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B 17G 42-39936 crashed near Meltofte 9/4 1944.
The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 452 Bomb Group, 728 Bomb Squadron.
The B 17 was named „Cawn`t Miss“.
T/O Deopham Green. OP: Warnemünde.
While on the return flight from Warnemünde the formation was attacked by
approximately 12 FW 190 and “Cawn`t Miss” was hit. Both inner engines were set
on fire and the crew started to leave the aircraft by parachute. The intercom
had been damaged and Tail gunner S/Sgt Oather G. Meese only became aware the
crew were bailing out when he saw a person come by the tail. Meese looked up in
the waist and saw RH Waist gunner S/Sgt James E. Parker leave while LH Waist
gunner S/Sgt Raymond E. Raley was lying dead on the catwalk. Meese then went
forward where he met Ball turret gunner S/Sgt Bernard H. Brand and Radio
operator S/Sgt Tomothy J. Nunan. They helped each other put on seat dinghy’s and
baled out. All three of them landed on the island of Lolland.
The aircraft crashed near Meltofte on Lolland at 14:00 hours. When the flames
died out the body of Raley was found in the wreckage. The body was taken to the
morgue at the hospital in Nakskov. He was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 13/4
After landing Meese met a boy who spoke English. He led Mees to a barn where he
could hide from the Germans. On 11/4 he met two girls who took him to their
parent`s house where their frightened mother provided him with direction to the
train, money and a written note for the conductor. On the way to the train
station he was captured near Berritsgaard not far from Sakskøbing at 10:00
After capture he was taken to the hospital in Nakskov where he identified
Raley`s body. Meese was sent to Dulag Luft in Oberursel and after about a week
on to Stalag 17B in Gneixendorf nr Krems a.d. Doanu in Austria.
Brand and Nunan landed not far from each other and joined forces. They managed
to stay at large until the night of 16/17-4 when they were capturet by the
guards while attempting to cross the bridge of Guldborg Sund. They were sent to
Dulag Luft where they were separated on 26/4. Nunan was sent to Stalag 17B where
he met with Meese. They were liberated on 2/5-1945.
Top turret gunner S/Sgt Charles F. Hopper also landed on Lolland. He was wounded
in his arm and taken to the hospital in Nakskov where it was amputated. On
9/6-1944 he was sent to Dulag Luft.
The body of Pilot 1st Lt Carroll G. Boyd was found in the sea off the Urne
harbour on 21/5 and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 22/5 1944.
On 31/5 the body of Bombardier 2nd Lt William H. Craighead was found washed
ashore near Tjørneby on Lolland and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on
Right waist gunner S/Sgt James E. Parker was washed ashore near Dannemare on
25/6. He was laid to rest in Dannemare cemetery on 28/6-1944.
The body of Co-pilot 2nd Lt Elmer P. Julius was found washed ashore on the
island of Agersø on 14/7 and was laid to rest in Agersø cemetery on 14/7-1944.
(Via Finn Buch)
Navigator 2nd Lt William D. Abernathy
Navigator 2nd Lt William D. Abernathy have no known grave and his name are found
on Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England.
Those resting in Denmark were disinterred in May 1948 and were evacuated to the
American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military.
Boyd rests in North Carolina while Julius rest in Illinois.
(Via Finn Buch)
Abernathy with other crewmembers
Sources: MACR, Meese via FB, FB, LBUK, UA, BS.
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