10.06.1944 486th Fighter Squadron P-51B 43-7153 ‘Rauk-et’, 2nd Lt. Lincoln Delmar Bundy
Operation: Area patrol
Date: 10th June 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: 352nd Fighter Group, 486th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force
Type: P-51B Rauk-et
Base: Bodney (Station #141), Norfolk, England
Location: La Barre at Crulai, France
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Lincoln Delmar Bundy O-804996 AAF Age 26. Survived/Murdered
Group of 486FS/352FG Mustangs being refuelled. The nearest aircraft is P-51B 43-7153 'Rauk-et' which was 1st Lt. Lloyd A. Rauk's aircraft. (Credit: American Air Museum)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Early on the morning of the 10th June 1944 the 486th Fighter Sqn. including 2nd Lt. Bundy took off from Bodney in Norfolk, crossed the Channel and headed into France on a mission to disrupt the German advance to the front in Normandy.
An after mission statement given by 2nd Lt. William R. Reese, flying as White #3 reported that 2nd Lt. Bundy flying as White #2 and the flight leader Maj. Stephen W. Andrew, White #1, strafed a group of trucks, one of which was destroyed by 2nd Lt. Bundy. White #3 re-joined with the flight leader who received no response when he called White #2 to re-join the formation. 2nd Lt. Bundy was last sighted at 10:15 hrs near La Mailleraye, France.
Anecdotal information from witnesses of the attack on the vehicles saw 2nd Lt. Bundy’s P-51 pulling up after being hit by ground fire and then being chased by a Bf-109.
Analysis of the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) (German High Command) claims list: West & Südfront May-July 1944 recorded that there were eight P-51's claimed on the 10th June 1944. Only six of the eight have specific locations and times.
The two that have no location or time associated with their claim were:
Gefreiter (Private 2nd Class) Franz Sommer of 9./JG-3 (Steffen 9./Jagdgeschwader 3 = 9 Squadron/3 Fighter Wing) who as his only victory claimed a P-51. The others claimed by 9./JG-3 were all in the vicinity of the Normandy coast so it would be safe to assume that Sommer’s victory was also near Normandy,
and Hauptmann (Capt) Lutz Wilhelm Burckhardt (Burkhardt) from 7./JG-1 who claimed a P-51 as his 69th victory. An anecdotal eye witness account cites Hauptmann Lutz Wilhelm Burckhardt as being the pilot of the Bf-109 that was seen chasing 2nd.Lt. Bundy’s P-51.
A second anecdotal eye witness account cites Unteroffizier (Cpl) Walter Agricola as being the pilot of the Bf-109 that was seen chasing 2nd Lt. Bundy’s P-51. Unteroffizier Agricola of 5./JG-3, flying a Bf-109G claimed a P-51, 5 km east of l’Agile at 1105 hours local. l’Agile is some 9 km NW of La Barre where the aircraft crashed. This was his 3rd of four victories.
No actual Abschuss (shoot down) reports have been found, therefore at this time it has not been possible to identify which of the two Bf-109 pilots was chasing 2nd Lt. Bundy’s P-51.
2nd Lt. Bundy had successfully bailed out of his aircraft and for the next four days was sheltered by local villagers. He then decided to head south on foot in an attempt to reach Spain and then onto England. Over a period of almost two weeks he evaded capture and lived off the land and with the help of friendly farmers. He eventually encountered a group of French résistance fighters near the town of Verrières and on the 1st July 1944 was led to a Special Air Service (SAS) encampment in the nearby forest. (Ref: 1)
This was the base for Operation Bulbasket lead by Capt. John Tonkin of the 1st SAS.
The fate of the 2nd Lt. Bundy remained unknown until a mass grave was discovered in woods near Saint-Sauvant, Vienne in December 1944. On the 18th December the remains were exhumed and re-interred in the Rom communal cemetery in Deux-Sèvres. (Ref:2)
An investigation carried out by a Maj. Barkworth resulted in a British Military court being convened in Wuppertal in April 1947. Six German nationals were brought before the court and charged with a war crime concerning the aiding and abetting of the execution of captured PoWs. (Ref: 3)
Major Eric ‘Bill’ Barkworth, an SAS veteran, was the commanding officer of a team whose task was to track down the remains of SAS personnel killed during WW2 and to investigate their deaths.
