458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Hess Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - July 29, 1944

Standing: Glenn Hess - P, William Work - CP, Carl Kwiatkowski - N, Clayton McGran - B
Kneeling: Kenneth Smith - E, Charles Dykstra - RO, Robert Robinson - G, Francis Johns - G, Max Stone - G, Thomas Santilla - G
(Photo: Michael Dykstra)

Completed Tour

HessCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Glenn A Hess 0702277 Pilot 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
1Lt William G Work 0767700 Co-pilot 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
1Lt Carl C Kwiatkoski 0712603 Navigator 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
1Lt Clayton E McGran 0886736 Bombardier 04-Mar-45 UNK Rest Home Leave
T/Sgt Charles Dykstra 39200942 Radio Operator 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Kenneth S Smith 36305683 Flight Engineer 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Robert H Robinson  17092031 Aerial Gunner 28-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Francis R Johns 36550427 Aerial Gunner 27-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Max E Stone 14061014 Armorer-Gunner  22-Feb-45 CT Completed Tour
Sgt Thomas L Santilli 32759169 Aerial Gunner Sep-44 RFS Removed from Flying Status

2Lt Glenn Hess and crew came to the 754th Bombardment Squadron at the end of July 1944.  Their first mission, on August 9th, did not make for an auspicious start.  The crew was forced to abort due to engine trouble and crash-landed back at Horsham St. Faith.  They only had one other aborted effort, on October 7th, and for the same reason - runaway engines.  All but two of the crew's missions were flown against targets in Germany.


Sgt Thomas L. Santilla had trained with the crew as a gunner in the States.  Shortly after their arrival in England he had to be relieved of flying duties due to stomach ulcers.  It is believed that he was sent Stateside.


F/O Clayton E. McGran, bombardier, appears to have been removed from the crew at some point, possibly assigned as a lead navigator/bombardier.  He is shown next to SPOTTED APE, the 458th's second assembly ship holding a map (see photo below).  McGran was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant during the winter of 1944/45, and 1st Lieutenant in March 1945. Group records show that he went on Rest Home leave on March 4, 1945 - about a week after Hess' final mission.


While not mentioned in the group's records, Charles Dykstra's mission log (below) shows that the crew completed their tour around the same time as their pilot.


Hess Crew Missions

HessMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN 109 ABT 42-95163 K Z5 -- DIXIE BELLE #1 RAN AWAY Crash Land 
14-Aug-44 DOLE/TAVAUX 113 1 42-95018 J Z5 37 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
24-Aug-44 HANNOVER 117 2 42-110059 T Z5 33 UNKNOWN 056  
01-Sep-44 PFAFFENHOFFEN ABN -- 42-110059 T Z5 -- UNKNOWN 056 ABANDONED
05-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 122 3 42-110059 T Z5 36 UNKNOWN 056  
08-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 123 4 42-110059 T Z5 37 UNKNOWN 056  
11-Sep-44 MAGDEBURG 126 5 42-110059 T Z5 40 UNKNOWN 056  
18-Sep-44 HORSHAM to CLASTRES TR02 -- 849     T1 NOT 458TH SHIP ON LOAN FOR TRUCKIN'
19-Sep-44 HORSHAM to CLASTRES TR03 -- 42-50349 X 44BG T1 FLAK MAGNET II LOAD No. 1
21-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR05 NTO 42-50349 X 44BG T2 FLAK MAGNET II NO TAKE OFF
22-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR06 -- 42-95001 Z 44BG T4 TS TESSIE TRUCKIN' MISSION
05-Oct-44 PADERBORN 128 6 42-51199 U Z5 1 UNKNOWN 023 RACK MALFUNCTION
06-Oct-44 WENZENDORF 129 7 42-110070 K Z5 38 ELMER / LADY LUCK  
07-Oct-44 MAGDEBURG 130 ABT 41-28963 V Z5 -- UNKNOWN 007 #2, 4 PROPS RUN AWAY
09-Oct-44 KOBLENZ 131 8 42-110070 K Z5 40 ELMER / LADY LUCK  
19-Oct-44 MAINZ 136 9 44-40298 E Z5 4 THE SHACK  
26-Oct-44 MINDEN 138 10 42-95108 B Z5 41 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
04-Nov-44 MISBURG 141 11 42-51196 Q J3 9 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
06-Nov-44 MINDEN 143 12 42-51196 Q J3 10 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
09-Nov-44 METZ AREA 145 13 42-51196 Q J3 11 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
16-Nov-44 ESCHWEILER 147 14 42-95018 J Z5 56 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
25-Nov-44 BINGEN 149 15 41-29596 R Z5 69 HELL'S ANGEL'S  
30-Nov-44 HOMBURG 151 16 -- -- -- --   No FC - Sqdn Rec's
11-Dec-44 HANAU 155 17 42-51196 Q J3 15 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
12-Dec-44 HANAU 156 18 44-40126 L Z5 30 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP   
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN 157 19 42-51196 Q J3 17 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
28-Dec-44 ST. WENDEL 160 20 42-95108 B Z5 51 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
30-Dec-44 NEUWIED 161 21 42-51196 Q J3 20 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
31-Dec-44 KOBLENZ 162 22 42-51196 Q J3 21 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
02-Jan-45 REMAGEN 164 23 42-51179 P Z5 55 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
07-Jan-45 RASTATT 166 24 42-51196 Q J3 25 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
08-Jan-45 STADTKYLL 167 25 42-51196 Q J3 26 THE GYPSY QUEEN LANDED OFF LOCATION
10-Jan-45 SCHONBERG 168 26 42-51196 Q J3 27 THE GYPSY QUEEN LANDED OFF LOCATION
14-Jan-45 HALLENDORF 170 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
21-Jan-45 HEILBRONN 173 27 44-40126 L Z5 43 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
29-Jan-45 MUNSTER 175 28 42-51196 Q J3 30 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 29 42-95120 M Z5 67 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
08-Feb-45 RHEINE M/Y, OSNABRUCK  REC -- 42-95120 M Z5 -- HOOKEM COW / BETTY RECALL - WEATHER
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 30 42-95120 M Z5 68 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
15-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 182 31 42-51196 Q J3 34 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
17-Feb-45 ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y REC -- 42-95108 B Z5 -- ENVY OF 'EM ALL II RECALL - WEATHER
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE 184 32 42-95108 B Z5 61 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 ASSY 41-28697 Z Z5 A62 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 33 42-95108 B Z5 63 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II HYDRAULICS OUT
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 34 42-51196 Q J3 38 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
28-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 192 35 42-51196 Q J3 39 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF


