458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Kenyon Crew - Assigned 755th Squadron - June 6, 1944

Standing: Fred Gonot - E, Glenn Schuster - RO, Darwin Norman - G, James Robinson - 2E/G, Charles Angeline - G, Frank Sanborn - 2RO/G
Kneeling: Arthur Kenyon - P, William Boehner - CP, Arthur Freudenberger - B, Merville Meyer - N

(Photo: Frank Sanborn)

Completed Tour

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Arthur F Kenyon 0813714 Pilot 16-Feb-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
2Lt William J Boehner, Jr T2481 Co-pilot Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
1Lt Merville P Meyer 0702120 Navigator Dec-44 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
2Lt Arthur T Freudenberger  0699067 Bombardier 01-Sep-44 EVD Rejoin Sqdn - Shot down w/Quirk 
T/Sgt Glenn G Schuster 36574496 Radio Operator Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
S/Sgt Fred E Gonot 35631636 Flight Engineer Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
Sgt Charles W Angeline 39038675 Aerial Gunner/2E  Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
Sgt James C Robinson 37343726 Armorer-Gunner Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
Sgt Darwin W Norman 32857384 Aerial Gunner/2E Jan-45 CT Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI
T/Sgt Frank L Sanborn 31313040 Aerial Gunner 23-Oct-44 TRSF Trsfr to 752nd Sqdn - Glass Crew

1Lt Arthur F. Kenyon and crew were assigned to the 755th Squadron on June 6, 1944, D-Day.  The group was busy that day flying three missions in support of the landings on the Continent.  Their indoctrination was brief as their first mission came six days later on June 12th.  This was relatively a short hop across the English Channel to bomb the Luftwaffe airfield that was located at Evreaux-Fauville.  Their next two missions did not go so well. On June 15th they were forced to abort because they could not locate the formation, and on the 21st, flying LAST CARD LOUIE, they blew a cylinder head on #3 engine and turned back.

On July 12, 1944 the Kenyon crew flew a B-24H named GATOR to Munich.  Lt Arthur Freudenberger, the crew’s bombardier, was for some reason assigned to the crew of Lt Charles Quirk on this date.  Kenyon was flying in the second section while Quirk was in the high squadron, part of a composite formation with elements of the 466th Bomb Group.  At some point after the target, Quirk’s crew was forced to bail out near Harveng, Belgium. Two of the crew were captured, and while the rest of the crew managed to evade capture for a while, only five, including Freudenberger eventually made it back to England in September 1944.

On September 5, 1944 Kenyon was assigned one of the older ships in the squadron, a B-24H with over 40 missions flown since May 1944. Lt Ernest M. Sands, bombardier from Lt William Klusmeyer’s crew was flying with Kenyon as navigator/bombardier.  Sgt Edward A. Miklaucic, gunner from Lt Kermit Wagner’s crew was also along.  The target for this date was the marshalling yards at Karlsrhue, Germany.  After coming off the target, one engine out, they left the formation as their gasoline was low and ended up at a newly abandoned Luftwaffe airfield. [See below]

After the crew’s return from France, they resumed combat flying on October 12th when the crew flew JOLLY ROGER to Osnabruck.  They flew two more missions in the 755th before October 23rd when they were transferred to the 753rd Squadron.  The group was undergoing reorganization and the 755th Squadron was now solely for lead crews.  Wing crews in the 755th were moved to the other three squadrons and lead crews from the other three squadrons were moved into the 755th.

