458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Lt E. R. Thompson Crew - Assigned 752nd Squadron - April 1944

Crew Photo Needed

Shot down August 9, 1944 (MACR 7890)

ThompsonCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Evert R Thompson 0690274 Pilot 09-Aug-44 POW Stalag 7A
1Lt Walter J Landers 0815932 Co-pilot 09-Aug-44 POW Camp unknown
2Lt William A Webster 0699283 Navigator 05-May-44 KIA Pulaski County, AR
2Lt William M Kendall 0695597 Bombardier 05-May-44 KIA Saunders Couty, NE
T/Sgt John D Beattie, Jr 13046508 Radio Operator 09-Aug-44 POW Stalag Luft 4
T/Sgt John D Bacon 36562550 Flight Engineer 09-Aug-44 POW Stalag Luft VI / 4
Sgt William D Wattlington  18137731 Gunner 19-Jun-44 UNK Suspended from Aerial flight 
Sgt Henry S Moore, Jr 34288034 Waist Gunner 05-May-44 KIA Shelby County, TN
S/Sgt Daniel G Walker 17113869 Top Turret Gunner  09-Aug-44 POW Stalag Luft 4
Sgt John J Cleary 19086604 Tail Turret Gunner 05-May-44 KIA San Francisco, CA

While there is no record of their being assigned, Lt. Evert R. Thompson and crew most likely arrived in April when the first replacement crews started coming into Horsham.  They were designated Crew #38 in the 752nd Squadron.  The crew flew their first mission on May 4, 1944. Their second mission, the very next day, saw them bombing the military installations near Sottevast.  Losing two engines to flak over France they made it as far as in Odiham, about 140 miles southwest of Horsham.  Four of the crew were killed and the rest were hospitalized.

 

Several crewmen flew in place of the original crew who were killed on the May 5th mission, but the loading list for the crew’s last mission on August 9, 1944 shows the following crewmen (other than original crew) aboard that day: 2Lt Milton W. Grayson (originally assigned with 2Lt Bernard A. Ferrance on June 3, 1944), navigator; Sgt Walter J. Luke and Sgt George L. Olson, gunners; and T/Sgt Willard R. Middelkauff, tail turret gunner.  All but Middelkauff may have flown several missions with Thompson.

 

The target for the 458th on August 9th was a ball bearing plant on the edge of Stuttgart, but cloud cover forced the group to their Secondary target, the marshalling yards at Saarbrucken.  At some point, Thompson’s aircraft, Heavenly Body received damage to two of their engines from flak.  Co-pilot Lt Walter Landers stated that they, “had just dropped our bombs” when they left the formation.  According to pilot, Lt Thompson, “All crew members bailed out about 25 minutes after being hit by flak – bailed out near Trier [Germany] – all members were POW’s.”

 

MACR 7890

At 1108 hours in the vicinity of TRIER, a number of ‘Chutes were suddenly seen to emerge from an aircraft of the 458th Bomb Gp.  All other Aircraft returned, so presumably ‘Chutes were from #942.  Reports on No. of ‘Chutes seen vary between eight and nine, with eight in preponderance.  At time ‘Chutes were sighted there was no flak or enemy aircraft, but two props on aircraft were reported to be wind-milling.  Aircraft was last sighted maintaining altitude and heading westwards in erratic flight.


