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 The Oren E. Hopkins Crew photographed at Thorpe Abbotts after landing from a mission over Europe. This crew flew the Russian Shuttle missions. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

MACR: 10357 CR: 10357

Comments1: 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE (FLAK)




2nd Lt   Oren E. Hopkins              P POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
2nd Lt   Foy E. Read                CP POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
2nd Lt   Forrest Gordon          NAV POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
2nd Lt   Eugene E. Lockhart     BOM KIA 3 FEB 45  BERLIN   with the Ernst PFF crew; see below
    Cpl   Henry B. Marlette          TTE POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
    Sgt   Kenneth E. Yeater       ROG POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
    Cpl   Arthur B. Crush, Jr.       BTG POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
    Cpl   Harold Farlow              WG POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE
    Cpl  Charles W. Koons, Jr.      WG CPT  15 MAR 45  ORANIENBURG with Lt Gwin Crew
    Cpl  Eugene E. Jamison          TG POW 5 NOV 44 THIONVILLE

351st Sqdn.   Crew , as above,  joined the 100th Group on 4/8/44.  On 5/11/44. Lt Robert J. Doucette,  BOM  from
the crew of J.P.Ernst (see below),  was flying  with this crew and became a POW.  Lt  Eugene E. Lockhart was flying with the Pathfinder crew of J.P.Ernst on 3/2/45 when he was KIA.  Charles W. Koons, Jr. was removed at the crew reduction to nine men.
email = chasbellacollie@cs.comuname = charles koonscomments = On the Hopkins original crew Charles Koons was the TG. He was taken off the crew in England and was made a spare gunner.

To: MPFaley
"Hi,  I was a Tail Gunner on the Hopkins crew when we arrived at the 100th Group. I was taken off the crew to make it a 9 man crew. Later I was told that I would be a spare Ball Turret Gunner. My first 2 missions were on (9-27-44) to Mainz and (9-28-44) to Merseburg. I'm not sure who the pilot was. At one time I thought it was Lt Bennett. Mission # 3 through # 7 was with Lt Ricci.  Mission # 8 started with Lt Gwin and ended with Lt Gwin on (3-15-45) at Oranienburg. I ended my tour on the 15th at Oranienburg. I was told that I could go home.  The printing on the old bomb tags does not look as good as it did back in 1944 and 1945. The only picture that I have is one of the Ricci crew before I got on the crew. I hope this info. clears things up for you. Thanks for your trouble."   Charles Koons 

 EYEWITNESS:  "A/C #520 appeared to be in trouble shortly after leaving the I.P. at 1102 hours.  Bombs were 
   salvoed and one engine feathered.  The A/C stayed in formation to the R.P. (rally
    where another engine was feathered and the aircraft began a gradual controlled descent. 
    When last seen the aircraft was below the cloud level at six or seven thousand feet, 
    heading in a westerly direction under apparent control."

 German report in the MACR is to the effect this aircraft, badly damaged by flak,  made an emergency landing and
 seven (7) crew members were captured.  Other documents list all nine of the crew as captured and 
 Sgt. Kenneth E. Yeater in the hospital. 
 From: Kenneth E.  Yeater
To: Paul West

Dear Paul,

The following is information you requested about the missions I flew with the 100th, taken from Bomb Tags I had along with information received from other members of our crew.

Crew members were:  
 Oren E. Hopkins, Pilot      
 James Farlow, WG     
 Kenneth E. Yeater, Radio Operator   
 Forest Gordon, Navigator    
 Eugene Jamison, Tail Gunner        
 Arthur Crush, BTG     
 Henry Marlette, TTG      
 Robert Doucette, Bombardier    
 Foy E. Read, Co Pilot     
 Charles Koons, 10th man.    
 Eugene Lockhart, Bombardier, was originally with the crew, but was replaced after a few missions by Robert Doucette who flew the remainder of our missions.

Beginning with our first mission, the following is the record I 
have, and is to the best of my knowledge accurate.

