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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
8th Air Force
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"  

Code: QE-L

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


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.

Burial details: 

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.

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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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