George C. Carruthers Military History

George C. Carruthers

George C. Carruthers was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1923, to Clarence Thaddeus and Ethel Pearl Mann Carruthers. He had three sisters, Allie Louise (Hollis), Dorothy Marie (Brownlow) and Doris Jewell (Gregory). His family moved to Tyler shortly after the Stock Market “Crash” in 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression, and George attended public schools there. Before December 7, 1941, as a freshman at Tyler Junior College, he had joined Civilian Pilot Training Program, flying Piper Cub aircraft. When America entered WWII, he volunteered for the aviation cadet program, and was called to active duty in June 1942.

Expecting to enter pilot training, George was extremely disappointed when he was assigned to bombardier and aerial gunnery courses. After completing training, Second Lieutenant Carruthers was assigned to Colonel Reed’s Provisional Group for B-17 crew training. After crew training at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, and at Walla Walla, Washington, in mid-May 1943 the crew proceeded to the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas, picked up a new B-17, and started out for England, flying in stages along the northern route. With weather delays, their passage took about ten days before finally reaching their new home at Chelveston, England. Chelveston is about 70 miles north of London. On May 28, 1943 they were assigned to the 8th Air Force, 305th Bomb Group (H), 422nd Bomb Squadron and soon after were flying combat missions over the continent.

George has a photo of his aircraft and crew, taken on July 10th, that he shares with readers here. George was not a regular member of this crew. On this day the 10th, he joined them for a bombing mission over Caen, France. The plane bears nose art identifying it as the “Windy City Challenger” and markings showing that it had been credited with nine bombing missions and four German planes destroyed at that time. Four days later “Windy City Challenger” was lost on a mission over Occupied France. Lt George Carruthers, wounded in the air, was taken prisoner almost immediately upon parachuting to the ground, and he spent the remainder of the war as a POW. What follows are excerpts from an account, in his own words, of his experiences that has been published in VFW Magazine.

He said, “The target on Bastille Day, July 14, 1943, was Villacoublay Air Field near Paris... I remember seeing the Eiffel Tower, a perfect landmark fix, as we approached the target on a southeast heading...The target area was clear and I saw a good bomb pattern impacting...As we turned right off the bomb run, a Focke-Wulf 190 closed in on us at lightning speed from twelve o’clock level...He got us !...I felt the sting of shrapnel on my head, neck, and buttocks...heard the splattering of 20mm cannon fragments and smoke began to fill the nose of our B-17...There was silence from the cockpit except for the long continuous “bail out” signal of the alarm...I believe that John Perkins, Pilot, and Arthur Lewis, Co-Pilot, most likely took a direct hit...A blast had ripped off the right wing and a tight spiral set in, making movement toward the escape hatch virtually impossible. I struggled in vain to reach the exit...I felt my oxygen mask being ripped from my face. I had not taken the time to disconnect it...This is the last thing I remember, I apparently passed out from lack of oxygen...Regaining consciousness, I found myself amid several burning pieces of the aircraft. There probably was a second explosion that propelled me out into space and caused the final breakup of the aircraft...I pulled the “D” ring and my parachute canopy and the risers deployed but failed to blossom. They remained tightly matted together as if packed with glue. Frantically I tugged and yanked at individual risers as I watched objects on the ground grow larger. After free falling to about 1,000 feet the bullet riddled canopy finally opened to reveal large gaping holes. Microseconds later I crashed to the ground, landing on my back. Badly stunned by the fall, I was not able to move for some time. About 100 yards away, I observed the largest part of 049 (aircraft identification number) burning profusely. On the other side, heading down the road toward the burning wreckage and me, was a truck loaded with gray uniformed Luftwaffe...”

