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LT  Curtis R. BIDDICK

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

Lt. Curtis R. Biddick (photo from the collection of James Potts)

SERIAL #: O-729787 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 00675 CR: 00675

Comments1: 17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG (FLAK) Original 100th, Crew #28

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1st Lt Curtis R. Biddick                      P    KIA   17/8/43  Regensburg (with Lt Flesh Crew)
 2nd Lt Hoyt  L. Smith,                   CP   POW   10/10/43  Munster (With crew of E.A.Kiessling)
2nd Lt Paul  S. Warner                     NAV  Grounded Bangor,Maine June 1943
1st Lt Dan  B. McKay                        BOM  POW 17/8/43   Regensburg (with Lt  Flesh Crew)
 T/Sgt Glover E. Barney                    TTE  POW 17/8/43   Regensburg (with Lt Robert Knox Crew)
 T/Sgt Ross H. Breckeen                   WG   NOC
 S/Sgt Joseph P. Eigen                     ROG  NOC 
 S/Sgt Roy  L. Schellin                      BTG  WIA 10/7/43     LeBourget-received DSC and PH for this mission, see below
 S/Sgt John  O. Stireman                   WG  WIA 10/7/43    LeBourget-received DSC and PH for this mission, see below.
 S/Sgt Alfred  J. Vickers                     TG   WIA 10/7/43     LeBourget (Purple Heart)

418th Sqdn. An "Original" crew. #28 A/C 42-30064 "Wild Cargo"

According to Dan McKay, Paul Warner "became ill in Bangor,Maine and was grounded there. He did not fly over to england with us." Roy Schellin, John Stireman and Al Vickers were all wounded severely in the 'Paris' raid. I heard they were scheduled to be shipped back to the States, but can't say positively that they were. The last I saw of them they were in the hospital in England "                   

Regensburg Mission: August 17, 1943


            LT WILLIAM R. FLESH   Original 100th BG Crew, 418th SQ

CREW #30  A/C #42-30066     "MUG WUMP"      MACR #675

1ST LT  WILLIAM R. FLESH                P;  See notes & crew listed below
F/O     RICHARD L. SNYDER              CP;  KIA  17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
2ND LT  JOHN C. DENNIS             NAV;   POW  17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
1ST LT  PAUL R. ENGLERT            BOM;  POW  6 SEP 43 STUTTGART(with Crew#33, Lt Woodward )
T/SGT   LAWRENCE E. GODBEY     TTE;  KIA  17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
T/SGT   ROBERT R. DEKAY           ROG;  KIA   17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
S/SGT   WALTER HALUNKA          BTG;  POW   17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
S/SGT   WILLIAM M. BLANK           WG;  POW   17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
S/SGT   CLARENCE R. BOWLIN        TG;  POW   17 AUG 43 REGENSBURG
S/SGT   CHARLES F. VIELBIG          WG SEE NOTES

MISSIONS OF LT WILLIAM FLESH CREW:

JUNE 26, 1943 LeMANS                           a/c  230066 MUGWUMP  (NO CREDIT FOR MISSION,PLANES RETURNED DUE TO WEATHER)
JUNE 28, 1943 ST. NAZAIRE (FLAK CITY)  a/c 230066 MUGWUMP
JUNE 29, 1943 LeMANS                           a/c 230066 MUGWUMP
JULY   4, 1943 LaPALLICE                        a/c 230066 MUGWUMP
JULY 10, 1943 LeBOURGET                      a/c 230066 MUGWUMP
JULY 17, 1943 HAMBURG                         a/c 230066 MUGWUMP
AUG  17, 1943 REGENSBURG                    a/c   25860 ESCAPE KIT

ON REGENSBURG MISSION, LT WILLIAM  FLESH WAS ON LEAVE AND LT CURTIS BIDDICK, OF CREW #28 REPLACED HIM.  BIDDICK'S REGULAR BOMBARDIER,  LT DAN McKAY REPLACED LT PAUL ENGLERT. LT BIDDICK WAS KIA AND McKAY, BADLY BURNED,  WAS A POW.
T/SGT HOWARD J. BROCK OF CREW #35 (LT BLAKELY CREW), FLEW FOR CHARLES VIELBIG AND WAS TAKEN PRISONER.

