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B 17F 42-30206 ditched in the North Sea on 25/7-1943.
The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 94 Bomb Group, 410 Bomb Squadron
and was christened “Happy daze”
T/O Rougham OP: Warnemünde.
When ”Happy Daze” had crossed the Danish coast line on the return flight it was
attacked by three FW 190 who damaged the B 17F. At 17:55 hours it was necessary
to ditch it in the sea approx. 77 miles northwest of Borkum. The aircraft came
apart just behind the radio cabin and sank in 15 seconds. The whole crew apart
from Right Waist Gunner Sgt Thomas M. Brown managed to get out of the aircraft.
He went down with the aircraft and has no known grave. Two dinghies were
inflated and the nine survivors entered them.
The survivors were Pilot 1.Lt John P. Keelan, Co-Pilot 2.Lt Loren Hubbell,
Navigator 2.Lt William Greulich, Bombardier 2.Lt Thomas Nelson, Top Turret
Gunner T/Sgt Edgar I. Cannon, Radio Operator T/Sgt Eugene Deyoe, Ball Turret
Gunner S/Sgt John H. Kornick, Left Waist Gunner S/Sgt Herbert H. Simes and Tail
Gunner Sgt Robert V. Hodge.
For the next 19 hours they drifted around. During
the night they could watch as well as hear the sounds of an attack on Hamburg.
The sent up a balloon and automatically radio signals was sent to England.
26/7 at 08:00 hours they started to paddle on a course set to 270 degrees.
At 12:45 they were found by two Lancaster’s that dropped a Lindholme dinghy. One
hour later the flyers received one more and at 18:00 another one which was tied
them together by the flyers. When the Lancaster’s disappeared a JU 88 showed up
and circled the dinghies and then left without further.
At 20:10 three Hudson’s arrived one of then carrying a Life boat which was
dropped to the flyers who managed to get hold of it. The dinghies were then sunk
by machine gun fire from the Hudson’s. The flyers got the engines started ad
headed 270 degrees.
On 27/7 at 07:30 the Danish fishing boat FN 41 “Betty” was observed by the
lifeboat and it was agreed to make contact. The reception was friendly and
“Betty” took both the flyers and the life boat onboard. The course was then set
for England. During the day another rescue plane arrived overhead and signals
were exchanged. At 17:30 “Betty” was meet by HSL 2551 and 184.
A bottle of rum
was shared and “Betty” then followed the launches to Yarmouth which was reached
at 22:45 hours.
Sources: AIR 20/4710 , FB, ABMC.
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