Lt Carruthers’ escape from the plane was near miraculous. Centrifugal forces made it impossible for him to move to jump from inside the bomber spiraling down out of control, even if he had not also been unconscious at the time. Had the plane not come apart in the air and thrown him clear he could not possibly have survived. As it was, seven in the eleven-man crew died with the loss of the plane. Also, today George maintains that his parachute had saved his life twice. First, it absorbed deadly German 20mm shell fragments that otherwise would have gone into his torso and would almost certainly have been fatal. Then in descent, the canopy of the badly damaged parachute only partially deployed a brief instant before he hit the ground, barely slowing his rate of fall enough so the impact did not kill him. Against all odds, he had lived through the loss of “Windy City Challenger.” He was taken prisoner only minutes after the plane was shot down at approximately 8:20 a.m.

Before noon his wounds had been treated at a nearby military hospital. Under guard, he was then put on the evening train from Paris to Frankfurt, Germany, where he was held for a week in solitary confinement in the Dulag Luft Interrogation Center. After seven days there, he was among a large number of prisoners transported by train to Stalag Luft III in Lower Silesia, about 100 miles southeast of Berlin. He arrived July 22, 1943 and remained one of the thousands held POW there for the next year and a half. (For more details about this camp check out Stalag Luff III ) On January 27, 1945 the prisoners were evacuated; moved westward by forced march to escape capture by the advancing Russian Army. They arrived, February 5, 1945 at Stalag 7-A, Moosburg, about 20 miles northeast of Munich in Bavaria. ( For more information about this camp check out Stalag 7-A) More prisoners were coming in and soon there were 100,000 POWs in the overcrowded camp that had an intended capacity of 30,0 00. Conditions were deplorable, so as soon as U.S. troops arrived in the area, George crawled through the barbed wire fence, took possession of a bicycle and headed west.. He found a U.S. Army Field Kitchen where he was welcomed with open arms and fed all he could eat. George says, “It was time to head for Camp Lucky Strike at Le Harve, France, for my trip home. A very speedy processing at Lucky Strike put me on the “Marine Panther,” a Henry Kaiser type of concrete troop transport. After a short 9-day cruise, I arrived at Camp Kilmer, NJ and then home to Tyler, Texas. I gained some weight during my trip home since I spent most of my time in the ship’s mess. Consequently, I did not get a lot of sympathy when I told the story about my hunger during almost two years in a POW camp.”

George Carruthers remained in the service after the war and completed a career of almost thirty-one years. He was assigned to the Strategic Air Command when SAC was re-activated in 1948 under the command of its previous commander, General Curtis E. LeMay. Stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, from 1948-1960, he flew in B-29, B-50, and B-47 bombers of the 43rdBomb Wing. He benefited from General LeMay’s “Spot Promotion” Program when he and his pilot advanced from Captain in December 1949 to Lieutenant Colonel in November 1952. In 1960 he was reassigned to the 9th Bomb Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. B-47s were phased out in 1966 and he was transferred to Military Airlift Command in Charleston, South Carolina, but only briefly, and then was sent for a year in Viet Nam. Beginning in November 1966, he flew 100 combat missions in the 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron. (Here is some information about this squadron: Activated in South Vietnam in 1966. Flew EC-47 aircraft equipped with electronic countermeasures equipment over South Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, Aircrew members from the 6994th flew Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) missions from the back end of EC-47 aircraft. "Unarmed, Alone, and Unafraid" the 6994th ARDF backend crew members flew in partnership with the 361st TEWS pilots, navigators, and flight engineers in and around Vietnam, where they had one of the highest causality rates and were one of the most decorated units of the Air Force Security Service.)

After returning home in 1967, Carruthers served as Staff Navigator in the 60th Military Airlift Wing at Travis Air Force Base, California.

Lt. Colonel George Carruthers retired from active duty on November 1, 1972, and moved to Central Texas. George married Marilyn Tyler Gaddis on November 22, 1986, in Hays County, Texas. Marilyn's first husband, L. Wesley Gaddis, a teacher, had died in 1974. He also had served in the Air Force in WWII. George and Marilyn reside as of this writing in San Marcos Texas . He has been a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart since August 2000, and this month Chapter 1919 proudly salutes Patriot George C. Carruthers.

