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Personnel

T/Sgt

John SHAY

Army Serial Number: 11038110
Assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group
Location:
Unit:
Rank:
Position: Top Turret Gunner / Engineer
Beginning Date of 100th Service: Unknown
Time of Service at Thorpe Abbotts: Unknown - Unknown

Additional 100th Service Notes

Status: POW
MACR: 01030
CR: 01030
Comments: 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER (WIA ON THIS MISSION) DFC FOR 4 A/C DESTR.

Comments and Notes

Memo 1:
CREW

ORIGINAL CREW #29 418TH BS AC #42-3237 "STYMIE" MACR #1030 TARGET: MUNSTER

1ST LT ERNEST A. "DOC" KIESSLING P; SEE NOTES
1ST LT JOHN F. STEPHENS CP/1ST PILOT POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER (HAD TAKEN OVER AS 1ST PILOT OF THIS CREW)
1ST LT HOYT L. SMITH CP POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
1ST LT DAVID SOLOMON NAV POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER (LT JOHN BRADY CREW)
2ND LT STANLEY O. MORRISON BOM KIA 25 JUN 43 BREMEN (With CREW #1, LT PETRICH)
T/SGT JOHN SHAY TTE POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER (WIA on this mission, received Purple Heart in 1949)
S/SGT GEORGE F. KNOLLE WG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
T/SGT MAX U. DRUDGE BTG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT FRANK S. MAZARKA ROG XFR Replaced on Crew before going overseas
S/SGT CARL E. BATTIN ROG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT CASIMIR A. RACZYNSKI WG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT WILLIAM F. YOUNG TG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER

CREW THAT FLEW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER MISSION

1ST LT JOHN F. STEPHENS P POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
1ST LT HOYT L. SMITH CP POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
2ND LT RUDOLPH GRUM NAV POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
2 ND LT WILLIAM J. MOORE BOM POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
T/SGT JOHN SHAY TTE POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT GEORGE F. KNOLLE WG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
T/SGT MAX U. DRUDGE BTG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT CARL E. BATTIN ROG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT CASIMIR A. RACZYNSKI WG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT WILLIAM F. YOUNG TG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER


NOTES:
ON THE 100TH FIRST MISSION, 25 JUN 43. LOUIS GRATE, BOMBARDIER OF CREW #1 WAS REPLACED BY LT STANLEY O. MORRISON. THE REASON FOR THE EXCHANGE IS UNKNOWN; AN EXCHANGE OF PERSONNEL BETWEEN SQUADRONS, SUCH AS THIS, WAS RARELY SEEN. MORRISON'S SPOT ON CREW 29 WAS FILLED BY LT WILLIAM F. MOORE WHO BECAME A POW ON 10 OCT 43.

DAVID SOLOMON MOVED TO CREW #32, REPLACING HARRY CROSBY WHEN CROSBY BECAME GROUP NAVIGATOR. LT RUDOLPH GRUM REPLACED SOLOMON ON CREW #29 AND BECAME A POW ON 10 OCT 43.

LT ERNEST KIESSLING WAS GROUNDED AFTER NINE MISSIONS FOR SURGURY AND LT JOHN STEPHENS TOOK OVER AS PILOT, LIKELY THIS IS WHEN LT HOYT L. SMITH BECAME THE CO-PILOT COMING FROM CREW #28. HE BECAME A POW ON 10 OCT 43 ALONG WITH STEPHENS.

T/SGT CARL E. BATTIN REPLACED S/SGT FRANK S. MAZARKA PRIOR TO THE CREWS OVERSEAS FLIGHT AND WAS TAKEN PRISONER ON 10 0CT 43.

AFTER SEVERE FLAK DAMAGE AND ATTACKS BY FIGHTERS THE PILOTS MADE A SUCCESSFUL BELLY LANDING. MAX DRUDGE WAS WOUNDED IN THE RIGHT WRIST AND HAND BY A 20-MM AND T/SGT BATTIN SUFFERED A BROKEN ARM, THE REMAINDER WERE NOT INJURED AND ALL BECAME POWS.


