458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

D.K. Williams Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - November 17, 1944

2Lt Donald K. Williams Crew (L-R)

Standing: Donald Williams - P, Charles Russell - CP, Thomas Hanley - N, Gerard Boucher - B
Kneeling: Stanford Huff - G, John McDermott - BTG, Roland Porter - RO, Carl Peterson - TG, Conrad Schmidt - E, Leonard Wood - NTG
(Photo: Gerard Boucher)

D.K williams Crew - Flying at the End of Hostilities

Name

Pos 

Status 

Date 

Notes 
 1Lt Donald K. Williams

 P

FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 1Lt Charles M. Russell

CP

FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 2Lt Thomas E. Hanley III

N

 FEH 

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 2Lt Gerard J. Boucher

B

FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 Sgt Roland S. Porter

RO 

FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 Sgt Conrad Schmidt

 FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 Sgt Leonard E. Wood

NTG 

  KIA 

23 Feb 1945

Flying with Bechtel Crew (753rd)
 Sgt John McDermott

BTG 

  FEH 

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 Sgt Stanford W. Huff

WG 

 FEH

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown
 Sgt Carl E. Peterson

TG 

  FEH 

25 Apr 1945

Last mission flown

2Lt Donald K. Williams crew was originally assigned to the 753rd Squadron.  Their first mission was to Koblenz on January 1, 1945.  On February 10, 1945 the crew was transferred to the 755th Squadron to be a lead crew.  Since the nose turret would now be occupied by a pilotage navigator, Sgt. Leonard "Billy" Wood, the nose turret gunner, was transferred to 1Lt Russell Bechtel's crew and remained in the753rd Squadron.  It was a fateful move.  Not two weeks later, on February 23, 1945, while approaching the base on return from a mission over Germany, Bechtel's B-24 collided with another 458th Liberator flown by 2Lt Daniel F. Hunt, Jr. crew of the 754th Squadron.  Both aircraft broke apart in the clouds and crashed about ten miles north of Horsham St, Faith.  Leonard Wood and the rest of Bechtel's crew were killed and only three men out of nine were able to bail out of Hunt's aircraft.

Williams crew flew their first mission in the 755th the next day, February 24, 1945 to Bielefeld marshalling yards.  They flew 19 missions altogether, including the last flown by the 458th on April 25, 1945 before combat operations ceased.


Missions of D.K. Williams Crew

Date

 Target

Pilot

Sqdn

Crew Mission

1-Jan-45

 Koblenz

Williams, D.K.

753

1

3-Jan-45

 Neunkirchen M/Y

Williams, D.K.

753

2

10-Jan-45

 Schonberg

Williams, D.K.

753

3

13-Jan-45

 Kaiserlaustern

Williams, D.K.

753

4

16-Jan-45

 Magdeburg

Williams, D.K.

753

5

29-Jan-45

 Munster

Williams, D.K.

753

6

24-Feb-45

 Bielefeld M/Y

Williams, D.K.

755

7

27-Feb-45

 Halle M/Y

Williams, D.K.

755

8

2-Mar-45

 Krupp/Magdeburg

Williams, D.K.

755

9

5-Mar-45

 Harburg

Williams, D.K.

755

10

17-Mar-45

 Hanover

Williams, D.K.

755

11

19-Mar-45

 Leipheim A/F

Williams, D.K.

755

12

21-Mar-45

 Hesepe A/F

Williams, D.K.

755

13

31-Mar-45

 Brunswick

Williams, D.K.

755

14

5-Apr-45

 Plauen M/Y

Williams, D.K.

755

15

7-Apr-45

 Krummel

Williams, D.K.

755

16

9-Apr-45

 Lechfeld A/F

Williams, D.K.

755

17

15-Apr-45

 Royan Area

Williams, D.K.

755

18

25-Apr-45

 Bad Reichenhall

Williams, D.K.

755

19


Sgt Leonard "Billy" Wood (Wayne Wood)

Bottom right are items recovered from wreckage.


Leonard E. Wood's headstone (Wayne Wood)

IN MEMORY OF
SGT. LEONARD E. “BILL” WOOD
SON OF E.M. AND OMA LEE WOOD
BORN NOV. 10, 1925
LOST HIS LIFE ON A MISSION
RETURNING FROM GERMANY FEB. 23, 1945