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Crash of B-24 Liberator 44-49638 MACR 12368
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Mission to Worgel rail yards
The 459th Bomb Group, 759th Bomb Squadron of the Fifteenth Air Force was based at Guilia Airfield, Cerignola, Italy which was located south of Foggia. The bomb group had moved to San Bancrazio from northern Africa in November 1943.
On 22 February 1945, 1st Lt. Hubert N. Yeaden was the pilot of a B-24L Liberator with serial number 44-49638 and the distinctive black and yellow checkered tail. Yeaden and his crew of nine took off for a strategic bombing mission to the Worgel railroad yards in Germany. At about 1153 hours and at an altitude of 15,000, the aircraft was hit by flak over the snow covered Alps. Even though the plane was on fire, all 10 crew members bailed out successfully. Nose gunner Sgt. Linus J. Nagl was hit by flak in the stomach, bailed out and never heard from again. He was presumed dead. Pilot Yeaden was sent to a hospital for his wounds. All other crew members were captured and sent to Dulag Luft-Oberursel. The plane crashed near Bolzano, Italy and when the crew did not return to base, Missing Air Crew Report 12368 was filed.
- Bolzano, Italy
- 22 February 1945
Robert Merrill Bonner
2nd Lt. Robert M. Bonner (O-769698) was the co-pilot. He was born on 12 October 1923 in Berkeley, CA, son of Merrill R. and Augusta May (Voigt) Bonner. He grew up in Oakland and after graduating from Oakland High School in 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following flight training, he earned his wings and was later assigned to the 15th Air Force.
After returning to the states in summer of 1945, Bonner was stationed at Camp Beale near Marysville, CA. Bonner was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Bonner later married Frances A. and they resided in Berkley, CA. He enrolled at the University of California - Berkeley where his interest in chemistry inspired him to continue his studies until he earned a doctorate in organic chemistry in 1951. His 192 page thesis was entitled: The Preparation of Morphine Derivatives with Possible Lowered Addiction Liability. A career with the duPont Company kept him in Wilmington, DE until he retired in 1982 when he returned to Berkeley.
Bonner died at age 88 on 27 May 2012 at his home in Berkeley, CA and was later buried at Mountian View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. His obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle stated in part:
"Bob's friends and business associates remember hin as gentle gentleman, well loved and much respected. Bob's love of gardening kept him active as did world travels with Frances, backpacking and walking together in the high Sierra. Their mutual love of classical music, reading, cooking and Bob's love of golf kept him active until the end of his life."
Wesley K. Daniels
2nd Lt. Wesley K. Daniels, Jr. (O-1540485) was the navigator. He was born on 11 December 1924 in Sacramento, CA, son of Wesley K. and Marian (Hateley) Daniels. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 9 March 1943. On an early mission, he had to bail out but was able to return to base. 22 February 1945 was the second time for him to leave an aircraft. Learning the lesson of his earlier jump, Daniels waited as long as he could to pull the rip cord. Once his chute was inflated, he looked up and could see his other crew members floating down. After he landed in the Alps, he moved up the mountain, walking in feet of snow. Some local men soon discovered him and were yelling for him. When he was found, they wanted his parachute. He stayed with the locals the first night and the next day they hiked down the mountain for over seven hours to a small little town where he was turned over the German authorities. Spending that night in a local jail. He later joined others of his crew and they were sent to Dulag Luft-Oberursel for interrogation.
Daniels was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. Daniels later worked for the State of California and lives in Sacramento, CA.
Carson Joseph Morris
2nd Lt. Carson Joseph Morris (O-2056815) was the bombardier. He was born on 24 June 1916 in Kensington Hall Gardens, London, England, son of Joseph and Elsie (Southon) Morris. On 1 February 1928, Morris immigrated to the United States arriving in Vanceboro, ME with his parents and two brothers. They settled in the Bronx, NY. Morris was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
He later married Muriel Helen Frederickson. He was advertising manager and later marketing vice-president for George A. Hormel & Company. Before the war, Morris was one of the team of Hormel employees who coined the product name SPAM, an acronym for SPiced hAM. After leaving Hormel in 1956, he was an executive for NW Ayer, BBD&O, Seamless Rubber Company, Cudhay Packing Company, Smithfield Foods and others. He died at age 68 on 18 April 1988 in Toledo, OH. He was buried in the Wakeman Cemetery, Waterville, OH.