24 Aug. 1944, our first mission.  Ruhland, Ger.   26,000 Ft.  10 hours
500# Bombs.  No fighters   heavy flak.  Plane #126  "The Latest Rumor"

25 Aug. 1944:  Politz, Ger.   25,000 Ft. 9 hours   10 500# Bombs.  No 
fighters, heavy flak.  Plane #047 "Fever Beaver"

30 Aug. 1944:  Bremen, Ger.   26,000 Ft. 6.5 hours   6 1000# Bombs.  No fighters 
medium flak, accurate.  Plane #126 "The Latest Rumor"

3 Sept. 1944: Brest, France   11,000 Ft. First run. 8,000 Ft.   Second run, 7 hours   
no fighters no flak   "Milk Run". Plane #126

8 Sept. 1944: Mainz, Ger.   28,000 Ft. 7.5 hours   10 500# Bombs.  No fighters 
medium flak though accurate.  Ken Yeater hit in helmet 
by flak entering radio room.  Plane #530 "Quitin' Time"

9 Sept. 1944: Dusseldorf, Ger.   28,000 Ft. 8.5 hours   10 500# 
Bombs. No fighters   heavy flak.  No bombs dropped. Plane #530

10 Sept. 1944: Nurnberg, Ger.   28,000 Ft. 9 hours   10 500# Bombs. No fighters 
heavy flak.  Plane #708 "SKIPPER"

11 Sept. 1944: Ruhland, Ger.   25,000 Ft. 9 hours   10 500# Bombs. Heavy flak, 
many fighters, very rough.  Plane #867G "Boeing Belle"

12 Sept. 1944: Magdeburg, Ger.   24,000 Ft. 8 hours   10 500# Bombs. Fighters, 
heavy flak.  Plane #867G

On September 18, 1944, the crew of Pilot, J.R. Ransom, needed a 
radio operator and ball turret gunner to fly the Warsaw Mission 
with them.  Ken YeaterJ Radio Operator and Arthur Crush, BTG 
volunteered from our crew, those missions were as follows:

18 Sept. 1944:  Warsaw, Poland   14,000 Ft. 11 hours. 12 Supply Containers. 
Ample fighters, heavy flak.

19 Sept. 1944:  Szolnok, Hungary 21,000 Ft. 10 hours.  10 500#  Russian Bombs. No 
fighters, heavy flak.

22 Sept. 1944:  From Foggia, Italy 8,000 Ft. 9 hours.  No bombs, no fighters, 
no flak   no target.  Just going home.. (nice trip)

Other members of J.R. Ransom crew were: K. Lamb, F. Waldman, J. Wood, R. Felce, C. Alban, W. Bywaters. (Crew 61 a/c #2106935) This information was supplied by Ken Everett of UK from Microfilm, which also credited Lt. J.R. Ransom with completing his tour on Sept. 19, 1944.

Continuing missions of our crew:

25 Sept. 1944:  Ludwigshafen, Ger.   26,000 Ft. 7 hours.  12 500# Bombs. No 
fighters, heavy flak  inaccurate. Plane "Our Gal Sal" #767.

26 Sept. 1944: Bremen, Ger.   25,000 Ft. 6 hours.  6 1000# Bombs.  No fighters, 
medium flak~  inaccurate.  Plane #767.

28 Sept. 1944: Merseberg, Ger.   27,000 Ft. 8 hours.  10 500# Bombs. Fighters in 
area, very heavy flak.   Plane #767.

2 Oct. 1944:  Kassel, Ger.   26,000 Ft. 8 hours.  10 500# Bombs. No fighters, 
heavy flak.   Plane "Fools Rush In" #066.

6 Oct. 1944: Berlin, Ger.    26,000 Ft. 8 hours.  5 1000# Bombs.  No fighters, 
very heavy flak.   Plane   New one   "Going My Way" #520.

