Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-40051 crashed in the Baltic Sea 9/4 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 96 Bomb Group, 339 Bomb Squadron and was coded QJ-F.
T/O Snetterton. OP: Poznan.


On the return flight the bombers were attacked by German fighters and 42-40051 was hit by fire from a ME 410 from II./ZG 26 and crashed into the Baltic Sea off Nysted on the island of Lolland killing the whole crew.

Uffz. Haering 4./ZG 26 claimed a B 17 in Pl.Q. SD8 at 15:10 hours while Fw Küdozus of 5./ZG 26 claimed one at 15:04 hours.

The tail section of the B 17 had been severely damaged and the tail gunner Sgt William C. Cantrell left the aircraft by parachute. Pilot 2.Lt James Y. Massey attempted to ditch the aircraft at Rødsand in the Baltic Sea but the B 17 flipped over killing all onboard.
 


                                     (Via Ib Lødsen)
 



On 9/4 five bodies were recovered from the wreck and on 10/4 four more. They were Pilot 2.Lt James Y. Massey, Co pilot 2.Lt Wilbur L. Haney, Navigator 2.Lt Donald J. Plymell, Bombardier 2.Lt John j. Quinlan, Engineer Sgt John P. Beres Jr., Radio Operator Sgt Carmine P. Avantini, Right waist gunner Sgt Joseph T. Pyrek, Ball turret gunner Sgt Cletis L. Horner and Left waist gunner Sgt Albert E. Martinez. They were all laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 11/4 1944 at 17:00 hours.

On 15/5 the body of Tail gunner Sgt William C. Cantrell was retrieved from the Baltic Sea by fishermen and brought to the harbour of Nysted. On the next day he was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery.

Their remains were disinterred on 8/5 1948 and were evacuated by the US military to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium where Massey, Avantini and Plymell rests to this day.

Horner rest at the Luxemborg American Cemetery in Luxemburg while the rest have been brought back to USA.

 


                        (Via Ib Lødsen)

 


                        (Via Ib Lødsen)

The memorial in Nysted
 

Sources: MACR, LBUK, BS, Disinterring report Svinø, ABMC, TW, Mike Mucha.


 

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