The six accused were Helmut Knochen, who was a former SS-Standartenführer (Col) and commander of the SiPo (Sicherheitspolizei = Security police) and SD (Sicherheitsdienst = Security service for the SS) in Paris; Hans Josef Kieffer a former SS-Sturmbannführer (Maj) and head of the SD in Paris; Richard Schnur, a former SS-Hauptsturmführer (Capt) who served under Kieffer; Fritz Hildemann who was a former vehicle driver and Otto Ilgenfritz who was the former Chief of the military transport for the Sicherheitspolizei (Security police) and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst=Security service for the SS), Karl Haug, who was a former Kriminaloberassistant (Assistant detective) and SS-Hauptscharführer (M/Sgt) in Amt IV (Gestapo) under Kieffer in Paris. All of the accused were based at 84 Avenue Foch, the headquarters of the SD in Paris.
The court heard that informants had told the SD about an SAS encampment located in a forest near Verrières, Vienne. At dawn on the morning of the 3rd July 1944 elements of the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen launched an attack on the encampment. (Ref:2)
As the Germans searched the forest, thirty-four SAS men, 2nd Lt. Bundy and some French résistance fighters who were trying to break out of the encampment were ambushed and captured. The SAS leader, Lt. Tomos Stephens was beaten to death by an unidentified SS officer with a rifle butt and some of the French résistance fighters were summarily shot. (Ref:2).
On the 7th July 2nd Lt. Bundy along with the thirty surviving SAS troopers were taken by truck to woods near Saint-Sauvant, Vienne where Kieffer, commanding a force of SS troops, then ordered 2nd Lt. Bundy along and the SAS troopers to be shot and buried in the shallow graves. Three SAS troopers who had been wounded and hospitalized were killed by the administration of lethal injections. The bodies of the three men have never been found, but they are commemorated by a plaque among their comrades' headstones in Rom, Deux-Sèvres. (Ref: 2 & 3)
The court found Knochen, Kieffer, Schnur and Haug guilty and sentenced them to death. Kieffer, Schnur and Haug were hanged at Hameln by Albert Pierrepoint (RSM Richard O’Neill assisting) on 26th June 1947.
Knochen’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the 16th September 1948 and then further reduced to 21 years in February 1950. He was extradited to France in 1954 where he was tried and sentenced to death which was later commuted to life imprisonment. President Charles de Gaulle granted Knochen a pardon in 1962 after which he was sent back to Germany.
Ilgenfritz and Hildemann were sentenced to 15 years and 5 years imprisonment, respectively. The final disposition of their sentences are unknown.
Photograph (Credit: American Air Museum); Grave marker (Credit: Holly H. Bundy, as a representative of the Abraham Bundy Family)
2nd Lt. Lincoln Delmar Bundy. Purple Heart. He is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge. His remains were recovered from the original burial site and reinterred in the Rom Communal Cemetery, Collective Grave 1-26, village of Rom, Departement des Deux-Sèvres, Poitou-Charentes, France. Born on the 12th February 1918. Son and one of fourteen children of James Dennis and Chloe Geneva (née Van Leven) Bundy of Mount Trumbull, Mohave, Arizona, USA. (Ref: 4)
Thirty bodies were recovered from the original burial site, twenty-nine were clothed in military battle dress and one in civilian attire. Four of the thirty were individually identified. The remains clothed in civilian attire were designated as “Unknown X-331, USMC, Champigneul, France” and assumed to be those of 2nd Lt. Bundy. These remains were examined by the American Graves Registration detachment but could not be identified as 2nd Lt. Bundy and returned to the Rom communal cemetery. (2nd Lt. Bundy - IDPF)
Plaque for 2nd Lt. Lincoln Delmer Bundy displayed by the people of Crulai, Normandy, France to honour his memory. (Credit: Jean Claude Clouet - Norman Association for Air Remembrance 1939-1945)
2nd Lt Lincoln D. Bundy
486th Fighter Squadron, 352 Fg/Gr. - 8th Air Force
Shot down in air combat over CRULAI on June 10, 1944.
Executed in the forest of Saint-Sauvant (79) on July 7, 1944.
Buried in the ROM cemetery (79)
It is believed that 2nd Lt. Bundy’s remains are amongst the twenty-six collectively named burials in the Rom communal cemetery. Despite extensive lobbying to the Imperial War Graves Commission, including through Diplomatic levels, permission to exhume the collective grave could not be secured. Therefore 2nd Lt. Bundy’s remains have been declared as nonrecoverable. (2nd Lt. Bundy - IDPF)
Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this Pilot. Thanks also to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.
1. SAS: Rogue Heroes – The Authorised Wartime History by Ben Macintyre.
2. SAS Operation Bulbasket (Behind the lines in occupied France, 1944) by Paul McCue
3. The Nazi Hunters by Damien Lewis
4. Far from Cactus Flat (The 20th Century story of a harsh Land, a proud family, and a lost son) by Lyman Haefen