28.09.1944 427th Bomb Squadron (H) B-17G 44-8335, 1st.Lt. Charles G. Glasgow
Operation: Magdeburg (Mission #652), Germany
Date: 28th September 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: 303rd Bombardment Group (H), 427th Bombardment Squadron (H), 1st Air Division, 8th Air Force
Serial No: 44-8335
Location: About 2½ km SE of Wolfenbüttel
Base: Molesworth (Station #107), Huntingdonshire, England
Pilot: 1st.Lt. Charles G. Glasgow O-025490 AAF Age 23. PoW *
Co-pilot: 2nd.Lt. George Harold Ashford O-827121 AAF Age 23. Killed
Navigator: 2nd.Lt. John Howard Cashman Jr. O-723004 AAF Age 21. Killed
Bombardier: 2nd.Lt. Homer Wallace Goff O-717779 AAF Age 23. Survived (1)
Radio Op: Sgt. Robert T. Britz 16029539 AAF Age? Killed
Engineer: Sgt. Hilaire A. Lisabeth 36862808 AAF Age 20. Killed
Ball Turret: Sgt. Jethern J. McConathy Jr. 38388429 AAF Age 21. Killed
Waist Gunner: Sgt. John Hugh McGlinn 33324014 AAF Age 22. Killed
Tail Turret: Sgt. James T. Miller AAF 38517922 Age 19. Killed
One of the two Waist Gunners were removed from crew complements starting on the 7th June 1944 and then both from 23rd February 1945.
* Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
REASON FOR LOSS:
The 303rd BG detailed 28 aircraft plus two borrowed PFF B-17 aircraft on a mission to bomb the Krupp Grusonwerke AG at Magdeburg, Germany. The secondary target, to be bombed if PFF means were used, was the Magdeburg railroad marshalling yards. Last resort targets were airfields at Gardelegen, Quedlinburg and Gießen.
Gardelegen airfield was 47 km NNW of Magdeburg and about 3 km ENE of Gardelegen;
Quedlinburg airfield was 58 km SSW of Magdeburg in Anhalt and 4.5 km S of Quedlinburg;
Gießen airfield was 50 km N of Frankfurt am Main and 3.6 km ENE of the town centre.
The aircraft from the BG took off from Molesworth on the morning of the 28th September 1944 between 07:35 and 07:59 hrs. B-17G 44-8335 was on its first mission and was part of the lead group, 4th flight and the only aircraft lost from this formation.
The formation was subjected to severe and intense fighter attacks and it was reported that 44-8335 was hit on the starboard side in the vicinity of the radio room and #1 and #2 engines. An explosion and fire was seen in the area of the radio room. The aircraft was on fire and seen to peel away from the formation to the port and pass under aircraft #4 but appeared to be under control. Two parachutes were seen in the air.
1st.Lt. Glasgow was on one of the two parachutes and it is probable that 2nd.Lt. Goff was the second.
The aircraft exploded in mid-air and broke into pieces with the fuselage breaking in the middle section. Wreckage was scattered over a 1 km circular area between Linden and Klein-Denkte, about 2½ km SE of Wolfenbüttel, Germany at about 13:10 hrs. Sections of the fuselage wreckage displayed clear bullet holes from the fighter attacks.
The OKL fighter claims for the Reich, West & Südfront on the 28th September 1944, lists three confirmed B-17 victories in the vicinity of Wolfenbüttel, however, it has not been possible to positively associate any of the claims for shooting down B-17G 44-8335.
1st.Lt. Glasgow was blown out of the aircraft by the explosion, opened his parachute and landed in the area of the Hermann Göring factories, 6 km west of Wolfenbüttel where he was captured.
2nd.Lt. Ashford, Sgt. Britz, Sgt. Lisabeth, Sgt. McGlinn and Sgt. Miller were recovered from the aircraft wreckage and buried in the local Cemetery in Linden, Germany. It is not known when or where the bodies of Sgt. Britz and Sgt. McGlinn were recovered or where they were initially buried. German records document that 2nd.Lt. Goff was buried in the Cemetery in Cramme which is some 9 km WSW of Linden.
(1) The circumstances leading to 2nd.Lt. Goff ‘s death were established during an American General Military Government Court which was convened at Dachau, Germany during the period 23rd to 26th May 1947.
One German national was charged that he did, at or near Cramme, Germany, on or about the 25th September 1944 [sic], deliberately and wrongfully kill of a member of the United States Army, believed to be Homer E. Goff, ASN O-717779, who was then a surrendered and unarmed PoW in the custody of the then German Reich.
The accused was a Wilhelm Joachim Luethje who was a former Wachtmeister (Sgt) or Meister (Sgt. Maj) of the Ordnungspolizei (Regular police) and a member of the Nazi party.
He was also reported to be a Leutnant der Polizei (2nd.Lt.) in charge of three villages in his district.