Prepared by John F. Stephens - Pilot

100th Bomb Group
418th Squadron

CREW ROSTER FOR B17F 23237 "STYMIE"

Addresses
Rank Name Position WWII Current


2nd Lt John F. Stephens Pilot 1410 4th Street 106 Lilac Lane Brookings, S. Dak. Scranton, PA 18505
717-347-7963

1st Lt Hoyt L. Smith Co-pilot Raleigh, Tenn. 4984 Scheibler Memphis, TN 38128
901-386-0138

2nd Lt William F. Moore Bombardier Ford Cliff, Penn. Unknown

2nd Lt Rudolph Grum (b) Navigator 12524 Maine 5601 E. Haven Detroit, Mich. Gladwin, MI 48624
517-426-5510

SSgt John Shay Engineer- Gunner 4 Cross Fall River, Mass. 4 Cross Fall River, MA 02723
617-676-1143

SSgt Carl E. Battin Radio Op-Gunner Burlington, Iowa 868 Oxford Lane Apt 412A Colorado Springs,CO 80906

SSgt Max U. Drudge (c) Ball Turret Gunner Rte 1Wheatfield, Ind. 3800 W 1400 St. Hanna, IN 46340
219-797-3435

SSgt George F. Knolle Waist- Gunner RFD Sonoma, Calif. 5tar Route 56A Brooks, CA 95606
916-796-3190

SSgt William F. Young Waist- Gunner Sprague, Ore. 3843 Garden Valley Rd Roseburg, OR 97470
503-673-8698

SSgt Casimer A. Raczynski Tail- Gunner 2929 S. 9th Milwaukee, Wisc. 4573 S. Lenox Milwaukee, WS 53200
414-483-8053


NOTES:

a. Also- 4203 Bay Beach Lane Apt C-5, Ft. Meyers Beach, FL 33931 813-463-0856
b. Also- 302A Dawn Circle South, Tropical Acres Estates, Zephrhills, FI 34248 813-788-9267

c. Max (DRUDGE) passed away in June 1986. His wife, Ginny, continues to live at the
current address



Lt Kiessling & Lt Stephen's CREW COMBAT MISSIONS
B17F 23237 "Stymie" unless othewise noted


Mission # Date Flt Time Target Results

6/22/43 4:00 Diversion, North Sea Completed a.b.
1. 6/25/43 5:00 Bremen, Subyards Abortive c.d.
6/26/43 4:03 LeMans, Aero Engins Target obscurred, abort
2. 6/28/43 5:45 St Nazaire, Subpens Completed ( Returned Early, Spare Aircraft according to Andrews)
2. 6/29/43 5:40 LeMans, Aero Engines Completed
3. 7/4/43 11:00 LaPallice, Harbor Completed
4. 7/10/43 5:30 LeBourget, Air Field Abortive
5. 7/14/43 5:45 LeBourget, Air Field Abortive
7/17/43 Hamburg, Aeor Engines Flat Tire on Take off
6. 7/25/43 7:35 Warnemunde, Aircraft Fac Completed 230066 "Mugwump"
7/28/43 Oschersleben,Aircraft Fac Returned Early, could not locate formation
7. 7/29/43 7:20 Warnemunde, Aircraft Fac Completed
8. 7/30/43 6:10 Kassel Aircraft Factory Completed
9. 8/12/43 5:00 Wesseling, Synthetic Oil Completed
8/14/43 3:50 Diversion, North Sea Complete (last mission with Lt Kiessling)
10. 9/6/43 9:15 Stuttgart, Ball Bearings Completed (Lt Stephens takes over Crew)
11. 9/7/43 3:30 Watten, V-weapons Completed
12. 9/9/43 4:00 Beauvais-Tille, Air Field Completed
13. 9/15/43 6:45 Paris, Aircraft Factory Completed
9/23/43 Vannes, Airfield Returned Early,#3 Supercharger on 42-6094 failed
14. 9/26/43 Paris Completed 42-6094
15. 9/27/43 5:45 Emden, Port Completed 42-6094
16. 10/2/43 6:00 Emden, Docks Completed 42-6094
17. 10/4/43 6:05 Hanau, Rubber Works Completed 42-6094
10/8/43 Breman Returned Early-#1 propeller leaking oil
18. 10/9/43 10:15 Marienburg, Aircraft Fac Completed
19. 10/10/43 --- Munster, Marshalling Yards Crash Landed, near Borken, Ger (e)

Notes:

a. First Combat Mission for the 100th Bomb Group

b. Completed-bombs dropped

c. Abortive-returned without bombing

d. Abortive but counted as a completed mission-aircraft lost (3) including
a plane with Stymie's regular crew bombardier, Stanley O. Morrison,
Lafeyette, Ind. (KIA)

e. "Stymie" and crew lost in action on 19th mission toward the tour
requirement of 25 -all ten crew members POW.

