Edward Thomas Gardner
2nd Lt 0-745881 615th
1921 - 1944
Pilot aboard 42-31518 (Doolittle's Doughboy's)
Ardennes cemetery, Belgium
Plot : B , Row : 34 , Grave : 19
What happened to Lt Gardner has remained a mystery to all of the crew since the day we were shot down.
I was in the cockpit with him and Co-pilot when he gave the order to bail out.
He was unharmed at that time.
After my jump, and while floating down, I counted six other chutes in air, making a total of seven with mine.
I believe that Gardner decided not to bail out himself but resolved to crash-land the plane by himself.
We had an engine on fire and the plane exploded and burned to waist, when it hit the ground.
I watched the plane going down and it appeared to me that someone was trying to crash-land it.
Co-pilot later told me in prison camp that Germans showed him a picture of what was left of our plane.
They also told him of finding two (2) bodies near wreckage of ship.
They didn`t find any traces of Lt Gardner and questioned co-pilot several times in an effort to find out where he was.
It is in my firm belief now that Lt Gardner was burned in explosion of plane.
I think he should be awarded a post-humous medal for valor, bevause I am quite sure he attempted to crash-land our plane because he thought there was a chance to save Monnes, radio operator , who was unconscious on floor of radio room.
Captured German Records from interregation center , Dulag Luft , reported that the body of Lt. Gardner was found on a field at Pils, Germany, a couple of days later.
He was buried in a cemetery at Germany and later in Ardennes, Belgium.
Mission to Leipzig, germany, Aircraft attacked by enemy fighters, dropped down and out of formation.
Crashed on a field at Pilm, near Magdeburg, Germany.
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