ABOUT FORTY MILES NORTHWEST OF REGENSBURG THE AIRCRAFT WAS HIT IN RIGHT SIDE OF THE NOSE AND FUSELAGE BY 20-MM ROUNDS, WOUNDING GODBEY AND STARTING AN INTENSE OXYGEN SYSTEM FIRE IN THE FLIGHT DECK AREA.  THE CO-PILOT RICHARD SNYDER WAS SEEN STANDING ON THE WING, APPARENTLY HAVING EGRESSED THE AIRCRAFT THROUGH A HOLE IN THE FUSELAGE.  IT IS THOUGHT THAT HE HIT THE STABLIZER WHEN HE LEFT THE WING, AT ANY RATE HIS BODY WAS LOCATED SOME THREE MONTHS LATER HANGING IN HIS CHUTE HARNESS FROM A TREE BRANCH. THIS IS THE INCEDENT MENTIONED BY BEIRNE LAY IN HIS ARTICLE ON THE REGENSBURG MISSION. OWEN "COWBOY" ROANE ALSO REPORTED SEEING SNYDER'S GALLANT BID TO ESCAPE THE DOOMED  "ESCAPE KIT."(42-5860)  LT ROANE REPORTED SEEING SNYDER CLIMB OUT ON THE WING AND REACH BACK INSIDE FOR HIS CHUTE PACK, PROABLY THE HOLE IN THE FUSELAGE WAS TOO SMALL TO GET THROUGH WEARING A CHUTE PACK. SNYDER BUCKLED ON HIS CHUTE WHILE STANDING IN THE FIRE RAGING ON THE WING. THE FACT HE DID NOT SURVIVE DOES NOT DIMISH HIS VALIANT EFFORT.  HE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN BY THE 100TH.


The following form contents were entered on 12th May 3
Date = 12 May 3 16:30:32
subject = 100thBG Feedback Form
messages = 1019
TYPE = Ask a question regarding history
RESPONSIBLE = 100TH BG HISTORIAN
EMAIL = rmckay@flatsurv.com
UNAME = James Reese McKay
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = My father, Dan Boies McKay, will turn 80 this June.  He was the bombardier in Curtis R. "Pete" Biddick's crew.  Their B-17 was shot down over Regensburg on August 17, 1943.  The pilot, Lt. Biddick, and most of the crew were killed in action on this mission.  My father and the radio operator survived and were POWs for the remainder of the war.  I did not see anything in the missions history section about the Regensberg mission.  Is that being worked on?  My father could probably submit his account of this, although I have not talked to him about it in many years and I don't know how much detail he remembers after all these years.

My father did remember that someone named Gonzales replaced Paul Warner as navigator for the original Biddick crew.  He couldn't remember his first name.  He said that Gonzales had flown about 3 missions with them he thought.  Most of the original Biddick crew had been shot up (all had survived their wounds as far as my father could remember) and were likely shipped back to the states by the time of the Regensberg raid.  My father does not have a photo of the Biddick crew or any other crew.  As far as he knows no one ever had such a photo.  I will mail you one or two photos of my father though…


 SUBMITTER INFORMATION
SUBMITTER: Claus Hanak
EMAIL: claus_hanak@t-online.de
PURPOSE: Ask a question
INTEREST: I am researching WW2 history
May 25, 2006
Dear Madam or Sir,

please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Claus Hanak and I live in Walldürn, a small town in South-West Germany, between Würzburg and Heidelberg. I am a historian and I am writing an academically study paper about an allied air attack on my hometown Walldürn in the Second World War. On  July 21, 1944 twelve B-24 bombers from the 34. Bomb Group of 8th USAAF attacked Walldürn.

Talking to many contemporary witnesses, I found out that on August 17, 1943, there was another air-war incident near Walldürn. On that day – for the first time in war – American bomber squadrons flew over the town. German fighters attacked the flying fortresses and two aircraft were shot down and crashed near Walldürn. Those were the 100. Bomb Group aircraft B-17 »Escape Kit« flown by Lt. Curtis R. Biddick and the B-17 »Tweedle-O-Twill« flown by Lt. Ronald W. Braley. 

Eyewitnesses reported that dramatic scenes had happened! The two aircraft crashed near the small villages Pülfringen and Schweinberg. Among other things balled out crew members were captured and injured airmen were medicated. The remains of the killed crew members were later buried at the local Catholic village cemeteries – with military honours, so contemporary witnesses told me. (Soon after the war, they were disinterred by US-Soldiers). The interviewed contemporary witnesses unanimously said, that the two villages were lucky, because the bombers crashed on the outskirts. An elder man – he was thirteen in 1943 – told me: “If I got the chance, I would thank Lt. Braley and his crew. He heaved the aircraft over Pülfringen, many people would have been killed, if the flying fortress had crashed in the middle of our hamlet!”