Newspaper articles concerning the crash of "Stmie" and John F. Stephens..Bocholter Borkener Volksblatt -- Thursday, June 19, 1986..
BOCHOLTER BORKENER VOLKSBLATT--Thursday, June 19, 1986


Search for Eyewitnessess


An American on the trail of the story of his youth:
In 1943, John F. Stephens was forced to make an emergency landing
in the Bocholter area. Now, 43 years after this memorable experience,
Stephens returned to Westmunsterland to locate the site where the crew
of the Bomber type "Flying Fortress" involuntarily became acquainted
with Bocholt. Until now his search has been without success.
Stephens is hoping for help from the public.


On October 10, 1943, a US Bomber had to make an emergencv
landing in the area near Bocholt "Where is the friendly interpreter?"
Pilot John F. Stephens wants to get in contact with eye-witnesses
of the event

Bocholt/Kreis Borken. It happened on October 10, 1943. On that
Sunday an American bomber, Type B-17--"Flying Fortress", had to make an
emergency landing in the Bocholter area. 'The ten man crew, including
their leader, 20 year old Lt.John F. Stephens, were taken prisoners
by the German Airforce. 'Today, more than four decades after this event,
this same John F. Stephens is a guest of the Bundesrepublic. He is trying
to locate the place where in 1943, he had to make an emergency landing
with his B-17, and hopes to find people he met at that time who remember
the event. So far he has been unsuccessful. But, he is confident that
with the help of BBV newspaper, he'll have more luck.

On October10, 1943, the order of the day for the, at that time,
20 year old U.S. Lt., was to leave from Ipswich in Great Britain, and
head towards Muenster, to bomb the railroad station and the tracks
in that city. The "Flying Fortress" belonged to the 100th Bomber-
group of the 8th Air Force. Stephens aircraft belonged to one of numer-
ous groups, each consisting of sixteen bombers, who left Great Britain
on that mission.
Shortly before reaching their destination, the pilot indicated
engine trouble. One of the four engines failed. Stephens had no
other choice but to leave the group and turn west. he tried to hold
his bomber at a low altitude, and was able to cross the German defense-
line Wesel-Borken-Rheine with his plane. But soon thereafter, the
situation became critical. The missiles of a German "Messerschmidt"
hit the right wing of his B-17, which had burst into flames. John F.
Stephens had to make an emergency landing.
"In a meadow somewhere in the Bocholter area" is where John F.
Stephens remembers the successful landing occured. "There was a farm
nearby". Some members of the ten-man crew attempted to flee. However,
they were caught by German soldiers and locked in a barn.
John F. Stephens, the pilot, was able to communicate with a German
Air Force officer. "The first thing he did, was congratulate me for the
clean landing", said Stephens. "They were surprised that I could land
the aircraft so well with its burning wing. 'The American Lt. first
asked for medical help for his two injured crew members. Each of the
Sergeants had a broken arm. Only one problem: The German officer
did not speak English, the American Lt., did not speak German. A
twelve-thirteen year-old girl who was amongst the curious crowd,
came to the rescue. She asked, in perfect English, if she could be
of any help, and took the role of an interpreter.
The American soldiers were first locked in a building close by,
which looked to Stephens like an old schoolhouse. Later, they were
taken to some sort of prison. The two injured Sergeants received
medical attention in a hospital.
A few days later, the Sergeants and officers were separated. The
officers were transported via train to an Airforce base near Frankfurt,
where they remained for a few days. They were then taken to an air
force camp near Sagen, on the Oder (river), which was called "Stalag
Luft III. There Stephens and his crew were held prisoners until the
end of 1944, when the Russians drew closer. The final prison camp
where the American soldiers were held was located northeast of
Munich. It was from here that they were released on April 29, 1945.
John F. Stephens, later a teacher, now retired, came to Bocholt
with the intention of finding the site where his landing took place,
and also the kind girl who acted as interpreter. "Today she would be
in her mid 50's", according to Stephens. Inquiries at the city re-
gister were without success, but he seems convinced that his emergency
landing took place in the Bocholter area. "Whoever saw our plane would
not forget it. Both wings burnt themselves out without an explosion.
There was a big white square painted on the tail of the B17 with a
large 'D', and the number 23237 on it."
His request to the readers of the BBV: "Please contact the editor
at 02871-955140 if you can remember this event of October 10, 1943."
He is anxious to get in contact with eye witnesses and exchange some
recollections.
John F Stephens and his wife Gale will be vacationing in Holland
until July 9. They will return immediately to Bocholt if someone comes
forward in the meantime. After that, the couple will travel to Norway.
The grandparents of Gale Stephens are of Norwegian descent, and emi-
grated to the U.S.A. at the end of the 19th century. "Maybe we will
find some relatives in the Trondheim area", she hopes.

