16.08.1944 369th Bomb Squadron (H) B-17G 42-97365 ‘Zamro’, 1st.Lt. Young B.C. Newsom
Operation: Böhlen (Mission #556), Germany
Date: 16th August 1944 (Wednesday)
Unit: 306th Bombardment Group (H), 369th Bombardment Squadron (H), 1st Air Division, 8th Air Force
Serial No: 42-97365 Zamro
Location: Rotenkirchen, 4 miles SW of Einbeck, Germany
Base: Thurleigh (Station No. 111), Bedfordshire, England
Pilot: 1st.Lt. Young B.C. Newsom O-706232 AAF Age? PoW*
Co Pilot: 2nd.Lt. Irving Lutes Dudley O-755655 AAF Age 29. PoW**
Navigator: 2nd.Lt. Harold Pasvoll O-718195 AAF Age 23. PoW**
Bombardier: Sgt. Gordon Melville Slocum 16113228 AAF Age 23. PoW*
Radio/Op: Sgt. Henry Kantor 32745448 AAF Age 20. Survived (1)
Engineer: T/Sgt. Jerry Milford Myers 36441358 AAF Age 21. PoW***
Ball Turret: Sgt. Milton Maurice Bassett 31337803 AAF Age? PoW***
Waist Gunner: Sgt. Orville W. Werts AAF 36476037 Age 21. PoW***
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Floyd Frank Owens 17119569 AAF Age 28. PoW***
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 3 Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).
** Stalag 7a Moosburg, Bavaria (Work Camp 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse and Work Camp 3368 Munich).
*** 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:
42-97365 Zamro was one of 35 aircraft from the 306th Bombardment Group and one of 7 from the 369th Bomber Squadron on a mission to bomb Bohlen in Germany. The formation encountered intense, accurate tracking flak for about 5 minutes after leaving the target area. The Zamro was last seen at about 11:10 hours after leaving the target area, losing altitude, with all engines running and under control. No parachutes were observed.
German records reported that the aircraft crashed at Rotenkirchen, 4 miles SW of Einbeck and was 70% destroyed.
It was reported that all of the crew bailed out over a 15 minutes period near to Osterode am Harz . 2nd.Lt. Dudley, 2nd.Lt. Pasvoll, T/Sgt. Myers, Sgt. Owens, Sgt. Werts and Sgt. Slocum were captured after they landed near Osterode am Harz shortly before 1200 hours. They were held at the Goslar airfield, 1 mile north of Goslar and 40km SSW of Braunschweig before being transferred to Dulag Luft Oberursel the next day on the 17th August 1944.
1st.Lt. Newsom was captured the next day on the 17th August at 1200 hours, at Elvershausen near Northeim, some 7 miles WSW of Osterode am Harz.
The Individual Casualty Questionnaire for Sgt. Bassett reported that he and Sgt. Kantor evaded capture for 9 days. On the night of the 24th August he was captured by two German civilians outside the town of Godelheim, Germany, some 38 miles west of Osterode am Harz but Sgt. Kantor managed to escape under the cover of darkness.
(1) The fate of Sgt. Kantor was unknown until a Military Court was held at the Garrison Theater, Osnabrück, Germany from 7th March to the 1st May 1947. In total six German nationals were before the court on ten separate charges.
The third of the charges accused three German nationals of committing a war crime in that they, at or near the Rheine airfield in Germany on or about the 8th September 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned with the killing of No. 32745448 Flight-Serjeant (sic) Henry Kantor, United States Army Air Force, PoW.
The three accused were Franz Schmitt a former Luftwaffe Major (Maj.) and Commanding Officer of the Rheine airfield; Heinz Stellpflug, a former Luftwaffe Stabsfeldwebel (M/Sgt.) and chief clerk responsible to Schmitt and a Karl Henkelhausen a former Luftwaffe Maj. who was Schmitt’s second in command. They were all stationed at the Rheine airfield located 2½ miles NW of the town of Rheine in the province of Westphalia.
In the course of the trial proceedings it was established that a Fritz Bollenrath, a former SA (Sturmabteilung = Paramilitary arm of the Nazi party)-Standartenführer (equates to Col.) and official in charge of the Rheine outpost of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst of the SS) at Rheine, systematically shot a number of Allied airmen who were delivered into his hands. The prosecution maintained that the three accused aided and abetted Bollenrath in the killing of Sgt. Kantor.
It appears that Sgt. Kantor had successfully evaded capture from the time he escaped on the night of the 24th August until he was arrested on the morning of the 8th September and held at the Steinfurt Police station, about 10½ miles SW of Rheine and some 90 miles WNW of Godelheim.
The log of Hauptwachtmeister (M/Sgt.) Max Kuehn (Kühn), the police officer for the district recorded that a man named Kantor had been arrested and brought to his police station on the 8th September 1944. Kuehn (Kühn) telephoned the Rheine airbase and reported the arrival of this man at his police station. He then sent Rottmeister (Cpl.) Sommer with the airman by train to hand him over to the authorities at the airbase. Arriving at the railway station he was met by Stellpflug and an SA man, who was later identified as Bollenrath. He handed over custody of the airman to them and watched as they drove off towards the airbase in Bollenrath’s car. He reported to Kuehn (Kühn) that Bollenrath had made no secret of the fact that the airman was to be killed.
The court heard that Bollenrath had halted the car in the Muniwald (Muni wood) near to the Rheine airbase. Here Sgt. Kantor was made to leave the car and was immediately shot and killed by Bollenrath. Medical evidence provided to the court confirmed that the airman had a gunshot wound to the neck which was consistent with being caused by a pistol fired at close range. Stellpflug claimed that he reported the shooting to Henkelhausen but no action was taken to investigate the incident.
The court had some difficulty in determining whether any of the three accused had been involved in any capacity in the death of Sgt. Kantor. However, certain evidence heard by the court made a strong case that Bollenrath, who had committed suicide on the 5th December 1945 shortly after his arrest, was probably responsible for the killing of Sgt. Kantor.
The court deemed that the evidence presented was not sufficient to convict the three accused and therefore on this specific charge Schmitt, Stellpflug, Henkelhausen were found not guilty. Ultimately no one was held responsible for the death of Sgt. Kantor.
However, Stellpflug was found guilty on two of the other charges and was sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out on the 5th September 1947 in Hameln (Hamelin) prison.
German records document that Sgt. Kantor was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery Königsesch, Rheine, on the 8th September 1944. A British war crimes team disinterred a number of bodies from the cemetery after the war and discovered that of the eight American servicemen buried there, five including that of Sgt. Kantor looked like they were victims of war crimes.
Above: Sgt. Kantor (Courtesy: Dominique Potier FindAGrave).
Sgt. Henry Kantor. Purple Heart, Air Medal. Reinterred at the Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupré, Belgium in Plot S, Row 6, Grave 149. Relocated to Plot A, Row 26, Grave 5. Born in 1924. Son to Sadie Kantor of Utica, New York, USA.
Researched by Ralph Snape and for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.