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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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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U.S.A.A.F. Crest
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)

Type: B-17G-15-BO

Serial: 42-31367 (probably one of the oldest B-17s still flying) “Chow-Hound”

Code: LG-R

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)

Burial details:

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

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
Acknowledgements
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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