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Personnel

S/Sgt

Ennis M. BANKHEAD

Army Serial Number: 38220710
Assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group
Location:
Unit: 349th Bombardment Squadron
Rank:
Position: Tail Gunner

Additional 100th Service Notes

Status: KIA
MACR: 00000
CR: 00000
Comments: 3 SEP 43 BEAUMONT Le ROGER (COL WITH 100TH B-17)

Comments and Notes

Memo 1:
CREW

2nd Lt Charles B. Winkelman P EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 0-738320
2nd Lt Ralph D. Smith CP EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 0-801345
2nd Lt William H. Booth NAV EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 0-800093
2nd Lt Howard M. Harris BOM EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 0-676325
T/Sgt Thomas E. Combs TTE EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 14134640 Taps 1983
T/Sgt Jean E. Ray ROG POW 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 37426256
S/Sgt Thomas L. Cuccaro BTG POW 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 32437605
S/Sgt Michael F. Darcy WG EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 32443852
S/Sgt Alfred J. Zeoli WG EVADEE 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 31042353
S/Sgt Ennis M. Bankhead TG KIA 3/9/43 PARIS SN# 38220710

349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined 100th Group on 25/8/43.
No MACR in national archives files. A/C #42-30035 "TORCHY"

Crew was on its first mission - Paris. Apparently a 100th Group a/c came up below the a/c
of this crew and one of its props chewed into the tail assembly killing Bankhead. In 1981
correspondence with Thomas Combs he explained that he became separated from the rest of
the crew after bail out. Combs was aided by French patriots and underground. Spent 3 months
in Paris then down to southern border and crossed Pyrenees in Dec. and was flown back to
England arriving 3 Jan. 1944 exactly 4 months after being shot down. Winkelman got back
about 2 months later.

"TORCHY" was the a/c flown overseas by the crew of Sam L. Barr. It was named after the
wife of James R. Brown, navigator of the crew.

Sgt. Bankhead is buried in the Epinal American cemetary.

I note a little error into Evaders' pages: About crewmen of Torchy serial 42-30035 (E&E167, 258, 259, 271, 272 303, and 468.) I read (^) Dhusson-Longueville, France. Sorry, is not D'Huisson-Longueville but precisely Cerny (91). I was searching about the S/Sgt Ennis Bankhead killed in his turret by propellers of Sunny serial 42-30089 and I hope a marble plate in honor to him. According to witnesses The Torchy was crashed in 48° 28' 11.09'' N / 02° 19' 46.97'' E on juridiction of Cerny…..Jean Robin.
Memo 2:
100th B-17 came up from below and props chewed up tail killing Bankhead.

Ennis Murry Bankhead was born on August 16, 1920 in Cunningham, Texas to Johnnie B. and Ruby Carmon Phillips Bankhead. The US Census 1930 shows the family in Bonham, Texas, while the US Census 1940 lists the family in Paris, Texas. Bankhead grew up in rural Texas, and worked for J.C. Penny Co. before he joined the service.

He was drafted, and sworn into service in Dallas, Texas on August 22, 1942. His enlistment documents show that he had completed 3 years of high school, and was employed as a sales person. He was assigned to the Army Air Forces, and trained as an aerial gunner. He was then sent to crew training on the B-17 type aircraft.

The crew finished training and deployed to England, arriving there on August 25, 1943. Records reveal the first mission was flown on September 3, 1943. The target was the Renault Company plants in Paris, with secondary targets the Beaumont le Roger Airfield nearby. A controversy now erupts in the telling of the demise of this aircraft. Records of the 100th Bomb Group state that after receiving heavy flak and possible damage, B-17 # 42-30089, named "Sunny," came upwards unexpectedly and collided with this aircraft. The propellers cut into the tail section and killed the tail gunner in his station.

A later interview with the pilot (plus other sources) tell a different story. These state that the aircraft was hit by flak and lost an engine. A fire erupted, and the aircraft was out of control. The crew bailed out, and all made safe landings. Seven of the crew managed to evade, and return to military control. Two became POWs, and Bankhead was declared dead, killed in the accident.

Other records (including NARA POW records,) show Bankhead was captured, and died of wounds in prison camp as a POW. One even shows he received the POW Medal. A Texas newspaper has an article concerning how Bankhead's mother received a telegram that he was a prisoner, but died.

Somehow, Bankhead's body was recovered, and is buried today in the Epinal American Cemetery in France in Plot B, Row 20, Grave 64. (All sources give this disposition except 100th Bomb Group records which lists him in Grave 84.)

SSgt Ennis Murry Bankhead was acting as tail gunner on B-17G # 42-30035, named "Torchy," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.

No Missing Air Crew Report was filed for this incident. However, crew rosters and personnel files show the crew was composed of:

2 Lt Charles B. Winkelman p
2 Lt Ralph D. Smith c-p
2 Lt William H. Booth nav
2 Lt Howard M. Harris bomb
TSgt Thomas E. Combs eng/tt gun
TSgt Jean E. Ray r/o
SSgt Thomas L. Cuccaro btg
SSgt Michael F. Darey wg
SSgt Alfred J. Zeoli wg
SSgt Ennis M. Bankhead

Sgts Ray and Cuccaro were taken prisoner; seven others evaded; Bankhead was the only fatality.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT Information:

Target:
Beaumont Le Roger
Aircraft:
"Torchy" (42-30035)
Date:
1943-09-03
Cause:
Collided with B-17

Burial Information:

Plot:
B
Grave:
84
Row:
20
Cemetery:
Epinal Am Cemetery

Photos

Charles B. Winkelman Crew

Charles B. Winkelman Crew: Standing from left: Thomas E. Combs - TTE, Jean E. Ray - ROG, Thomas Cuccaro - BTG, Michael F. Darcy - WG, and Ennis M. Bankhead - TG. Kneeling: Charles B. Winkelman - Pilot, Ralph D. Smith - CP, William H. Booth - NAV and Howard M. Harris - BOM, This crew was shot down 3 Sep 43 near Paris, France. Seven of this crew evaded capture and returned to Military Control, two were POWs and the Tail Gunner Ennis Bankhead was KIA. This aircraft was involved in the massive collision of 100th aircraft at Paris on 3 Sep 43. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

Crew List

1st Crew List

Use your thumb to scroll through the results box below.

Rank Name Pos Status
Lt WINKELMAN, Charles P EVA
LT SMITH, Ralph D CP EVA
Lt BOOTH, William H. NAV EVA
LT HARRIS, Howard M. BOM EVA
T/SGT COMBS, Thomas E. TTE EVA
S/Sgt RAY, Jean E. ROG POW
T/SGT CUCCARO, Thomas L. BTG POW
S/SGT DARCY, Michael F. WG EVA
S/SGT ZEOLI, Alfred J. WG EVA
S/SGT BANKHEAD, Ennis M. TG KIA