Missions

Thompson Missions
Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
04-May-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM  34 1 41-28706 F J4 16 DREAM BOAT/SPARE PARTS  
05-May-44 SOTTEVAST 35 2 41-28706 F J4 17 DREAM BOAT/SPARE PARTS CRASH ODIHAM 4 KIA
13-May-44 TUTOW A/F 41 ABT 41-29489 I J4 -- UNKNOWN 014 ABORT - GAS LEAK
25-May-44 MULHOUSE M/Y 47 ABT 42-94946 R 7V -- THE CAT'S (ASS) ABORT - CO-PILOT ILL
27-May-44 NEUNKIRCHEN 48 3 41-28721 L J4 -- DOWNWIND LEG ABORT - Early return - CREDIT
28-May-44 ZEITZ 49 4 42-100311 A 7V 24 YOKUM BOY  
30-May-44 ZWISCHENAHN A/F 51 5 41-28721 V 7V 25 DOWNWIND LEG  
31-May-44 BERTRIX 52 6 41-29489 T 7V 10 UNKNOWN 014  
04-Jun-44 BOURGES A/F 54 7 42-95050 J 7V 17 GAS HOUSE MOUSE  
06-Jun-44 COASTAL AREAS 56 ABT 41-29352 K 7V -- WOLVE'S LAIR ABORT - MSN #1
07-Jun-44 LISIEUX 59 8 41-29352 K 7V 23 WOLVE'S LAIR  
08-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT 60 9 42-95179 X 7V 11 HERE I GO AGAIN RACK MALFUNCTION
10-Jun-44 CHATEAUDUN 61 10 41-28942 U 7V 9 HEAVENLY BODY  
11-Jun-44 BEAUVAIS 63 11 41-28942 U 7V 10 HEAVENLY BODY  
14-Jun-44 DOMLEGER 65 12 41-28942 U 7V 11 HEAVENLY BODY  
15-Jun-44 GUYANCOURT 66 13 41-28942 U 7V 12 HEAVENLY BODY  
17-Jun-44 GUYANCOURT 67 14 41-28942 -- 7V 13 HEAVENLY BODY LEAD
18-Jun-44 FASSBERG A/D 69 15 41-28942 U 7V 14 HEAVENLY BODY MSN #1
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 16 41-28942 U 7V 15 HEAVENLY BODY TGT #7 BLAUGERMONT
24-Jun-44 CONCHES A/F 77 17 41-28942 U 7V -- HEAVENLY BODY MSN #1 - ABT - CREDIT
24-Jun-44 ST OMER 79 18 42-95117 M 7V 24 YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU  MSN #2
25-Jun-44 ST. OMER 80 ABT 42-52457 Q 7V -- FINAL APPROACH ABORT - 2 TURBOS
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 19 42-95179 X 7V 22 HERE I GO AGAIN  
02-Jul-44 COUBRONNE 83 20 42-95117 M 7V 27 YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU  
08-Jul-44 ANIZY, FRANCE 87 21 41-28942 U 7V 16 HEAVENLY BODY  
12-Jul-44 MUNICH 89 NTO 41-28942 U 7V -- HEAVENLY BODY NO TAKE OFF 
13-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN 90 22 41-28942 U 7V 17 HEAVENLY BODY  
16-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN 91 23 41-28942 U 7V 18 HEAVENLY BODY  
18-Jul-44 TROARN 93 24 41-28942 U 7V 20 HEAVENLY BODY  
24-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA 97 25 42-100408 D J4 23 BEASTFACE  
25-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA "B" 98 26 41-29352 K 7V 41 WOLVE'S LAIR  
08-Aug-44 CLASTRES 108 27 41-28942 U 7V 25 HEAVENLY BODY  
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN 109 28 41-28942 U 7V 26 HEAVENLY BODY FTR - FLAK


May 5, 1944

B-24H-10-DT 41-28706 J4 F  Dream Boat / Spare Parts
753rd Squadron Records
On May 5th, when the group attacked Sottevast flying-bomb site, A/C 706, piloted by 2nd Lt. EVERT R. THOMPSON, was hit by flak over France, which knocked out two engines.  When he ran out of gas over England on returning to base, Lt. Thompson decided to make a crash landing.  Since the pilot’s window was obscured by ice, the controls were turned over [to] the co-pilot, 2nd Lt. WALTER P. LANDERS, who was barely able to see out of his window.  In landing, a huge hole was ripped in the belly of the plane by a tree, and #3 engine caught fire.  Lt. Landers freed himself and, with the help of a civilian, extricated the remaining crew members from the burning plane. 
Four of the men were killed.  They were:
    2nd Lt. WILLIAM A. WEBSTER 0-699283        Navigator
    2nd Lt. WILLIAM M. KENDALL, 0-695597        Bombardier
    Sgt      Henry S. Moore Jr., 34288034              L Waist Gunner
    Sgt      John J. Cleary, 19086604                     Tail Gunner

The crash occurred at Odiham, England.

Route of Sottevast raid on May 5, 1944

"A/C No. 706 from this group crashed at Odiham, England, from reasons as yet undetermined.  Four killed and rest of crew in hospital."

B-24H-20-DT 41-28942  7V  U  Heavenly Body


Photo: Mike Bailey


Unknown Crew (possibly Thompson's) with Heavenly Body
Thompson's crew flew this aircraft on half of their missions.

August 9, 1944

There is a series of four photographs taken on this particular mission by S/Sgt William L. Case, a gunner on Lt John Tracy’s crew in the 753rd Squadron.  The first two photos show smoke markers being released, and bombs dropping from the group’s aircraft.  These two photos were taken fairly close together in time, as the cloud formations in the background are the same, although several additional flak bursts have just appeared in photo #2.
The last two photos show a B-24 (just below the Liberator at the top of photo #3), below, and (in photo #4) behind the main formation, obviously in trouble. Flak appears to be just below the altitude of the main formation in this photo.
While it is impossible to identify the Liberator in trouble, this may be Thompson’s aircraft, Heavenly Body.  The situation in the third photo, however, does not hold up to the eye-witness accounts that appear in the MACR (above) that, “…there was no flak or enemy aircraft.”  Clearly, flak is visible in three of the four photos.  Lt Landers' statement that they had just dropped their bombs when they left the formation, does seem to match up with the sequence of photos.

While it will most likely never be known for certain whose aircraft is pictured here, it is nonetheless a fascinating set of photos.


(Courtesy: Bill Case)