Willemin, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Ashcraft, B. S/Sgt.
R Paolucci, U. S/Sgt.
RW Seery, J.B. Sgt.
LW Stafford, J.A. Sgt.
BT Powers, G. Sgt.
TG Tatelbaum, G. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 548

P Muldoon, J.E. 1st Lt.
CP Otis, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Ortenberg, B. 2nd Lt.
B Morton, E.R. 2nd Lt.
E Byrd, J.M. T/Sgt.
R DeHoff, L.V. T/Sgt.
RW Carpenter, J.A. S/Sgt.
LW Morris, J.A. Sgt.
BT Bednarcik, S.A. Sgt.
TG Bluejacket, J.W. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 510

P Brunn, W.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Reinbold, H.L. F/O
N Griffith, R.C. 2nd Lt.
B Coyle, J.D. 2nd Lt.
E Harris, W.T. T/Sgt.
R Adams, R.V. T/Sgt.
RW Hair, J.H. S/Sgt.
LW Hassett, T.R. T/Sgt.
BT Goric, R.D. S/Sgt.
TG Fund, E.J. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 562

P Darnell, J.F. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Slagle, E.E. 2nd Lt.
N Stasney, A.J. 2nd Lt.
B Lory, R.C. 2nd Lt.
E Whitaker, J.W. T/Sgt.
R Mandel, R.F. T/Sgt.
RW Rego, M.A. S/Sgt.
LW Sundo, J.R. S/Sgt.
BT Quick, L.I. Sgt.
TG Ward, L.E. Sgt

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 448

P Wyatt, B.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Tufts, A.M. 2nd Lt.
N Franke, D.N. 2nd Lt.
B Gichan, W.W. 2nd Lt.
E Goetz, J.R. S/Sgt.
R Monroe, R.W. S/Sgt.
RW Sorrells, J.F. Sgt.
LW Thompson, R.E. Sgt.
BT Harbaugh, D.E. S/Sgt.
TG Archambeau, A.P. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 544

P Gann, D.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Dick, W.C. 2nd Lt.
N Spensley, R.E. 2nd Lt.
B Cunniff, V.L. 2nd Lt.
E Carroll, J.T. S/Sgt.
R Puchir, J. Sgt.
RW Anderson, A.R. Sgt.
LW Shrader, C. S/Sgt.
BT Reynolds, R.L. Sgt.
TG Sinclair, R.E. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 474

P Pardue, R.V. 2nd Lt.
CP Jernigen, W.R. 1st Lt.
N Semler, R.E. 2nd Lt.
B Crowell, R.K. 2nd Lt.
E McCary, L.F. S/Sgt.
R Evans, W.E. S/Sgt.
RW Koroluck, S. Sgt.
LW Lanning, E.G. Sgt.
BT Holley, C.B. Sgt.
TG Thornburg, R.C. Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 615

P Lotterhos, R.H. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Prouse, H.W. 2nd Lt.
N Healing, K.A. 2nd Lt.
B Chatten, J.F. 1st Lt.
E Thompson, R.L. T/Sgt.
R Garay, M.W. T/Sgt.
NG Ward, W.D. S/Sgt.
LW Rebiejo, F. S/Sgt
BT Bunyea, E.W. S/Sgt.
TG Moody, C.B. S/Sgt.
-- Hunt, N.J. 1st Lt.
Womer, W.S. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 308

P Hunt, N.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Roetzel, P.B. 2nd Lt.
N Shelton, O.W. 2nd Lt.
B Sullivan, F.J. 2nd Lt.
E McKinzie, W.L. S/Sgt.
R Wilkinson, H.C. S/Sgt.
RW Osment, M. Sgt.
LW Bennett, G.H. S/Sgt.
BT Jackson, L.A. Sgt.
TG Evans, G.B. S/Sgt.

22 Apr 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 605

Cox, R.L. Maj.
CmndP Everhart, W.C. Capt.
P Hammond, G.L. 1st Lt.
N Kornman, H.C. 1st Lt.
B Weber, F.J. 2nd Lt.
B Sands, J.E. 2nd Lt.
E Rinke, A.P. T/Sgt.
R Beard, J.W. T/Sgt.
RW Andrews, W.E. T/Sgt.
TT Fowler, R.G. Sgt.
BT Ross, J.R. Sgt.
TG Beseda, J.F. S/Sgt.

On Pff ships:
Cmd P Polking, W.A. Capt.
N Koch, C.H. Capt.




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