458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Crew 26 - Assigned 753rd Squadron - October 14, 1943

Standing: George Higgins - N, Charles Shaw - P, William Kramer - CP, Elmer Lanini - B
Kneeling: Altus Weathersby - WG, Peter Durelinger - WG, Gerard Guerrette - E, Lester Decuir - TTG, Roscoe Green - BTG, Cedric Cole - RO

(Photo: AFHRA)

Completed Tour

ShawCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Charles S Shaw 0799475 Pilot Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt William D Kramer 0811094 Co-pilot Sep-44 CT Original Crew member completed tour
1Lt George L Higgins 0811650 Navigator Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt Elmer L Lanini 0752682 Bombardier 01-Dec-44 CT Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour
S/Sgt George A Ewing 35564315  Radio Operator 22-Jun-44 UNK AZON Mission Crew Load List
T/Sgt Gerard Guerrette 11122217 Flight Engineer Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Peter Durelinger 16134214 Aerial Gunner/2E  Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Altus B Weathersby  18202562 Aerial Gunner/2E Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Lester E Decuir 39551713 Armorer-Gunner Sep-44 CT Original Crew member completed tour
Sgt Roscoe C Green 37383575 Armorer-Gunner Sep-44 CT Original Crew member completed tour 

2Lt Charles Shaw and crew were assigned to the 753rd Squadron on October 14, 1943 in Tonopah, Nevada, They took their combat crew training with the group and flew overseas in January 1944.  After flying a diversionary mission on February 25th, the crew’s first combat mission was on March 6, 1944 – the first successful American raid on Berlin.  The 458th lost five Liberators and crews on this date – the highest one-day loss total that the 458th would suffer.

 

The aircraft that was assigned to the crew, and which they flew over from the States, was a B-24H named Downwind Leg.  This ship would carry them through the first few days of May, save for one mission on March 9th.  After that they would fly several different 753rd Squadron ships, but the crew ended up flying “their” ship on 18 combat missions (21 including aborted attempts).

 

In June they flew several AZON missions, although they were forced to abort on May 31st, and the mission of June 8th was abandoned due to bad weather.  They were credited for two AZON sorties, but the results of their particular bombs are unknown.  It is around this time that Chuck Shaw’s name appears less frequently on group mission records.  There are several large gaps between June 8 and August 9th.  During this two month period, Shaw is shown flying only five missions.  The reason for this is unknown.

 

Bill Kramer, the crew’s co-pilot, appears to have filled in during Shaw’s absence, as records show him listed as first pilot flying 7 missions beginning on August 1st and ending on the 13th.  It is assumed that he commanded Crew 26 on these missions to round out their combat tour.

 

The entire crew completed their tour in August 1944 and all members were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  In September the majority of them were sent back to the States; 1Lt Elmer Lanini did not leave the 458th until December.

 

The only man whose name is not listed in August or September records is radio operator George Ewing. It is probable, however, that he completed his missions about the same time as the rest of the crew.

 


Missions

ShawMissions
Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
25-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST D2 -- 41-28721 -- J4 D2 DOWNWIND LEG Diversion Mission
06-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER 4 1 41-28721 L J4 1 DOWNWIND LEG  
08-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER 5 2 41-28721 L J4 2 DOWNWIND LEG  
09-Mar-44 BRANDENBURG 6 3 41-28671 K J4 4 UNKNOWN 001  
15-Mar-44 BRUNSWICK 7 4 41-28721 L J4 3 DOWNWIND LEG  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 8 ABT 41-28721 L J4 -- DOWNWIND LEG FUEL LEAK
21-Mar-44 WATTEN, near ST. OMER 10 5 41-28721 L J4 5 DOWNWIND LEG  
05-Apr-44 ST. POL-SIRACOURT 16 6 41-28721 L J4 9 DOWNWIND LEG  
08-Apr-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 17 7 41-28721 L J4 10 DOWNWIND LEG  
11-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN 20 8 41-28721 L J4 12 DOWNWIND LEG  
13-Apr-44 LECHFELD A/F 21 9 41-28721 L J4 13 DOWNWIND LEG  
19-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F 23 10 41-28721 L J4 15 DOWNWIND LEG  
20-Apr-44 SIRACOURT 24 11 41-28721 L J4 16 DOWNWIND LEG  
25-Apr-44 MANNHEIM A/F 27 12 41-28721 L J4 17 DOWNWIND LEG  
26-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F 28 13 41-28721 L J4 18 DOWNWIND LEG  
27-Apr-44 BLAINVILLE-SUR-L'EAU 30 14 41-28721 L J4 19 DOWNWIND LEG  
29-Apr-44 BERLIN 31 NTO 41-28721 L J4 -- DOWNWIND LEG INVERTERS BURNED OUT
01-May-44 MARQUISE/MIMOYECQUES 32 15 41-28721 L J4 20 DOWNWIND LEG  
01-May-44 LIEGE M/Y 33 16 41-28721 L J4 21 DOWNWIND LEG  
04-May-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 34 17 41-28721 L J4 22 DOWNWIND LEG  
07-May-44 OSNABRUCK 36 18 41-28705 H J4 24 YE OLDE HELLGATE  
08-May-44 BRUNSWICK 37 ABT 41-28735 S J4 -- UNKNOWN 005 #4 ENG LOW FUEL PRES
09-May-44 ST. TROND 38 19 42-50320 J J4 9 UNKNOWN 018  
10-May-44 DIEPHOLZ REC -- 41-28721 L J4 -- DOWNWIND LEG RECALL BEFORE EC
11-May-44 EPINAL 39 20 41-28721 L J4 23 DOWNWIND LEG BOMBS HUNG - KICKED OUT
12-May-44 BOHLEN 40 ABT 42-100341 A J4 -- SATAN'S MATE LATE T/O
19-May-44 BRUNSWICK 42 ABT 41-28721 L J4 -- DOWNWIND LEG #1 ENG PROP RAN AWAY
20-May-44 RHEIMS A/D 43 21 42-95116 U   1 JUNIOR  
21-May-44 SIRACOURT 44 22 42-110141 U J4 1 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
31-May-44 5 BRIDGES AZ01 ABT 44-40285 H J4 -- TABLE STUFF LOST FORMATION
04-Jun-44 2 TACTICAL TARGETS AZ03 23 44-40285 H J4 1 TABLE STUFF Maj SPEER - Cmd Pilot
08-Jun-44 UNSPECIFIED TARGETS AZ04 -- 44-40134 R J4 -- UNKNOWN 039 ABANDONED - WEATHER
22-Jun-44 Saumer, Tours AZ09 24 44-40264 K J4 3 KISS ME BABY  
24-Jun-44 ST OMER 78 25 42-52457 Q 7V 33 FINAL APPROACH MSN #2 - Tactical Bridges
12-Jul-44 MUNICH 89 ABT 42-100366 B Z5 -- MIZPAH OXY SYST MALFUNCTION
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN 109 26 41-29303 H Z5 37 LIBERTY LIB


