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S/SGT  Lonnie J. ALBIN

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG

Photo courtesy of together we serve

SERIAL #: 18124028 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 03234 CR: 03234

Comments1: 18 MAR 44 MUNICH (Buried in Normandy - near Omaha Beach)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

DATE: 18 March 1944  350th Sqdn.       A/C#42-39830
MISSION: Augsburg/Munich                  MACR#3234,Micro-flche#1105

  "BERLIN PLAYBOY"

2nd Lt Paul A.Martin             P   KIA
1st Lt Thomas Cryan            CP  KIA
2nd Lt Albert F.Racz         BOM   KIA
2nd Lt Tom F.Hughes       NAV   KIA
T/Sgt Russell E.Longdon   ROG   KIA
T/Sgt Levi O.Tonn           TTE   KIA
S/Sgt Richard J.Faulkner    BTG  EVA  
S/Sgt Veryl A.Lund          RWG  KIA
S/Sgt Lonnie J.Albin         LWG  KIA
S/Sgt John E.Howley          TG  KIA

The crew joined the 100th on March 10,1944. The crew flew 5 training missions and its exact composition is as above except the origina CP was 2nd Lt Paul Mitchell. It is known that Thomas Cryan was From the crew of Mark Cope. This was the crews first misson.  (mpf nov 2000)

Summary of Eyewitness reports:  "A/C #830 and A/C #913 (Flown by D.J.Stuke) collided over France at 1210 hour near (?) . #830 broke up while #913 pulled away,badly damaged but apparently under control. One chute was seen to come from #830. The ship going down under control had two port engines torn out,and only #4 was operating. The nose of this A/C also was sheared off. The collision resulted when the Group leader aborted and the formation scattered and reformed."

Witnesses: Capt.Lauro,Lt.Gummersall,Lt.Malooly.

  July 1945,Sgt.Faulkner,then at 3718 AAF Base,Denver,Colo.,was interrogated as to the death of Lt.Cryan. He gave the following  information
;
1.Over the coast of France,Lt.Cryan's bomber(Lt. Paul A. Martin/ Pilot) encountered heavy flak.Formation was broken with lead ship falling out.A new formation was formed with Lt.Cryan's ship as wing man.

2.There was a sudden explosion near Lt.Cryan's A/C.Sgt.Faulkner ,ball turret operator,upon bailing out noticed the ship broken in two sections.Sgt. Faulkner having been in the rear section,and Lt.Cryan's station was in the front section as co-pilot.

3.Sgt.Faulkner became unconscious upon the opening of his chute and did not regain consciousness until after landing when he noticed the front section of the A/C crashed in the woods,surrounded by German soldiers.

4.Sgt.Faulkner was rescued by the French patriots.Having an understanding of the French language,Sgt Faulkner was informed by the French patriots that all remaining crew members were killed in the crash of the A/C.Description by the French patriots of one of the bodies found in the front section of the A/C fitted that of Lt.Cryan."

German records in MACR state that "bodies were thrown from plane . . .badly mutilated . . . identified by I.D. tags." Burial took Place in the French cemetary in Poix de la Somme

MEMO 2:

Buried Normandy, near Omaha Beach Cemetery

Lonnie Jayson Albin was born in Texas in 1923. His parents were Ollie B. and Bertha North O'Dell Albin. The US Census 1930 lists the family as living in Dallas, although Lonnie is listed as Jayson Lonnie Albin. The US Census 1940 also shows them in Dallas, but Lonnie is shown as Lonnie J.  
Albin enlisted in Dallas in 1942 as a private in the US Army Air Forces. He was selected for flight duty, trained as an aerial gunner, and assigned to a unit for crew training. The crew deployed to England in 1944, arriving at Thorpe-Abbots on March 10. The crew flew 5 training missions.

On March 18, 1944, the crew was assigned their first combat mission - the bombing of the industrial facilities at Berlin, Germany. As the formation crossed the coast of France, flak batteries opened up. The formation dispersed, and while trying to re-assemble, two of the aircraft collided. Albin's plane broke in two, allowing the ball turret gunner to parachute out. He made a successful landing, and with the help of French patriots, evaded until returning to England some months later. German records show the dead were recovered from the wreckage and buried in a cemetery at Poix de la Somme. Later, these bodies were retrieved by Allied forces and moved to other cemeteries. SSgt Albin presently lies in the Normandy American Cemetery in France (just off Omaha Beach) in Plot I, Row 24, Grave 32.

SSgt Lonnie J. Albin was the left waist gunner on B-17G # 42-39830, named "Berlin Play Boy," assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 3234 applies to this loss. Crew listings show the crew was composed of:

2 Lt Paul A. Martin  p
1 Lt Thomas Cryan  c-p
2 Lt Tom F. Hughes  nav
2 Lt Albert F. Racz  bomb
TSgt Levi O. Tonn  eng/tt gun
TSgt Russell E. Longdon  r/o
SSgt Richard H. Faulkner  btg
SSgt Veryl A. Lund  rwg
SSgt Lonnie J. Albin  lwg
SSgt John E. Howley  tail gun

Lt Cryan was a replacement for Lt Paul Mitchell (original crew.) Although official reports state that SSgt Faulkner was the only survivor, German POW and US POW reports state that Lt Hughes was captured, and died in a prison camp.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Munich DATE: 1944-03-18  
AIRCRAFT: "Berlin Playboy" (42-39830) CAUSE: Collision with 42-3791  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: I ROW: 24  
GRAVE: 32 CEMETERY: Normandy Am Cemetery at Omaha Beach  
ID: 36