Crew 15 - Assigned 752nd Squadron October 1943
Crashed on takeoff March 2, 1944 (Accident Rpt #44-3-2-505)
|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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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
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."