Hess Crew - After 2nd mission

Standing: Robert Robinson, Glenn Hess, William Work, Carl Kwiatkowski, Clayton McGran
Kneeling: Kenneth Smith, Francis Johns, Thomas Santilla, Charles Dykstra, Max Stone
(Photo: Michael Dykstra)

August 9, 1944 - Mission Abort

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT

About 0945, 9 August 1944, B 24 H, 42-95163, called in for landing instructions to AAF Station 123 after aborting from an operational mission.  No 1 engine was feathered and A/C had salvoed it’s bombs in the North Sea, but was unable to close the bomb-bay doors.

 

The pilot Lieutenant HESS, was not able to get properly aligned with R/W 23, tried to go around, but he could not gain airspeed.   The A/C crash landed in the middle of the airfield.  No one was hurt but the A/C was completely destroyed.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  That pilots be carefully briefed that first attempt must be made on all non 4 engine landings.

STATEMENT of 2d Lt. GLENN A. HESS, 0-702277, AC 754th Bomb Sq (H), 458th Bomb Gp (H). PILOT.


On 9 Aug 44 we started on an operational mission at 8000 feet.  #1 Supercharger went out.  At forming altitude (16,000 ft) #1 prop ran away.  We feathered #1 and jettisoned the bombs in the channel, having trouble doing so.  After getting the bombs away, the bomb doors wouldn’t close.  The Engineer tried without success to close them.  We came over the field at 1400 feet, called for landing instructions.  We were told a left hand pattern on R/W 23, wheels locked down.  I called for flaps.  We sank rapidly.  I was too far out so decided to go around.  Used 2700 RPM and #10 position on supercharger.  I still lost altitude.  Called for wheels up.  I was so low I couldn’t lower the nose to gain airspeed.  My airspeed was 130 and I couldn’t build it up.  Made the field and stalled left wing out at about 20 feet above the ground.

 

At the time of landing I had a gas load of approximately 2400 gallons of gas and bomb doors stuck open.  Outside of these facts I do not know why the plane should not have flown reasonably well on three engines.

 

Signed

GLENN A. HESS

2d Lt. Air Corps

STATEMENT of Sergeant KENNETH S. SMITH, 36305683, 754th Bombardment Squadron (H), AAF 123, APO 558.  Engineer.

