458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Crew 2 - Assigned 752nd Squadron - October 14, 1943

Back Row: Elwood Claggett - P, Unidentified, Unidentified, Richard Biegel - B

If anyone can identify the other men in the photo, please contact me.

(Photo: AFHRA)

Crew 2 - Completed Tour

ClaggettCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status Comments
Capt Elwood T Claggett 024997 Pilot / Cmd Pilot Dec-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
F/O Gunnar H Stromsborg  T1906 Co-pilot Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
2Lt Shepherd L Shelton 0800779 Navigator 30-Jul-44 TRSF TD AAF 143 - 2BD Inst School
2Lt Richard R Biegel 0682414 Bombardier 18-Apr-44 TRSF Trsf to 93BG w/Crew 14 
T/Sgt David E Wilkinson 38113973 Radio Operator 17-Aug-44 UNK Mission Load List AZON11
T/Sgt Edward J Murphy 32373228 Flight Engineer 12-Jul-44 UNK Mission Load List #89
Pvt William R Proteau 20135410  Duty Soldier III 08-Apr-45 RFS USSAF MF6158 trsf EM Inf Reinf Trng  
S/Sgt George Mack 34035595 Aerial Gunner, 2/E  Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt David C Hunter 11049104 Armorer-Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt James J Fitzpatrick 31181504 Armorer-Gunner 12-Jul-44 UNK Mission Load List #89

Crew 2 under 1Lt Elwood Claggett trained in the fall/winter of 1943 with the 752nd Squadron in Tonopah, NV.  In early January 1944 they flew B-24H-15-FO 42-52364 via the Southern Route to England and to the 458th's base at Horsham St. Faith.  The aircraft they brought over went on to the 445th Bomb Group and was lost on February 24, 1944 on the mission to Gotha, Germany during "Big Week".


Crew 2 flew eleven missions including seven lead missions, with Claggett as their pilot.  He then became a command pilot, flying with various pilots in the group.  It is not known who took over Crew 2, but a likely candidate was 1Lt Kenneth N. Gorrell, the pilot of Crew 15.  On the first combat mission the 458th flew on March 2, 1944, Gorrell crashed on takeoff.  Seven of the crew were killed.  Of the three remaining crew, the engineer became a ground crewman, the radio operator was interned in Switzerland in May, and Gorrell completed a number of additional missions before being transferred to HQ 458th.


On June 29, 1944 four of the enlisted men, Edward Murphy, George Mack, David Hunter, and James Fitzpatrick flew a mission to Aschersleben, Germany with Gorrell as the pilot.  Their aircraft took a flak hit and smoke filled the cockpit.  The navigator and nose turret gunner bailed out before the fire was put out.  The rest of the crew made it safely back to base.  The navigator was captured and the nose gunner was murdered by a German official.

It is assumed that most of the crew completed their tour of 30 missions at some time in July 1944, but records are incomplete. 


Capt Elwood T. Claggett completed 30 missions and stayed with the 752nd Squadron through October 1944.

F/O Gunnar H. Stromsborg, co-pilot, and S/Sgt George Mack, top turret gunner, both received the DFC in August 1944.

2Lt Shepherd L. Shelton, navigator, was sent to AAF 143 and the 2nd Bomb Division's Inst School.

2Lt Richard R. Biegel, bombardier, was transferred to the 93rd Bomb Group with 1Lt Burton O. Bush and Crew 14.

Sgt William R. Proteau, tail gunner, was reclassified as an Airplane Armorer (MOS 911) in June 1944 and reduced to the grade of Private.  He stayed with the group until April 1945, when he was transferred for training in the infantry.

