Date: Oct 22, 43
Dispatched: 51 Aborts: 5
Mission: Supplementary top cover to B-26s Field Order: 165
Time Up/Down: 15:19 hrs 16:59 hrs Leader: Lt Col. McCollom
Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 02-00
Group made landfall in vicinity of Dunkirk at 15:55 hrs at 22,000ft. After flying thru solid wall of Cirrus clouds up to 30,000ft Group leader turned back, possibly crossing out enemy coast in the Boulogne area. One pilot went to 36,000ft before breaking out of the overcast. Weather: thin alto stratus base 16,000ft encountered opposite Manston. Dense cirrus merging into altostratus, no appreciable breaks, top of cirrus 36,000ft. Visibility excellent below cloud, less than 100 yeards in cloud. Intervals of extreme turbulence encountered up to 25,000ft. Lts. Lowe and Stone 350th MIA. Capt. Rose and Lt. Herfurth Gp HQ participated. Lt. Herfurth returned due to oxygen trouble.
350th: Major Rimerman. T/U 15:30 hrs. T/D 17:00 hrs. Total flight time 1:30 hrs. Squadron enterred enemy coast at Dunkirk, swept inland for five minutes, made right orbit and left coast. Group recalled by controller because of weather. Lt. Lowe, flying number 2 position in white flight was seen to spin out of left turn made by flight after turn was begun. Left turn made by flight after [a] right turn was begun. Left turn made to avoid aircraft on right. Capt. Newhart was last person to see Lt. Lowe as he spun out of turn. Lt. Stone, number 4 man of white flight, had to leave formation when left turn was made and flight went on instruments. He was last heard over the radio to call reporting that he had lost his flight. Major Rimerman ordered him to go out on his own. Lt. Stone failed to return from mission. Lt. Zolner’s ship sustained slight flak damage in wing and fuselage.
|1st Lt||Alan W.||Lowe||MIA||LH-D||42-8683|
|2nd Lt||Walter B.||Stone||MIA||LH-L*||42-7989|
|Capt||Stanley R.||Pidduck||(Flt Ldr)|
|2nd Lt||John H.||Winder|
|1st Lt||Wayne K.||Blickenstaff|
|Capt||Dewey E.||Newhart||(Flt Ldr)|
|2nd Lt||Robert S.||Hart|
|1st Lt||William W.||Odom|
|1st Lt||Wilford F.||Hurst||(Flt Ldr)|
|2nd Lt||Richard A.||Stearns|
|1st Lt||John L.||Devane|
*The source for this aircraft lettering is that Lt. Price was listed in the control Tower Log as flying LH-L on September 5, 1943. This can be cross referenced with the list contained in the accident report for that day. I’m not 100% convinced the CT log is accurate in this instance however.
It was a tragic day for the Squadron losing two recent replacement pilots. About 10 miles east of St. Omer, Capt. John B. Rose’s wing man, 2nd Lt Walter Buster Stone got into difficulties as Capt Rose reported:
On a true course of 183 degrees we entered a cirrus overcast at 15:43 at about 16,000 feet. At this time Lt. Stone was still on my wing after we had entered the overcast. I lost sight of Lt. Stone because of concentrating on flying the flight leaders wing.
The Squadron climbed to an altitude of about 27,000 feet when a 180 degree port turn was made, the Group Commander having ordered the Group to return home. I believe that Lt. Stone, who had been lagging most of the way, lost contact with the flight shortly before the turn was made.
Capt. Rose also had a lucky escape when his aircraft spun and he returned home alone. Lt. Stone was killed when his aircraft crashed and he is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Ardennes American Military Cemetery. You can search for further details HERE.
About ten years ago I received a letter from France informing me that the crash site had been located in Tournehem Forest to the west of St. Omer and that engine and other parts of the aircraft recovered. I’m not totally convinced it was Lt. Stone’s aircraft as the letter mentioned black and yellow cowling sections being found which would not, given the date of the crash, have been in use at that time. A mystery that perhaps someone out there can shed some light on?
In Red flight that day, Capt Dewey Newhart’s wing man, 1st Lt Alan Ward Lowe, was also killed:
I was leading Red flight when the mission was recalled by the controller. My Squadron Commander made a turn to the left and a slight descend to return to base. After completing about 20 degrees of the turn, Lt. Lowe pulled up to the right and out of the formation in a vertical left bank, snapping to the right, and going down. He disappeared under the nose of my aircraft, and this was the last I saw of him. This happened between 26,000 and 27,000ft.
Lt. Lowe was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery. You can see further details by searching at the American Battle Monuments Commission HERE.
351st : Lt Col McCollom. T/U 15:19 hrs. T/D 16:55 hrs. Total flight time 1:36 hrs. Route: In at Dunkerque, orbited and returned to base bad weather.
|Lt Col||Loren G.||McCollom||(Sqdn & Gp Ldr)|
|2nd Lt||Richard D.||Stanley|
|2nd Lt||Lloyd A.||Thornell|
|1st Lt||William J.||Maguire|
|1st Lt||William R.||Burkett|
|2nd Lt||Harold J.||Morris|
|1st Lt||Harry F.||Hunter|
|2nd Lt||George F.||Perpente|
|2nd Lt||Francis L.||Edwards|
|1st Lt||Vernon A.||Leatherman|
|2nd Lt||Frank J.||Mincik|
|1st Lt||Francis N.||King|
|2nd Lt||Benedict E||Kraft|
|1st Lt||Gordon B.||Compton|
|2nd Lt||Edgar J.||Albert|
352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 15:04 hrs. T/D 16:51 hrs. Total flight time 1:47 hrs. Major Bailey led the Squadron, making landfall at Gravelines at 15:55 hrs. There was a complete overcast at the coast, but the Squadron continued on course trying to climb out of it. The Group leader recalled and Squadron returned to station.
|Major||William B.||Bailey||(Sqdn Ldr)|
|2nd Lt||Richard V.||Keywan||ERTN|
|2nd Lt||Glenn C.||Callans|
|2nd Lt||William S.||Marchant|
|2nd Lt||Harry H.||Dustin|
|1st Lt||Charles W.||Kipfer|
|1st Lt||Gordon L.||Willits|
|1st Lt||Wilbert H.||Juntilla||(Flt Ldr)|
|1st Lt||Robert A.||Newman|
|Capt||Raynor E.||Robertson||(Flt Ldr)|
|1st Lt||Gordon S.||Burlingame|
|Capt||Charles J.||Hoey||(Flt Ldr)|
|1st Lt||Clinton H.||Sperry|
|1st Lt||Leroy W.||Ista|
Group Aborts/Early Returns/Battle Damage:
|42-74618||ERTN belly tank wouldn’t release||LH-?|
|42-8634||ERTN belly tank wouldn’t release||LH-X|
|42-7910||ERTN belly tank wouldn’t draw fuel||SX-J|
|42-22465||ERTN belly tank wouldn’t draw fuel||SX-Y|
|42-8664||ERTN oxygen system failure||SX-?||Lt. Herfurth|
|42-8480||BD Cat AC||LH-Z||Lt. Zolner|