Summary

Sgt John (Jack) Disher, flew a complete tour with the 92nd Bomb Group. Then volunteered for another tour and was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group. CLICK ON PHOTOS TO READ THE MACR

Birth:
July 27,1923 1
St Louis MO 1
Death:
18 Mar 1945 1
Madgeburg, Germany 2
Branch:
USAAF 3
Rank:
S/Sgt 1
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Personal Details

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Birth:
July 27,1923 1
St Louis MO 1
Male 1
Death:
18 Mar 1945 2
Madgeburg, Germany 3
Cause: KIA 2
Physical Description:
Height: 5' 7" 1
Weight/Build: 122 lbs 1
Eye Color: Blue 1
Hair Color: Brown 1
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Branch:
USAAF 4
Rank:
S/Sgt 2
Service End Date:
KIA 2
Army Serial No::
17034210 4
Enlistment:
12 Dec 1941 4
Enlistment / Induction:
Jefferson Barracks, MO 4
Enlistment Term:
Enlistment for the duration 4
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Enlistment:
Date: 11 Dec 1941 1

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Sources

  1. Contributed by broncobob78
  2. Contributed by 92ndBG
  3. MACR 13144 — Contributed by 92ndBG
  4. Database WW II Army Enlistment Records — Contributed by 92ndBG
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Stories

S/Sgt John (Jack) Disher

John W Disher
2 images

Sgt Disher completed a full tour of duty with the 92nd Bomb Group, 407th Squadron 29-May-1943 thru 25 Feb-1944.  As a member of The 1st Lt. Frederick T. Presse crew, shown after returning to base in the crew picture above. (Disher is front row middle)

Disher participated in the ill fated mission to Stuttgart on 6 - Sept - 1943, where the Eighth AAF suffered it's highest losses to date, due to poor planning and communication problems., Ditching their damaged aircraft and out of fuel in the Channel on September 6,1943. They ditched 6 miles off the French coast, North of LeHavre while returning from Stuttgart.  The crew and three other crews that had been forced to ditch in the Channel were rescued by Air Sea Rescue.

Upon completion of his tour Sgt Disher returned to the United States as was promised all air crew upon completion of their tour.  Sgt Disher then volunteered for a second tour of duty and was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group.

On 18-March 1945 421 1st Air Division B-17's attacked two Rail Marshalling Yards in Berlin, Germany.  Seven B17's were downed by heavy enemy Flak concentrations.  Six B17's including A/C 43-38861 (Sgt Dishers ac) by ME-262's attacking en masse. March 18th was the first attack by ME-262's in Gruppe (Group) Strength. According to Roger Freeman in his book "The Mighty Eighth"  "Near Salzwedel some 20 minutes from the target, four ME-262's came out of clouds and attacked the 100ths low squadron which was badly strung out aind in poor formation. Coming in from 75 yards to point blank range before firing, the enemy pilots could hardly miss and left three B-17's in a sorry state.  One dived away on fire and crashed behind the Russian lines.  The port wing of the lead machine was also in flames and the crew parachuted.  Soon three ME-262's returned for a second pass in which they shot the complete tail section off a B-17" (Dishers A/C).  "Bomber calls for fighter help went largely unheeded as there was difficulty in making contact.  Fighters were also hampered by poor visibility". 

This mission was one with Fighter Escort all the way into the target and back, Six of 425 VIII Fighter Command fighter aircraft were also shot down.  The heavy loss of bombers was attributed to heavy concentrations of flak and one of the first mass attack of ME-262's.

A/C 43-38861 was attacked by the ME-262's causing a fire in the mid section of the A/C, the radio room.  This is where Sgt Disher was positioned as Radar Controller (Sgt Disher).  He and the Radio operator were burned very badly.   As the A/C fell away from the formation the ME-262's continued to attack.  Damage to the A/C was so severe that the tail section broke away from the fuselage.  The Tail gunner was able to bail out from the opening where the fuselage had been severed. All crew were able to bail out of the A/C, with the exception of the  Radio Operator (T/Sgt Danielson), Radar Controller (Sgt Disher), and Ball Turret Gunner (Sgt Uhler), who was trapped in the Ball, ("He apparently rode the ball all the way to the ground" was a comment made by one survivor). 

