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Crash of B-17 42-97185 MACR 12333


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Mission to Dresden, Germany

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The 306th Bomb Group, 369th Bomb Squadron of the Eighth Air Force was based at Station 111, Thurleigh, England.  Thurleigh was located five miles north of Bedford and originally built for the Royal Air Force Bomber Command.  During 1942-43, the runways were extended and extra hardstands added to accommodate the heavy American bomber groups. The 306th Bomb Group commenced operation in October 1942 and continued until April 1945, flying over 342 missions.  This was the longest tenure by any American combat unit at a RAF base and one of the most famous.  Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) visited Thurleigh to commemorate the naming of the B-17 Rose of York.  The base had four hangers and sixteen living and communal sites around the airfield.  The emblem at right was insignia for the 369th Bomb Squadron.

Captain Boylston B. Lewis was the pilot of another 369th Bomb Squadron crew who participated in the bombing of the railroad yards at Dresden, Germany and did not return on 14 February 1945.  At 13:32 hours, Capt. Lewis’ plane, B-17 42-97185 was hit by flak which was described as meager, accurate and tracking.  The aircraft was approximately five minutes southwest of the target.  Having already dropped their bombs, the damage to the plane required the pilot to break from the formation.  Just as they fell away, three German Focke Wulf Fw 190’s attacked from 5 or 6 o’clock.  When the B-17 crew returned fire, the enemy aircraft broke formation with one flying higher than the others.  The high fighter was reported to have hit Capt. Lewis’ ship. It was reported that Lewis made a 180° turn after the attack and was seen heading east.  The attack severed the control cables, set the number 4 engine on fire and started a blaze in the waist of the plane.  Lewis gave the order to bail out.  Three crewmen had been hit including ball turret gunner Sgt. Alfred Lubojacky. Lubojacky had suffered a severe head wound. Two other crewmen helped the 21-year-old out of the ball turret and strapped his parachute on him and gently hurled him into the sky. Lubojacky’s body was never found.  The pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier and engineer went to the nose hatch and bailed out together.  It had now been some 30 minutes after the aircraft was hit by flak.  The burning plane crashed near the village of Hrídelec, 60 miles northeast of Prague, Czechoslovakia. Standlee and co-pilot 2nd Lt. Robert S. Whitelaw met several hours after bailing out and were free for more than twenty-four hours before being captured.


  • Hrídelec, Czech Republic
  • 14 February 1945

Honor the Memory of the Crashed Bomber

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Uctili památku z?íceného bombardéru


V ned?li 8. kv?tna byl odhalen nedaleko H?ídelce dva a p?l metru vysoký žulový monument, který p?ipomíná událost ze sklonku druhé sv?tové války. Práv? v t?chto místech se v polovin? února 1945 z?ítil americký bombardér B-17G, který se ú?astnil náletu na Dráž?any. Tam byl t?žce poškozen a p?es ?eské území se jeho posádka snažila dolet?t za sov?tskou linii fronty ve Slezsku. ?ást posádky vysko?ila na padácích b?hem letu, zbývajících p?t ?len? opustilo stroj poblíž místa z?ícení. P?i misi zahynul spodní st?elec létající pevnosti seržant Alfred Lubojacky. Slavnostního odhalení se zú?astnili i rodinní p?íslušníci ?len? posádky. Události ze 14. února 1945 je v?nována výstava v b?lohradském Památníku K. V. Raise, která bude p?ístupná do 5. ?ervna.

Honor the memory of the crashed bomber

On Sunday 8 May 2005, a granite monument two and a half meters tall was unveiled, which commemorates events at the end of World War II. It is in these places in mid-February 1945 that an American bomber B-17G crashed, which participated in the raid on Dresden. It was heavily damaged and over Czech territory with his crew tried to reach for the Soviet front line in Silesia. Part of the crew jumped by parachute during flight, the remaining five members left the aircraft near the crash site. During the mission perished bottom Flying Fortress gunner Sergeant Alfred Lubojacká. The unveiling ceremony was attended by family members of the crew. Events from 14th February 1945 is dedicated to the exhibition B?lohradský Rais Memorial, which will be open until 5 June.

  • 8 May 2005

Boyleston B. Lewis

Captain Boyleston B. Lewis was the pilot.  He was born on 25 March 1919.

Lewis died in September 1948.

Robert S. Whitelaw

2nd Lt. Robert S. Whitelaw was the co-pilot.  He was born on 23 June 1922

Whitelaw died on 15 November 2004.

Lester A. Harrison

2nd Lt. Lester A. Harrison was the navigator.  He was born on 11 January 1920.

Harrison died on 30 August 1991.

Raymond Joseph Sicard

F/O Raymond Joseph Sicard was the bombardier.  He was born on 7 May 1925.

Sicard died on 8 May 1995.

Hardin Field McChesney

Sgt. Hardin Field McChesney was the radio operator.

James Frank Standlee, Jr.

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Tech Sgt. James Frank Standlee, Jr. (17023812) was the engineer and top turret gunner.  He was born on 7 January 1923 in Missouri, the son of James F. and Florence N. Standlee of White River, MO.  He graduated from high school and worked on the farm.  On 31 January 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Springfield, MO.  He was married to Bernice N. who lived in Golden, MO in 1945. After the war, he was cattle farmer.  Standlee died at age 79 on 31 August 2002 in Springfield, MO and was buried in the McGuire Cemetery, south of Viola, MO.

Alfred S. Lubojacky

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Sgt. Alfred S. Lubojacky was the ball turret gunner.  He was born on 29 January 1924.

Lubojacky was killed in action on 14 February 1945.

Frank McDonough

Sgt. Frank McDonough was a waist gunner.  He was born on 25 November 1922.

McDonough died in September 1986.

Leon Nahmias

Sgt. Leon Nahmias was the tail gunner.

Contributor: jkurtspence
Created: April 29, 2013 · Modified: February 22, 2015

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