Therefore I am writing to you. Maybe you have some more information about the two aircrews. Are Ronald W. Braley and some members of his crew still alive? Are still some members of Curtis R. Biddicks crew alive? If you are interested I would be glad to give you the information I have concerning the two shooting downs. 

Thank you for your co-operation. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

                                
Sincerely yours

                                Claus Hanak M.A.


---> NOTE TO 100TH STAFF:
To include the submitter in your reply, you must manually enter the submitter's address (claus_hanak@t-online.de)in one of the address fields.

**************************************************************************************************************

STIREMAN, JOHN O.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to John O. Stireman, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Waist Gunner of a B-17 Heavy Bomber in the 100th Bombardment Group, EIGHTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 14 July 1943, against enemy ground targets in the European Theater of Operations. The personal courage and devotion to duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Stireman on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.
Headquarters: European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, General Orders No. 61 (1943)
Home Town: Superior, Wisconsin

SCHELLIN, ROY L.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Roy L. Schellin, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Gunner of a B-17 Heavy Bomber in the 100th Bombardment Group (H), EIGHTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 14 July 1943, against enemy targets in the European Theater of Operations. The personal courage and devotion to duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Schellin on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.
Headquarters: European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, General Orders No. 61 (1943)

MEMO 2:

 Flew with Crew #30 that day.

Curtis R Biddick was born in Wisconsin in 1916 (although some sources cite 1915) to Ernest R. and Delphia June Baker Biddick. The US Census 1920 lists the family in Mifflin, Wisconsin while the US Census 1930 lists Biddick as a nephew in the household of Elmer Hughes in Davis, California. The US Census 1940 shows him as a lodger in a household in San Francisco.

He attended and graduated from the University of California in 1937, and worked as a salesman. No enlistment record has been located, but judging by experience, rank, and assignments, he joined the military in 1942. He was trained as a pilot, commissioned, awarded wings, and was assigned to a crew for familiarization training.

This crew deployed to England in 1943, but after a bad start. The original navigator, Lt Paul Warner was taken ill in Bangor, Maine and removed from the crew. He was replaced by F/O Richard L. Snyder. The crew was headed by Lt. William Flesh, and flew several combat missions in early 1943. In July, 1943, SSgts Roy Schellin, John Stireman, and Al Vickers (gunners) were severely wounded and were eventually returned to the U.S. They were replaced by SSgts Halunka, Blank, and Brooks.

On August 17, 1943, the crew was selected as part of the formation to attack Regensburg, Germany as a diversion from the attack on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing plants. Lt Flesh (original crew commander) was on leave, so Lt Biddick replaced him as First Pilot.

Over the target, the aircraft was attacked by a large number of enemy fighters. Cannon shells and machine gun fire tore through the ship, killing some crew and leaving large holes in the nose and fuselage, and starting a large fire in the oxygen storage compartment.  Lt Snyder exited the burning plane through one of these holes, reached back and retrieved his parachute, and put it on while standing on the wing. When he jumped, he hit the stabilizer which killed him.

The aircraft crashed after Lt Biddick made an effort to miss a small village directly in the impact area. Several of the crew were injured, and were treated medically before being turned over to Nazi authorities. There were 4 dead, which were recovered and buried in the cemetery at Pulfringen. These were moved after the war, all to the U.S. Lt Biddick is buried in a group burial with two other airmen at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri in Section 84, Site 290/292.

Lt Curtis R. Biddick was performing duty as First Pilot on B-17F # 42-5860, named "Escape Kit," assigned to the 418th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 675 covers the loss. Crew rosters, personnel files, and memos show the crew as:

1 Lt Curtis R. Biddick  p
F/O Richard L. Snyder  c-p
2 Lt John C. Dennis  nav
1 Lt Dan McKay  bomb
TSgt Lawrence E. Godbey  eng/tt gun
TSgt Robert R. DeKay  r/o
SSgt Walter Halunka  btg
SSgt William M. Blank  wg
TSgt Howard J. Brooks  wg
SSgt Clarence R. Bowlin  tail gun

Lt Biddick, F/O Snyder, TSgt Godbey, and TSgt DeKay were killed. All others captured.

TSgt Brooks replaced SSgt Charles Vielbig for this mission. Lt McKay replaed regular crew member Lt Paul Englert. (Reasons unknown.)

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Regensburg DATE: 1943-08-17  
AIRCRAFT: "Escape Kit" (42-5860) CAUSE: FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY: Jefferson Barracks Nat'l Cem  
ID: 362