B 17F 42-5862 ditched in the North Sea 25/7-1943.
The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 100 Bomb Group, 350 Bomb Squadron
and was coded LN-?
T/O Thorpe Abbotts. OP: Warnemünde / Kiel.
The primary target of the day was Warnemünde but due to the weather the
secondary target being Kiel was attacked. Over Kiel they were met by heavy flak
and 42-5862 which the crew had christened “Duration Plus Six” was hit.
While returning over the North Sea it became necessary to ditch the plane and
all except Pilot Captain Richard Carey and Co–Pilot 2.Lt William J. Styles were
assembled in the radio room when the plane hit the water.
Pilot Captain Richard Carey
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Maynard T. Parsons, April 15 1943
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Maynard T. Parsons
After the landing Waist Gunner Pvt. Robert D. Lepper and Tail Gunner S/Sgt
Maynard T. Parsons managed to get out of the top hatch even thou they were both
wounded. Also Carey and Styles managed to get out before the aircraft sank.
When this happened Bombardier 2.Lt William E. Griffith was seen trying to get
out thru the top hatch but went down with “Duration Plus Six”.
The following crew members died and have no known grave. Radio operator T/Sgt
Steven S. Kopczewski, Engineer T/Sgt Lester I. Berg, Waist Gunner S/Sgt Charles
J. Mayville and Ball Turret Gunner S/Sgt Norman C. Eddy.
Navigator 2.Lt Calvin H. De Fevre and Bombardier 2.Lt William E. Griffith also
perished and rest in USA today.
The ditching had happened at 18:00 hours approx. 75 miles southwest of Esbjerg.
Skipper Svend L. Petersen of fishing vessel E 475 of Esbjerg had only just set
his trawl when he saw the aircraft ditch. He left the trawl and set course for
the plane. Upon reaching the place where the B 17F had ditched they could take
the four survivors onboard. Carey and Styles were unharmed while Lepper and
Parson were badly injured. One of whom had broken both legs and both wrists.
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Maynard T. Parsons laying down wounded on
the Danish fishing vessel
fishermen dressed the wounds to the best of their ability, picked up the trawl
and set course for Esbjerg where they arrived on 26/7 at 13:20 hours.
The pilots were picked up by the Wehrmacht right away, while the wounded men
were left under guard on the pier for two hours. A Danish ambulance arrived to
take the flyers to the hospital but the Germans would not allow this. Only after
two hours did a German ambulance arrive to pick up the wounded. Via German
lazaretts in Denmark they were sent to the lazarett in Schleswig, Germany.
Sources: FB, AS 64-788, RL 19/472, ABMC.
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