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LT  Ralph W. WRIGHT

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

2nd Lt Ralph W.Wright   P  KIA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin

SERIAL #: O-753834 STATUS: KIA
MACR: CR: 99918

Comments1: 7 MAY 44 BERLIN (FORM UP ACCIDENT)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
A/C #42-38053  CAP'N CROW

2nd Lt Ralph W.Wright         P  KIA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin
2nd Lt Jack W.Raper          CP  KIA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin              
2nd Lt Richard Curran       NAV  KIA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin 
2nd Lt Carl A.Herrmann     BOM  KIA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin 
Sgt Alden P.Madsen         TTE  NOC
Pvt Robert J.Montondo    ROG  LWA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin but CPT tour in June 44
Sgt John R.Palmquist        BTG   LWA 28/4/44 Sottevast, flak fragment went through shoulder. 
S/Sgt Alfred T.Bridges       WG  LWA 7/5/44 Form up Accident, target was Berlin but CPT tour 25/12/44 Kaiserlautern, Germany
Pvt George W McCleary      WG  NOC
Sgt Jack S.Wilburn             TG  NOC

349th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 17 Mar 44.

On 7/5/44,S/Sgt John A.Pontzlous ( from the crew of 2nd Lt Winans C.Shaddix) was flying in place of Sgt.Palmquist and was LWA (Lightly Wounded in Action). Sgt Randolph C.Moore,WG, was aboard this A/C and was KIA.

Partial list of Missions of S/Sgt Alfred T. Bridges

1.    27/03/44   BORDEAUX
2.    28/03/44   CHATEAUDUN
       30/03/44   LUDWIGSHAVEN (RECALL)
3.   01/04/44    LUDWIGSHAVEN
4.   07/04/44    QUAKENBRUCK
5.   08/04/44    QUAKENBRUCK
6.   09/04/44    KRESZINKE (POSEN)
7.   10/04/44    RHEIMS
8.   11/04/44    POSEN
      12/04/44    SCHKEUDITZ (RECALL)
9.   13/04/44    AUGSBURG
10. 28/04/44    SOTTEVAST (Sgt Palmquist injured by Flak)
11. 07/05/44    BERLIN (5 KIA and S/Sgt Bridges moved into spare gunners pool)
12. 26/08/44    BREST (with Lt Ehorn Crew, flew as top turrent engineer) 

"MIGHTY EIGHTH 'WAR DlARY" p.238  "During assembly 100BG B 17 crashed near Herringfleet.

LOSS OF 42-38053 CAP'N CROW ON 7 MAY 1944

This aircraft of the 349th was one of 23 planes of the 100th which took off from Thorpe Abbotts between 0550 and 0600 hours May 7, 1944 to take part in the 8th AAF mission to Berlin. The group formed over the base at 0655 hours, and 42-38053 apparently crashed around 0713 hours. The aircraft was flying in formation and was approaching the English coastline when several dozen flares stored in the top turret suddenly began to explode--cause undetermined-- and set fire to the entire front of the plane.

Lt. Ralph W.Wright, the pilot, ordered the crew to abandon ship and apparently was overcome by fumes from the burning flares. The co-pilot, Jack W. Raper apparently suffered a similar fate.

T/Sgt Adlen P. Madsen, engineer and top turret gunner, one of five crewmen to bail out and survive, reported that he was in his turret facing aft when the flares began to explode. After an unsuccessful attempt to extinguish the flames, Madsen passed a parachute up to Lt Wright, moved to the rear and bailed out of the tail hatch just before the plane crashed and blew up. Madsen used the tail hatch because the waist hatch had been blocked by the body of a crewman, whose chute had opened outside before he cleared the hatch. Although painfully burned, Madsen soon returned to duty. The four other survivors: T/Sgt F.J. Montondo, Radio Operator; S/Sgt J. A. Pontzious, ball turret gunner; S/Sgt A. T. Bridges, left waist gunner; and S/Sgt J. S. Willburn the tail gunner also returned to duty.

Wright & Raper are buried in a Common grave at Cambridge (Plot G, Row 4,#159.  Randolph Moore is also buried there 
in Plot F, Row 1, #38. See the CENTURY BULLETIN (Winter 1386) A Memorial Stone in the churchyard at Ashby, Eng. is 
inscribed to the memory of the five above crewmen who were killed.

MEMO 2:

 - No MACR.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-05-07  
AIRCRAFT: "Cap'n Crow"(42-38053) CAUSE: Form up accident  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: G ROW: 4  
GRAVE: 159 CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  

PHOTOS:

 Ralph W. Wright crew. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Courtesy of Robert Trombi

 Ralph W. Wright 349th P Oklahoma KIA 7 May 44 Berlin Ralph W. Wright Crew 

Courtesy of Robert Trombi

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 5666