1944 — Italy
321stBG, 448thBS, War-Diary;
S/Sgt Herbert J. Graham, 19062647, Tail Gunner, B-25, 448th Bom Squadron, 321st Bomb Group, (M), 12th Air Force, Killed In Action on 17 April 1944 when his Aircraft was shot down by Anti Aircraft Fire while attacking the Attigliano Railroad Bridge, in Italy. He entered the service on 01 March 1942 from Porterville, California.
Sgt. Graham was the Tail Gunner on a B-25 flown by Captain Weymouth Crowell, Jr. On 17 April 1944, they were bombing a Railroad Bridge at Attigliano, Italy when anit-aircraft fire shattered the tail of the aircraft, causing the tail assembly to fall off the airframe. The aircraft climbed out of control and fell off on its back into a spin. Capt Crowell managed to control the spin briefly, allowing two members of the crew to bail out before crashing and exploding. Two survivors from the crew were 1st Lt. William S. Hough and 2nd Lt. Floyd A. Elliot. Sgt Graham was believed to have been killed in the flak burst and did not bail out of the aircraft.
********** KILLED IN ACTION on 17 April 1944~Capt Crowell was the Flight Leader on a Bombing Mission on the RR bridge 2 miles S of Attigliano. Captain Crowell's plane was hit in the Navigator’s compartment by flak and was soon going down under control over the target. The tail of Captain Crowell’s ship was shot off (#655). Two to five chutes were reported to have opened by the rest of the formation, the plane crashed just N of town. In spite of very turbulent air and the flight leader being shot down just before the target bombs were observed hitting both NE and SE approaches with several direct hits reported on the bridge itself. Some bombs fell short and over. Flak: Heavy, intense and accurate, starting at IP and going to target. Weather: Hazy. F/L: Capt. Crowell.
A/C No. 42-64655 (MACR-4193 - shot down)
P: Crowell, Weymouth (NMI), Jr., Capt - KIA
CP: Elliott, Floyd A., 2Lt - POW, liberated and RTD
N: Hough, William S., 2Lt - MIA, evaded enemy and RTD 10 Jun 44
B: Kreutz, Alfred W., 2Lt - KIA
E: Johnson, Joseph M., S/Sgt - KIA
R: Doss, Charles W., Jr., S/Sgt - KIA
G: Graham, Herbert J., S/Sgt - KIA
Excerpt from Casualty Questionnaire: Hough, William S., 2Lt, navigator, 448th BS
Capt. Crowell had leveled the airplane off on the bomb run and Lt. Kreutz was adjusting his sight on the target. The plane was hit by two direct A.A. on the tail assembly, and lost the complete unit. Then the plane climbed out of control and fell off on its back. Capt. Crowell succeeded in getting the ship off its back and out of a spin with the use of ailerons and engines alone. At his command I bailed out through the front hatch, and as I left hew was still attempting to hold the aircraft under control in order to give the rest of the crew a chance to jump. The bombardier, Lt. Kreutz had the presence of mind to close the bombay doors before trying to climb up the narrow, slippery crawlway that leads from the nose to the pilot’s cockpit. As I passed underneath the ship I had a clear view of the damage; the entire rear from the bombay aft was riddled and the entire tail assembly was gone. It is my belief that the gunners were either killed or too badly injured to try to jump. After my chute opened, I watched one other chute open up and then the ship crashed by the outskirts of a small Italian town. I landed in an orchard about two miles from the crash, and it was around five minutes after I had landed that the ship blew up. I succeeded in getting rid of my chute and making my way to a hiding place in a drainage ditch some distance from where I had hit the ground. Somehow, although I heard several patrols and actually saw four Fascist soldiers, I was not discovered. I was unable to contact the other member of my crew and I thought it best to start out of the vicinity by the escape route upon which we had been briefed. The rest was my personal troubles and did not include the rest of the crew.
W. S. Hough
1st Lt. A.C. (Res. Inactive)
(Barbi Ennis Connolly, 321stBG Historian, PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com
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