From the December 2012 Patriot Bulletin Newsletter of The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Texas Capital Chapter 1919.

 
 
Aircraft Information
 
Nicknames
Windy City Challenger
Production block number
B-17F-20-DL Fortress
Manufacturer
Douglas
A list of weapons on the Windy Challenger is shown below.

Map showing location of "Aircraft in Distress", southwest of Paris. The direct distance from Chelveston to Paris is about 500 miles.

Here are two interesting article that describes what it was like in preparing for a B-17 bombing mission and what it was like to be inside the plane.

Mission Preparation: https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/der-bomber/einsatzablauf/

Inside B-17: https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/der-bomber/in-einer-b-17/ This article appeared in the Stars and Stripes, 1944

Here is an site that has amazing photos of the B-17F. By all means visigt the B-17F matterport 3D Tour.

https://www.museumofflight.org/aircraft/boeing-b-17f-flying-fortress

Finally, here is a tour of the inside of a B-17F by the "Curator on the Loose" at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZa4TOi-lyM

 

Below is a translation from the French of some of the flight information from the website…

http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=2556

Summary: On July 14, 1943 the USAAF carried out a massive daylight sortie on the main airfields occupied by the Luftwaffe in the north of occupied France. During the attack on Villacoublay, the flying fortress B-17 nicknamed "Windy City Challenger" serial 42-3049 coded JJ * W of the 422nd BS / 305th BG is attacked head-on at 10,000 feet by two FW-190s of the JG2 based at Beaumont le Roger. The fortress goes into a spin at 0800 hours. At a thousand feet it explodes freeing four members of the crew. the other seven members who remained prisoners of the scrap metal were killed and found among the debris of the fortress to the east of the village of Lieusaint (77). The four parachutes are quickly taken prisoner by the Germans in cantonment in the village. The navigator Charles Otis, seriously injured, landed in the rectory garden. In the presence of the Germans, Father Jaffré, parish priest of the village, provided him with first aid, which caused him a lot of trouble.

Date Nation Department Unit Crew Report Mission
July 14, 1943 United States Seine on Marne 305th BG/422nd BS/8thAF 64 Villacoublay (78)
 

 

Location City of Lieusaint (500m O)
Circumstances German fighter planes from Beaumont-le-Roger attacked at 08:20 - Aircraft partially evacuated - Explodes in flight
Commentary Departing Base 105 , Chelveston, Northamptonshire, UK
Sources B17-France.org / Footnote NARA / ABMC / Aerosteles / Archives Allemandes-Box113-3


Rank First Name Last Name Position Corps State Burial Location Commentary
1Lt John H Jr Perkins Pil USAAF Deceased Cim Am Epinal (88) - Plan - A.12.33 * O-661862 - AM+2 - 23 ans - Born 24/10/1919 - Chicago, Illinois USA - Buried at Lieusaint (77)
1Lt Arthur C Lewis CoP USAAF Deceased Greenwood Mem Lawn Cem. Phoenix, Arizona USA * O-726269 - 23 ans - Born 03/11/1919 - Son of R C Lewis - Ray, Arizona USA - Init inhumé à Lieusaint (77)
T/Sgt Joseph L P Dube Mec/M USAAF Deceased Cem Am Epinal (88) - Plan - B.20.14 * 11040100 (386eBG/555eBS) - PH - Born 1921 - Son de Alvine Dube - Manchester, New Hampshire USA - Buried Lieusaint (77)
T/Sgt Harold J Fedora Rad USAAF Prisoner 17026672 - Minnesota USA - Blessé - Hospitalisé à Clichy puis Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia
2Lt Charles H Otis Nav USAAF Prisoner O-664908 - Son de Edith M Otis - Park Ridge, Illinois USA - Blessé - Hospitalisé à Corbeil puis Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia
2Lt George C Carruthers Bomb USAAF Prisoner O-669995 - Texas USA - Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia
S/Sgt Joseph C Wendell MitV USAAF Deceased Cem Am Epinal (88) - Plan - A.5.33 * 39313370 - AM+2 -Born 1912 - Portland, Oregon USA - Init inhumé à Lieusaint (77)
S/Sgt Joseph F Devine MitG USAAF Deceased Long Island Nat. Cem. Farmingdale, New York USA * 11010154 - 25 ans - Born 25/09/1917 - Willmantic, Connecticut USA - Buried at Lieusaint (77)
S/Sgt Sidney J Lesneau Mith USAAF Deceased Fort Snelling Nat Cem. Minneapolis, Minnesota USA - C-24.13679 * 17026661 - 26 ans - Born 15/04/1917 - Minnesota USA
T/Sgt Kenneth V Meyer MitA USAAF Deceased Cem Am Epinal (88) - Plan - B.7.61 * 16019182 - Silv.Star/AM+3 - Born 1917 - Son of Louis F Meyer - St-Louis, Missouri USA - Buried Lieusaint (77)
T/Sgt George H Friend Phot USAAF Prisoner 36199006 - Son de Laurence Friend - Ionia, Michigan USA - Blessé - Hospitalisé à Clichy puis Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf

 

 

George C. Carutthers Gallery

422nd BOMB SQDN B-17F-20-DL, AIRCRAFT 42-3049 AND CREW
Photo JULY 10, 1943, taken after a mission to Caen.

FIRST ROW, KNEELING L—R

GEORGE CARRUTHERS, WIA POW, JUL 14
JOHN PERKINS, PILOT KIA JUL 14
CHARLES COX, NOT ON MISSION JUL 14
GEORGE FRIEND, WIA, POW, JUL 14
KENNETH VINCENT MEYER, KIA, JUL 14

STANDING, L—R

THOMAS SEAY (PILOT NOT ON MISSION) JUL 14
CHARLES OTIS WIA POW, JUL 14
BERNARD RENSICOFF, NOT ON MISSION JUL 14
CLARENCE BRAUSER, NOT ON MISSION JUL 14
JOSEPH F. DEVINE KIA JUL 14
JOSEPH WENDALL, KIA, JUL 14

FOUR CREW MEMBERS WHO FLEW JUL 14 MISSION
NOT IN THIS PHOTO

ARTHUR LEWIS CO-PILOT, KIA, JUL 14
JOSEPH L. P. DUBE, KIA, JUL 14
HAROLD FEDERA WIA, POW, JUL 14
SIDNEY J. LESNEAU, KIA, JUL 14

TOTAL LOSSES, 7—KIA, 4—WIA FROM “MISSING AIR
CREW REPORT - 64." THE REPORT AND PHOTO
PROVIDED BY PATRIOT CARRUTHERS

 


Below is futher information about some of the crew.

John Henry Perkins Jr. KIA JUL 14

Pilot 1st Lt. John Henry Perkins Jr. was born to John Henry and Clara Burgeedel Perkins Sr. in Chicago, IL on October 24, 1919. His father was born in England and his mother in Michigan. His mother died when John was 17. He graduated brom Calumet High School. He attended Lewis Institute of Technology (later Illinois Institute of Technology). His photo from the IIT yearbook is at right. The photo does not look totally like the photo at left from a newspapr article, the man at right has blue eyes as John had. Here is an entry from the January 26, 1941 Suburbanite Economist (Chicago, Illinoi). "Southtowner Cast for Play by Drama Club, John Perkins, Jr. 7644 Sangamon St, will play the role of John Thompson in "Two on the Island," thre-act play to be presented by the Lew Drama Club on Friday in the Lewis auditorium Madison st and Damen Ave. It will be the first play to be presented by students since the merger of the Armour Institute of Technology and the Lewis Institute into the Ilinois Institute of Technology. Perkins, who will portray on of the leading roles is a junior in the arts and sciences department, treasurer of the junior class, a member of the student council and news and annual staffs, and the badminton club. He is a member of the Gamma Rho fraternity and is currently enrolled in the government's civilian pilot training plan. In John's enlistment documents, he lists acting as his profession. He enlisted November 10, 1941. He did his flight training in Lubbock, Texas. His family received a report in late July saying he was missing in action and that other planes on the mission reported seeing seven parachutes descending. Sadly this was not to be the case as John and six of his comrades were killed, only four parachuted to safety and imprisonment in German camps.