7 Oct. 1944: Leipzig, Ger.    25,000 Ft. 9 hours. 10 500# Bombs.  Fighters in 
area, heavy flak   accurate.  Plane #520.

9 Oct. 1944: Mainz, Ger. 24,000 Ft. 7 hours. 5 1000# Bombs. No fighters, light flak. Plane #520.

12 Oct. 1944: Bremen, Ger. 26.000 Ft. 6.5 hours. 5 1000# 
Bombs. Few Jets (no  attacks), heavy flak. Plane # 520 

15 Oct. 1944: Cologne, Ger.    16 250# Bombs. 4 500# Incindiaries. No fighters, 
very heavy flak - accurate. Plane # 520

18 Oct. 1944: Kassel, Ger.     Prop Wash   Bomb fell off rack.  Plane #520

22 Oct. 1944: Munster, Ger.    No info.  Plane #520.

25 Oct. 1944 to 31 Oct. 1944:  All crew   flak leave.

5 Nov. 1944: Ludwigshafen, Ger.   Plane #520 "Going My Way".  Intense flak hits forced us down to a crash landing.  Ken Yeater, Radio Operator hit by flak, only crew member hurt.  All crew taken prisoner by German soldiers.  (My recollections of that time on separate sheet.)

Adding the following to the above from notes written by Oren E. Hopkins, Pilot.  Oren stated in his notes that when he pulled away from formation, he discovered that his wing man was still following us.  He either realized that our plane was not going to be able to return to formation, or Oren was able to contact them 
to return to group.  I had an unexpected surprise and opportunity to meet Tom Hughes of Copperas Cove, Texas at a mini reunion held in Plano, Texas in January, 1993    He was our right wing man'  It was his plane that Oren told of in his notes.

Ken Yeater
 351st Sqdn. 100th Bomb Group

5 Nov. 1944:  Ludwigshafen, Ger.   Plane #520 "Going My Way"

The events that took place after we crossed the target are in the notes of Oren E. Hopkins, Pilot.  I has hit by flak that spun through my left leg at my knee.  When the flak hit, I was thrown to the other side of the radio room. Didn't realize I was hit until I saw my leg.  The left leg of my heated suit was cut off when I 
received the hit.  I have few recollections of our crash landing, except remembering being pulled over a mound of dirt where the ball turret had been, when we all were evacuating the plane.  Then nothing until the rest of the crew said farewell to me at the German hospital where German soldiers took all of us following our capture.  The rest of the crew were taken by the soldiers, separated, and taken on to prison camps.  I was kept on at the hospital, somewhere near the Moselle River (town of Trier may have been location), for several days. When allied troops, began crossing the Moselle River, the hospital was evacuated. All were put on a train on the other side of the town. The train stopped at Stuttgart where I was placed on a stretcher at the station, guarded by 2 German soldiers until a truck from Stalag VA picked me up.

I was the only member of the Air Force of the 17 Americans there at Stalag VA. It was located at Ludwigsburg, about 14 kilometers from Stuttgart.  It had been an Infantry Barracks during WWI.  One three 
story structure, was the hospital where I was placed.  There were quanset type buildings where Russian, Polish, French, Belgian and others were held prisoner.

I remember a German Guard singing to us in the evening, and a French Priest making the rounds with a large can full of tea, offering sips to us  then too.

A Belgian Doctor, a prisoner also, took care of us as best he could, had determined that my leg could not be saved, and had scheduled amputation.  God was with me, as allied planes bombed out the water supply in the whole area. Miracles do happen, my leg began to turn back to normal gradually after that. I still have my leg'

I was liberated on April 21, 1945 by a French Armored Tank Division.

Must relate a bit of humor regarding our liberation by the French.  They had lobbed artillery into the town for about 2 weeks prior to coming in.  What a sight they were.  Tanks had laundry hanging from the guns   their women were with them, also their dogs.  When they came to the 3rd floor where I was, they asked us what we wanted most.  We told them a radio so we could hear what was happening in the world.  When theyasked what else we needed, we  all told them something to drink.  Shortly after our request was made,a horse drawn water tank used for sprinkling the streets appeared, full of wine, along with 14 radios!

One of the most spectacular sights at the Stalag occurred about 3 days prior to the French coming in.  A group of P 51's flying single file came down to my 3rd floor level, departing, they dipped their wings to let us know help was coming.  The Germans had all departed several days after the artillery started coming in.

