458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Hendrix Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - November 17, 1944

Crew Photo Needed

Transferred to 406BS

Rank   Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
2Lt Raymond L Hendrix  0775027 Pilot 03-Jan-45 KIA San Diego, CA
2Lt Jerome Pfullmann 0778939 Co-pilot 03-Jan-45 KIA Cambridge American Cemetery
2Lt Vincent R Murphy 02065475 Navigator 03-Jan-45 KIA New York County, NY
2Lt Charles L Miller 0782941 Bombardier 03-Jan-45 KIA Groveport, OH
Cpl John T Wheatley 35706656 Radio Operator 03-Jan-45 KIA Jefferson County, KY
S/Sgt Charles A McLain 14024205  Flight Engineer 19-Nov-44 TRSF Trsfr to 406th Bomb SQ AAF 113 
Cpl George W Hawkes 31417132 Aerial Gunner 03-Jan-45 KIA Worcester County, MA
Cpl William K Lawson 18193116 Aerial Gunner 03-Jan-45 KIA Oklahoma County, OK
Cpl Samuel Schaeffer 32916161 Aerial Gunner 03-Jan-45 KIA Essex County, NJ
Cpl Franz-Josef R Weik 32951823 Armorer-Gunner  03-Jan-45 KIA Mercer County, NJ

On November 17, 1944 three combat crews were assigned to the 458th.  One crew, pilot 2Lt Hilburn F. Richards went to the 753rd Squadron; and two crews, those of 2Lt Wallace M. Pollard and 2Lt Raymond L. Hendrix came to the 754th.  None of these crews would be at Horsham for long.  On November 19th all three were transferred to the 406th Bombardment Squadron (Provisional) at AAF 113 near Cheddington.  From here these crews would be flying night operations, dropping leaflets on Germany.


Other than their assignment to the 458th and transfer to the 406BS, not much is known about Hendrix and crew.  On January 3, 1945, they were on an Operational Mission when their aircraft crashed near Aston Clinton killing all ten men on board.  S/Sgt Charles A. McClain was not flying with the crew on this date.  His place had been taken by Sgt Blythe R. Smyth, the flight engineer on the crew of 2Lt Wallace M. Pollard.  The reason for the switch in engineers is unknown.  McClain may have flown subsequent missions with Pollard and crew.

January 3, 1945


The A/C took off at 1829 hours on R/W 26 on what appeared to be a normal take-off and, at 1832, the D/F Station located West of the field reported seeing the flames of the crashed A/C 1-1/2 miles Southwest of field.


The evidence shows that the A/C turned left after clearing the R/W and turned right before crashing. (Ref: Exhibits C thru K).  The A/C was completely burned immediately after crashing and the entire crew was killed.


Action of the Board:

Members of the board proceeded immediately to the scene of the accident, returning again the following morning.  Thereafter, they convened, checked the Form 41-B which showed nothing unusual and the Form 1A which released plane for flight signed by Pilot Hendrix.  All statements of eye witnesses were discussed and considered in determining course of the plane between the time of take-off and point of crash.  (Ref: Exhibits C thru K).  Sub Depot Engineering, after inspecting propeller mechanism, expresses opinion that none of the engines were feathered at time of crash and that all were in low pitch position, same as at take-off.


After careful consideration the Board reached conclusion and recommendations as follows:


Cause:  Undetermined – (100%) Possible engine failure and fire immediately after take-off.

Recommendations:  Because of inability to determine the cause, no recommendations can be made.


B-24H-15-FO  42-52650 "Cancer"

Originally 486th BG, later 458th BG, transferred to the 801st/492nd BG in the last half of 1944 and finally transferred to the 406th BG at Cheddington prior to 3 Jan 45. Transferred at the end of Jun 44, when 834th BS became the G-H lead squadron for 3rd BD, to 835th BS (H8 S). After 19 Jul 44, when 486th BG flew its last mission with B-24s, and following depot modification (including application of gloss black paint) it was assigned to 406th BS (Night Leaflet) as J6 E and was salvaged as a result of the crash on 3 Jan 45. Crashed and burned killing all aboard (10 - cause undetermined) on takeoff, the evening of 3-Jan-45.

(From Roger Freeman Collection: http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/19072)