08.08.1944 322BS 91BG B-17G-15-BO 42-31367 1st Lt. Thompson and crew
Operation: Assisting advancing British and Canadian troops S.E. Caen, France
Date: 8th August 1944 (Tuesday)
Unit: 322nd Bomb Squadron (91st Bomb Group)
Serial: 42-31367 (probably one of the oldest B-17s still flying) “Chow-Hound”
Base: Bassingbourn, England
Location: L’Onlay-L’Abbaye, South of Caen, France
Pilot: 1st Lt. Jack R. Thompson. U.S.A.A.F. Killed
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. David J. Nelson. U.S.A.A.F. 0-552168. Killed (1)
Navigator: 2nd Lt. Charles F. Bacigalupa. U.S.A.A.F. 716321. Killed
Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Charles Sherril. U.S.A.A.F. 0-757927. Killed
Radio Operator: T/Sgt. Blake A. Treece Jr. U.S.A.A.F. 14033465. Killed (1)
Top Turret / Flt. Engr: T/Sgt. Henry F. Kortebein. U.S.A.A.F. 12127310. Killed (1)
Ball Turret: Sgt. Warren D. Godsey. U.S.A.A.F. 37534026. Killed
Waist Gunner: Sgt. Richard R. Collins. U.S.A.A.F. 32099321. Killed
Tail Gunner: Sgt. Gerald F. Gillies. U.S.A.A.F. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
An enemy “88” anti-aircraft burst of flak hit the aircraft causing the tail section to separate from the fuselage. The main section was then seen to nose over and dive straight down in a spiral. The spin caused a wing to also separate and on striking the ground the aircraft burst into flames.
These amazing photographs were taken by an unidentified American engineer who discovered the tail section while installing a gasoline pipeline for the advancing armour (courtesy Tom Kracker)
Sgt. Gerald F. Gillies and right his grave (courtesy of his granddaughter, Cameron Miller)
2nd Lt. Charles Sherril. Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, France. Plot J. Row 26. Grave 15. Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Sgt. Warren D. Godsey. Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, Calvados, France. Plot D. Row 16. Grave 11. Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Sgt. Richard R. Collins. Brittany American Cemetery, St James, France. Plot K. Row 18. Grave 18. Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
￼It is believed the three airmen listed below were taken home to the U.S.A.
Sgt. Gerald F. Gillies.
2nd Lt. Charles F. Bacigalupa.
1st Lt. Jack R. Thompson.
(1) The three airmen below were listed as missing on the Tablets of the Missing at Brittany American Cemetery, St James, France for over 60 years
2nd Lt. David J. Nelson. (2) Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
T/Sgt. Blake A. Treece Jr. (2) Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
T/Sgt. Henry F. Kortebein. (2) Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart
(2) As researched by our own Tom Kracker (The researcher and founder of the “Kracker” archives) and Mrs Marion Burkhardt, sister of Flight Engineer Henry Kortebein of Maspeth, New York.
All nine crew members perished in the crash on the farmland of the parents of Leon Chevallier age 16, and a French Resistance fighter. Four were immediately buried by the French civilians. Two were buried a short time later by the French and advancing American troops. The three remaining crew, 2nd. Lt. Nelson, T/Sgt. Treece and T/Sgt. Kortebein were listed M.I.A. for 60 years until their discovery by the French “Association Normande du Souvenir Aerien 39/45” and the “Normandy Association for Air Remembrance” in June 2004. After extensive DNA testing, the three remaining M.I.A. were identified by the U.S. Joint P.O.W. – M.I.A. Accounting Command Team, and buried with honours at Arlington Cemetery on the 24th August 2006.
Postscript: The nose art of the “Chow Hound” is scheduled to be on display at the military museum at McGuire AFB
in New Jersey, donated by Mrs. Marion Burkhardt. A section of the wing, located in France, is in the process of being transported to McGuire A F.B. donated by Mrs. Virginia Dimon (sister of Blake Treece). A piece of the propeller is on display at the CAF
Arizona Wing Aircraft Museum in Mesa AZ., donated by Mr. Leon Chevallier
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Kate Tame for relatives of this crew. With thanks also to Cameron Miller, grandaughter of Sgt. Gerald F. Gillies. Jean-Marc Bonnet French researcher who did a great deal with regards to the original research of this loss and who has assisted in bringing the pieces of the aircraft to the Macquire Air Force base.
Complete list of USAAF Archive Reports