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Comments1: 18 MAR 45 BERLIN




 2nd Lt Robert C.Fletcher         P   FEH (WIA 18/3/45 BERLIN)
 2nd Lt William E.Baldwin,Jr.     CP  KIA 3/4/45 KIEL
 F/O John H.Buckley            NAV   KIA 3/4/45  KIEL
 Sgt Randolf A.Goodwin      BOM    KIA 3/4/45  KIEL
 Cpl Kermit E.Jones             ROG   POW 3/4/45  KIEL
 Cpl Kenneth E.Wright         TTE   KIA 3/4/45  KIEL
 Cpl Leslie O.Davis         TOG/NG    KIA 3/4/45  KIEL
 Cpl Alfred Mantopoli            WG    KIA 3/4/45  KIEL                          MACR #13717,Micro-fiche unk
 Cpl Ogden W.Barron            TG    KIA 3/4/45  KIEL                                A/C #43 38992

351st Sqdn.  Joined the 100th Group,as above, on 4/3/45.

On 3/4/45,Robt.Fletcher was not flying,his place was taken by William Baldwin and 2nd Lt. 
Francis G.Beedle (from the crew of R.C.Ellis) was flying as CP. In addition S/Sgt.Howard 0. 
Weber (also from R.C. Ellis Crew)  was aboard as radar Controller He became a POW. 


Mission: Kiel                                 351st Sqdn.
Date: 3 April 1945                            A/C #43-38992

  Letter from Kermit E.Jones 17/6/82.

2nd Lt William E.Baldwin,Jr.       P    KIA
2nd Lt Francis G.Beedle            CP   KIA
   F/O John H.Buckley              NAV  KIA
   Sgt Leslie O.Davis                TOG   KIA
   Sgt Kermit E.Jones              ROG   POW
   Sgt Kenneth E.Wright           TTE  KIA
   Sgt Randolph A.Goodwin      BTG    KIA
   Sgt Alfred Mantopoli              WG   KIA
   Sgt Ogden W.Barron              TG   KIA
 S/Sgt Howard O.Weber  Rad/Cont.  POW

This crew,with Lt. Robert C. Fletcher as pilot,joined the 100th GP on 4/3/45. He was
LWA on 18/3/45 mission to Berlin and apparently Lt. Baldwin took over as Pilot. 
Lt.  Francis Beedle had been the CP on the crew of Lt. R.C.Ellis and  
S/Sgt Howard Weber was an original member of Lt R.C. Ellis Lead Crew

Eyewitness report had following to say:  "A/C #992 was unable to release bombs over
target and retained them until formation reached 5417-0600E on return route. Bombs
were then released. The A/C appeared to be undamaged and continued on with the for-
mation to 5405-0620E at 1850 hours when wheels were lowered and pilot called over
VHF saying he was low on gas and would try to get back alone. The A/C peeled off
and down toward the undercast. When the formation reached 5250-0300E at 1952 hours,
a VHF message from A/C 992 was received saying that 80 gallons of gas per engine
was left and the A/C was an estimated 15 minutes from land. Nothing further was
heard. Other pilots suggest that cloud conditions were favorable for icing and that
A/C may have been lost due to ice picked up in passing through clouds."

Actually,icing was not the problem as Kermit Jones explains. "We were returning
from Kiel when it was discovered we were running out of gas so we headed for
Belgium. While enroute,and over the first Frisian Island off the Peninsula of Holland,
at an altitude of 5000 feet,we wera hit by flak which destroyed two engines and
set the ship on fire."

According to Jones,he,Goodwin and Wright bailed out but the others did not and the
A/C exploded upon hitting the ground. Jones adds that, "Sgt. Goodwin landed on the
island (Texel) and shed his chute and flying boots. These were later shown to us by
the Germans with a comment that Sgt.Goodwin was dead. The Germans at the same time
showed us the seven pairs of twisted and burned dog tags of remaining members of
the crew with a statement that they were all dead."

Of considerable interest in connection with the loss of this crew is a letter
from  "The Mayor of Texel" dated 11 Feb.1946 and apparently directed to someone
who had inquired about the burial of Sgt Barron.

       "In answer to your letter of 5 February,we can assure you that the grave of
Sgt.Ogden N. Barron indeed is known.
        The plane was shot down on April 3.1945 at 20 hours (8 p.m.) and fell
near Horntje in the southern part of Texel Island (However, this is also not exactly the crash location; 
It is better to mention " near Watermolenweg in Hoornder Nieuwland ".)
The plane had posslbly a crew ofseven men. Two persons,their names not known, (they were Jones & Weber) 
were taken prisoner by the Germans. The bodies of two persons, namely,Sgt Ogden W.Barron
number 420C0553 and Sgt.Randolph Goodwin, number 39855835 were identified.These
two people died instantly when the plane struck the ground. Also,two others
occupants who tried to leave the plane by parachute were killed instantly on
account of the Plane being too close to the ground.Their names ere not known.

The possibly seventh occupant has never been found,either he fell into the sea
or was obliterated under the plane when it fell dowm.

The bodies of the four crew members were buried on April 10/1945 in the Allied
cemetary of the town Den Burg at Textel Island. The funeral services were somewhat
delayed on account of a general uprising amongst the people with many things abnormal
for a few days. The graves were marked with a wooden cross.
On Dec.7,1945 the American Graves Registration Command recovered the bodies of the
American boys and reburied them in the American cemetary "Margraten" in the
province of Limburg."

In two quite touching letters written by one A. van Dienst,an official of Den Burg,
to the mother of John Buckley 30/5/46 and 25/11/46) he attcmpts to solace
Mrs Buckley and, at the same time,explain the difficulties met with in identifying
the airmen who perished in the crash.

      "parts of different bodies were found, namely two bodies and four pair of
hands, partly burnt, found in or near the plane. These were buried in one coffin at
10 April in the war cemetary of Den Burg about 20 metres from my house."

van Dienst then proposes the possibility that some human remains, if not consumed
by fire, might still be in "parts of the plane that are pushed deep into the
ground". He further promises to attempt to interest the American Graves Registration
in digging up the buried aircraft to search for any remains.

In the letter of 25/11/46, van Dienst writes Mrs Buckley that Graves Registration
had further examined the wreckage and had been able to identify remains of William
E.Baldwin, Francis G.Beedle, Sgt Alfred Mantopoli and Kenneth Wright.

Thus we know that F/O John Buckley and Sgt Leslie O,Davis were the two unidentified
crewmen "buried in one coffin" on 10 April 1945.  van Dienst concludes his letter
to Mrs.Buckley by saying that the cross marking this grave reads "Unknown American
Flyers" but the rear side of the cross now says, "Probably, F/O John H.Buckley and
Sgt Leslie O.Davis".







Robert C. Fletcher / William E. Baldwin Crew (left to right)
Kneeling: Leslie O. Davis, Kenneth (Kenny) Wright, Alfred (Al) Mantopoli, Ogden W. Barron,
Randolph (Randy) Goodwin, Kermit E. Jones
Standing: Perry Skinner, John Buckley, William Baldwin, Robert Fletcher
Note: Skinner and Fletcher were not in the crashed aircraft. Beedle, Davis and Weber are not pictured.
(Picture and info courtesy of Wilhelm Bakker)



Crew 1

ID: 1659