We were taken by truck several days later to Ludwigshaven, put on a hospital train to Nancy, France.  I stayed in a hospital there for 6 weeks.I finally caught a B 17 from the 94th Group flying back to England.  Then a ride back to the 100th at Thorpe Abbotts.  Found everyone who was going back to the States had already left.  I then went to the 8th Air Force Headquarters, and was sent to Southhampton to await passage home.  Spent 6 weeks there.  My name finally appeared to go to Liverpool to board a ship for home.  22 days after leaving Liverpool on "The Nishmaha", arrived at New York harbor, then on to Newark,N.J. where we docked in the USA   July 20, 1945.

Sometime after we all arrived home, Gene Jamison stopped in Michigan City to visit, and told me of one of the miracles that did happen just prior to our being taken prisoner.  The crew had popped a parachute and placed me on it. All the while rifle and mortars were being fired at me and the rest of the crew.  Not a 
single shot hit me or the chute, or any of the other crew members, who were spread out on a sloping hill where our plane came to rest. Shortly thereafter, we all were taken prisoner.

Kenneth E. Yeater, 351st Sqdn. 100th Bomb Group

(Lt Robert J. Doucette's original crew -  Ernst crew shown here as they joined the 100th
Lt John P. Ernst   P   POW 3/2/45 Berlin
Lt James P. Olmsted CP   SWA 10/1/45  Cologne
Lt Seymour G. Passen  NAV   CPT 3/2/45 Berlin
Lt Robert J. Doucette  BOM   POW 5/11/44 (With crew of O.E. Hopkins) Thionville
 Charles H. Webber  ROG   CPT 3/2/45 Berlin
 Duyger C. West   TTE   POW 3/2/45 Berlin
 Warren Winters   BTG   POW 3/2/45 Berlin
 Orrell J. Brooks   WG   NOC
 George Windisch  TG   CPT 3/2/45  Berlin
 Anthony A. Covino  WG   NOC

351st Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th Group on 23/7/44. MACR #12046, A/C#44 8379.
When this crew went down on 3/2/44,

John Ernst Pathfinder crew of 3 Feb 1945 (Eugene E. Lockhart with this crew when KIA)
Maj Robert Rosenthal    Command P
Capt John Ernst     P   
1st Lt Arthur I..Jacobson     CP (from crew of G. Brown)
1st Lt Stewart J. Gillison    Command N
1st Lt Louis C. Chappel     NAV
1st Lt Robert H. Stropp     Radar NAV
1st Lt Eugene E. Lockhart    BOM  (KIA)
T/Sgt Charles E. Webber    ROG
T/Sgt Dugger C. West     TTE
S/Sgt Warren Winters     WG
S/Sgt G.A. Windisch     TG
Ernst's leg amputated  in German Hospital night of 3/2/45 & he was soon exchanged.

See "CONTRAILS" p.131 & S.O.C. p.95. Also p.219/223 of "FLYING FORTRESS" by E.Jablonski.

EYEWITNESS REPORT from MACR #  "A/C #44 8379 was hit by flak,reported to be a ground 
rocket a few seconds before bombs away. A/C continued on run and dropped bombs. Fire and 
dense white smoke was seen in the fuselage and bomb bay,including the cockpit. Bomb bay 
doors closed and then reopened.Pilot opened his window and peeled gently off to the 
right,directing deputy leader to take over on VHF. A/C headed NE and flew level for a few 
moments while six members bailed out (3 appeared to come from waist or tail and 3 from 
bomb bay..There was a small explosion in #3 engine nacelle and thd A/C headed down,burning 
and beginning to spin when last seen at 15/000 feet. Observers believe entire crew had an 
excellent chance to bail out."



TARGET: Thionville DATE: 1944-11-05  
AIRCRAFT: "Going My Way" (44-6520) CAUSE: FLAK-Crash Landed  




 Oren E. Hopkins crew. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Identity Tag given to all 100th personnel flying the Russian Shuttle missions of Sept 1944. This one courtesy of Kenneth E. Yeater of the Oren E. Hopkins Crew. (100th Photo Archives) 

2nd Lt O.E. Hopkins A-2 Jacket front. 

2nd Lt O.E. Hopkins A-2 Jacket side view with "stubby" winged 8th patch. 

2nd Lt O.E. Hopkins A-2 Jacket name tag

2nd Lt O.E. Hopkins A-2 Jacket stubby winged 8th patch and leather 2nd Lt insignia . 



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2411