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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
15.08.1944 358th Bombardment Squadron (H) B-17G 42-97085 1st Lt. Roman P. Charnick

Operation: Wiesbaden airfield (Mission #554), Germany

Date: 15th August 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit No: 358th Bombardment Squadron (H), 303rd Bombardment Group (H), 1st Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-17G

Serial No: 42-97085

Code: VK:B

Location: NE of Bitburg, Germany

Base: Molesworth (Station #107), Cambridgeshire, England

Pilot: 1st Lt. Roman Paul Charnick O-757608 AAF Age 24. KiA

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Leland Harley Satre O-818223 AAF Age 23. PoW *

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Solomon Goldfield O-712556 AAF Age 23. PoW **

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Lowell L. Ricky O-744334 AAF Age 23. Evaded (1)

Radio/Op: S/Sgt. Robert Henry Neidringhaus 35727186 AAF Age 20. PoW ***

Engineer: S/Sgt. Paul Peter Carrissimo 12031131 AAF Age 23. PoW ****

Ball Turret: Sgt. Frederick Odell Byrd 16004097 AAF Age 24. Killed (2)

Waist Gunner: Sgt. Francis Glenn Herod 35142612 AAF Age? PoW ****

Tail Gunner: Sgt. Arthur W. Schulz 17055708 AAF Age? PoW ****

One of the two Waist Gunners were removed from crew complements starting on the 7th June 1944 and then both from the 23rd February 1945.

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

** Stalag 7a Moosburg, Bavaria (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse and 3368 Munich).

*** Stalag 9b Fallingbostel, Germany.

**** 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:

On 15th August 1944 B17G 42-97085 was one of thirty-eight bombers assigned to bomb the Wiesbaden airfield in Germany.

On the return leg to Molesworth the formation was flying in lower, higher and lead groups when at about 11:48 hrs the aircraft were attacked by twenty to twenty-five German Bf109 & Fw190 fighters. #42-97085 was one of nine aircraft out of thirteen of the lower group that were shot down.

Eight of the crew bailed out before the aircraft exploded and disintegrated with wreckage falling to earth as far as 14 km NE of Bitburg, Germany.

The location of the crash site reported in German documents i.e. 1 km (¾ ml) north of Ürzig which is 6½ km (4 mls) east of Wittlich, Germany, was probably for another of the aircraft shot down this day. Incidents concerning the crew were all further to the west of this reported crash site and therefore cannot be reconciled with the information that the aircraft was heading west from the Wiesbaden airfield.

2nd Lt. Goldfield was captured at Matzen near Bitburg at 19:00 hrs.

S/Sgt. Neidringhaus was captured at an unknown location at about 12:00 hrs and was brought to the Garrison Hospital in Trier Nord for treatment to his wounds.

(1) In his Escape & Evasion report 2nd Lt. Ricky described that the aircraft pulled out of formation after the fighter attack. He received no reply over the interphone and saw that 2nd Lt. Goldfield had already bailed out so he followed him and abandoned the aircraft. Whilst under his parachute he saw four or five other parachutes in the air and then watched as the aircraft exploded and disintegrated.

He delayed opening his parachute to about 5000 ft and landed in a field somewhere north of Bitburg, Germany. He started walking in a westerly direction avoiding detection by hiding during daylight hours. It was not until the fifth day of his evasion that he determined his location. From here using his escape maps he continued walking out of Germany, through Luxembourg, to Pierrepont in France, some 12 km (7½ mls) south of Longwy. There some railway men fed him and gave him shelter. He then walked on until he was found by two women who fed him and brought to him to a Maurice Ney. Ney was Contrôleur des Bâtiments (Building Inspector) at Audun-le-Roman, which is some 18 km west of Thionville.

Ney took 2nd Lt. Rickey by bicycle to a house in Landres where he was fed and given civilian clothes and then took him on to a family in Dommary-Baroncourt. At their house he ate and rested. Then a lorry arrived and took him to a maquis 4 km south of Billy-sous-Magiennes where he met Sgt. Whittier, a British evader [sic].

Note: No British evader named Sgt. Whittier has been identified. This may have been Sgt. Lamar H. Whittier 19115738 AAF who was the Radio Operator aboard B-17G 42-102680 from 303BG, 358BS, also shot down on the 15th August 1944.

However, in his Escape & Evasion report Sgt. Whittier makes no mention of meeting 2nd Lt. Ricky.

They remained there until the 1st September when an American army Captain arrived in a jeep and took them back to the HQ of the VII Armoured Corps. From there they went to the Divisional HQ, south of Verdun, and thence were passed back to the Normandy Base Section arriving back in the UK by air on the 5th September 1944.

(2) It was reported that Sgt. Byrd was killed on the ground near Kyllburg and was buried in the cemetery in Ürzig, Germany. (Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces: Vol 4 - Stan D. Bishop & John A. Hey MBE).

No reports or anecdotal stories have been found that provide any information concerning the death of Sgt. Byrd or why it was reported that he was buried in the Ürzig cemetery which is some 30 km (18½ mls) east of Kyllburg.

Burial details:

Grave marker for 1st Lt. Charnick (Credit: In memory of the late Loraine Rzanca)

1st Lt. Roman P. Charnick. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster). Reinterred in the Lorraine American Cemetery. Repatriated and buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Yale, St. Clair County, Michigan. Born on the 25th September 1919 in Detroit, Michigan. Brother to Mary Charnick from Brockway, St Clair, Michigan, USA.

Grave marker for Sgt. Byrd (Credit: LuxAmCem)

Sgt. Frederick Odell Byrd. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart. Reinterred in the Luxemburg American Cemetery, Plot E, Row 11, Grave 28. Born on the 26th January 1920 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Son of William Bobbitt and Elizabeth Scales (née Merrimon) Byrd from North Carolina, USA. His father predeceased him in July 1942.

Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew.

RS 17.10.2021 - Original 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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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