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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.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via Helpdesk
01.08.1943 No. 512th Bomb Squadron B24D Liberator 41-28294 36V 1st Lt. Palm

Operation: Operation Tidal Wave (attacks on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania)

Date: 1st August 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group

Type: B24D Liberator

Serial: 41-28294 "Brewery Wagon"

Code: 36 V

Base: Tunisia, North Africa

Location: Tatarani near Bucharest-Ploesti railway, Romania

Pilot: 1st Lt. John D Palm 0-666805 USAAF Age 28. PoW

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. William F Love 0-735410 USAAF PoW

Fl/Eng: T/Sgt. Alexander P Reckinson 35284867 USAAF PoW Camp: Sub Lagarule Timis Timisul De Jos Romania.

Nav: 2nd Lt. William M Wright 0-794189 USAAF age 22. Killed

Air/Bmr: 2nd Lt. Robert W Merrell O-729458 USAAF Age 25. Killed

Radio/Op/Air/Gnr: T/Sgt. Harold Block 12039839 USAAF PoW Camp: Stalag 2a Neubrandenburg Mecklenberg

Tail/Gnr: S/Sgt. Dallas A Robertson 35490909 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: S/Sgt. William E. Thompson 14081874 USAAF PoW

Air/Gnr: S/Sgt. Austin D. Chastain 37222013 USAAF PoW

Ball/Gnr: S/Sgt. Clay E. Snyder 35213797 USAAF PoW


On the way to the target Capt. Brian W. Flavelle’s aircraft went down in the Mediterranean, Flavelles wingman descended to investigate the crash scene and search for survivors. This left Lt. Palm at the head of the second section. When he reached the Initial Point he took up position on the extreme left on the second attack wave.

At this point his navigator advised that the IP had been wrongly identified. Adhering to radio blackout, Palm elected to brake away from the formation and head alone to the target. Coming out of a rain cloud and flying very low, ‘Brewery Wagon’ received a direct flack hit on the nose compartment killing the Bombardier and fatally injuring the Navigator.

Palm was severely injured in the lower leg, one engine was out and 2 others badly damaged. After jettisoning the bombs on an empty factory, the aircraft turned South to escape the flack. Shortly after leaving the target Palm was attacked by Hauptmann W. Steinmann, CO of 1./4JG. The additional damages caused by the 20 mm and 7.92 mm MG's hits brought the aircraft down in a field at Tatarani near Bucharest-Ploesti railway.

(Palm was taken to a Bucharest hospital where his nearly severed lower leg was removed)

Burial details:

2nd Lt. William M Wright. Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

2nd Lt. Robert W Merrell. Neuville-en-Condroz, Liège, Belgium. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Researcher Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - August 2016. With thanks to Staci and Dominique Potier for grave photographs, others the Michel Beckers collection.

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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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Last Modified: 15 September 2016, 20:45

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