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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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USAAF Crest
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"

Code: J+

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.

Burial details:

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.

MB 24.09.2018

Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 24 September 2018, 22:44

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