 

On 9 Aug 44 started flight on engine run-up.  #1 engine threw a great deal of oil out of breather.  Ground crew claimed it was due to plug put in prop dome before prop was unfeathered in ground work.  Plane checked out OK for flight though.  Took off about 0800.  Short time after take-off super-charger on #1 dropped off.  I changed transmitter but it’s operation was not good.  Supercharger gate went to close back of throttle so as to get use out of engine.  A short time later, prop governor on #1 ran away.  Controlled it by feather button for a short time, while I checked governor switch and fuse.  I then feathered engine #1.  We went out over the Channel to drop bombs.  Tried the usual ways then dropped the bombs using a screw driver out on bob-bay catwalk.  Tried to close bomb-bay doors but was unable to do so after putting into use all methods known.

 

Came back to field for landing.  Lowered wheels down and locked them.  The ship seemed on a stalled out attitude.  Engine picked up to a high RPM an I could feel the ship settling though we needed some flaps.  Sam the Co-pilot put flap handle in down-to-lower position.  Never felt ship shudder as usually do when flaps came out.  The ship went on settling.  I went on settling engine and went to more power, still the tail was down, flying in what seemed a stalled out manner.  Started forward from back of flight deck, thinking we were going around the field again.  Lt HESS said we were going to hit.  Saw the wheels were part way up.  Lt WORK cut switches.  Right wing went down, we hit and slid.

 

Signed

KENNETH S. SMITH

Sgt. 36305683

STATEMENT of 2d Lieutenant WILLIAM G. WORK, 0-767700, Air Corps, 754th Bombardment Squadron (H), AAF 123, APO 558. CO-PILOT.

 

Scheduled for an operational flight on 9 Aug 44 we took off with a heavily loaded aircraft.  The airplane reacted very well on take-off with the load it had.  Upon climbing up to altitude we lost #1 supercharger.  The engineer replaced the unit and enabled us to use that engine.  At reaching our forming altitude (1600 ft)[sic] #1 prop governor ran away necessitating the feathering of that engine.  After dropping our bombs in the Channel we came to base for a landing.

 

Calling the tower we received landing instructions, R/W 23 and a left hand pattern.  Entering the traffic at 1400 feet wheels down.  At this time the aircraft began sinking very rapidly without a build of airspeed.  All available power on the three good engines was applied but we couldn’t gain airspeed and hold altitude. 

Making a wide circle because we were too low to bank the airplane in a turn we approached the field.  The pilot called wheels up but they seemed very slow in reacting.  Approximately in the middle of the field the left wing stalled and crashed cutting all power and switches it came to rest 200 feet beyond point of impact.

 

Signed

WILLIAM C. WORK

2d Lt. Air Corps,

Co-Pilot

ACCIDENT STATEMENT

 

I FIRST SPOTTED B-24 5163 “K” APPROACHING THE FIELD FROM THE EAST.  THE APPROXIMATE ALTITUDE OF THE AIRCRAFT WAS 200 TO 300 FEET.  THE BOMB BAY DOORS OF THE AIRCRAFT WERE OPEN, AND THE TAIL WAS MUSHING DOWN.  THE LANDING GEAR WAS IN FULLY LOWERED POSITION.  THE AIRCRAFT PASSED RUNWAY IN USE (23), ABOUT 200 YARDS NORTH OF THE APPROACH END, AND BEGAN TO BANK LEFT, AS IF HEADED FOR RUNWAY 17.  BEFORE TOUCHING DOWN, THE WHEEL BEGAN TO RETRACT.  THE AIRCRAFT CRASH LANDED IN THE VICINITY OF RUNWAY 17.

 

SIGNED

SGT JAMES. H GRAHAM

AIRFIELD CONTROLLER

(Photos Michael Dykstra)

2Lt Clayton E. McGran and Spotted Ape

Navigator Clayton McGran after a mission on the assembly ship

T/Sgt Charles Dykstra - Mission Log

This is a record of my father's (TSgt Charles Dykstra -R/O) 35 missions with 458th Bombardment Group. This information was gathered from his diary and from verbal stories he told us. - Michael Dykstra

Mission
18/4/1944  Achiet-Airfield in France

Didn't have any flak. Dad and Willie were the 1st members of their crew to go on a mission. Dad flew with a Lt. Livermore and Willie flew with another crew.

 

Mission No credit

8/9/1944  Ship #163-K "Dixie Bell"

[Dad told me about this mission verbally. He said they were on a mission to Saarbrucken when they lost all hydraulic control. Apparently the #1 engine runs the pumps for the hydraulics. They turned back over the channel and had to crash land because they couldn't lower the landing gear. He said that it was not a very auspicious beginning for their 1st mission as a whole crew. He was talking to one of the ground crew men and the man told him that this plane had been all shot up on it last mission.]


