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Old 30th October 2013, 18:26
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Melvin Brownless Melvin Brownless is offline
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SEARCH FOR RELATIVES - 306th BG Loss

Hi to all,

We are hoping that maybe someone can help us with our quest to find relatives of a crew that was killed here in the UK on the 26th April 1944.

We located the crash site of the B-17 back in 1990 after obtaining a photo of the crash site from Gordon & Connie Richards. I now live only eight miles from the crash site and recently located the landowner of the field where the aircraft crashed. Sadly nine men died in her field and we have been discussing the possibility of erecting a small memorial near the crash site. We are only in the early stages of discussion at the moment as we are hoping to trace some relatives of the crew.

Lastly, Maybe someone out there has a photo of this crew? I have seen a poor quality photo copy of some of them but sadly not good enough to use in the page of remembrance we are creating for our website in memory of Donald Schaefer and crew.

Below are the details we have to date; Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Melvin (www.aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk)

Mission: Brunswick, Germany. (Nickel bombs leaflets)

Date: 26th April 1944

Time: 05.40 hours.

Unit: 367th Bomb Squadron / 306th Bomb Group (H)

Type: Boeing B-17G

Serial No. 42-31469

Coded: GY- K

Location: Near Bletsoe Castle, Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, England.

Pilot: 2/Lt. Donald J. Schaefer 0-754381 – Killed.

Co-Pilot: 2/Lt. Floyd B. Henry 0-814898 – Killed.

Navigator: 2/Lt. Willard A. Transeth 0-702985 – Killed.

Bombadier: 2/Lt. Roy A. McKinney 0-757006 – Killed.

Top Turret/Eng: T/Sgt. Charles E. Weller 15110110 – Killed.

Radio/Op: S/Sgt. Sheldon H. Kinberg 12181044 – Killed.

Ball Turret: Sgt. John C. Simons 33596385 – Killed.

Waist Gunner: T/Sgt. John W. Byrd 18170062 – Killed.

Waist Gunner: Sgt. Ronald M. Minter Jnr. 15196568 – Killed.

Tail Gunner: S/Sgt. George S. Littlefield 19101347– Survived.

REASON FOR LOSS:

At 0540 aircraft 469 was taking off on runway 24 (Thurleigh), north east to south west.
Sparks were seen coming from No.2 engine port side. Aircraft took off and started a gentle bank to port which became steeper as turn continued. A/C was last seen flying in a steep diving turn. Aircraft crashed about a mile from the airfield and was completey disintegrated and burned, killing everyone aboard except Sgt George S. Littlefield, the tail gunner. Littlefield was operating the Aldis lamp to warn other aircraft of their position. This was the only part of the plane not consumed by fire.

Last edited by Melvin Brownless; 25th January 2014 at 00:08.
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