07.07.1944 859th Bomb Squadron B24J Liberator 44-40132 1st Lt. Kilpatrick
Operation: Bernburg Germany
Date: 07th July 1944 (Friday)
Unit: 859th Bomb Squadron - 492nd Bomb Group
Type: B24J Liberator
Serial: 44-40132 "I'll Be Around"
Base: North Pickenham
Location: near Alikendorf Germany
Pilot: 1st. Lt. Donald M Kilpatrick Jr 0-449356 USAAF Age 22. Killed
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Thomas L Flaherty 0-760183 USAAF Age 28. PoW Stalag Luft 1
Nav: 2nd Lt. Charles Francis Hanline 0-707907 USAAF Age 26. PoW Stalag Luft 3 (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser)
Bmr: 2nd Lt. Glen R. Wrobel 0-709020 USAAF Age 22. Killed
Radio/Gnr: T/Sgt. James O. Coates 34381779 USAAF Killed
Eng: T/Sgt. Wilbur Carl Idler 39272464 USAAF Age 30. PoW
BT/Gnr: S/Sgt. Kenneth D. Shinley 373420 USAAF Age 21. PoW Stalag Luft 4 moved to Wobbelin BeiLudwigslust
RW/Gnr: S/Sgt. Leon Arthur Byers 18242246 USAAF Killed
LW/Gnr: S/Sgt. Donald L. Brackins 34706951 USAAF Age 21. Killed
T/Gnr: S/Sgt. Herbert M. Novotny 36584465 USAAF Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
After they dropped their bombs they were attacked by an overwhelming force of FW-190s.
The initial hit by enemy cannon fire killed Byers and Brackins on the spot. Hanline was wounded in both legs.
The aircraft went out of control, spinning as it fell. Five men were able to bail out during the horror. As their chutes neared the ground the German soldiers below began firing at them. Lt. Kilpatrick was killed before he could touch ground. The other four were captured. Two of them were taken to a PoW hospital in Magdeburg.
Rear: 1st. Lt. Kilpatrick, 2nd Lt. Flaherty, 2nd Lt. Wrobel, 2nd Lt. Hanline. Front: T/Sgt. Idler, T/Sgt. Coates, S/Sgt. Novatny, S/Sgt. Shinley, S/Sgt. Byers and S/Sgt. Brackins.
1st. Lt. Donald M. Kilpatrick. Johnson Cemetery, Presque Isle, Maine, USA. Son of Donald and Lucy (née Beckwith) Kilpatrick of Maine, USA.
2nd Lt. Glen R. Wrobel. American Cemetery Margraten Holland. Plot M, Row 22, Grave 3. Son of Gustav and Huldah (nee Lenser) Wrobel of Wisconsin, USA.
T/Sgt. James O. Coates. Ardennes American Cemetery Neuville-en-Condroz Belgium. Plot B, Row 36, Grave 55. Understood to be from South Carolina, USA.
S/Sgt. Leon Arthur Byers. American Cemetery Margraten Holland. Plot P Row 22 Grave 6. Son of Marvin J. and Pauline Byers of Dallas County, Texas, USA
S/Sgt. Donald L. Brackins. Alaqua Methodist Church Cemetery Steele Church, Florida USA. Son of John Marion 'Boss' and Bertha Pear (née Steele) Bracklin of Florida, USA. Husband of Annie Lee Ward and father to Donald Lee.
S/Sgt. Herbert M. Novotny. American Cemetery Margraten Holland. Plot P Row 22 Grave 8. Understood to be from Michigan, USA.
Researched for Aircrew Remembered Michel Beckers. With thanks to the 492nd Bomb Group website, Dana Troublefield for photograph of S/Sgt. Brackins and the US School Yearbook for photo of 2nd Lt. Hanlie - the remaining photographs from the Michel Beckers collection.