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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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
01.08.1943 No. 409th Bomb Squadron 93rd Bomb Group, B24D Liberator 42-40265, 1st Lt. H.H. Womble

Operation: "Operation Tidal Wave" Ploesti Raid

Date: 1st August 1943

Unit: No. 409th Bomb Squadron 93rd Bomb Group

Type: B24D Liberator

Serial: 42-40265 "Honkey Tonk Gal"

Code: W

Base: Hardwick

Location: 10 miles past target Ploesti, Romania

Pilot: 1st Lt. Hubert H Womble O-663978 USAAF PoW

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Lawrence N Lancashire O-735404 USAAF PoW

Fl/Eng: T/Sgt. Mack Fitzgerald 14067163 USAAF PoW

Nav: 2nd Lt. Arthur W Thompson O-794181 USAAF Age 22. PoW

Bom: 1st Lt. William K. Little O-728290 USAAF KIA

Rad/op: S?Sgt. Howard O Ford 33200358 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Reed 18084225 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: Sgt. James W Barker 13048346 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: Sgt. John P English 35277037 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leo Sharp 18108375 USAAF PoW

REASON FOR LOSS:

Flak Damage crash landed near target Ploesti Romania

Operation Tidal Wave was an air attack by bombers of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) based in Libya and Southern Italy on nine oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania on 1 August 1943, during World War II. It was a strategic bombing mission and part of the "oil campaign" to deny petroleum-based fuel to the Axis. The mission resulted in "no curtailment of overall product output".

This mission was one of the costliest for the USAAF in the European Theater, with 53 aircraft and 660 aircrewmen lost!

It was the worst loss ever suffered by the USAAF on a single mission, and its date was later referred to as "Black Sunday". Five Medals of Honour and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to Operation Tidal Wave crew members. (info courtesy Wikipedia)

Burial details:

1st Lt. William K. Little. Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial Saint-Avold, France. Plot E. Row 43. Grave 15.

Extra Info: Bombardier 1st Lt William H Little died from gas fumes inhaled after crash in Sinai hospital Romania whilst PoW.

Researched by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered, February 2016. With thanks to Pete Stevens for photo of 1st Lt. Little and to Marshall and Mary McIntyre for grave photo. Photographs of Wellington from the Michel Beckers collection.

Acknowledgements: 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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 22 February 2016, 00:17

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