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B 17G 42-31352 crashed in the Baltic Sea 9/4 1944.
The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 452 Bomb Group, 728 Bomb Squadron
and was named “Iron Bird”.
T/O Deopham Green. OP: Posen.
2nd Lt Herbert Hochstetter of the USAF stated in the Missing Air Crew Report #
3661: “The formation was attacked by approximately 12 FW 190`s. Aircraft
42-31353 was hit. Both inboard engines were aflame with considerable smoke. The
pilot was observed opening the side window evidently to appraise the damage. He
then pulled the nose up sharply, held it briefly and then did a whipstall
apparently to extinguish the fire. When last seen the aircraft was pulling out
of the dive apparently under control”.
Something did however go wrong and the aircraft named “Iron bird” crashed into
the Baltic Sea killing the crew.
(Via Steven Krementz)
Top Row – left to right: Marshall Phillips, Ralph E. Davison,
Jack Browne, Wymond Ridge, Edward Krementz.
Bottom Row – left to right: Edward Leslie, James Hudson, John
Mayek, Howard Mattingly.
Pilot 1st Lt John W. Mayek, Navigator 1st Lt Howard T. Mattingly Jr., Bombardier
1st Lt Edward V. Leslie, radio Operator T/Sgt Edward J. Krementz, Ball Turret
Gunner Sgt Norman H. Burton, Left Waist Gunner S/Sgt Marshall V. Phillips and
Right waist Gunner S/Sgt Jack D. Browne have no known grave and their names are
found on Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge,
The body of Major George J. Oxrider was found near Gedser on 26/6 and was laid
to rest in Svinø cemetery on 28/6 1944. His remains were disinterred on 8/5 1948
and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by
the US military.
On 22/6 the dead body of Top Turret Gunner S/Sgt Wymond B. Ridge was found
washed ashore on the beach of the island of Romsø. The body was taken to
Kerteminde and in the evening of the same day taken to the Assistenskirkegaarden
cemetery in Odense.
Top Turret Gunner S/Sgt Wymond B. Ridge grave
The funeral was scheduled to 10:00 hours on 23/6 1944 but at
08:30 the Wehrmacht requested that it was moved forward ½ an hour to prevent
problems with a Danes who might want to take part in the funeral. At 09:30 the
coffin was taken to the grave by a German Unteroffizier and four privates.
Cemetery assistant Hasselstrøm and Chapel assistant Poulsen helped carrying the
coffin which was placed in the grave without ecclesiastical assistance. The
Germans stayed at the site until the grave was covered.
A number of wreaths and
flowers were placed on the grave during the day. His remains were disinterred on
30/4 1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in
Belgium by the US military.
The body of Tail Gunner 2nd Lt James C. Hudsen was found in the Baltic Sea off
Puenitz on 18/8 1944 and is believed to have been laid to rest in Germany. Today
he is believed to rest in USA.
Sources: MACR, LBUK, Kerteminde Police, Assistenskirkegaarden cemetery, ABMC.
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