458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Crew 15 - Assigned 752nd Squadron  October 1943

Back Row: Unknown - N, Lt. Kirschman - B, Louis Sonnefeld - CP, Kenneth Gorrell - P
Middle Row: John Hiebert - G, Paul Dirker - TT/E, Dewey Adams - WG
Front Row: Rocco Immundo - TTG, Calvin Criswell - RO, Wisner - TG

The navigator, bombardier and tail gunner were transferred off of crew during training.
(Photo: George Reynolds)

Crashed on takeoff March 2, 1944 (Accident Rpt #44-3-2-505)

GorrellCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
Capt Kenneth M Gorrell 0747169 Pilot 04-Aug-44 CT Sqdn Ops Officer - DFC in September
F/O Louis J Sonnefeld T1745 Co-pilot 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
2Lt Paul K Seeman 0904197 Navigator 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
2Lt Sidney Rosenthal 0688403 Bombardier 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
S/Sgt Calvin D Criswell 17162058 Radio Operator 27-May-44 INT Interned in Switzerland w/Nedrow Crew
T/Sgt Paul F Dirker 16126851 Flight Eng/Crew Chief 25-Apr-45 RECLS Msns: 45, Abt: 3, Curr Cons: 12
Sgt John E Hiebert 39265138 Gunner 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
Sgt Rocco L Imundo 32337250 Gunner 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
Sgt Russell J LaCock 18031748 Gunner 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham
Sgt Dewey P Adams, Jr 35682763 Gunner 02-Mar-44 KIA Crashed on T/O Horsham

An original 458th crew, Lt Gorrell crashed on take off on the group's first combat mission. Seven crewmen were killed and three were injured.  Of the injured, Sgt Calvin Criswell recovered and flew additional missions as radio operator.  He was interned in Switzerland with 1Lt James E. Nedrow and crew on May 27, 1944.  Sgt Paul Dirker was awarded the Soldier's Medal for, "...heroism displayed on 2 Mar 1944."  He was later reclassified to MOS 747 and became a Crew Chief in the 752nd Squadron.  He remained there until war's end. 

 

Lt Gorrell continued to fly combat missions, amassing 22 by early September 1944.  He also flew several missions as a Command or Instructor Pilot.  Probably one of his more memorable missions was the June 29, 1944 raid on Aschersleben, Germany.

 

General Orders No. 211 - Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal

"KENNETH M. GORRELL, 0-747169, First Lieutenant, Army Air Forces, United States Army.  For meritorious achievement, while serving a Pilot on a B-24 aircraft on a bombing mission to Germany, 29 June 1944.  Over the target a flak hit started a fire in the pilot's cabin which threatened to ignite escaping gasoline and destroy the aircraft.  With full knowledge of the danger involved, Lieutenant Gorrell beat out the flames with his gloved hands and then skillfully flew his damaged aircraft safely back to base without further damage or injury to the crew.  The courage, coolness, and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Gorrell on this occasion reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered military service from Pennsylvania."

 

The DFC citation does not mention that two of the crew, the navigator and nose turret gunner bailed out before the flames were extinguished.  Their story is located on the "Stories" page of this website under Murder Unresolved.