Mission 2

8/14/44 Dijon-airfield   Ship #018-J

Was pretty scared because gas was leaking badly over the overflow. Pretty long run. Flak at a distance.

 

Mission 3

8/24/1944  Misburg-oil refinery  Ship # 059-T

Intense, accurate flak

 

Mission 4

9/5/1944  Karlsrohe- marshalling yards  Ship #059-T

Had to fly in pretty bad weather but we made it. Moderate - inaccurate flak.

Mission 5

9/8/1944  Karlsrohe- marshaling yards  Ship #059-T

Weather was worse than last time- even pretty awful. Jerry was on the ball and really put the flak up today. It was intense and accurate and they put some holes in our ship.

Mission 6

9/11/1944  Magdeburg-oil refinery   Ship #059-T

We really had a bad time today. # 2 engine hit by flak an hour before time to reach the target. Horgan's ship was hit here (Colbenz) and bailed out. We kept going with # 2 smoking badly. Reached and bombed the target and then feathered # 2 and came home alone on three engines. Some P-51's escorted us back to the Dutch coast. Had quite a few holes.

 

Mission 7

10/5/1944  Paderborn -airfield

Really hit it today. Too easy of a mission. No flak. Bombs didn't drop.

 

Mission 8

10/6/1944  Wenzendorf -airfield

My birthday. Went off course before target and shot at before and after coming back to Madgus. Mad because we were off course. Otherwise we wouldn't of had a big hole thru the right aileron.

 

Mission 9

10/9/1944  Coblenz-marshaling yards

Inaccurate - meager flak

 

Mission 10

10/15/1944  Cologne-marshaling yards

Intense, accurate flak. Got a couple of holes in tail section. Flew with Skidmore today. Had flak for a long time after leaving target and still in Germany.

 

Mission 11

10/17/1944  Cologne-marshaling yards

Funny thing, no flak today in our formation.

 

Mission 12

10/19/1944  Mainz -marshaling yards

Weather could have been better. Not much flak but it was accurate, McGran stopped a piece with his leg and got a purple heart. Wasn't hurt badly.

 

Mission 13

10/26/1944  Minden-Mittleland canal

No flak. Carried 4 one-ton bombs. Don't like those, too big.

 

Mission 14

11/4/1944  Mitzberg-oil refinery

Intense-accurate flak. Hole in dome of upper turret with me in it. Scared the wits out of me. Piece of something hit me in the back of the head pretty hard. Scared to feel back there for a while.

 

Mission 15

11/6/1944  Minden-Mittleland canal

4x2000 again. Flak along the bomb run and another hole in the top turret, smaller this time.

 

Mission No credit

11/9/1944  Metz-pill boxes

4x2000, bombs dropped early didn't get credit for mission. Had pictures to prove bombs dropped in Germany, but no soap.

 

Mission 16

11/16/1944  Eschweiller-ground defenses

Flak light but fairly accurate.

 

Mission 17

11/30/1944  Harburg-marshaling yards

Meager flak, 48x100 G.P's and 2x500 incend

 

Mission 18

12/11/1944  Hanau-marshaling yards

Meager flak , 6x1000

 

Mission 19

12/12/1944  Hanau-marshaling yards

10x500 G.P's and 2x500 M17's. Quite some flak today

 

Mission 20

12/24/1944  Schonecken

Largest force of 8th Air Force planes to bomb to date. 1884 reached and bombed targets. Light to moderate flak but very accurate. [Writers' note: During this mission the formation was making a turn and because of a slight miscalculation in speed Dad's ship was out of position and ended up leading the whole Eighth Air Force for a while. His crew all thought that this was kind of neat.]

 

Mission 21

12/28/1944  St.Wendel-marshaling yards  Ship #108-B "Envy of 'em all [II]"

Entire group returned with bombs as G.H. equipment went out on lead ship. Had 10x500 G.P.'s and 2x250 incend.

 

Mission 22

12/30/1944  Neuwied-railroad bridge  Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

No flak. 6x1000

 

Mission 23

12/31/1944  Coblenz-railroad bridge   Ship #108-B "Envy of 'em all [II]"

Meager but accurate flak before and after leaving target.