Now the BBV staff is looking for more information(O2871-955140).
Who recalls details about the emergency landing of the "B-17 along
the Rheder Chaussee? Who can remember another place near Bocholt
where thls event on October 10, 1943 could have taken place? John
F. Stephens who at present time is vacationing in Holland, wants to
come back to Bocholt the week after next, to look over the sites.


Bocholter VOLKSBLATT
Borkener
Friday, June 20, 1986

Emergency landing of the "Flying Fortress" on the Rheder Chaussee?


"B-17" across from the House Tenking

Yesterday we received telephone information from more than 30 BBV-readers
Bocholt/Rhede. Is there a BBV-reader who can remember, that on Sunday,
October 10, 1943 an american bomber "B 17 Flying Fortress" made an emer-
gency landing between Bocholt and Rhede? It was supposed to be on a
meadow along the Rheder Chaussee, close to the Ketteler farm across
from the House Tenking. In the meantime we found some circumstantial
evidence about it. The pilot of the plane, John F. Stephens, also
thinks, that the incident almost 43 years ago, possibly took place
on that site.

After yesterday's BBV publication about the emergency landing of the
American plane in the fall of 1943, the phone in the editor's office
didn't stop ringing. More than 30 readers reached for the phone and
were sure, that they witnessed the landing of the "B 17". The calls
pointed to the Honsel farm in Buengern, a meadow along the B 67 (high-
way) close to the Lankerner School, to farms and surroundings in
Mussum, Liedern, Barlo, and even Anholt and Werth. Always, the caller
stressed, it was an American plane.

Some remembered the type "Flying Fortress" or the big "D" on a white
background which was painted on the tail of the "B-17". It was
also confirmed that one wing was burning but the bomber didn't explode.

The information given by the callers was alike exept for a minor
detail: The date, October 10, 1943 could not be right. The records
for that day indicate there were no bombings, crashes, or emergency
landings in the area of Liedern-Werth, it is all documented in the
Bocholter City Registrar's Office. The manager of the City Registrar's
Office. Dr. Hans D. Oppel, confirmed that yesterday for the BBV.

Although two tips proved to be very interesting, they pointed to the
meadow along the Rheder Chaussee. Both callers are very sure, that on
October 10, 1943 a "B 17" made an emergency landing there. One of them
remembers that it was on a Sunday. The plane supposedly was facing
toward the House Tenking. Two members of the crew ran in the direction
of the Winkelhauser Mountains, but were soon captured. The caller said,
that after a while 8 American flyers were led off across the Hardt
and Neu St., "all tall boys". They were locked up in the old school
house in Neu St. ln that point the account of the two callers differ,
The second caller is sure. that the US flvers were taken to Bocholt.

John F. Stephens, who was informed yesterday afternoon by phone from
the BBV, reacted with a spontaneous cry of enthusiasm; "That's
smashing". It could have been along the Rheder Chaussee, he surmised.
Yes, there were 8 of them who were led off. Two members of the ten men
crew were injured and transported to a hospital.


Velen Landing site found

With the support from our readers, the former aircraft commander
John F. Stephens from Pennsylvania, USA, is at the end of his
search. As reported, after a mission to Muenster, he was forced to
make a belly landing by German fighter planes, right before the
Holland border. Stephens was searching for eyewitnesses and the
landing site. Photos prove, that the B 17 nearly undamaged came
to a stop before a forest in Holthausen.


