Donald Behrn Roberts

T/Sgt    32377788    612th
New York
1921 - 1944

Engr / Top Turret aboard 42-37833 (Omar The Dentmaker)


                                                                                                          Glenwood Cemetery, Oneida
                                                                                                          Madison County, New York.

     Donald was born in Sep 17, 1921, in Canastota, Madison, New York.
     He graduated from Oneida High school and the University of Missouri.

     In Jul 21, 1942 he enlisted to the air corps.
     He trained at Las Vegas and recieved his wings there.

     In Oct 1943 he arrived in England to join the 401st BG
     His last mission, March 26, target: Watten , France.
     They were hit by flak over Pas de Calais and exploded.

     He was awarded with an Air Medal and a Purple Heart Medal

     In 1944, when Donald died on the age of 22 he left behind his family :

         His father, Ben Roberts, age 56
         His mother, Elsie Roberts, age 51

Mission to Watten, France, operation " Crossbow " (Nazi rocket sites), just before bomb run, plane was hit by flak.
Chrashed near Bouquemaison, France.

                         It was on Sunday morning, March 26, 1944, the crew was called to an early briefing.

        L - R, back row: Michael R. Walsh - William M. Rumsey - DONALD B. ROBERTS - Lt. Colonel White.
                    L - R Front row: Harold S. Arnold - William W. Carter - Irving I. Lieberman - Ivan R. Lee.

     The target was Pas de Calais, france and the V-1 installlations from which the Germans launched their
     rocket attacks on Britain.
     It was considered a mild run as serious opposition was seldom encountered recently.

     The crew crossed the channel and headed towards the Initial Point.
     No fighters were in sight, and no flak had been seen.

     It was just as the crew were starting on the bomb run that it happened.
     A shell exploded suddenly inside the plane behind the pilot.
     A single burst of flak had hit them squarly.

     The plane immediately went out of control and according to eyewitnesses from other planes, the plane
     flew upside down and backwards through the formation.

     The plane began to disintregate, wings, engines, etc, breaking off.

     Two crew members bailed out just before the plane exploded.

     A French men, J. Yaequemelle, found the bodies of the eight men, no chutes were open.
     Donald obviously died before coming to earth.
     He was requisitioned to take a wagon and two horses and to take the dead soldiers to the cemetery of
     their village, Bouquemaison, Somme, Picardie, France

     Donald and his mates were buried side by side in their uniforms.

     On June 10, 1945 the bodies of the eight airmen were exhumed by American forces to be buried in
     a military cemetry.

     Donald was buried in the Normandy Cemetery.

     June 10, 1945. A letter written by the parents of Donald to James D Haffner ( Bombardier ).

     Dear Jim, we recieved your letter from England and thank you for writing to us.
     We are happy for you and your family that you will soon be reunited and we hope you are well.

     It was an awful shock to us to lose our Don as you know he was all we had.
     We are trying to carry on as best we can but life will never be quite the same again.

     There are many things we would like to know but we don't like to ask too many questions as
     you have been through so much we know there are many things you would like to forget.

     We would like to know just what happened on that last fatal mission.
     Do you think the boys were killed instantly.
     It would be a comfort to know that they didn't suffer.
     Is there any way we can find out if they were buried and where.

     Don was so fond of all the boys and so proud of your crew.
     He was so sure you would all come through as your crew was one of the best in the Air Corps.

     We will be grateful for any information you can give us.

     God bless you and your family.
     Sincerely Yours, Berhn & Elsie Roberts.


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