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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
20.07.1944 738th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-52228 ‘Hairless Joe', 1st Lt. Charles H. Hilton.

Operation: Friedrichshafen, Germany

Date: 20th July 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: 454th Bombardment Group (H), 738th Bombardment Squadron (H), 304th Bombardment Wing, 15th Air Force

Type: B-24H Hairless Joe

Serial No: 42-52228 *

Code: 77

Location: 2 km north of Berg and 2 km NW of Ailingen, Germany

Base: San Giovanni field, Italy

Pilot: 1st Lt. Charles Hoyt Hilton O-815138 AAF Age 22. KiA

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Howard R. McMillan O-764409 AAF Age? KiA

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Clayton Deeds Bereman O-711317 AAF Age 27. KiA

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Arthur Moore Scott O-699573 AAF Age 26. Murdered (1)

Radio/Op: S/Sgt. Joseph Herbert ‘Joe’ Holtby 37202808 AAF Age 29. KiA

Engineer: S/Sgt. Willis Edward Block 16017806 AAF Age 27. KiA

Waist Gnr: Sgt. Gorman James Scully 16082021 AAF Age 22. KiA

Ball Turret Gnr: Sgt. Charles Joseph Stryzewski Jr. 33501750 AAF Age 20. KiA

Nose Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Vargas 39552016 AAF Age 20. KiA

Tail Gnr: Sgt. Herbert E. Brown 33679987 AAF Age? KiA

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/Radar Operator, Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner.

* The serial number of 42-5228, recorded in the MACR, appears to have been allocated to a B-17F-40-BO. The correct serial number for this B-24H was 42-52228 and was named Hairless Joe.

Above: B-24H 42-52228 Hairless Joe (Credit: B-24 Best Web Site)

REASON FOR LOSS:

On the morning of the 20th July 1944 this aircraft took off from the San Giovanni field, located approximately 8 km WSW of Cerignola in Apulia in Italy, on a mission to bomb the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin aircraft factory at Friedrichshafen on the north shore of Lake Constance, Germany.

After action statements reported that the aircraft was hit by a flak burst between #3 and #4 engines setting the wing ablaze followed almost immediately by an explosion breaking off the wing at #3 engine. The aircraft then went into a dive and flat spin over the target area and crashed at 10:56 hrs 2 km north of Berg and 2 km NW of Ailingen. Nine of crew were recovered from the burned out wreckage. The one crew member who bailed out was taken prisoner in Ailingen by a member of the Landwacht (Rural guard).

(1) The circumstances leading to the death of 2nd Lt. Scott were determined by a General Military Government court which was convened at Dachau between the 5th July and 7th July 1947.

Three German nationals were charged on two counts:

On the first count they were charged in that they did, at or near Friedrichshafen, Germany, on or about the 22nd July 1944, wilfully, deliberately and wrongfully encourage, aid and participate in the killing of a member of the United States Army, believed to be Arthur M. Scott, who was then and there a surrendered PoW in the custody of the then German Reich.

On the second count they were charged for being members of organisations declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal.

The accused were:

Hans Seibold who was the former Kreisleiter (Nazi district leader) of Friedrichshafen and a member of the Nazi party;

Albert Schraff who was the former Bürgermeister (Mayor) and Ortsgruppenleiter (Nazi local group leader) of Ailingen, and a member of the Nazi party;

Albert Friedrich (Fritz) Müller who was a former member of the Allgemeine (General) SS and a member of the Nazi party.

The court heard that on or about the 20th July 1944 following an attack on Friedrichshafen and Ailingen, Germany, an American airman believed to be Arthur M. Scott, parachuted from his disabled aircraft and landed on the top of a house roof in Ober Ailingen, where he was immediately taken into custody and confined in the village jail under the control of Schraff.

The next day on the 21st July Schraff notified Seibold of the situation. Seibold instructed Schraff in writing that Bormann’s order stands and he should act accordingly, which was interpreted, albeit incorrectly, to kill the airman.

Martin Bormann issued a series of orders and decrees to the Nazi party leaders dealing with the treatment of PoWs. Seibold was referring to a circular dated the 30th May 1944 which was not an order if taken literally but was understood as an instigation to kill.

The circular stated. “During the past weeks English and North American fliers have repeatedly been strafing children playing on playgrounds, women and children working in the fields, ploughing peasants, vehicles on the highway, trains, etc., from a low height, thus murdering in the most despicable manner defenseless civilians-especially women and children. It has happened several times that members of the crew of such aircraft who had bailed out or made a forced landing, were lynched on the spot by the highly indignant population immediately after their arrest. No police or criminal proceedings have been taken against citizens who have taken part herein.”