BORKENER ZEITUNG--Saturday, June 21, 1986

Photographs of the landing Site dispel aIl doubts:

U.S. bomber "Stymie" came down in Holthausen

Former interpreter is found/Gasoline taken in milk can.

Velen-Ransdorf. Searched for--found! Today there is corn planted
on this field, the meadow and the tall trees are gone. It looked quite
different 43 years ago. Then it was Cctober 10, 1943, a sunny Sunday,
when a B-17 of the U.S. fleet crashed on a meadow between the farm
Schulze-Weddeling, and the Koetterhaus camp. Virtually undamaged, the
four-engine bomber, also called, the "Flying Fortress", lay in front
of large oak trees, not far from the B525 (Highway). Eight men jumped
out of the plane--uninjured. but, two of the ten men crew were hurt.
Amongst the uninjured was the pilot, Lt. John F. Stephens. This week,
43 years later, Stephens came to BZ for help. The article about the -
emergency landing and the search for eyewitnesses drew a flood of phone
calls. There were many clues.

At the end, pictures finally proved where on the meadow the air-
craft was put down. Lt. Stephens can be happy: He remembered a young
girl who spoke with the crew in perfect English. She also was found.
The events of this day were reconstructed from statements of
eyewitnesses and from a book which was kindly recommended from the
homeland researcher Adalbert Friedrich from Raesfeld. Stymie is mentioned in
the book, 'Muenster October 10, 1943" (Aschendorff) by Ian Hawkins.
Radio operator Carl Battin remembers: "During the short time we
were over Muenster we were hit by the anti-aircraft artillery. Our
pilot Lt. John Stephens reduced the altitude at once and tried to reach
the Canal in a lower level flight. We were very heavely attacked by
German fighter planes. The enemy was chasing us from all directions
and forced us to make a belly landing. Our front rifle man was hit
with a 20-mm in his right hand and I had a broken arm. the rest of the
crew was not hurt. We were soon taken prisoners."
So far the presentation from the american view point. The source
is wrong in one point: "Stymie" made the emergency landing in Aalten-
Holland. In conversation with the BZ the former bomber pilot confirmed,
that those 2 men belonged to his crew and it had to be his aircraft
which slithered over the meadow in Holthausen, took down fences and
then stopped. In his conversation he also mentioned the black D and the
numbers 23237 on the white square painted on the tail. They are iden-
tical with the pictures made available to us.
At that time Franz-Josef Liesner pushed the shutter release button
on his little Agfa-Fox. Today he is the principal at the Hauptschule of
Suedlohn. More pictures were added from the families Effink-Tenk and
Schulze-Weddeling. Liesner, at that time 16 years old, remembers:
"People came from all over. It was quite sensational." The children
took all kinds of things from the plane.
One of the first persons at the B-17, "Flying Fortress" was
Helmut Schulze, at that time 12 years old.
"At first, we were not afraid, but then, all of a sudden a few
negroes came out, we never saw one before, then we ran." Still today
when plowing, we find pieces of the aircraft, says the farmer. He
himself picked up some ammunition and kept it.
The girl, which the bomber pilot remembers, is probably Anni I (
Buetterhoff, born Osterhalt. She was attending a Middle-School and
was 14 years old. Anni Buetterhoff: "The first question the flyers ~
asked was: Here Holland?". They asked me where they were, after I
asked them "Can I help you?" She knew that two flyers were taken
prisoner in the evening at the railroad station in Suedlohn, they
had had a beer in the stations restaurant beforehand.
Ludwine Hilian also tried to remember. The witness who lives in
Dortmund told us, that children and grown ups fell upon the plane and
took whatever was not nailed down. One flyer was pinned in the rear.
All witnesses agreed in their explanation, that German soldiers
arrived immediately. They came on motor cycles. The flyers were put
in a barn after the injured were taken care of.
Close to the landing spot, about 500 m away, there was what they
called a fake airport. Maybe that was the fighter plane base which was
mentioned by radio operator Battin. It is possible that the crew
spotted the dummies.
Hubert Schulze-'Weddeling still remembers what happened in the
late evening: "There were no more empty milk cans left on the surroun-
ding farms. The farmers emptied the the tanks of the aircraft."
At this time the former bomber pilot is still in Holland. Together
with his wife Gale, he'll take a close look at the landing site in
the following weeks. He is very anxious to meet with the eyewitnesses.

