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B 17G 42-31241 crashed on Ødegaard farm 29/4 1944.
The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 303 Bomb Group, 427 Bomb Squadron.
T/O Molesworth. OP: Berlin.
On its way to Berlin 42-31241 which was named “City of Wanette” was hit by flak
at 11:14 hours while flying at 20.000 feet and started leaking fuel. It left the
formation and jettisoned its bombs and feathered number 4 prop.
Pilot 2nd Lt Howard J. Bohle headed north towards Sweden.
When over the islands of Lolland and Falster the B 17 was attacked by a Bf 110
of Stab III./NJG 3 piloted by Major Walter Barte while at the same time flak was
fired. It was decided to bail out and Engineer S/Sgt Laurence W. Rice, Navigator
2nd Lt John K. Brown, Pilot 2nd Lt Howard J. Bohle, Bomb aimer 2nd Lt Joseph J.
Nevills and Co-pilot 2nd Lt Robert R. Kerr bailed out of the nose hatch while it
is not known haw the other crew members got out. It is however known that also
Radio operator S/Sgt Henry A. Jensen, Ball turret gunner Sgt John A. Derschan,
Right waist gunner Sgt Paul J. Muihearn, Left waist gunner Sgt Frank Gorgon and
Tail gunner S/Sgt Michael Musashe all got out and floated down over Vålse Vig
inlet through the flak barrage.
At approx. 13:25 the B 17 crashed into the “Ødegaard” farm 5 kilometres
northeast of Sakskøbing on the island of Lolland. It crashed into the 15 metres
wide garden between the Guldborgroad and the farmhouse. The farmhouse burned
down but luckily no one was hurt.
Bohle, Brown, Nevills and Rice and Kerr all landed in the Vålse area. Two of the
flyers landed in the Vålse Vig bay but were soon recovered while Bohle and two
more flyers landed in the fields belonging to the farmers Johs. Rasmussen,
Laurits Olsen and Wilhelm Petersen. Bohle, Brown, Nevills and Rice were soon
captured by the Wehrmacht. It is not known to which POW camps they were sent.
Kerr managed to escape and it is believed that he got on a fright train and
travelled to Roskilde where he got in touch with people from the resistance. On
10/5 1944 he sailed from Sundby harbour onboard the fishingboat L 107 and in the
Øresund sound he was transferred to the fishing vessel LA 127 “Ellen” which took
him and others to Sweden. This was handled by “Danish-Swedish refuge service”
which had specialised in helping people to Sweden.
On the morning of 2/5 the dead body of S/Sgt Henry Jensen was found in Grønsund
Sound between the islands of Bogø and Møn. The body was taken to Stubbekøbing
where it was handed over to the Wehrmacht. On 8/5 1944 Jensen was laid to rest
in Svinø cemetery.
On 18/5 the body of Sgt Paul Muihearn was found in the Storstrømmen east of the
Storstrømmen bridge still with his parachute attached. The body was taken to the
chapel of Gyldenbjerg church at Orehoved. The Wehrmacht from Vordingborg
collected the body and laid it to rest in Svinø cemetery on 22/5 1944.
On the morning of 7/6 the body of Sgt John Derschan was found washed ashore in
the Vålse Vig bay. The body was taken by boat to Orehoved harbour and on the the
chapel at Gyldenbjerg church. It was picked up by the Wehrmacht from Vordingborg
and was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 9/6 1944.
(Via Finn Buch)
Ball turret gunner Sgt John A. Derschan
At 07:00 on 8/6 the body of Sgt Frank Gorgon was found on Enø beach near
Karrebæksminde. It was found 400 metres south of the farm “Overdrevsgaard” and
was handed over to the Wehrmacht. He was laid to rest in Svinø cemetery on 9/6
The remains of Muihearn, Derschan, Jensen and Gorgon were disinterred on 8/5
1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in
Belgium by the US military where Gorgon still rests. His comrades have been
brought back to USA.
S/Sgt Michael Musashe has no known grave and his name is found on Tablets of the
Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England.
Sources: MACR, Walter Barte, LBUK, “Danish-Swedish refuge service”, AS
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