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Mission to Engers railroad bridge
14 February 1945 | Germany
The 344th Bomb Group of the Ninth Air Force was a medium bomber unit that took part in the tactical bombing of the European Theater. Originally stationed at Stanstead, England, the unit moved to Station A-59 Cormeilles-en Vexin, France on 30 September 1944. Cormeilles-en Vexin is located about 40 kilometers northwest of Paris. As the Allies advanced, the unit moved again on 5 April 1945 to Station A-78 Florennes, Belgium. During early 1945 the missions for the bomb groups were German rail marshaling yards and V-1 rocket launch sites in France.
Shot down on during the 14 February 1945 mission to the Engers railroad bridge was a crew from the 497th Bomb Squadron. Piloted by 1st Lt. John Paul Nelson (O-706233) and his six man crew were flying B-26G1 Marauder with serial number 43-34196.
Arthur John Sullivan
Sgt. Arthur John Sullivan (31373538) was the armorer gunner. He was born on 25 July 1924 in Nashua, NH the son of John L. and Claire M (LaPlate) Sullivan. After graduating from Nashua High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 28 June 1943 at Manchester, NH. After his service overseas, Sullivan served in the Army Reserves until 1963 when he was honorably discharged. While living in North Conway, NH he wrote of his experiences of being a POW in the unpublished manuscript Shot Down. Another crewmember Warren Severson wrote of his experiences in B-26 Engineer Gunner, POW and Finally Home including this description: After capture Arthur Sullivan was taken to an interrogation center in Frankfort. Days later he was taken to Wetzler where most POW’s were British 1st Airborne & U.S. 101st. They moved by rail to Nurnberg and marched to Luft III several miles away. Around April 4, they began a 17 day forced march, sometimes strafed/bombed by allied aircraft, usually American. He met up with Severson looking terrible – very weak with sores on his neck and face. He had to leave Seve at an aid station, but they met up again. Around Apr 24th or 25th they arrived at Moosburg Stalag VIIa. The 4th Armored - Patton’s - liberated them on April 30th. The flown to LeHarve – Camp Lucky Strike and 8 or 9 days later on a Liberty ship for home.
This was included in the 1993 book by Jack D. Stovall Tales of the Marauders Volume 1.
Sullivan was employed with Nashua Corporation until his retirement. Sullivan died on 7 February 1996 in Manchester, NH. He was later buried in the Arlington National Cemetery section 67 grave number 322.