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LT  Robert E. KIRBY


Cadet Robert E. Kirby, lead navigator for 418th squadron. Came overseas with Lt Prestholdt Crew. Photo courtesy of Daughter Lisa Kirby Casey.


Comments1: MILFORD, MASS




 Command Pilot  Major Harry Cruver
 Pilot   Capt. J.V. DePlanque
 Co-Pilot (Tail Observer) Lt. D.L. McKean
 Navigator  Lt. Robert E. Kirby
 Radar Navigator  Lt. S.C. "Storm": Rhode
 Bombardier  Lt. C.H. Svendson
 Command Navigator Lt. W.P. Klinikowski
 Radio Operator  T/Sgt R.C, Kowalski
 Engineer  T/Sgt J. Kosik
 Waist Gunner  S/Sgt Harold Smith
 Waist Gunner  S/Sgt K.L. Crispin

DePlanque remanined with the 100th past 24 Dec 44 and flew the Lead to Swinemunde 12 March 1945 with Major Harry Cruver (351st Commanding Officer) as command pilot.

Assignment Orders from 01 August 1944 to 24 March 1953. Robert E. Kirby was a navigator in the 100th BG/418th BS. Lead Navigator on 17 missions, 6 wing crew missions. Ferried French POW's from Austria to Paris after hostilities. Dropped food into Netherlands before war ended- Operation CHOW HOUND- Flew to England via North Atlantic going overseas, via South Atlantic on return. Released from duty-age 21

Robert E. Kirby's original crew


Lt.  Albert A. Prestholdt                               Pilot  CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
Lt.   John W. Hard                                Co-Pilot  CPT 15 April 1945   Royan, Fr.
Lt.  Robert E. Kirby                                Navigator FEH Became Lead Navigator after 5-10 Missions
S/Sgt. Orval "Casey" Siefers               Waist Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr. ( moved to Toggelier when Kirby left crew)
T/Sgt  Jack W. Marsh                              Engineer CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
T/Sgt.  David C. Reynolds                  Radio Operator CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Paul  E. Hall                               Ball Turrett CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Arnet L. Jaberg                     Waist Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Vesper N. Maxted                        Tail Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr. (nicknamed "Kansas Kid")

Crew assigned to 100th BG, 418th Squadron, Nov 5. 1944.  Crew flew 35 missions.  Finished tour in A/C 48616 LD-Z
Had to crash land 3 times due to battle damage. Once at Thorpe Abbotts (31/12/44) and twice in Belgium.

The Bombardier for the crew was taken off before they were assigned overseas.  He was eventually killed in an accident in Tampa Florida when the pilot lined up on the wrong runway.  Lt Prestholdt used fill in Bomb for the remainder of his tour.  F/O Charlie Benyunes flew some missions as Navigator with this crew.  Nav. Lt Kirby was the last to join the crew in Tampa. The crew was together for 3 1/2 months before being assigned overseas.  (Albert Angus Prestholdt mpf 2001)

Dec 31, 1944-HAMBURG:
"During the bomb run we had two engines shot out.  #3 Engine was blown completely off by flak and #4 was hit by flak.  Saw Lt Hendersons plane collide with Lt Williams plane.  Both planes went down locked together, what a long way down!  We turned off the target right into the fighters.  Our aircraft was a sieve from flak and fighters.  We came back on the deck with our engines red lined just to keep her in the air.  Was afraid we would not make England but did not want to ditch in North Sea at that time of year.  We arrived back to base very late that night.  12 A/C lost."  (Albert Prestholdt mpf 2001)   

UNAME = John W. Hard M.D.
CONNECTION = I am a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = The caption under the photograph of A.A. Prestholdt's crew indicates that you do not have the date we joined the Bloody Hundreth.  It was November 5, 1944.

Bob Kirby came over with our crew and after several missions, was moved up to squadron navigator.  Orval Seifers then was switched from WG position to toggelier.  I'm really sorry that I can't list our 35 missions  All of my 8th AF records were lost many years ago in a fire.  I'll check to see if Angus (Prestholdt) might possibly have them.  If I can locate this information, I'll send it to you.
John Hard (Co-Pilot)







DFC, Air Medal and 418th BS leather patch of Lt Robert E. Kirby, 418th BS Lead Navigator. Photo Courtesy of daughter Lisa Kirby Casey. 

Air Medal and 418th BS leather patch of Lt Robert E. Kirby, 418th BS Lead Navigator. Photo Courtesy of daughter Lisa Kirby Casey. 

DFC, Air Medal of Lt Robert E. Kirby, 418th BS Lead Navigator. Photo Courtesy of daughter Lisa Kirby Casey. 

 Albert A. Prestholdt Crew: Kneeling L-R: Robert E. Kirby, Al Prestholdt (pilot), and John W. Hard; Standing L-R: Jack W. Marsh, Vesper N. Maxted, David C. Reynolds, Arnet L. Jaberg, Orval Siefers, and Paul E. Hall. photo courtesy of Lisa Kirby Casey

 A. A. Prestholdt Crew - Drew Field, Tampa Florida in Sept 1944; L-R: Al Prestholdt, John Hard, and Robert Kirby Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Thorpe Abbotts WAAF site: L-R: 418th personnel Tom Beisser, Robert Kirby, Bruce Grueshow, Ed Rosenthal, Dan McKeen, and Dave Bittman (100th Photo Archives) 



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2818