B-17G " Little Boots "  42-31193     615th

29 January 1944   Mission #17   Target: Frankfurt

                  29 January 44 , 0710 hours , engines are on.
                  35 planes are off on mission #17.
                  Target today is Frankfurt, Germany.

                  2 engines were down caused by flak damage.
                  On the return flight the plane was hit by 12 German fighters ( ME 110s and ME 210s ).
                  5 men survived and were POW's , 5 men died.

Missing Air Crew Report : 2274

1.    Organization : AAF Sta 128.                  

       Command : 8th Air Force.
       Group : 401st.
       Squadron : 615th.

2.    Place of depature : AAF Station 128.
       Course : SSW.
       Target : Frankfurt , Germany.
       Type of mission: Operational Bombing.

3.    Weather conditions when last sighted : 10/10 undercast.

4.    Last know date : 29 Jan 1944
       time : 11:30
       location : 53° 10'N - 08° 35'E.

5.    Aircraft believed to have been lost as a result of : Enemy aircrafts.

6.    Aircraft type : B-17G
       serial no. : 42-31486

7.    Engines : R-1820-97.

9.   Persons listed below listed as : Battle Casualties.

10.  Persons on board : Crew : 10.

11.  List crew position , name , rank , serial no. and current status :
Pilot Robert William Beers. Capt 0-24910 POW
Copilot Howard Elliot Byrne 2nd Lt 0-743405 POW
Navigator Harold Gershon 1st Lt 0-801007 POW
Bombardier William Louis Ritch 1st Lt 0-739055 POW
Radio Operator Nunzio D. Paola Sgt 18139018 KIA
Engr / Top Turret Clarence Edgar Young T/Sgt 32449970 POW
Ball Turret Gunner Allen Hugh Craft S/Sgt 37225198 KIA
Tail Gunner John Hathern Turvy S/Sgt 35418681 KIA
Left Waist Gunner Franklin Marquart Grigg S/Sgt 37125928 KIA
Right Waist Gunner Kenneth Joseph Lynn S/Sgt 12167944 KIA
13.  Person believed to have last knowledge of missing aircraft :

Merrit, William E.        S/Sgt.        31203844

- This A/C was one of three lost at the same place, same time.
  We definite indentification of the planes could be made at the time.
  The following is a consolidation of observations made on all three planes, A/C 42-31193 was one of them.

These A/C, comprising an element of the Low Box of the Wing, were attacked by 7 or 8 T/E enemy aircrafts
at about 1130 and just past the target.
One was observed to blow up at once; the other two were damaged and went down simultaneously, one being observed to explode before raching the undercast, top of which was approximately 10.000 Ft the other has been reported as exploding and also as disappearing into the clouds; no chutes were observed on any of the A/C.

Mission to Frankfurt, germany, attacked by enemy aircrafts and blown up not much later.
Crashed near Worms, Germany

Little Boots ( Boots was the nickname of Capt Beers wife )

Casualty questionaire

This is the report a crewmember writes after he was back in England

- Rank : Major.
- Serial number : 0-24910.

- Mission : Frankfurt , Germany.
- Target : Factories.
- Target time : Approx. 11:20.
- Altitude : 24.000 Ft.

- Where were you when you left formation : Had just left target.

- Did you bail out : Yes.
- Did other members bail out : Yes , Co-pilot , Bombardier , Navigator and Aero engineer.

- Tell more about others : The following crew members bailed out of Navigator's hatch in this order :
                                                Engineer , Co-pilot , Navigator , Bombardier and Pilot.

- Where did plane strike the ground ? : Part of exploded aircraft struck ground near Worms, Germany.

- When did you last see any members : Found one body whose desription in height and color of hair
                                                                        corresponded very closely to that of S/Sgt. Kenneth Lynn.

- Any additional information ? :

        This aircraft participated in bombing missions to Frankfurt on Main, Germany on 29 Jan 1944.
        Situation after take-off and crossing enemy territory - normal prior to crossing French-German border.
        At this time number 3 engine failed to mechanical difficulties.
        Upon arrival over IP and subsequent 360° turn, number 2 engine failed because of flak action.
        This aircraft with flight of two straggled after leaving target.

        Friendly fighters left vicinity shortly thereafter and this A/C, with flight of two, was brought under
        enemy fighter attack by 12 ME 110's and ME 210's.
        Enemy fighters made two attacks in which this A/C was set on fire in the right wing, cockpit, and bomb
        bay where two incinderary clusters had failed to release.
        Top Turret Gunner, myself ( Pilot ) , tail gunner, and navigator were wounded.
        All communication aboard aicraft was destroyed.
        Bail-out signal was rendered by mechanical means of emergency bail-out signal.

        The forward parts of the A/C was evacuated with the exception of myself, who attempted to leave ship
        by bomb bay after assuring that all crew members, alive , in rear position of ship had jumped.
        However, I was unable to make my way to or through the bomb bay because of intense heat, fire and
        exploding ammunition.
        I then returned to the navigator's hatch amd bailed out, almost immediately thereafter aircraft exploded.

        Major R. Beers

Little Boots crew
Top Row, L-R: Robert W. Beers - Howard Elliot Byrne - Unknown - Unknown.
Front Row, L-R: Unknown - Unknown - Unknown - Unknown - Clarence Edgar Young - Franklin M. Grigg

- Rank : T/Sgt.
- Serial number : 32449970.

- Mission : Frankfort.
- Target : Factory.
- Target time : 11:20 AM.
- Altitude : Unknown.

- Where were you when you left formation : Top Turret.

- Did you bail out : Yes.
- Did other members bail out : Yes.

- Tell more about others : Bailed out in the following manner from the nose hatch :
                                                Co-pilot , Myself , Bombadier , Navigator and Pilot.

- When did you last see any members : Just before take-off.

Robert Beers District of Columbia       1920 - POW   Stalag Luft 1 South
Howard Byrne Missouri       1915 - POW   Stalag Luft 1 South
Harold Gershon New York       1916 - POW   Stalag Luft 1 south
William Ritch Connecticut       1920 - POW   Stalag Luft 1 South
Clarence Young New Jersey       1921 - POW   Stalag Luft 4 / Luft 1 West
Nunzio D. Paola Louisiana       1923 - 1944 KIA    
Allen Hugh Craft Kansas       1921 - 1944 KIA PH  
John Hathern Turvy Ohio       1922 - 1944 KIA    
Franklin Marquart Grigg Iowa       1919 - 1944 KIA LO C - 18 - 83
Kenneth Joseph Lynn New York       1921 - 1944 KIA LO E - 8 - 33

LO = Lorraine , France     Pleasant Hill, Dennis, Labette Kansas, USA

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