Arthur Carl Lewis. KIA JUL 14

Co-Pilot 1st Lt. Arthur Carl Lewis was born to Robert C. (1896-1955)and Clara Belle Blatzy (1896-1986)Lewis. in Ray, Pinal, Arizona on November 3, 1919. His father, an accountant, was born in Florence, Arizona and his mother in Fargo, ND. Arthur had a sister, Emily Claire Lewis (Sutton). Emily's picture is at right. Arthur had worked as a timekeeper at Nevada Consolidated Copper Corp. Lewis indicated that he had several yearls of college before enlisting. Following enlistement and training at Williams Field in Arizona, Arthur was assigned to Rankin Aeronautics School, Inc., at Tulare, CA. Arthur graduated from Minter Field in Bakersfield, CA. Arthur received a bronze oak leaf cluster for his Air Medal for destroying one enemy aircraft. Arthur's remains were returned in October 1948 along with 27 other Arizona War Dead. He is buried in Greenwood Memory Lawn Ceeter in Phoenix, Arizona. A grave stone was requested by his father November 6, 1948.


 

Charles Herman Otis. WIA JUL 14

Navigator, 2nd Lt. Charles H. Otis was born to George Madison and Othelia Elizabeth Krueger Otis on August 7, 1915 in Chicago, IL and moved to Milwaukee with his family. He graduated from Bayview High School there in 1932. He returned to Chicago in 1935, where he worked as a carpenter with Carpenters Local 839. He also worked for the Aetna Life Insurance Co. He enlisted on January 28, 1942. He married Edith Marie Jacobsen while on leave on October 2, 1942, in Cook County IL. His enlistment documents said he had three years of college.

Charles wrote of a bombing mission to Germany as a crew member on the Fortress Yardbird. Where about 50 enemy planes met them when they were still 25 mile out in the North Sea. Otis wrote, "It was 27 below zero over Germany, but I was perspiring so much my jacket was cringing wet. The fighters attacking our group really were giving us hell. There they were sitting 30,000 feet up waiting for us. They came barel-rolling right through our formation with their cannon and machine guns blazing. They they dropped like flies all around us. They showed nerve, tho. Several came within 50 fee of our ship and one missed ur wingtip by only 10 teet."

He parachuted to safety when his plane, the Windy City Challenger was shot down. He was discovered by a Roman Catholic priest who tended to his injuries and hid him in a church. Despigte those efforts, he was captured by German soldiers and imprisoned in Moosburg, Germany. He was awared the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with oak leaf clusters for his service. In 1949, Otis built his own house in Park Ridge, IL, where he resided until his death at 83 on January 18, 1999. He was a master with the Park Ridge Masonic Lodge and longtime leader of Boy Scout Troop 50 from the Park Ridge Presbyterian Church. He had a daughter Nancy Otis, Koeboer. She said he was a man of great integrity and conviction. He had another daughter, Faith Otis Bailey, a sister, Joan Otis Clemens and a son Wesley. . Charles is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Barrington, IL.



 

KENNETH VINCENT MEYER, KIA, JUL 14

Tail Gunner, Tech. Sgt Kenneth Vincent Meyer, was born on August 22, 1918, in Belleville, IL to Mr. an Mrs. Louis Frank and Katherine Myer of St. Louis, Missouri, He had two sisters, Bernice (Ward) and Cyrilla. Monument: Epinal American Cemetery Epinal, Lorraine, France
Kenneth operated an auto repair shop and service station in St. Clair, MO, before enlisting at the age of 26. His parents had previously owned a restaurant in St. Clair but later moved to St. Louis. Kenneth's parents were notified in September that the German government had notified the Red Cross that Kenneth had been killed.