Kenyon completed his tour on December 27, 1944, along with most of his original crew.  T/Sgt Frank L. Sanborn is shown being transferred to the 752nd Squadron with the crew of Lt Searcy C. Glass, Jr.  He became the radio operator on this crew and completed his tour with them in January 1945.  Lt Freudenberger may have also been reassigned before the July 12th mission or it is possible that he was just a fill-in on the Quirk crew that day.  Although trained as a bombardier, he was listed as the navigator on that mission.  Lt Merville P. Meyer is only shown on the July 12th load list, so it appears that he flew many of his early missions with the crew. He completed his tour in December as well.  Later, during the October shuffle of crews, Lt Robert E. Pettibone is listed as navigator on Kenyon’s crew, and his name appears on November load lists.  Pettibone was originally assigned with the crew of Lt Herbert H. Humke in mid-September.  Six of this crew was killed on September 20th when their B-24 named Gator crashed on takeoff during the “Truckin’ Missions” – bringing gasoline to France for Patton’s army.  Also flying with Kenyon, and shown transferred with his crew in October, was Sgt John F. McGhan, who came to the group with Lt Paul Stoneburner's crew.  On a mission that McGhan missed, this crew was forced to bail out due to mechanical difficulties on September 9, 1944.  Seven of the nine-man crew evaded and two became POW.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
12-Jun-44 EVREUX/FAUVILLE 64 1 42-95316 N J3 17 PRINCESS PAT  
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 2 42-95163 K Z5 20 DIXIE BELLE  
06-Jul-44 KIEL 85 4 41-29288 L J3 35 BIG-TIME OPERATOR  
08-Jul-44 ANIZY, FRANCE 87 5 42-7516 K J3 18 GATOR  
12-Jul-44 MUNICH 89 6 42-7516 K J3 19 GATOR #2 ENG FAILURE - SORTIE
20-Jul-44 EISENACH 95 7 42-7516 K J3 20 GATOR  
21-Jul-44 MUNICH 96 8 41-29305 N Z5 30 I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC  
31-Jul-44 LUDWIGSHAFEN 99 9 42-7516 K J3 21 GATOR  
01-Aug-44 T.O.s FRANCE 100 10 42-7516 K J3 22 GATOR  
02-Aug-44 3 NO BALLS 101 11 42-7516 R J3 23 GATOR  
07-Aug-44 GHENT 107 12 42-7516 K J3 25 GATOR  
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN 109 13 41-29342 S J3 39 ROUGH RIDERS  
11-Aug-44 STRASBOURG 110 14 42-95316 N J3 35 PRINCESS PAT  
12-Aug-44 MOURMELON 111 15 41-29342 S J3 41 ROUGH RIDERS  
13-Aug-44 LIEUREY 112 16 42-7516 K J3 26 GATOR  
16-Aug-44 MAGDEBURG 115 ABT 42-7516 K J3 -- GATOR #1 ENG LOSS OF BOOST
25-Aug-44 LUBECK 118 17 42-100425 O J3 29 THE BIRD  
27-Aug-44 FINOW 121 18 42-100425 O J3 30 THE BIRD MISSION CREDIT IN NOV
05-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 122 19 42-51097 T J3 43 UNKNOWN 022 CRASH LAND CONTINENT
26-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR09 -- 42-100425 O 755 T8 THE BIRD DID NOT UNLOAD
28-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR11 -- 42-100425 O 755 T9 THE BIRD 1ST FLIGHT
28-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR11 -- 42-100425 O 755 T10 THE BIRD 2ND FLIGHT
29-Sep-44 HORSHAM to LILLE TR12 -- 42-100425 O 755 T11 THE BIRD TRUCKIN' MISSION
12-Oct-44 OSNABRUCK 132 20 44-40475 D J3 5 JOLLY ROGER  
15-Oct-44 MONHEIM 134 21 42-51179 P J3 41 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
30-Oct-44 HARBURG 139 22 42-110141 U J4 23 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
05-Nov-44 KARLSRUHE 142 24 42-95133 K J4 11 LADY JANE  
09-Nov-44 METZ AREA 145 ABT 44-40285 H J4 -- TABLE STUFF #3 ENG LOW OIL PRES
25-Nov-44 BINGEN 149 25 42-110141 U J4 26 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
26-Nov-44 BIELEFELD 150 26 44-40126 L Z5 28 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
06-Dec-44 BIELEFELD 153 27 42-110141 U J4 28 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
11-Dec-44 HANAU 155 28 42-110141 U J4 29 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
12-Dec-44 HANAU 156 29 42-110141 U J4 30 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
27-Dec-44 NEUNKIRCHEN 159 30 42-110141 U J4 32 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN

Crew in front of B-24J-1-FO 42-50555 Baby Shoes

Standing: James Robinson, Darwin Norman, Fred Gonot, Arthur Kenyon, Unknown
Kneeling: William Boehner, Glenn Schuster, John McGhan, Charles Angeline

(Photo: Gary Howard)

September 5, 1944

Scott Nelson is a freelance artist in North Dakota.  He interviews veterans from his state and recreates their memories on canvas. Please visit his website, Scott Nelson Art for more great stories and paintings.  The following pertains to the September 5, 1944 mission to Karlsrhue in which Lt Ernest Sands (Lt William Klusmeyer crew bombardier) flew as navigator/bombardier with Kenyon.  They were flying an unnamed 755th Squadron ship on this date, B-24H-20-DT 42-51097 with 42 missions to its credit...

