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SGT  Claude P. ZUKOWSKI

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: 13011028 STATUS: POW
MACR: 02760 CR: 02760

Comments1: 25 FEB 44 REGENSBURG (CS DUE TO EAC)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
                    TARGET WAS REGENSBURG
1st Lt Stewart A.McClain            P       KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg   Buired Normandy  Plot D, Row 12, Grave 45 
2nd Lt John D.McBride,Jr.          CP      KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg
2nd Lt Philip Mordkowitz          NAV   KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg
2nd Lt Homer E.Glasco           BOM    KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg
 T/Sgt Samuel H.Kuntz           ROG    KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg
 T/Sgt Angelo Fernandez          TTE    KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg
 S/Sgt Lawrence H.Bennett      BTG     KIA 25/2/44  Regensburg                 MACR #2760,Micro fiche #924
 S/Sgt Hugh E.Ward              WG      RFS                                               A/C #42 30788 "MISMALOVIN"
 S/Sgt John H.Walters           WG      CPT
 S/Sgt William L.Cook            TG       POW 25/2/44  Regensburg 

350th 5qdn. Crew,as above, joined the 100th Group in early Oct.1943.
Check S/Sgt William L. Cook file for presonal recollection of last mission.

See p.l98 of "CONTRAILS" for photo of crew. Also see Joe Lee correspondence in 350th file (story of last mission by Wm Cook).

On 25/2/44 Sgt Claude P.Zukowski was flying RWG and became a POW. S/Sgt George Knudsen was 
flying LWG and was KIA.  McClain,McBride & Bennett are buried at the Omaha Beach cemetary.

Over Regensburg and just after Bombs Away, a flak hit was received in the #2 engine and oil 
pressure was lost immediately. Prop was finally feathered but ship lost altitude and began to 
lag. McClain went down to the deck to avoid intense fighter pressure  at this point Lt. 
Mordkowitz was killed by 20mm.On flight to coast flak and fighters continued to take there 
toll; Sam Kuntz was killed,Fernandez was severely wounded or killed,Ed Glasco was wounded and 
McBride was severely wounded or killed. Cook also suffered several minor wounds. Seeing that 
they were over the channel but not being able to contact McClain by intercom, Cook got out of 
his tail gun position and headed for the cockpit area. He saw  Sgt.Knutsen jump from the waist 
although the ship was only a few hundred feet above the surface of the water.


According to W..L.Cook, Hugh Ward was grounded, over his violent objections, after a few missions because of chronic air sickness,
 

Bennett was about to Jump but was pulled back by Cook. At this point the a/c crashed into
the water and Cook was rendered unconscious. When he came to,in the water, he saw Sgt.
Zukowski nearby. They were picked up by some German marines and taken to a hospital in
CalAis,France. After about 4 days were movod to Frankfurt and thence to a POW camp.

This was the 22nd Mission for the crew.  A list of their missions follows:

1.Wilhemshaven  1/11/43   12.Nuess,Ger.  5/1/44
2.Gelsenkerchen  5/11/43  13.Ludwigshafen 7/1/44
3.Duren,Ger.   7/11/43    14.0snabruck  11/5/44
4.Gelsenkirchen  19/11/43   15.Frankfurt  29/1/44
5.Paris   26/ 11 /43         16.Brunswick  30/1/44
6.Bremen  29/11/43          17.Frankfurt  4/2/44
7.Bordeaux  5/12/43       18.Evreux,France 6/2/44
8.Kiel   13/1 2/43           19.Stettin,Ger.  20/2/44
9.Bremen  16/12/43         20.Vorden,Ger  21/2/44
10.Secret,France  24/12/43 21.Rostock,Ger  24/2/44
11.Kiel   4/1/44            22.Regensburg  25/2/44


   The following was written by Mr. William T. Cook in July 1983 to Mr. Joe Lee, who is a nephew if William Fletcher.