The court heard that on or about the 25th September 1944 [sic], around noon, an American airman parachuted to safety in the vicinity of Cramme, Germany. He was taken into custody by members of the Rural Guard (Landwacht), searched and taken to a nearby farmhouse. The airman was not wearing any shoes but did not appear to be injured.
An airman’s loose fitting flying boots could and did slip from their feet when their parachute opened and many airmen took to attaching a pair of shoes to their parachute harness.
Luethje, who was the highest ranking police official present took the airman into custody. After an unsuccessful attempt to contact the police in Wolfenbüttel by telephone Luethje and an Ortsgruppenleiter (Nazi local group leader) named Bode left with the airman ostensibly to walk to Bode’s house which was some 200 to 300 metres from the farmhouse.
Between 16:00 and 17:00 hrs, the Bürgermeister (presumed to be the Mayor of Cramme) saw Luethje and the airman on the street in the village. The airman was walking about 4 metres ahead of Luethje who was armed. Luethje told the Bürgermeister that he was transporting the flyer from Cramme but did not name his destination. However, all captured flyers were taken to Wolfenbüttel, a distance of 8 or 9 km via a path through the forest or 10 or 11 km by the main road.
About 2 hours later Luethje reported back to the Bürgermeister and claimed that at around 2 km from Wolfenbüttel, on a footpath leading through the forest, the airman had attacked him by kicking him on the upper thigh and attempted to escape and that he had killed the airman by shooting him in the back from a distance of 20 to 25 metres.
The body was picked up the following day and buried in the cemetery at Cramme but a marker was never erected. A later pathologist's report on the recovered body of the airman identified the remains as Homer W. Goff and recorded the cause of death as “Wound of the head, gunshot." The report also stated that "This man was shot in the back of the head probably with the muzzle of the weapon held close to the head".
Luethje claimed that he did not intend to kill the airman and did not aim at him but just wanted to prevent him from escaping. The court apparently disbelieved Luethje’s claims and found him guilty of the charge. He was sentenced to life imprisonment which later was reduced to 28 years and he was paroled in December 1954.
(Press clipping: Courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer Saturday 7th January 1950).
2nd.Lt. George Harold Ashford. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot HH, Row 6, Grave 141 as X-7723. Born on the 9th October 1920. Repatriated and buried at the Alexandria Cemetery, Kentucky. Son of George Guy and Florence (née Fields) Ashford and husband to Virginia Kathryn (née Henderson) Ashford of Southgate, Kentucky, USA.
Right: (Courtesy Bobby Hunt-FindAGrave). 2nd.Lt. John H. Cashman Jr. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery in the Joint Plot HH, Row, 6, Grave 135. Repatriated on the 14th March 1951 and interred in a common grave, Plot C, Grave 233, with Sgt. Jethern J. McGonathy Jr. at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. Born on the 26th October 1922. Son of John H Cashman of New York, New York, USA.
Left: (Courtesy of Des Philippet - FindAGrave). 2nd.Lt. Homer Wallace Goff. Purple Heart. Recovered and reinterred in the Netherlands American Cemetery in Plot X, Row 12, Grave 227 on the 26th May 1945. Relocated to Plot P, Row 11, Grave 10. Born on 11th April 1921 in West Virginia. Son of Rankey Alvin and Bessie Rachel (née Wallace) Goff and husband to Marian R. (née Baird) Goff of Charleston, Kanawha West, Virginia, USA.
Right: (Courtesy of Dominique Potier - FindAGrave). Sgt. Robert T. Britz. Purple Heart. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot HH, Row 6, Grave 137. Relocated to Plot A, Row 26, Grave 15. Son of Hiram M. Britz from Marine City, Michigan, USA.
Sgt. Hilaire A. Lisabeth. Purple Heart. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot HH, Row 6, Grave 136. Relocated to Plot C, Row 3, Grave 6. Born on the 5th January 1924. Son of Adhemer Achiele and Augusta M. (née Naert) Lisabeth of Marine City, Michigan, USA. His father predeceased him in 1939.
Left: (Courtesy Bobby Hunt-FindAGrave). Sgt. Jethern J. McConathy Jr. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery in the Joint Plot HH, Row, 6, Grave 135. Repatriated on the 14th March 1951 and interred in a common grave, Plot C, Grave 233, with 2nd.Lt. John H. Cashman Jr. at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. Born in 1923 in Louisiana. Son of Jethern Joseph and Edith B. (née Bivens) McConathy of Vernon, Louisiana, USA.
Sgt. John Hugh McGlinn. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot HH, Row 6, Grave 139 as X-7721. Repatriated to the Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, New Jersey. Born on the 12th November 1921 in Philadelphia. Son of Mary A. McGlinn from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Sgt. James Thomas Miller. Recovered and reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot HH, Row 6, Grave 138. Repatriated and buried at the Potter Memorial Cemetery, Poinsett County, Arkansas. Born 28th February 1925 in Shannon, Mississippi. Son of Harold Ray and Ethel Mae (née Priest) Miller of Lepanto, Arkansas, USA.
Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.