"When I first interviewed Ernest Sands he told of crash landing in France as a crew member of a B-24 bomber, 458th Bomb Group.  This he said happened in August or September of 1944.  I was interested in this story because I thought it would make for a good painting.  Before doing a painting I research the circumstances surrounding the incident to get as accurate a portrayal as possible.  I contacted Darin Scorza, historian of the 458th Bomb Group web site and he provided me with all the mission reports from Ernie’s Squadron.  I hit a dead end, there were no missing air crew reports, no accident reports, nothing that would point toward a plane crash landing in France for that time period.  I started to wonder, had Ernie dreamed up the story?  Could this have happened to someone else and over the years had Ernie adopted the story as his own?  I left the story hanging and went on to other projects.  Darin Scorza did not rest however.  He looked until he found an obscure news item, released by Eighth Air Force public relations in Sept. of 1944.

"This is that News item………….

AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE LIBERATOR STATION, ENGLAND:  1st Lieut. Arthur F. Kenyon, of Chicago, Liberator pilot in the Group Commanded by Col. James H. Isbell has won himself the nickname “Lucky” after his experiences of the past week.

A week ago bought a chance on a $1000 war bond that was being raffled by the officers’ club—and won it.  The next day a $500 bond was being raffled.  Kenyon bought a chance—and won again!

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, Kenyon and his crew were returning from a mission to Karlsruhe, Germany, with one engine dead due to mechanical failure.  Northeast of Paris he left the formation.  When he failed to show up back at his base in England and no word was received, they thought his luck had run out.

But on Thursday evening Kenyon and his crew returned to tell of their experiences in which Lady Luck again played the starring role.

He had left the formation when he found his plane was nearly out of gasoline, spotted an abandoned airfield north of Paris, and landed on the end of a bomb-scarred runway.  Midway down the field his left wheel hit a 500 pound bomb which the Germans had rigged as a mine.  His left tire blew out and the detonating charge of the bomb exploded, but the bomb failed to go off.  Unable to turn off the runway, his right wheel hit a bomb crater which sheared off the landing gear and ground-looped the bomber.  As it slid tail-first across the field, the fuselage cracked in three places.  Finally as the crew scrambled out, their plane burst into flames and no sooner had they gotten a safe distance when the gas tanks exploded.  Not a member of the crew was injured.  They contacted a party of US Army engineers working a short distance from the airfield and obtained transportation into Paris where they spent the evening in sight-seeing.

The next day they traveled to a nearby airfield and after encountering some delay in obtaining transportation through official channels, Kenyon spotted a transport plane warming up on the field.  “Got room for ten of us going back to England?”  He shouted to the pilot.  “Sure, hop in”, was the reply.

Other members of the crew were:

 COPILOT: F/O William J Boehner, Manhasset, N.Y.
***  NAVIGATOR: 2nd Lt. Ernest M. Sands, Minot, N.D.  ***
RADIO OPERATOR: T/Sgt. Glen G. Schuster, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.
AERIAL ENGINEER: T/Sgt. Fred P. Gonot, Bridgeport, Ohio
AERIAL GUNNER: S/Sgt. Charles S. Angeline, Berkley, Calif.
AERIAL GUNNER: S/Sgt. Edward A. Miklaucic, Millvale, PA.
AERIAL GUNNER: S/Sgt. James C. Robinson, Denver, Colo.
TAIL GUNNER: S/Sgt. Darwin W. Norman, Canton, N.Y.

"Here was the proof!  It did happen!  The crew had gotten back before a missing air crew report could be filed and since the plane had crashed in France, it could not be investigated for an accident report.  For some reason it was not mentioned in the Squadron Records.

"Messieurs, Messieurs..."

