Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-31352 crashed in the Baltic Sea 9/4 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 452 Bomb Group, 728 Bomb Squadron and was named “Iron Bird”.
T/O Deopham Green. OP: Posen.


2nd Lt Herbert Hochstetter of the USAF stated in the Missing Air Crew Report # 3661: “The formation was attacked by approximately 12 FW 190`s. Aircraft 42-31353 was hit. Both inboard engines were aflame with considerable smoke. The pilot was observed opening the side window evidently to appraise the damage. He then pulled the nose up sharply, held it briefly and then did a whipstall apparently to extinguish the fire. When last seen the aircraft was pulling out of the dive apparently under control”.

Something did however go wrong and the aircraft named “Iron bird” crashed into the Baltic Sea killing the crew.

 


              (Via Steven Krementz)

Top Row – left to right: Marshall Phillips, Ralph E. Davison, Jack Browne, Wymond Ridge, Edward Krementz.

Bottom Row – left to right: Edward Leslie, James Hudson, John Mayek, Howard Mattingly.



Pilot 1st Lt John W. Mayek, Navigator 1st Lt Howard T. Mattingly Jr., Bombardier 1st Lt Edward V. Leslie, radio Operator T/Sgt Edward J. Krementz, Ball Turret Gunner Sgt Norman H. Burton, Left Waist Gunner S/Sgt Marshall V. Phillips and Right waist Gunner S/Sgt Jack D. Browne have no known grave and their names are found on Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England.

The body of Major George J. Oxrider was found near Gedser on 26/6 and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 28/6 1944. His remains were disinterred on 8/5 1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military.

On 22/6 the dead body of Top Turret Gunner S/Sgt Wymond B. Ridge was found washed ashore on the beach of the island of Romsø. The body was taken to Kerteminde and in the evening of the same day taken to the Assistenskirkegaarden cemetery in Odense.
 


                       (Historiecenter Beldringe)

Top Turret Gunner S/Sgt Wymond B. Ridge grave


The funeral was scheduled to 10:00 hours on 23/6 1944 but at 08:30 the Wehrmacht requested that it was moved forward ½ an hour to prevent problems with a Danes who might want to take part in the funeral. At 09:30 the coffin was taken to the grave by a German Unteroffizier and four privates. Cemetery assistant Hasselstrøm and Chapel assistant Poulsen helped carrying the coffin which was placed in the grave without ecclesiastical assistance. The Germans stayed at the site until the grave was covered.
A number of wreaths and flowers were placed on the grave during the day. His remains were disinterred on 30/4 1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military.

The body of Tail Gunner 2nd Lt James C. Hudsen was found in the Baltic Sea off Puenitz on 18/8 1944 and is believed to have been laid to rest in Germany. Today he is believed to rest in USA.



Sources: MACR, LBUK, Kerteminde Police, Assistenskirkegaarden cemetery, ABMC.

 

 

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