11.01.1944 94 B/Group. 331st Bomber Squadron B17G 42-31216 "Patches" 1st Lt. Joseph H. Rubin
Operation: Braunschweig Germany
Date: 11th January 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 331st Bomb Squadron 94th Bomb Group
Type: B17G Flying Fortress
Serial: 42-31216 "Patches"
Base: USAAF Rougham, Suffolk (Station 468)
Location: Close to Thuine Hospital, near Lingen, Germany
Pilot: 1st. Lt. Joseph H. Rubin 0-803096 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
C0-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Allan F. Bolton 0-745595 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Nav: 2nd Lt. Robert H. Smith 0-740679 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Air/Bmr: 2nd Lt. Robert E. Hughes 0-679524 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang
Radio/Op: Sgt. John L. Cox 35506791 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft 17b Gniexendorf
TT/E: T/Sgt. Howard Davis 16008325 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft 17b Gniexendorf
BTG: S/Sgt. Earl E. Hall 15333386 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft 17b Gniexendorf
LWG: S/Sgt. Melvin Weissman 12154054 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft 17b Gniexendorf
RWG: Cpl. Oscar C. Gallegos 9850278 USAAF PoW Stalag Luft 17b Gniexendorf
TG: S/Sgt. John R. Smith 31114977 USAAF Age 40. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On the outbound flight, intercepted by Luftwaffe fighters at 13:15 hrs whilst flying at 22.000 ft. Visibility at the time was considered good with fair weather conditions.
Above left: 2nd Lt. Allan F. Bolton, right: T/Sgt. Howard Davis
The crew bailed out but the chute for S/Sgt. Smith failed to operate. One member of the crew S/Sgt. Melvin Weissman thought that S/Sgt. Smith was wounded prior to bailing out and that although he was very cool, S/Sgt. Smith was very hesitant about jumping.
Body identified by Sgt Cox to the Germans who had covered the body with his chute, although he never saw his face he recognised the watch that he had purchased from another member of the crew. The Germans also had his dog tags and informed the other crew members that he would be buried in the vicinity of the crash.
S/Sgt. John R. Smith and grave.
S/Sgt. John R. Smith. Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial Neuville-en-Condroz. Plot D. Row 15. Grave 8
Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered March 2015. Also thanks to Domique Potier for grave photo and for the crew photos to Barbara Haines. Other sources as quoted below.