Capt Elwood Claggett Missions

ClaggettMissions
Date  Target  Pilot 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Cmd Pilot Ld  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
10-Feb-44  Non-Ops Mission Claggett -- ACC     42-100431 B J4 -- Bomb-Ah-Dear Taxiing Accident
24-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST  CLAGGETT D1 --     41-28706 -- J4 D1 DREAM BOAT/SPARE PARTS Diversion Mission
25-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST CLAGGETT D2 -- FEILING L1 42-100311 -- 7V D2 YOKUM BOY Diversion Mission
02-Mar-44 FRANKFURT CLAGGETT 1 1 LaROCHE L2 42-100311 A 7V 1 YOKUM BOY  
08-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER CLAGGETT 5 2 LaROCHE L2 42-100311 A 7V 4 YOKUM BOY  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN CLAGGETT 8 3     42-100311 A 7V 5 YOKUM BOY  
23-Mar-44 OSNABRUCK CLAGGETT 12 4     42-100311 A 7V 7 YOKUM BOY  
09-Apr-44 TUTOW A/F CLAGGETT 18 NTO     42-100311 A 7V -- YOKUM BOY NO TAKE OFF
18-Apr-44 BRANDENBURG CLAGGETT 22 5     42-100311 A 7V 11 YOKUM BOY  
20-Apr-44 SIRACOURT CLAGGETT 24 6 HENSLER L2 42-100311 A 7V 13 YOKUM BOY  
22-Apr-44 HAMM M/Y CLAGGETT 25 7 FREEMAN D1 42-100311 A 7V 14 YOKUM BOY NAV-McQUAID
24-Apr-44 LEIPHEIM A/F CLAGGETT 26 8     42-100311 A 7V 15 YOKUM BOY  
24-Apr-44 LEIPHEIM A/F CLAGGETT 26 8     42-100311 A 7V 15 YOKUM BOY  
25-Apr-44 MANNHEIM A/F CLAGGETT 27 9 FREEMAN D2 42-109812 D 7V 12 UNKNOWN 016  
27-Apr-44 BONNIERES CLAGGETT 29 10 CHAMBERLAIN  D1 42-100311 A 7V 16 YOKUM BOY NAV-NOSAREWSKI 
27-Apr-44 BLAINVILLE-SUR-L'EAU CLAGGETT 30 11     42-100311 A 7V 17 YOKUM BOY  
21-Jul-44 MUNICH SLATON 96 12 CLAGGETT L1 42-50768 A Z5 2 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
02-Aug-44 3 NO BALLS   101 13 CLAGGETT L3 -- GH RE -- 93BG/329SQ 93BG CREW
07-Aug-44 GHENT HAYZLETT 107 14 CLAGGETT D1 42-95118 E 7V 13 ALFRED V (Trnsf to 392nd BG)  
11-Aug-44 STRASBOURG URBANIAK 110 15 CLAGGETT L2 42-50499 F 7V 6 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
25-Aug-44 LUBECK LAMERS 118 16 CLAGGETT D1 42-50516 B Z5 4 STARDUST  
27-Aug-44 FINOW LOCKRIDGE 121 17 CLAGGETT L3 42-50516 B Z5 5 STARDUST MISSION CRED NOV
09-Sep-44 MAINZ BENO 124 18 CLAGGETT L2 42-50768 A Z5 10 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
11-Sep-44 MAGDEBURG LOCKRIDGE 126 19 CLAGGETT L2 42-50768 A Z5 11 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
03-Oct-44 GAGGENAU VERMEIREN  127 20 CLAGGETT L1 42-95557 E 7V 1 LADY PEACE  
07-Oct-44 MAGDEBURG ALLEN, G 130 21 CLAGGETT L4 42-50740 F J3 2 OUR BURMA  
12-Oct-44 OSNABRUCK BLUM 132 22 CLAGGETT L2 42-50864 B J3 8 JOLLY ROGER (II?)  
15-Oct-44 MONHEIM BLUM 134 23 CLAGGETT L3 42-50575 E J3 2 UNKNOWN 020  
22-Oct-44 HAMM ROBERTS, J 137 24 CLAGGETT L2 42-50502 G J3 12 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
30-Oct-44 HARBURG BLUM 139 25 CLAGGETT L2 42-50740 F J3 5 OUR BURMA  
02-Nov-44 BIELEFELD HALE 140 26 CLAGGETT D1 42-95557 H+ J3 9 LADY PEACE  
05-Nov-44 KARLSRUHE MORFORD 142 27 CLAGGETT D1 42-95610 D+ J3 3 UNKNOWN 037  
09-Nov-44 METZ AREA HATHAWAY 145 28 CLAGGETT L 42-50504 D 7V 12 UNKNOWN 019  
16-Nov-44 ESCHWEILER ANDERSON 147 29 CLAGGETT L 42-50499 U J3 16 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
25-Nov-44 BINGEN LOCKRIDGE 149 30 CLAGGETT L2 42-51939 A+ J3 7 UNKNOWN 028


February 10, 1944

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT

The pilot received orders from Group Operations to ferry aircraft B-24J #2100431 to Watton for modification.  En route to the take-off position, the pilot taxied off of the perimeter strip in the soft ground with the right main landing gear.  At this point, the pilot tried to bring the aircraft onto the perimeter strip by the use of throttles.  The resulting shearing action caused the nose wheel main leg strut to break causing the collapse of the nose wheel.

It was also discovered in later investigations, that a flaw existed in the tube fork of the nose gear assembly.  An Unsatisfactory Report (Form 54) was submitted by the Sub-Depot concerning this defect.

The pilot and failure of material were responsible for the accident.  It is recommended that hereafter, when any airplane at this station taxi's off of either the runway or the perimeter strip, that the engines be stopped and the airplane towed out by a tug.


John A. Hensler
Major, Air Corps
Technical Inspector

This mishap occurred as the 458th was gearing up to begin combat operations.  Click document for larger image.
 

B-24J-90-CO 42-100311 7V A  Yokum Boy

This aircraft seemed to be a "favorite" for this crew in the early days.