February 25, 1944
 The day started like most of those on which we flew missions: breakfast at 2:30 a.m., briefing at 3:30 a.m. and an early take off. We assembled over England and then headed across the English Channel. The trip to Regensburg consisted of about the usual number of attacks from German fighter planes and some flak from the populated areas. As I recall, we did not lose any planes from out group on the way to the target.
 As we began the bomb run on Regensburg at about 26 thousand feet, the German fighters pulled back and the flak became very heavy. Just after we had dropped out bombs we received a hit in the left inboard engine and lost oil pressure immediately. The propeller began to run away and vibration became very severe; to the point that we thought we might have the engine fall off. We finally were able to feather the prop and stabilize the plane. As you would expect, we lost altitude rapidly; the rest of the group formation had left us, and we were faced with returning to base alone. Obviously we made the decision to try for England.
 Almost immediately after we leveled off, at a very low altitude, we began having attacks from fighter planes. Since we were alone and could not gain altitude, we continued to fly very low; probably around 200/300 feet. Soon after leaving the target, after having stabilized the aircraft and being under heavy attack from fighters, the bombardier, Lt. Ed Glasco, reported that the navigator, Lt. Phil Mordkowitz, had been killed. After this incident, the pilot began flying dead-reconing back to our base at Thorpe Abbotts. This type of navigation, of necessity, took us near several towns and cities from which we received some flak; however, it was not very effective due to our low altitude and distance from the towns. Throughout our flight back toward England we were being attacked repeatedly by German fighters. We received some help, at one point, after leaving Regensburg, American fighters; however, they were only able to engage the German fighters for a few minutes. I'm sure this was due to lack of fuel at that distance into Germany. During the day on our way back we sustained several additional casualties: the radio man, T/Sgt. Samuel Kuntz, was killed; out engineer, T/Sgt. Angelo Fernandz, was severely wounded or killed; our bombardier, Lt. Ed Glasco, was wounded; our co-pilot, Lt. Don McBride, was either severely wounded or killed; and I was wounded on four separate occasions. In spite of the licking we were taking, we still managed to give as pretty good account for ourselves. The engineer shot down two fighters, the bombardier had one possible, and I shot down two of which I am sure.
 As we approached the English Channel, we flew over Calais, France, and as we passed the coast we again picked up heavy fighter attack. At on point we were close enough to England to see the cliffs of Dover, still being attacked by fighter planes. The plane began a gradual turn to the left and I started trying to contact the pilot by intercom. I could not get a reply from the pilot, Lt. Stewart McClain, and assumed he was hit, I knew we were going to crash if something was not done to prevent it. Since I had flown the plane on many occasions, I left the tail gunner's position and headed for the cockpit. As I reached the main entrance to the plane, I saw Sgt. Callahan, a waist gunner, jump from the aircraft. (According to Jim Brown, Callahan was not aboard and waist gunner Cook saw was S/Sgt. G.W. Knudsen flying as a spare for this mission and was KIA). At this point we were only about 100/150 feet from the English Channel and I knew we did not have sufficient altitude for a chute to open. Out ball turret gunner, S/Sgt. Lawrence Bennett, was standing in the door ready to jump. I reached for him, pulled him back into the plane, and told him to take off his chute because we were about to crash. He was having some difficulty removing his chute and I was assisting him when the plane crashed into the English Channel. I was knocked unconscious in the crash and woke up floating in the Channel. When I regained consciousness, I saw one other person (a spare gunner flying with us that day -- he was replacing S/Sgt. John Walters, and I don't remember his name) who had survived. (S/Sgt. Claude P. Zukowski..pw) We were picked up by some German Marines, taken to a hospital in Calais, France, where we stayed for about three of four days, and I was then moved to an interrogation center in Frankfurt. I spent about 20 days in Frankfurt (in solitaire) and was then sent to a POW camp. I saw the spare gunner (Claude P. Zukowski) one other time. I think he was on his way home, being repatriated.
 I hope this is the sort of thing you wanted and that it will be some help and interest to you. As I said, the details begin to fade after 40 years. This was, however, a fine crew made up fine men; boys for the most part. Even after 40 years I still think often of them and the good and bad times we had together. It is sad, really, that I was the only one who had a chance to grow up and have a full life…

William T. Cook
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Letter to the Lt. William Fletcher's Mother from the wife (Joesphine) of Stewart McClain. At the writing of this letter Lt. William Fletcher was already a POW and Lt. Stewart McClain had lost his life.

304 E. Second Street
Tuscumbia, Alabama
March  29,1944

Dear Mrs. Fletchter (Mother of Lt Wiliam H. Fletcher)

You are probably wondering who I am. I am the wife of one of the Pilots that your Son, Bill, received training with and who also went across at the same time as Bill. I sent you a Christmas Card last Christmas with a note inside but don't know if you ever received it.

My husband was Stewart McClain. All the fellows called him Mac. I don't know if Bill ever spoke of him or not. In fact I received a letter from him some weeks ago telling me all about your good cooking of chicken., chop suey, etc., and inviting Mac and me over to see you after the war. Mac, my husband was reported missing in action as of February 25th, over Germany. I received the official notice this week. It was such a shock to me. He was on his 22nd mission and would have been home soon. I believe in my heart he is safe, but the suspense of not knowing is awful. I pray God will watch over and take care of him and all the other boys. I know He will answer those prayers. Mac and Bill had the same room over in England and had a pin-up collection of pictures together. Bill's ship was named 'Fletcher's Castoria,' and Mac's was 'Mismalovin.' They have been together ever since being in England.

I don't know if Bill is missing in action or not one of the other boys on my husband's crew wrote me that Fletcher and crew sent a radio message to 'Mismalovin.' my husband's ship, just before leaving the formation on the raid of 2-21-44, I believe it was or maybe it was 2-23-44, I have forgotten just now. Anyway the message was, "Ship under control and no injury." If you have not received an official telegram the Government that he is missing, then he is not. I just thought that if he was, this message might help you some. I know it would mean everything to me just not to hear from someone who had received a message of some kind from my husband before he left the formation. Three is always a good possibility that if the ship is under control they make it back to the base or to Switzerland or another country. Do write be about Bill. Have you heard from him recently? I wrote to him asking if he knew anything about Mac, but he never answered it. I hope he is o.k. As I said, if you have not received a message, then he is o.k.

Your son is a fine boy. Mac and I both think his is tops. He was one of the best pilots in the while Group. When we were in Washington state, Bill was with us lots. He was in Oregon with Mac to. They left from Maine last September.

I hope you will have time to write me sometime. I would like very much to meet you for I know you are a wonderful person from all that Bill has told me about you.

I hope and pray to God that our boys are safe and the war will be over soon and they can come back to us. That will be the happiest day of my life.

Sincerely Josephine G. McClain

P.S. My husband and I both are from Gadsden, Ala.


LT STEWART A. McCLAIN

BURIED: AMERICAN MILITARY CEMETERY AT OMAHA BEACH

GRAVE D-12-45

MEMO 2:

POW/KIA notes: Crashed at Sea.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Regensburg DATE: 1944-02-22  
AIRCRAFT: "Mismalovin" (42-30788) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 5734