The last account of the status of Sgt Disher was witnessed by S/Sgt Heilbuth (Waist Gunner) who saw Sgt Disher right before Heilbuth bailed out of the A/C.  Disher was crawling out of the radio room with blood all over himself, but he did not have time to help him as the A/C was below the clouds which were not much over 500 ft, so he had to jump.  Disher probably never got to the door to jump as the plane must have hit only a few seconds later.

Pilot (Lt Gwin), managed to bail out of the A/C and his chute was seen to open.  Witnesses on the ground heard gunfire as the pilots chute was desending.  Gwin was apparently killed in his chute.  Germans told the POW's that he was killed.

 

Sources:

MACR 13144

Air War Europa  Chronology 1942-1945, Eric Hammel

The Mighty Eigth, Roger Freeman

 

S/Sgt Disher Wounded

Jack 20 mm.jpg
4 images

During one flight S/Sgt Disher was wounded in his right foot by a 20mm shell.  Note the pictures above.

Dishers Ball Turret upon landing after being hit by a 20mm shell.

Disher at the hospital recovering from the wound in his right foot.

 

Pictures of original newspaper clippings. One is a transcript of an interview done on BBC radio.

casings from dig.jpg

Unearthing mettle on Bloody Thursday in Berkshire UK

(From an email received at 92nd Archives) 11-12-2013

 

Hello Gregory This should please you and colleagues. I live in Berkshire in the UK, and am a member of a metal detecting club.  Three weeks ago we were at Winkfield, a little to the southwest of Windsor.  A note said that during WWII there was a small landing field there, and a B17 had crash landed returning from the 14 October Schweinfurt raid. So when I started to find expended .5in cartridges... So I reckon we were walking over the crash site - just past the 70th anniversary of it happening. Altogether we unearthed a couple of dozen in one field about 200x100 yards - and loads of aluminium fragments returns on the detectors.  I also found a small rectangular coppper plate about 1cmx4cm wide, with the initials J.H.L. - which looked like a personal marker rather than one for equipment (but we're encouraged not to form judgements on these things.) I got excited because with Roman coins and the like we can rarely assign an object to an individual. When the lightning started, we packed in - not a good idea to stand in the middle of a field in a thunderstorm holding up a metal rod. And I went home and started Googling. That quickly gave me the 92nd Group Report, with the debriefing that gave all the details of A/C 233512 on the 407, which crash landed at Winkfield and burned out.  And I also came across the personal account of Milton Cohen who was on the B17 piloted by FW Wolfe that crash-landed at Shiplake a few minutes later - and a few miles to the west. Alas the JHL nameplate doesn't correspond to any of the crew.  (If you have any facility or will, you might like to see if it could have belonged to another 407th crew member, being borrowed on the day.) The names of the crew - quite a mix of hinterlands there, and save Smith are new to me. I'd be interested to know what happened to them, of course, and I'll do a little exploration to see if I can pinpoint a relative of any of them - to send a cartridge as a memento of a startlingly savage day full of amazing bravery. If you can advise on any way of proceeding, that would help. Incidentally, I was in the cellar when the Lutfwaffe hit my house in Birmingham in 1940, so have some idea of both sides of a story.  And that part of a rather fine talk I gave to a Probus Club last week.  It was called Unearthing Mettle.  Schools will like to hear it, too. Anyway, I hope this is a little echo of history for you down the years.  If you'd like more information, I'll be happy to help. With all best wishes Hugh Gibbons PS The crew were

1 Lt. R. W. Lyng

F/O H. L. Smith

2 Lt. P.L. Stebbins

2 Lt. K.A. Pfleger

S/Sgt. Peter Waranicha

T/Sgt. B. L. Bootwell

S/Sgt. J. E. Disher

S/Sgt. N. J. Barbato

S/Sgt. C. T. Hultquist

S/Sgt. D. M. Rabney

 

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