1Lt William Kramer's Missions as 1st Pilot

KramerMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
01-Aug-44 T.O.s FRANCE 100 1 44-40287 J J4 8 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
02-Aug-44 3 NO BALLS 101 2 42-110163 M J4 17 TIME'S A WASTIN  
04-Aug-44 ROSTOCK 103 3 44-40273 T J4 10 HOWLING BANSHEE  
07-Aug-44 GHENT 107 4 42-110141 U J4 11 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN 121 CROSSED OUT 
08-Aug-44 CLASTRES 108 5 42-110141 U J4 12 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN   
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN  109 6 44-40275 L J4 10 SHACK TIME  
13-Aug-44 LIEUREY 112 7 44-40285 H J4 27 TABLE STUFF


Africa - January 1944

While in Dakar, George Higgins, Chuck Shaw, and Elmer Lanini pose with a Senegalese soldier assigned to guard the crew's B-24


(Photo: Bill Kramer)


Horsham St Faith - Summer 1944

"This was taken on the air raid shelter in front of the barracks just before chow time... that explains the hungry look!"

Back Row: Waldo Spangelo - Crew 28 Co-pilot, Bill Kramer, "Red" Welsh
Front Row: Eleo Decima - Crew 23 Nav, George Higgins, Elmer Lanini, Sam Robeson - Crew 28 Pilot, John Sullivan - Crew 25 Nav

(Photo: Bill Kramer)

B-24H-10-DT 41-28721 J4 L  Downwind Leg

The Shaw crew flew this aircraft on the majority of their missions.

(Photo: George Reynolds)

May 31, 1944 - Azon Mission #1

Left-Right: Alvin Shapiro – Crew 23 co-pilot, Unknown, Fred DeNeffe – Crew 23 pilot, George Higgins Crew 26 navigator, Unknown

 

An interesting picture showing several 458th airmen in front of AZON ship Bad Girl.  The caption on this photo reads, “Crew members of the 458th Bomb Group discuss their bombing mission shortly after returning to their 8th Air Force base somewhere in England.  31 May 1944”

 

On this date, the 753rd Squadron put up five aircraft on the first AZON raid to hit five bridges in France. Crew 26, flying Table Stuff was forced to abort because they “could not find the formation in clouds…” They were not given credit for this mission.  Fred DeNeffe and Crew 23 flew Bad Girl on this mission, and along with three other 753rd Liberators bombed a series of bridges in France.

 

Given the expressions on their faces, it looks like the man on the right has been the subject of an uncomfortable comment or question by the man second from left.  Shapiro, DeNeffe and Higgins seem amused by whatever comment has just been made.


(Photo: FOLD3)


June 4, 1944 - Azon Mission #3

Gerard Guerrette, Roscoe Green and Chuck Shaw discuss matters after the June 4th AZON mission

 
Standing: Lester DeCuir, Peter Durelinger, Chuck Shaw, Maj Speer (Cmd P), Roscoe Green, Eleo Decima (flight helmet) - Nav
Kneeling: Altus Weathersby, George Ewing, Gerard Guerrette, Unknown

(Photos: Robert Carroll)