Kenneth barely escaped death earlier. On May 15, 1943, while serving as tail gunner B-17 42-29673 / Old Bill, Kenneth assisted in saving the plane from sever battle damage. Among a crew of 11, he and one other airman were the only ones uninjured. George H. Friend was also on the "Old Bill" flight. Below is a detailed description of that flight by John L. Frisbee June 1, 1993:

 

Valor: Ordeal for the Record By John L. Frisbee, June 1, 1993 On May 15, 1943, the 305th Bomb Group was dispatched from its base at Chelveston, UK, as part of a strike force against military installations near Wilhelmshaven on Germany’s northwest coast. The 305th was one of the earliest B-17 groups to arrive in England, flying its first combat mission on Nov. 17, 1942. Under the leadership of Col. Curtis LeMay, the group had risen from the status of combat novices to one of the premier veteran outfits. It had been a costly, often painful learning process.

Old Bill, a B-17 from the group’s 365th Squadron, was piloted by Lt. Bill Whitson on the Wilhelmshaven mission. Whitson knew that neither the AAF nor the RAF had fighters with enough range for escort into Germany. Enemy fighter attacks were inevitable as the squadron approached the target. Some distance short of Wilhelmshaven, bombardier Lt. Robert Barrall reported that the target area was blanketed with clouds. The group would proceed north to the island of Heligoland, an alternative that would not be uncontested. Already there were contrails several thousand feet above them. Seconds later, a swarm of FW-190s launched a head-on attack.

Closing at nearly 600 miles an hour, the -190s raked Old Bill with 20-mm cannon fire. Shell fragments cut deep into Whitson’s legs and severed oxygen lines to the flight deck. Dragging himself painfully from his seat, Whitson staggered to the rear of the aircraft to assess damage and gather walkaround oxygen bottles. When he returned to the cockpit, copilot Lt. Harry Holt was suffering from severe anoxia. A revived Holt took over while Whitson’s wounds were being cared for.

Returning to the left seat, Lieutenant Whitson was able, with difficulty, to hold formation as fighter attacks continued. The FW-190s concentrated on Whitson’s bomber, which clearly was in trouble. Another 20-mm shell exploded in the cockpit, fragments hitting the injured pilot and wounding Lieutenant Holt so seriously he could no longer help control the B-17 and had to be carried from his seat.

Almost immediately, 20-mm shells tore the Plexiglas nose completely away, killing navigator Lt. Douglas Venable and wounding bombardier Barrall. The top turret was shattered, leaving Sgt. Albert Haymon bleeding from head and arm injuries. Haymon stayed in the useless turret, hand-cranking the silent guns to a forward position that might discourage Luftwaffe fighter pilots. He then climbed down to help wounded radio operator Sgt. Fred Bewak.

With one engine out, a wing buckled, and hydraulics gone, Whitson could no longer stay with the formation. Checking with the crew, he found only two of his men uninjured. Those gunners whose weapons were still operating continued firing at enemy fighters as Whitson dove for cloud cover 5,000 feet below. The gunners claimed seven fighters destroyed during that screaming descent.

Exhausted from loss of blood and the strain of evasive maneuvers, Whitson was barely conscious. Seeing the pilot’s condition, Sergeant Haymon slid into the copilot’s seat and flew the plane while Whitson regained some strength.