Schraff summoned Müller and a Helmuth Hauser to his office and showed them Seibold’s order. Müller was armed with a small calibre pistol whilst Hauser carried a large calibre pistol. The airman was loaded into Schraff’s vehicle and, accompanied by Müller and Hauser, they proceeded toward Ittenhausen, about 1¼ km west of Ailingen. They halted near the Unterraderach firing range located some 2¾ km further to the west. Here, Schraff claimed that Müller and Hauser exited the vehicle with the airman and he drove a short distance to turn the vehicle around. When he returned the airman was dead. He had been shot twice once to the body and once to the head

They loaded the airman’s body onto the trailer attached to Schraff’s vehicle and drove to the Friedrichshafen Cemetery where they left it outside of the morgue. The next day the body was taken by persons unknown and pushed into a bomb crater near the cemetery.

A few days later Schraff reported to Seibold and informed him that whilst he was transporting the airman to a nearby Flak garrison the airman was shot and killed while trying to escape, a fabrication to justify the killing.

Schraff’s defence argued that the statements made by him were false as they were obtained under duress by the French interrogators at Friedrichshafen. However, these statements were corroborated in most material respects in his extrajudicial sworn statement made at a later date to the American authorities and in his testimony at court.

The court rejected the claim of ‘Superior orders’ and found all three of the accused guilty on both counts of the charge.

Seibold and Schraff were each sentenced to life imprisonment. Seibold’s term was reduced to 30 years and he was paroled in May 1955. Schraff’s term was reduced to 20 years and he was paroled in October 1954.

Müller was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life imprisonment which was later reduced to a 20 year term and he was paroled in February 1954.

It is not known why Helmuth Hauser was not before the court to answer for his part in the killing of 2nd Lt. Scott.

Shortly after the verdict of 28th January 1948, a review trial took place at which the court found that Seibold and Schraff were indirectly involved in the killing and that Hauser, not Müller, had shot the American lieutenant. After 2nd Lt. Scott's autopsy it was determined that the entrance wound [to his temple] could not have come from Müller's pistol, but only from that of Hauser. (Ref 1, p.287)

Burial Details:

Air Medal presentation (Credit: The Charlotte Observer dated Tuesday April 17th, 1945)

1st Lt. Charles Hoyt Hilton. Air Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster). Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 17th February 1922 in High Point, Guildford County, North Carolina. Son of Charles Irvin and Eula (née Linthicum) Hilton. Husband to Grace (née Ellis) Hilton of High Point, Guildford County, North Carolina, USA.

1st Lt. Howard R. McMillan. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Son of Pearl McMillan of Santa Ana, California, USA. His father predeceased him.

Above 1st Lt. Bereman KiA, (Credit: The Pineville Democrat dated Thursday August 23rd 1945)

1st Lt. Clayton Deeds Bereman. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 13th March 1917 in Rice County, Kansas. Son of Titus Elsworth and Naomi (née Deeds) Bereman. Husband to Bettie Jane (née Hays) Bereman of Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas, USA.

Above 1st Lt. Scott KiA (Credit: Chicago Tribune dated Sunday May 29th, 1949)

Above: Grave marker for 2nd Lt. Scott (Credit: Ann Day - FindAGrave)

2nd Lt. Arthur Moore Scott. Purple Heart. Repatriated and interred at the Green Ridge Cemetery, Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Born on the 20th March 1918 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Son of Leon Childs and Helen Kullen (née Kittredge) Scott of Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

S/Sgt. Joseph Herbert ‘Joe’ Holtby. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 15th May 1915 in Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas. Son of Richard Benjamin and Nora Nevada (née Donnelly) Holtby. Husband to Jessie Elizabeth (née Morgan) Holtby of Lyons, Rice, Kansas, USA.

Above S/Sgt. Block MiA, (Credit: The Pantagraph, dated Friday August 11th, 1944)

S/Sgt. Willis Edward Block. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 16th December 1917 in Adair, Illinois. Son of Henry Daniel and Bessie May (née Weber) Block of New Salem, McDonough County, Illinois, USA.

Above Sgt. Scully KiA, (Credit: Chicago Tribune, dated Monday August 13th 1945)

Sgt. Gorman James Scully. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 1st December 1921 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Son of James S. and Catherine (née Callahan) Scully of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

Sgt. Charles Joseph Stryzewski Jr. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Born on the 14th July 1923 at Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. Son of Charles and Mary (née Boczek) Stryzewski of Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, USA.

Sgt. Alfred Vargas. Repatriated to the Calvary Cemetery Grave 13, Lot 74, Section H, Los Angeles, California. Born on the 20th January 1924 in Carlton, California Son of Altagracia (née Garcia) Vargas of Norwalk, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Sgt. Herbert E. Brown. Repatriated on the 28th November 1950 to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Section 84, Site 295-299. Son of Richard J. Brown of Mercer, Pennsylvania, USA.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Reference:

1. Gary Anderson, Lynchjustiz gegen alliierte Piloten. Drei Fälle aus dem Bodenseeraum 1944/45; in: Edwin Ernst Weber (editor),Opfer des Unrechts. Stigmatisierung, Verfolgung und Vernichtung von Gegnern durch die NS-Gewaltherrschaft an Fallbeispielen aus Oberschwaben, 2009 (ISBN 978-3-7995-1070-7).






RS & TV 18.06.2022 - Corrections and updates to the narrative

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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', 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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