29.04.1944 788th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24J 42-52506 1st.Lt. Bill F. Moore
Operation: Friedrichstraße railway station in Berlin (Mission #327), Germany
Date: 29th April 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: 67th Bombardment Group (H), 788th Bombardment Squadron (H), 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force
Serial No: 42-52506
Location: Uddel near Apeldoorn, Holland
Base: Rackheath (Station #145), Norfolk, England
Pilot: 1st.Lt. William (Bill) Frantz Moore O-794442 AAF Age 22. Survived (1)
Co-Pilot: 2nd.Lt. Edgar Joseph Powell O-692814 AAF Age 24. PoW *
Navigator: 1st.Lt Franklin Dent Coslett O-801361 AAF Age 29. Survived (2)
Bombardier: 2nd.Lt. Edward Verbosky, O-754780 AAF Age 28. PoW *
Radio/Op: Sgt. James Reese Anslow 15354506 AAF Age 20. Survived (3)
Engineer: T/Sgt. Clinton Loftin Watts 18053597 AAF Age 26. PoW ** (4)
Top Turret: (4)
Ball Turret: S/Sgt Henry Hayes Allen 14141180 AAF Age? PoW **
Right Waist: S/Sgt. Walter Thomas Kilgore 13014321 AAF Age 25. Survived (5)
Left Waist: S/Sgt Werner George Braun 35410763 AAF Age? PoW - No further details
Command Pilot: Maj. Robert Louis Salzarulo O-424730 AAF Age 25. PoW *
Staff/Group Bombardier: 1st.Lt. John Lewis Low Jr. O-2043763 AAF Age 25. Survived (6)
The B-24 had 10 crew positions. Crew complements evolved during the war and generally comprised 9 personnel who were typically, but not always, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier, Navigator, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Radio Operator/Waist Gunner, Nose Gunner, Ball Turret Gunner, Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner.
* Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).
** 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).
Crew #11 at Wendover Field, Utah. Back, left to right: Bill F. Moore, Edgar J. Powell, Franklin D. Coslett, Edward Verbosky. Front, left to right: Clinton L. Watts, James R. Anslow, Walter T. Kilgore, Henry H. Allen, Werner G. Braun, Robert G. Stitely “see (8)”. (credit: The 467 BG (H) association)
Officers from crew #11 at Wendover Field, Utah. Left to right: Edward Verbosky, Bill F. Moore, Franklin D. Coslett & Edgar J. Powell. (credit: The 467 BG (H) association and Edgar Powell)
REASON FOR LOSS:
B-24H 42-52506 as one of the lead aircraft took off from Rackheath at 0714 hours on the 29th April 1944. The aircraft was in the deputy lead position with Maj. Robert Louis Salzarulo as the Command Pilot and 1st.Lt. John Lewis Low Jr. as the Staff/Group Bombardier aboard. 42-52506 was one of 7 aircraft from the 788th Bomber Squadron which joined 21 other aircraft assigned from the 467th Bombardment Group on this bombing mission over Berlin.
The aircraft was reported to have been hit by flak over the target which severed the oxygen supply for the Bombardier, but he released the bombs on target as briefed. After leaving the target area flak knocked out No. 1 engine and punctured the fuel tanks. This caused them to drop out of their formation but were able to join another formation on its way back to England. Approaching Holland, the aircraft began to lose height and another engine failed. 1st.Lt. Moore ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft which then crashed into a farmhouse in Uddel near Apeldoorn. The crew landed safely but well dispersed from each other but escaped detection until they put into contact or were contacted by Dutch resistance members.
(1) 1st.Lt. Moore was reunited with 1st.Lt. Low Jr. by the Dutch resistance and with their help evaded capture for about 6 months. On the 1st October 1944 the place where they were hiding “see (6)”, was raided by the Germans. 1st.Lt. Moore was captured and taken to the Willem III Kazerne (barracks) in Apeldoorn. Under interrogation he refused to give up the names of the others or who helped him. 1st.Lt. Moore along with twenty men from the Dutch resistance were executed by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) on the 2nd December 1944.