BORKENER ZEITUNG ednesday, July 2, 1986

U.S. Bomber Pilot returns to the landing site in Holthausen:

" I TOUCHED THE EARTH AND FELT ALIVE"

To meet again with eyewitnesses/The entire crew went bach to USA

Velen-Ramsdorf. The meeting this time after different circum-
stances, more than 4 decades later, was very heartfelt. High School
English was pulled from memory, pictures were taken, people kissed
and hugged. This uncommon scene occured at a meeting at the Schulze-
Weddeling farm. The past came alive. All the pieces they remembered
from that sunny Sunday, Oct., 10, 1943, fit together like a puzzle.
The reason: US Bomber Pilot John F. Stephens, who in 1943 was forced
to make an emergency landing, when German fighter Planes, and anti-
aircraft artillery attacked him while on an attack mission at Muenster,
met with eyewitnesses from that time. The pilot of the B 17 " Flying
Fortress" was at that time 22 years old, asked the BZ for help in
finding the landing site of his aircraft. Numerous hints from our
readers, notes from diaries, and pictures of the 4 engine plane finally
proved, that the "Flying Fortress" with the nickname "Stymie", came
to a stop not far from the B525 (highway) between Suedlohn and Velen,
only a few yards in front of large oak trees. As the pictures show,
Stephens put the aircraft down with virtually no damage.


D Stephens, who together with his wife Gale is on a European trip,
also remembers a young girl who shortly after the landing helped to
cross the language barrier. Anni Buetterhoff, who was the interpreter
at that time, got a big kiss as a welcome. " I'm happy to meet you
after all those years".
The commander of the B 17 explained, that after their captivity,
the entire crew returned to the USA in 1945. He is still in contact
with some of the 10 man crew.
One of the eyewitnesses, who was somewhat involved in the event,
was Bernhard Busch. While waiting for a train in the late evening hours
to go back to his post, he took the two american flyers prisoner,
who tried to cross the border to Holland after the landing. The at that
time lance corporal told us, he got 5 days leave as a bonus.
Elisabeth Thesing also remembers details: "Two of the American
flyers- were injured, they were taken care of right away. They brought
pillows from the Koetterhaus Camp. You could see, both were in a lot
of pain."The other 6 flyers:- were immediately locked in a barn after
the German Military men arrived on motor cycles.
On the very same spot, which looks different today than at the
time of the landing, Stephens found little pieces of the plane.
Stephens: "I just cain't believe it". The teacher since retired, was
very moved when he saw ammunition and a piece of a tank which belonged
to his plane.Hubert Schulze-Weddeling, who kept those parts: "Please
be careful those parts are still sharp."

The reconstruction fo the events from that day showed that the
American flyers were probably taken to the school of Holtnausen.

Stephens said, it was already dark 'When German airforce officers
came and congratulated him for the "clean landing".
The witnesses recalled, that in discussions between the anti-
aircraft soldiers and Jabo Pilots, they each wanted credit for the
crash of the Stymie.
Like Stephens explains, the prisoners were only in Holthausen
a few hours. "We were transported to an air force base in Frankfurt".
After that they were put in an air force camp in Sagan on the Oder.
, lt was called "Stalag III". "The time in prison, during which
the Russians came constantly closer, was the hardest for us." Other-
wise the prisoners were treated quite fairly by the Germans. The last
stop before the trip back home, was a camp near Munich.
The former enemies listened with interest and commented on some
details. They all felt the same: There should never be another war.
Gne event in particular captivated the listeners: "When I climbed
out of the lelt exit of the aircraft, I touched the ground and
squeezed a handful of dirt in my fist", that was proof for him that
he got out of the plane alive.
After a hearty good bye, a thank you for the hospitality, and
with the hope to see each other again, they parted. John and Gale
Stephens accepted an invitation for a short visit to the Oedinger
Schuetzenfest.
The couple is staying a few more days in Holland. After that,
both of them are traveling to Norway, since the grandparents of
Gale Stephens are of Norwegian descent and emigrated to the USA.
There she wants to look for her roots.
Memo 2:
POW/KIA notes: Original 100th, Crew #29.


