20 February 1945 — Ludwigsburg, Germany
The 388th Bomber Group of the Eighth Air Force was based at Station 136, Knettishall, England. The group’s tail code was a square H. This large airfield was located on the southern side of the Little Ouse Valley between the villages of Knettishall and Coney Weston in East Anglia countryside. The main 50-yard wide concrete runway was 2,000 yards long and had two smaller intersecting runways. There were 50 hardstands, two large hangers and airfield lighting for night flying. Barracks were mainly Nissen huts dispersed in various sites south of the field near the village of Coney Weston.
The mission this day was to bomb the main railroad station and marshaling yards at Nurnberg, Germany. Two Flying Fortress’ were lost that day. From the 560th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Lt. Joseph D. Ellis and his nine man crew plus one spot jammer of the B-17G, 44-6629 nicknamed “Karen W” were hit by flak a few seconds after bombs away at approximately 13:00 hours. The right wing caught fire near the number 3 engine. The plane went into a spin because of the large hole in the wing, but the pilot was able to pull the aircraft out of the spin and attempted to put the fire out by doing a nose dive. An order was then made for all to bail out. Five crewmen survived and were captured as POWs and four men were found dead at the crash site which was 7 kilometers west of Schwabach, Germany. The aircraft was totally burned except for the tail section. The co-pilot, Lt. Seat, was shot at before he hit the ground. Radio operator Golsch was captured about four hours later near Roethenbach near the outskirts of Nurnberg. Missing Air Crew Report 12551 was completed when the men failed to return to base.