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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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8th Air Force
08.05.1944 735th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-94806, 2nd Lt. John B. Mackay.

Operation: Brunswick (Mission #344), Germany

Date: 8th May 1944 (Monday)

Unit: 453rd Bombardment Group (H), 735th Bombardment Squadron (H), 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-24H

Serial No: 42-94806

Code: H6:?

Location: 350 metres south of the centre of Wendessen, Germany

Base: Old Buckenham airfield (Station #144), Norfolk, England

Pilot: 2nd Lt. John Beaton Mackay O-683736 AAF Age 23. PoW *

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. John E. Murphy Jr. O-683752 AAF Age? PoW **

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Daniel Augustine Horgan O-814320 AAF Age 22. Killed

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Stephen Gervase McNally O-755032 AAF Age 22. Killed

Radio/Op: S/Sgt. John A. Watson 16151240 AAF Age? Killed

Engineer: S/Sgt. Walter Naumoff 6877612 AAF Age? Killed

Ball Turret Sgt. Eugene Casper Wolf 34526529 AAF Age 20. PoW ***

Right Waist: S/Sgt. Arthur Elmer Ege 16003433 AAF Age 21. Killed

Left Waist: Sgt. William Clarence Cheek 13117162 AAF Age 28. Killed

Tail Gunner: Sgt. Boyd Wilson Logan 18192910 AAF Age 20. Survived/Murdered (1)

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

** Unknown PoW camp.

*** Stalag Luft 4 Groß-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Poland (Moved from Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug. Moved to Wöbbelin near Ludwigslust and then to Usedom near Swinemünde).

REASON FOR LOSS:

B-24H 42-94806 was one of 27 aircraft dispatched by the 453rd BG on a mission to bomb targets at Brunswick on the 8th May 1944, one month to the day since the BG first bombed this target.

A statement provided by 1st Lt. Mackay described what transpired aboard the aircraft from his perspective:

“After dropping my bombs on Brunswick we were hit by large formations of German fighters. The ship was damaged badly, and at this time I realized we would have to bail. I called over [the] inter-phone and notified the crew. Seconds later we were hit by six Fw190's, #3 engine was blown completely off the wing, tearing the vertical stabilizer away, at the same time, also jamming [the] controls.

We then entered a spin and recovered at about 18,000 feet.

I looked back and saw both radioman and engineer with chutes on ready to jump out the bomb bay.

At this time we were hit again by fighters, starting a fire in the bomb bay. The co-pilot left his seat and bailed, dragging the engineer with him. The flames then obstructed my vision.

I looked between my feet into the navigator's compartment. At this time the nose turret section had completely torn off. Then I bailed out.

This may seem like a lot of things to see in a plane out of control, but it actually happened in a few seconds.

When I reached the ground I was beaten by civilians until German soldiers arrived. The co-pilot and ball turret gunner met with the same treatment.

On comparing notes with these men I have definitely found out that my bail out order was received and carried out in the rear of the ship. My ball turret gunner will confirm this as he was the last out of the waist section and personally witnessed their leaving the ship.

As to the nose section I'm not positive, for all I heard from the navigator was a confirmation of my bail out order.

I know for sure that the bombardier who was in the waist bailed out first and over the main target area, and I believe the rest of the crew landed from the target to a point about 10 miles west, where I bailed out and my plane landed and burst into flames. I had no opportunity to investigate and so can give you no more information.”

From the various Individual Casualty Questionaries (ICQ) it appears that 2nd Lt. Horgan was either killed or fatally injured aboard the aircraft. Sgt. Wolf saw 2nd Lt. McNally bail out from the waist gun window so his death remains unexplained.

S/Sgt. Watson was seen by 2nd Lt. Murphy attending to S/Sgt. Ege who was lying on the radio room floor. He saw that S/Sgt. Ege was dead and ordered S/Sgt. Watson to bail out but he refused and continued to attend to S/Sgt. Ege. 2nd Lt. Murphy then tried to grab S/Sgt. Watson by his parachute harness and pull him out of the aircraft as he himself jumped from the bomb bay.

Sgt. Wolf stated that he saw Sgt. Logan bail out of the aircraft from a waist gun window.

S/Sgt. Naumoff was in the nose turret when it was blown off the aircraft during the German fighter attacks and was killed.

Sgt. Cheek was seen to bail out of a waist gun window and it was speculated that he may have perished due to enemy action while descending on his parachute.

The aircraft crashed about 22 metres in front of the railroad crossing on the road from Wendessen to Groß-Denkte, 4 km ESE of Wolfenbüttel about 11 km SSE of Braunschweig (Brunswick).

On modern day maps the railroad crossing is now a bridge which is some 350 metres south of the centre of Wendessen.

A German witness on the ground saw a four engine American bomber crash and burn at Wendessen and also saw three parachutes coming down, two of which landed at Groß- Denkte and one that landed about 500 metres from the wreckage.

S/Sgt. Watson and four unknown airmen were buried by the Germans in the local Cemetery at Wendessen.

(1) The fate of Sgt. Logan was determined by a General Military Court which was convened in Dachau, Germany on the 16th and 17th January 1947.

Two German nationals were charged in that they did, at or near Meindorf, Germany on or about the 10th May 1944, wilfully, deliberately and wrongfully encourage, aid and abet and participate in the killing of an unknown member of the United States Army, who was then an unarmed, surrendered PoW in the custody of the then German Reich.

After checking all relevant Casualty Reports there was only one American casualty reported by the Germans to have been buried in Kissenbrück and therefore the unknown American airman in this case must have been Sgt Logan.