When the bomber broke out of the clouds, Haymon saw an Me-210 peeling off to attack Old Bill and alerted the crew. Twice-wounded Lieutenant Barrall climbed into the shattered nose section and manned the cheek gun, buffeted by a 150-mile-an-hour wind that blasted in through the open nose. Barrall kept firing until one of the -210’s engines exploded and the enemy plane plunged into the sea. He then climbed up to the flight deck and relieved Whitson, who would have to land the plane if they made it to Chelveston. Tailgunner Sgt. Kenneth Meyer, one of the two uninjured crew members, replaced Sergeant Haymon in the copilot’s seat. He and Barrall managed to maneuver the stricken bomber into the protection of a formation of B-17s returning to England.

Once they reached the coast they were on their own. With a dead navigator, a copilot out of action, a wounded radio operator, and a barely conscious pilot, finding Chelveston among the welter of airfields dotting the Midlands was no small achievement. As they approached the field, Whitson took over the controls, shaking his head to clear his brain and retain consciousness. Because the plane lacked flaps and brakes, he flew the B-17 onto the runway far above normal landing speed and ground-looped when it ran out of runway. He then collapsed over the control column. No 305th B-17 had ever survived such a beating. It had been an ordeal for the record. Lieutenants Whitson and Barrall were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, all other crew members the Silver Star, and eight of the 10, the Purple Heart to become the most decorated crew of the 305th Bomb Group.

(This story does not men four of the other crew members, one of which was George H. Friend who was also on the ill-fated Windy City Challenger flight. George, the photographer on the flight, manned guns of wounded crew members though wounded himself.)


 

JOSEPH F. DEVINE KIA JUL 14

Left Waist Gunner, Sgt. Joseph F. Devine, was born to Joseph A. and Edith J. Devine. in Rhode Island on September 25, 1917. He had a younger brother, David and a sister, Ethel (Mrs Arthur Nolan). He resided in Willimantie, Windham County, Connecticut prior to the war, working at the American Thread Company. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on August 6, 1940, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed in construction and also as single, without dependents. Sgt. Devine in May had received an Air Medal for meritorious achievement in aerial flight. His father, Joseph A. Devine, lived in Providence, RI. Sgt. Devines' remains were returned . He is buried in Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York. He served as bombadier on some flights.

 

 

 

 

 


 

JOSEPH CHESTER WENDELL, KIA, JUL 14


Tail Turret Gunner, Joseph Chester Wendell, was born December 10, 1914, in Portland, Oregon, to John Joseph (1879-1948) and Marie Mae Amelia Beier (1884-1958) Wendell. His siblings included , Raymond, Jack Jr., Edna,Lester Edward Clarence, Donna Mae and Juanita Lorraine. His father was a marine engineer. Joseph served as a Technical Sergeant & Top Turret Gunner
From Portland, Oregon, he registered on October 16, 1940 in Glendale, CA. He is buried in Epinal American Cemetery Epinal, Lorraine, France

 

 

 

 

 

 


JOSEPH L. P. DUBE, KIA, JUL 14

Top Turret Gunner, Tech Sgt. Joseph L. P. Dube was born to NH to Joseph and Alvine Dube in Manchester, NH. He enlisted July 1, 1942, in Manchester, NH. In Monument: Epinal American Cemetery Epinal, Lorraine, France. Son of Elvine Dube, 374 Main St, Manchester, New Hampshire


 

HAROLD J. FEDERA WIA, POW, JUL 14

Radio Operator and Gunner, Staff Sargent Harold John Fedora, born May 20, 1920 in Hennepin, MN, to John and Mabel Fedora. Harold served on B-17F “Windy City Challenger” (#42-3049), 422nd Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group, Heavy, U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

Harold attended Robbinsdale High School where he participated in football, basketball and track. He graduated in 1938. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 14, 1941, prior to the war, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment as an actor, single and no dependents. He was a POW at Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser)

Harold's mother Mabel died on April 13, 1943 while he was in England. He married Dolores Marie Joeusich in Hennepin, MN, on August 5, 1945. He died March 28, 2012 and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.