(Painting: Scott Nelson)

"Ernie’s side of the story told of a young French boy who called to the crew after the crash.  'Messieurs, follow me' he said.  The crew followed him away from the field and they were surrounded by about 20 members of the FFI, (Free French) that was led by a woman doctor and questioned.  When the French were satisfied that these were in fact American airmen, not German spies, they were taken to the Doctors house and fed.  Ernie said they spent the night in the barn and the next morning made contact with the Engineer unit.  They were transported to the just liberated Paris and spent the night being entertained by the Parisians.  Next morning they were flown back to England.

"The Kenyon Crew was not Ernie’s regular crew, he had filled in as navigator for the regular navigator who was sick that mission.  Lt. Sands was a bombardier for his crew but he had cross trained as a navigator.

"Normal operating procedure for a crewman that went down and evaded capture was that he would be put on non-flying status, no longer flying missions over enemy territory.  After missing several missions with his regular crew, Ernie went before the Groups Officers and argued his case to be put back on flight status, he stated that the Air Corp had spent $25000 training him as a lead Bombardier and that would be wasted if he wasn’t allowed to continue doing his job.  After consideration of the special circumstances surrounding the crash landing in France (they had never been in contact with the Germans), The Groups Officers decided to let Lt. Sands fly again.  His next mission was Oct. 14, 1944,  Cologne ----SEE STORY, “DRAMA OVER COLOGNE

"In doing the research for this story I was able to contact the radio operator, Glenn Schuster, to corroborate the story with him.  Mr. Schuster had an interesting story about the pilot and copilot, Kenyon and Boehner.  Kenyon and Boehner were a couple of fun loving kids and it seemed were constantly getting in trouble with the Group and Squadron Senior Officers.  One evening they were having a good time in Norwich tell a late hour and then were refused when they tried to get a cab back to base.  Kenyon and Boehner walked back with their anger increasing with every step and upon arriving back at the 458th, procured a jeep and a flare gun with plenty of ammunition.  They drove back to Norwich and proceeded to shoot up the taxi cab garage with flares, this did not endear them to the good citizens of Norwich.  It was for reasons like this that the Kenyon crew ended up being assigned old war weary B-24s for their missions.  That in part may be the reason that on September 5, 1944, they crash landed in France.  I asked Mr. Schuster if the crew would get angry with the pilots for getting in trouble all the time and he said, "NO!  They were very good pilots and got us through many dangerous situations."

SOURCES:  Personal interview with Ernest Sands.  Phone interview with Glen Schuster.  Information from Darin Scorza and his web site, www.458bg.com

November 4, 1944 Taxiing Accident

B-24J-140-CO 42-110141 J4 U  -- seen here as Superman

(Photo: Scott Fifer)


On 4 November 1944, 0845, at AAF Station 123, APO 558, ARTHUR F. KENYON, 0-813714, 1st Lieutenant, Air Corps, 753rd Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group (H), on take-off of a combat mission blew left tire on A/C B-24 J 42-110141.  Aircraft swerved off runway onto grass.  Damage to aircraft: Left landing gear, wheel & brake assembly and strut replaced.  Weather at time of accident was 5 miles Viz, 5000' cloud base, wind WSW at 8 MPH with haze.  Form 41-B showed no defects in tire.  No injury to personnel.


Cause of accident: Possibility of tire rolling over sharp rocks on perimeter track. Caused by improper hauling of gravel by bomb trucks. 


Particular attention be given to the maintenance of clean R/Ws, revetments and perimeter tracks.

Distinguished Flying Cross - December 1944

Darwin Norman, Fred Gonot, Glenn Schuster, James Robinson, Charles Angeline
Lt's William Boehner (L) and Arthur Kenyon congratulate each other on completing their combat tours

(Photos: FOLD3)

Maj Charles N. Breeding (753BS CO) pins DFC on S/Sgt Darwin Norman

(Photo: Gary Howard)

Maj Charles N. Breeding (753BS CO) pins DFC on T/Sgt Fred P. Gonot

(Photo: David Morland)

Many of the photos and information on this crew was very kindly contributed by Gary Howard, son of Darwin Norman.  Also sent is a partial list of Darwin Norman's mission notes.