Missions

GorrellMissions
DATE  TARGET  PILOT 458th MSN PILOT MSN  CMD PILOT  SERIAL RCL SQ A/C MSN  A/C NAME  COMMENTS
02-Mar-44 FRANKFURT GORRELL 1 ACC   41-28669 -- 7V 1 GINNY CRASH ON TAKEOFF
05-May-44 SOTTEVAST STOUT 35 1 GORRELL 42-52455 O 7V 23 PLUTOCRAT INSTRUCTOR PILOT
05-Jun-44 STELLA/PLAGE GORRELL 55 2   42-95219 W 7V 12 PATCHIE  
06-Jun-44 COASTAL AREAS GORRELL 56 3   42-95219 W 7V 13 PATCHIE MSN #1
06-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT GORRELL 58 ABT   42-95219 W 7V -- PATCHIE ABORT - MSN #3 - WEATHER
08-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT GORRELL 60 4   42-95219 W 7V 15 PATCHIE  
12-Jun-44 EVREUX/FAUVILLE GORRELL 64 5   42-95219 W 7V 17 PATCHIE  
19-Jun-44 REGNAUVILLE GORRELL 72 6   42-95179 X 7V 17 HERE I GO AGAIN  
20-Jun-44 ST MARTIN-L'HORTIER GORRELL 74 7   41-28721 V 7V 31 DOWNWIND LEG MSN #2
21-Jun-44 BERLIN GORRELL 75 8   42-95179 X 7V 18 HERE I GO AGAIN  
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS GORRELL 76 9   42-95219 W 7V 20 PATCHIE TGT #7 BLAUGERMONT
25-Jun-44 ST. OMER GORRELL 80 10   42-52455 O 7V 36 PLUTOCRAT  
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN GORRELL 81 11   42-95050 J 7V 24 GAS HOUSE MOUSE  
29-Jun-44 ASCHERSLEBEN GORRELL 82 12   42-51110 P 7V 19 TOP O' THE MARK 2 BAIL OUT - A/C AT BASE
06-Jul-44 KIEL GORRELL 85 13   42-95118 E 7V 7 ALFRED V (Trnsf to 392nd BG)  
07-Jul-44 LUTZKENDORF GORRELL 86 14   42-95050 J 7V 26 GAS HOUSE MOUSE  
11-Jul-44 MUNICH GORRELL 88 ABT   42-95050 J 7V -- GAS HOUSE MOUSE ABORT - #2 CARB,#2 ENG OUT
12-Jul-44 MUNICH GORRELL 89 ABT   42-51110 P 7V -- TOP O' THE MARK ABORT - #4 ENG OUT
16-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN GORRELL 91 15   42-51110 P 7V 21 TOP O' THE MARK  
18-Jul-44 TROARN GORRELL 93 16   42-51110 P 7V 23 TOP O' THE MARK  
28-Jul-44 LEIPHEIM & CREEL  GORRELL SCR --   41-29340 N 7V -- YANKEE BUZZ BOMB BRIEFED AND SCRUBBED
31-Jul-44 LUDWIGSHAFEN GORRELL 99 17   44-40288 S J4 8 BAD GIRL (LDF)*
03-Aug-44 2 NO BALLS GORRELL 102 18   42-51110 P 7V 31 TOP O' THE MARK  
04-Aug-44 ROSTOCK GORRELL 103 19   42-51110 P 7V 32 TOP O' THE MARK  
06-Aug-44 HAMBURG GORRELL 106 ABT   41-29340 N 7V -- YANKEE BUZZ BOMB ABORT - NOT ON OPS RPT
11-Aug-44 STRASBOURG GORRELL 110 --   UNK -- -- --   NO SERIAL LISTED - PFF
15-Aug-44 VECHTA LOCKRIDGE 114 20 GORRELL 42-50768 A Z5 8 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME LEAD 2ND SQ
26-Aug-44 DULMEN HEMRICH 120 21 GORRELL 42-50907 D J3 6 LILY MARLENE LEAD 2ND SQ
01-Sep-44 PFAFFENHOFFEN ROBERTS ABN -- GORRELL 42-50502 A 7V -- LARRUPIN' LINDA LEAD 2ND SQ - ABANDONED
05-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE MATZE 122 22 GORRELL 44-40264 K J4 12 KISS ME BABY LEAD 2ND SQ


March 2, 1944

Photo: Karl Lake

Accident Report 44-03-02-505


1st Lieutenant Robert C. Sellers, 458th BG Flying Control Officer

"B-24H, 669 G piloted by LT. GORRELL took off on runway 23 for operational mission at 0900, 2nd March 1944.  The aircraft left the runway and over border of field was observed (by the airfield controller on duty) to suddenly stall out and come down tail first.  Further observation was impossible due to the fact that view was obstructed by houses.


"Weather: WSW - 18 M.P.H. - 6 miles Viz"



Major John A. Hensler, 458th BG Technical Inspector

"AAF Aircraft B24-H 41-28669 on the morning of 2 March 1944 took off on an operational combat mission proceeding about a quarter of a mile and crashed.


"LT KENNETH M GORRELL took off from AAF Station 123 using runway going into the south west at 230°.  Upon becoming airborn [sic] the aircraft appeared never to assume a normal flying attitude.  It assumed a tail low or stalling attitude from take off and seem to increase until ship crashed.  The vertical stabilizer on the left side struck the roof of house at 6 Berkley Close, Hellesdon, Norwich, causing damage to roof and ceiling of house.  This first contact swerved ship from original flight path about 60°.  The ship next hit the ground and skidded up against the side of a house located at 9 Pinewood Close, Hellesdon, Norwich.  At which spot ship caught fire and burned.  The pilot, radio operator and engineer were the only survivors.


"The damage to private property and claims are included in the inclosure.  The RAF Damage Officer was notified in accordance with 8th AF Memo 60-2B. 


"The negligence of the pilot in not checking for the presence of ice and ice on the wings are responsible for the accident.  There was no evidence of material failure involved.  Recommendation that in the future pilots make careful check for ice on wings."



Colonel G.L. Mason, 96th CBW Executive Officer 

"On 2 March 1944 we were standing on the roof, just outside the 96th Wing war room on the second floor of Wing Headquarters.  General Peck and I were watching the ships taking off for that day's mission.


"About twelve ships had taken off when one ship A/C B-24H #41-27669 piloted by Lt. Gorrell was seen in a stalling position just after leaving the ground.  He proceeded on about a quarter of a mile, stalling all the time, and losing altitude as a result of the "mushing".  His tail was seen to strike either the ground or a house; the ship seemed to turn approximately 160° to original course, and then strike the ground.  He then either burst into flames or the resulting dust made us believe that it was flames.  I believe that there might have been ice on the upper surface of the wing, which caused him to stall and crash.

 °

"Colonel Luther J. Fairbanks and I were the first U.S. Army personnel to arrive at the scene of the crash.  By this time, the radio operator and the aerial engineer had extricated the pilot from the crashed ship.  They wanted to return to get more out, but we ordered them not to since the bomb load and gasoline as well as .50 cal ammunition was exploding, making it too dangerous to attempt to re-enter the aircraft.  All possible aid was then given to firefighters, rescue of three civilians who were trapped in the house and removal and salvage of any worthwhile property."


Additional documentation


Photos: Colonel Ivo deJong