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Crash of B-17 43-38187 MACR 12446


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Mission 209 to Glesenkirchen rail yards

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8-401 Donalson crew.jpg

The 401st Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force was based at Station 128, Deenethorpe, England. Deenethorpe was located east of Corby on high ground south of the village of Deenethorpe. The 6,000 foot runway and two 5,200 foot cross runways, two T2 type hangers and fifty hardstands was home of the B-17 Flying Fortress’ of the 401st Bomb Group. The group flew 255 missions during the seventeen months they were at Deenethorpe. The 401st had the distinctive “Triangle S” code markings on the tail of their aircraft.

Mission 209 took place on 16 February 1945 to the railroad marshaling yards at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Thirty-seven crews plus one lead aircraft crew from Kimbolton were briefed in the early morning. The assembly point was to be over the Kingscliffe Buncher at 10,000 feet. All operational aircraft were airborne by 1054 hours, but the airfield was closed shortly thereafter by low visibility (ceiling 400 feet, visibility 1,000 yards). One aircraft was forced to abort and another was diverted to Ridgewell. The railroad marshaling yards at Glesenkirchen, which were of great tactical importance to the Wehrmacht, were bombed through much smoke and haze. The results were poor to fair but much damage was done to the city.

From the 613th Bomb Squadron, pilot 1st Lt. Jeff H. Donaldson and his crew of the B-17 aircraft 43-38187 “Carrie B III” were part of the three squadrons which comprised the 94th Combat Wing “B” group. Sometime around 1200 hours, their aircraft was hit by flak over the target and they lost an engine. Lt. Donaldson feathered that engine and tried to return home. Unable to do so, he called for the crew to bailout before the aircraft crashed into the North Sea near the town on Ijmuiden, Holland. The entire crew parachuted into the North Sea and all managed to climb aboard a single raft. The crew floated for over twelve hours before drifting ashore and being captured as POWs.

  • North Sea near Ijmuiden, Holland
  • 16 February 1945

Michael R. Gagich

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Sgt. Michael R. Gagich (33683670) was a waist gunner. He was born in 1925, the son of Joseph and Anne Gagich in Sharon, PA. He attended high school for two years and then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 22 September 1943 in Erie, PA. He was married to Rosaline M.  He is still living on Park Street in Sharon, PA.

Gerald Scott Harvey

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Sgt. Gerald Scott Harvey (17136337) was the radio operator. He was born in 2 May 1925 in Saint Joseph, MO, the son of Scott A. and Gertrude L. Harvey of Saint Joseph, MO.  He married Eunice Pearl Listrom in St. Louis, MO and they raised five daughters.   He and his family spent 24 years as missionaries in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Africa.  After retirement, he volunteered with the American Ex-Prisoners of War Organization.  He served as chaplain, state commander and in 2005/6 the national commander. He later lived in Sedalia, MO. Harvey died on 1 January 2013 in the Baptist Home, Chillicothe, MO.  He was 87 years old.

Adelbert David Shereck

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Sgt. Adelbert David Shereck (36641610) was the ball turret gunner. He was born on 19 December 1924 in Chicago, IL son of Albert (1902-1970) and Rose (1903-1982) Shereck.  Shereck died in September 1972 in Illinois.

Richard L. Summers

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Sgt. Richard L. Summers (34546656) was the togglier. He was born on 16 October 1924 in Ohio. He attended college for one year. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on 27 February 1943 at Camp Blanding, FL.  His mother, Mrs. C.W. Furry lived in Miami, FL in 1945. Summers died on 11 March 2005 in Gulfport, MS.

Contributor: jkurtspence
Created: March 22, 2012 · Modified: April 25, 2014

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