 

Mission 24

1/2/1945  Coblenz-railroad bridge   Ship #179-P

Saw 12 bursts of flak which isn't much but it was pretty accurate. Weather was bad again. Had fog and bad visibility. 3x2000

 

Mission 25

1/7/1945  Rastatt-marshaling yards   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

Light but accurate flak 6x1000


Mission 26

1/8/1945  Stadkyll-road/communication center   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

Boy, we thought we had it today. The weather wasn't fit for anything - not even a bird. Actually took off in a blizzard. Willie and Hess both had to fly it on takeoff. It was snowing something furious - plus a terrific crosswind between 35 and 50 MPH. Thought we were going to crackup on takeoff. All the ships made it but only by a miracle of that I'm sure. Even at altitude the visibility was very bad and the ships were all over the sky. We ran low on gas and had to land at a different "limey" base (Manston). It was awfully cold - 57 degrees below centigrade - about 65 degrees below Fahrenheit.

 

Mission 27

1/10/1945  Schonecken-highway bridge   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

Terrible weather again- 56 below centigrade and persistent contrails. Our bombs didn't drop but we managed to toggle one out. It was snowing at our base and we landed at another base. Got some gas, had the bombs taken off and went home in the dark. [Writers' note: Dad was telling us about process they used to remove the bombs. They put a wooden palate under the bomb bay and toggle them out. After the first bomb was removed this way he decided that it was a good time to get a cup of coffee and left the area until they were done.]

 

Mission 28

1/29/1945  Munster-marshaling yards   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

Bombed secondary target, primary was a viaduct at Bielefeld by visual means. Had 10/10 clouds at primary. Suppose to be heavy flak but "Ludwig" didn't get his rations so we didn't get any flak.

 

Mission 29

2/9/1945  Magdeburg -marshaling yards   Ship #120-M Mike [Hookem Cow]

Primary was Magdeburg oil refinery, bombed secondary with 10x500 G.P.'s. Had 2700 gals topped off and it was a long haul. Had 120-M  Mike and it really took off like a scared rabbit. Robby didn't have to push it over the pub today.

 

Mission 30

2/15/1945  Magdeburg - oil refinery   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

2500 gals of gas and 12x500 G.P.'s. Little old Q-Queenie again its our ship now permanently. I saw just 1 flak burst but Robbie said there was quite a lot. I didn't look to hard for it.

 

Mission 31

2/19/1945  Meschade-jet propulsion unit plant   Ship #108-B "Envy of 'em all [II]"

2700 gals of gas, 4x500 demolition and 5xM17. No flak at target but crossing the battle line on the way out we got shot at for a few minutes. #3 engine hit but just damaged an oil line, didn't know about it til we landed.

 

Mission 32

2/21/1945  Nurenburg-marshaling yards   Ship #018-J "Old Doc's Yacht"

10x500. Flew with Canady today, he finished his tour. Had flak crossing the battle line - also a few bursts at the target. The whole 8th air force went there today, I guess they really got a bang out of us today.

 

Mission 33

2/22/1945  Peine-marshaling yards  Ship #108-B "Envy of 'em all [II]"

Our roughest mission. Bombed from 10,000 ft. and really hit the target but the flak was terrible. Went slight off course and really got pasted. Ship behind us got a direct hit and went down. Another ship went off by itself and hasn't come back. Our hydraulics and interphone in waist and tail turret hydraulics were shot out. Landed at emergency field with a left flat tire. Had "Envy of them all" today and the old gal won't fly for quite a time. Had well over 50 large holes. Robby caught a nick in his leg. Stone finished his tour.

 

Mission 34

2/27/1945  Halle-marshaling yards   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

Had 18x250 G.P.'s and 2M17s. A long trip 2700 gals -topped. Johns finished today. Flak was pretty rough again but they were to late to shoot at our formation.

 

Mission 35

2/28/1945  Bielefeld-viaduct   Ship #196-Q "Queenie"

This was the day, our last combat mission. What a long time to get to the target!! Had 6x1000 and 2500 gals of gas. Old Q-Queenie took us back okay. What a reception committee we had waiting for us! All the guys liked Lt. Hess and boy they were all there congratulate him on his return. I'm glad it is all over with. Wish all the boys could get thru as we did. The guys down stairs have our ship now. They'll treat her okay cause they're well on their way to being thru.


B-24H-30-DT 42-51196 J3 Q  The Gypsy Queen

Hess and crew flew this aircraft on 14 of their 35 missions
(Photo: Kenneth Hosker)

February 28, 1945 - 35th Mission

Standing: Kenneth Smith, Max Stone, William Work, Glenn Hess, Carl Kwiatkowski
Kneeling: Francis Johns, Unknown, Robert Robinson, Charles Dykstra
(Photo: Michael Dykstra)