 


SIDNEY J. LESNEAU, KIA, JUL 14

Right Waist Gunner, Staff Sargent, Sidney James Lesneau, born April 15, 1917, in Benton, MN, to Jacob P. (1867-1941) and Amelia Schopp (1874-1961). Sidney served as a Staff Sergeant & Right Waist Gunner on B-17F “Windy City Challenger” (#42-3049), 422nd Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group, Heavy, U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He resided in Ramsey County, Minnesota prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on October 10, 1941, prior to the war, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a hospital attendant and also as Single, without dependents.

His remains were returned from Solers, Melun, France in November 1948 to Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota. Sidney was son of Jacob and Amelia Schopp Lesneau, Portland, Oregon formerly of Minneapolis. Sidney had four sisters and two brothers. Sisters were Mrs. Karl Nuerenberg, Mrs. Wallace Sorensen Maxine Brennan and Mrs. Forest Holes. His brothers were Irving and Melvin M., of St. Paul. His older brother, John, was killed in action in WWI in 1918. Melvin was wounded at Attu during the Aleutian Campaign.


GEORGE H. FRIEND, WIA, POW, JUL 14

Aerial Photographer, Tech Sargent George H. Friend, was born in Ionia, Michigan, to Orley and Hazel Friend. He graduated from Ionia High School in 1929. He was an aerial photographer. He had a brother, Lawrence Friend. On May 15, 1943, George was a member of an "Old Bill" flight crew whose mission was discussed earlier. George manned the guns of wounded crewmen though wounded himself. At left is George's graduation picture from Ionia High School 1929 yearbook.

 

 

 

 

 

Ionia High School 1929 Senior Class. I suggest that Charles is 8th from left on back row.

 


JOSEPH H. WENDALL, KIA, POW, JUL 14

Aerial Photographer, Tech Sargent George H. Friend, was born in Ionia, Michigan, to Orley and Hazel Friend. He graduated from Ionia High School in 1929. He was an aerial photographer. He had a brother, Lawrence Friend. On May 15, 1943, George was a member of a "Old Bill" flight crew whose mission was discussed earlier.

 

Details of B-17F and Mission

Delivered Tulsa 14/1/43; Assigned 422BS/305BG [JJ-W] New Castle 17/3/43; Chelveston 25/3/43; Missing in Action Villacoublay 14/7/43 with John Perkins, Co-pilot: Art Lewis, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe Dube, Ball turret gunner: Joe Wendell, Waist gunner: Joe Devine, Waist gunner: Sid Lesneau,Tail gunner: Ken Meyer (7 Killed in Action); Navigator: Chas Otis, Bombardier: George Carruthers, Radio Operator: Harry Fedora, foto-George Friend (4 Prisoner of War); enemy aircraft KO’d #3, crashed Lieuesant, 10 miles NW of Melun, Fr.; Missing Air Crew Report 64. WINDY CITY CHALLENGER.

 

B-17F Flying Fortress.

 

B-17F Flying Fortress. Memphis Belle

 

Commemorative Plaque, 77 Seine-et-Marne, City : Lieusaint

 

Commemorative Plaque, 77 Seine-et-Marne, City : Lieusaint

 

Picture from city of the plaque. Person second from right has a key around his neck, maybe one of survivors of the crash returning. The date of the picture however would suggest the gray haired gentleman would be the survivor. Will check with George Carruthers.
Marilyn Gaddis and George C. Carruthers, 30 Anniversary, Congregational Church of Austin, Texas

 

George Carruthers and Marilyn Gaddis
George Carruthers, Vic Appel, Marilyn Gaddis, Congregational Church of Austin
George Carruteurs, John Tyler High School Yearbook,"The Alcalde", 1940
George Carruthers, John Tyler High School Yearbook,"The Alcalde", 1941, 4th from right, backrow.
George Carruthers, John Tyler High School Yearbook,"The Alcalde", 1941
Doris Marie Carruthers, John Tyler High School Yearbook,"The Alcalde" 1939 Senior Photo. Sister of George.