The two accused were:

Erich Herwarth Mette who was a former SS-Unterscharführer (Sgt) in the Waffen-SS;

Otto Peters who was a former Hauptgefreiter (Equates to Cpl) in the Kriegsmarine (German Navy).

The court heard that during the month of May 1944 an American airman was taken into custody near Kissenbrück by a German civilian. The airman had sprained an ankle as a result of his parachute jump which made it difficult for him to carry his parachute.

Kissenbrück is about 18 km south of Braunschweig (Brunswick)..

In Kissenbrück the airman was handed over to an Ortsgruppenleiter (Local Nazi Group Leader) Kremling who was in the company of Mette and Peters. The airman was taken to a local restaurant where he was seen about 30 minutes later, around noon, sitting outside on a bench between Mette and Peters, and in the presence of Kremling. Mette was wearing his SS uniform and Peters his Kriegsmarine uniform.

Evidence was presented that Kremling had ordered Mette and Peters to take the airman to Wolfenbüttel. However, in his sworn testimony, Mette claimed that Kremling ordered him to shoot the airman at once.

Mette, Peters and the airman pushing a bicycle upon which his parachute was carried, left in the direction of Wolfenbüttel via the village of Neindorf. Some 150 metres past Neindorf, the airman was shot and killed by Mette with a pistol furnished by Kremling.

Peters, in his sworn testimony claimed Mette had told him, on the way to Wolfenbüttel, that he had been ordered by Kremling to shoot the airman. Peters claimed that he had tried to persuade Mette not to shoot the airman but Mette said that it was his duty. Mette was dissuaded but later, when Peters dropped behind to tie his boot lace, Mette shot the airman from behind in the neck.

Peters guarded the body of the airman whilst Mette went on to Wolfenbüttel to report the incident to the police. Upon his return to the scene Mette took some personal items from the body and delivered them to the Bürgermeister (Mayor) of Neindorf. Later the airman was buried in the Kissenbrück Cemetery.

Mette in his sworn testimony claimed that he had fired one shot at the airman because he had tried to escape.

The court was of the opinion that there was sufficient evidence in that Mette and Peters acted upon the orders of Kremling to kill the airman. Mette and Peters were both found guilty of the charge. Mette was sentenced to death by hanging and Peters to life imprisonment.

However upon review Mette’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment which was then further reduced to 27 years. He was paroled in October 1954.

Peters’ sentence was reduced to 20 years imprisonment and later reduced to 15 years imprisonment. He was paroled in March 1955.

Kremling was not brought before the court to answer for his part in the shooting. It is not known if he was ever apprehended.

Burial Details:

2nd Lt. Daniel Augustine Horgan. Air Medal. Recovered and initially interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery Plot C, Row 1, Grave 19. Repatriated on the 25th April 1950 and finally laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. Born on the 5th September 1922 in Melrose, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Son of Daniel Joseph and Many Ann ‘Mae’ (née Cole) Horgan from Melrose, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.

Above 2nd Lt. McNally. Grave marker credit, PIN - FindAGrave: Newspaper clipping credit, Daily News dated Tuesday January 31th, 1950.

2nd Lt. Stephen Gervase McNally. Air Medal. Recovered and initially buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Plot C, Row 3, Grave 56. Repatriated on the 1st February 1950 and buried in the Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery, Plot I, Grave 321, San Diego, California. Born on the 8th October 1921 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Son of Gervase Daniel McNally and husband to Gretchen L. McNally from Los Angeles, California, USA.

S/Sgt. John A. Watson. Air Medal. Recovered and initially interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery Plot C, Row 1, Grave 22. Repatriated on the 25th April 1950 and finally laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. Son of Christian Watson, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

S/Sgt. Walter Naumoff. Air Medal. Recovered and initially interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery Plot C, Row 1, Grave 23. Repatriated on the 25th April 1950 and finally laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. Son of Alex Naumoff from Long Island City, New York, USA.

S/Sgt. Arthur Elmer Ege. Air Medal. Recovered and initially interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery Plot C, Row 1, Grave 25. Repatriated on the 25th April 1950 and finally laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. Born on the 22nd November 1922 in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. Son of Arthur Elmer and Muriel (née Furstenberg) Ege from Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA. His mother predeceased him in January 1943.

Above Sgt. Cheek. Grave marker credit, Pat Gillespie - FindAGrave: Newspaper clipping credit, The Atlanta Constitution, dated Saturday June 4th, 1949

Sgt. William Clarence Cheek. Repatriated and interred on the 5th June 1949 at the Zion Church Cemetery, Braselton, Georgia. Born on the 4th January 1915 in Watkinsville, Georgia. Son of Minnie Check and husband to Willene Check from Burford, Gwinnett, Georgia, USA.

Sgt. Boyd Wilson Logan. Recovered and initially interred at the Netherlands American cemetery. Repatriated and interred at the Enid Cemetery, Enid, Oklahoma. Born on the 7th March 1924 in Enid, Garfield, Oklahoma. Son of Thomas Hugh and Ver Liddle (née Wilson) Logan from Enid, Garfield, Oklahoma, USA.

Above: Group Burial marker for 2nd Lt. Horgan, S/Sgt. Watson, S/Sgt. Naumoff and S/Sgt. Ege (Credit: In memory of the late FindAGrave member "Hope")

2nd Lt. Horgan, S/Sgt. Watson, S/Sgt. Naumoff and S/Sgt. Ege could not be individually identified and received a Group Burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Plot 34, Graves 4087, 4088 & 4089, Fort Myer, Virginia, USA.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

RS & TV 30.07.2021 - Initial Upload

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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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