Lt E. R. Thompson Crew - Assigned 752nd Squadron - April 1944
Shot down August 9, 1944 (MACR 7890)
|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.”
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.
|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|
|30-May-44||ZWISCHENAHN A/F||51||5||41-28721||V||7V||25||DOWNWIND LEG|
|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|
|08-Jun-44||PONTAUBAULT||60||9||42-95179||X||7V||11||HERE I GO AGAIN||RACK MALFUNCTION|
|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|
|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|
|09-Aug-44||SAARBRUCKEN||109||28||41-28942||U||7V||26||HEAVENLY BODY||FTR - FLAK|
May 5, 1944
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.
"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
Thompson's crew flew this aircraft on half of their missions.
August 9, 1944
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)