When reading through some files recently, I found this story related to a July 4 1943 mission to La Pallice mentioning John Egan and TTE John Shay (although John Shay appears listed as part of Ernest Kiessling Crew.) We don’t appear to have this story on either of their pages.

There is a photo on John Egan’s 100th BG webpage that is labeled: General Anderson; John Egan is in the background (from the collection of Norman Miller). The date is noted as 4-7-43. The person standing next to Egan kind of looks like John Shay but hard to tell.

****************
From Laura Schivers

Today was a double anniversary – the anniversary of American independence (the 157th) and the anniversary of USAAF bombing operations against Axis-held Europe (the 1st).

Our Fortresses celebrated by providing Adolf Hitler with a not very safe or sane Fourth of July. Continuing the Eighth Air Force's part in the campaign against the U-boat menace, they made the longest B 17 operational flight to date, hammering at the vital submarine base of La Pallice, on the West coast of Nazi-gripped France. There was a heavy concentration of well-placed bombs on the target. Port installations and shipping were hit. Considerable damage was done to one of the prime objectives – a U-boat lock just recently reconstructed by the Nazis after previous devastation by Eighth Air Force and RAF bombardments.

As on their last two precious exercises in precision bombing in the skies over the France that is temporarily Hitler's, very sparse fighter opposition was encountered by the Forts. Most crewmen report seeing mostly just two or three Nazi fighters at one time, and these were described as "timid" and "battle shy". One Hun plane was probably destroyed.

The Fortresses had to fight their way through barrages of intense flak to get to the target. They dropped their explosive cargoes, and returned home with the loss of just one ship.

In the 100th Group Fortress that carried Brigadier General O. A. Anderson on a bombing mission over Europe for the first time, a Major and a Sergeant participated in a sub-strato saga. The pilot of "Muggs" Major John C. Eagan, looking over his shoulder, saw a pair of feet dangling limply many inches above the floor of the top turret gun's platform. The feet belonged to Technical Sergeant John Shay, whose oxygen hose had become disconnected. He had collapsed, and his head had caught between the turret and the gunsight, his hands still grasping the turret controls. Despite the fact that he was risking unconsciousness himself, Major Eagan climbed into the narrow turret, replaced the gunner's oxygen supply, and narrowly missed death when the reviving man touched off the turret controls, setting the mechanism revolving. Both Major and Sergeant were sent spinning around, banging against the sides of the narrow passageway. By the time the pilot had stopped the whirling turret, the gunner had suffered a chip fracture of the hip bone, and Major Eagan was minus a sleeve. "I had visions of being ground up into one great meat ball," he reflected after return to base, "but I'm going to miss that shirt – it was my Sunday best.”

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT Information:

Target:
Munster
Aircraft:
"Stymie" (42-3237)
Date:
1943-10-10
Cause:
EAC-FLAK-Crash Landed

Crew List

1st Crew List

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Rank Name Pos Status
Lt STEPHENS, John F. CP/P POW
Capt KIESSLING, Ernest A. P RFS
LT SOLOMON, David NAV POW
Lt MORRISON, Stanley O. BOM KIA
T/Sgt SHAY, John TTE POW
T/Sgt BATTIN, Carl E. ROG POW
S/SGT MAZARKA, Frank S. ROG XFR
T/Sgt DRUDGE, Max U. BTG POW
S/Sgt KNOLLE, George F. WG POW
S/Sgt RACZYNSKI, Casimir A. WG POW
S/Sgt YOUNG, William F. TG POW
2nd Crew List

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Rank Name Pos Status
Lt STEPHENS, John F. CP/P POW
Lt SMITH, Hoyt L. CP POW
Lt GRUM, Rudolph NAV POW
LT MOORE, William J. BOM POW
T/Sgt SHAY, John TTE POW
T/Sgt BATTIN, Carl E. ROG POW
T/Sgt DRUDGE, Max U. BTG POW
S/Sgt KNOLLE, George F. WG POW
S/Sgt RACZYNSKI, Casimir A. WG POW
S/Sgt YOUNG, William F. TG POW