A Eugene Dircks, a Belgium member of the SD when questioned described how 1st.Lt. Moore faced his executioners telling them he was a PoW and would not submit to them. Two soldiers dragged him to his execution, but he continued to resist their efforts until he was fatally wounded by Oberleutnant Adolf Glück, a Luftwaffe officer, who shot him several times in the back with his automatic pistol. His murder and that of 12 Dutchmen was an act of retribution for a failed attempt to secure the release of Dutch resistance members.
Glück was brought to trial in Arnhem, Holland on 3rd March 1950 for the executions and was sentenced to a 3-year jail term. He was deported to Germany on the 25th May 1951.
(2) 1st.Lt Coslett evaded capture for over seven months with the assistance of the Dutch resistance. On the morning of the 24th December 1944, he was sheltering in the woods at Hoenderloo along with F/O Oberdak and three others when quite by accident they were discovered. Whilst three of the group managed to escape, 1st.Lt Coslett and F/O Oberdak were captured and taken to SD Headquarters in Velp. Here they were illegally tried and sentenced to death for terrorism and espionage and then transferred to the De Kruisberg prison in Doetinchem awaiting execution. 1st.Lt Coslett survived to be liberated by the Allies on the 13th April 1945 at Assen, Holland.
(3) Sgt. Anslow evaded capture with the aid of the Dutch resistance and the French Maquis and was liberated by Allied forces mid-July 1945 in the village of Meyac, France. It was not until the 9th September 1945 that he returned to England.
(4) T/Sgt. Watts was also the Top Turret Gunner. He landed safely but later suffered a torn upper right thigh muscle for which he was treated at the Luftwaffe hospital in Amsterdam before becoming a PoW.
(5) S/Sgt. Kilgore evaded capture with the aid of the Dutch resistance and was liberated by Allied forces on the 8th May 1945 at Meerkerk in Holland.
(6) 1st.Lt. Low Jr. was reunited with 1st.Lt. Moore by the Dutch resistance. A Sgt. David L. Smith “see (7)” joined the group on the 15th May 1944. On or about the 10th August 1944 T/Sgt. George P. Paulk and Sgt. Floyd Ragsdale from the B-17G ‘Karen B’ were added to the group. On the 1st October 1944 the place where they were hiding was raided “see (1)”. 1st.Lt. Moore was not in a position to hide with the others and was captured. Despite a thorough search by the Germans 1st.Lt. Low Jr. and the others went undiscovered and continued to evade capture until they returned to Allied lines on the 17th February 1945 at Moerdijk, Holland.
(7) S/Sgt. David L. Smith was the right waist gunner from B-24 41-28754 Tell Me More of the 787th Bomber Squadron (466th Bombardment Group (H)) which crashed landed largely intact on 29th April 1944 near Apeldoorn. He was recaptured under unknown circumstances during Jan 1945 and was incarcerated at Stalag Luft I, near Barth, Western Pomerania, Germany.
(8) Sgt. Robert Gilmore Stitely 13101884 AAF survived the war and returned to Waynesboro, Franklin, Pennsylvania, USA.
Above: 1st.Lt. Moore (credit: The 467 BG (H) association)
1st.Lt. Bill F. Moore. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Netherlands American Cemetery Margraten in Plot G Row 9 Grave 27. Born on 10th April 1921, son to Mrs. J W. Moore from Tucker, Georgia, USA.
Above: A memorial which commemorates the names of the 12 Dutch partisans and 1st.Lt. Bill F. Moore was erected on the site of the murders in the early 1960’s. (credit: The 467 BG (H) association)
A chapter is dedicated to the crew of B-24H Liberator 42-52506 in the book “One Way Ticket to Berlin – A day in the Life of the Mighty Eighth” - By John Meurs.
Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the database. Thanks also to Mr. John Meurs for the reference materials provided and special thanks to Andy Wilkinson from the 467th BG(H) Association for his assistance and permission to use the crew and memorial photographs.