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B 17G 42-31126 crashed near Bellinge 20/2 1944.
Pilot 1st Lt Richard F. Reed gave the
alarm to bail out and opened the bomb bay doors as an exit for himself and
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Wyan E. Osness. Osness however dropped down to the navigators
hatch instead of using the bomb bay exit. He was unable to open the hatch and
called for Navigator 2nd Lt David D. Jacobs to assist him. Jacobs threw his
weight against the door and left the aircraft with it. Osness next signalled
Bombardier 2nd Lt Charles W. McCollester to bail out before him. At this time
the right wing erupted in flames and the aircraft went into a spin throwing
McCollister out and pinning Osness to the aircraft.
The tail now broke off and S/Sgt K H. Bonner left thru the opening. Tail Gunner
S/Sgt John J. Chinni managed to free himself from the tail and landed safely in
Feldwebel Heinz Hanke
The dead bodies of Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Wyman E. Osness and Flt. Engr./ Top Turret Gunner T/Sgt William T. Morse was found with the wreck. Osness was found 100 metres south of the farm while Morse was found with his turret and the front of the fuselage150 metres south west of the farm.
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Wyman E. Osness
Chinni, Ferrici and Rowling was captured near Bellinge around 13:30 hours by a patrol from 1 st. Comp. D IV, Odense. Rowling was picked up by Police Constable Clemens-Pedersen on the road between Brylle and the Assens main road. The flyer had hurt his hip and was placed in Clemens-Pedersens police car. It was Clemens-Pedersens intention to get the flyer out of the area but after a short while they were stopped by a German patrol. When they saw Rowling they placed a guard in the car and told Clemens-Pedersen to drive to a farm near the crash site. Here Rowling met with his two comrades. Clemens-Pedersen however managed to get the Germans permission to call a Doctor to treat Rowlings wounds.
Ball Turret gunner S/Sgt William J. Rowling
Tail Gunner S/Sgt John J. Chinni
Chinni and Rowlings were sent by cattle car to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug where Chinni was given number 1499. In July 1944 they was evacuated by ship to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow where they arrived on 18/7. On February 6th 1945 the prisoners were evacuated by foot and marched for 55 days to Stalag 357 Fallingbostel. They marched through snow, freezing rain and freezing weather and at night they were warehoused in barns with no heat or blankets. Chinni contracted pheumonia and was airlifted to England after they had been liberated by British troops probably on May 2th or 3th 1945.
The original crosses
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