Purple Heart
 

Staff Sergeant
Jack L. Mason

July 28, 1943

Ohio - Kortwoude

 

Jack L. Mason was from Ohio.

It is not know at this time when or where he was born or when he joined the USAAF.

Jack became an air gunner. In July 1943 he was attached to the 384th Bomb Group, flying out of Grafton Underwood.  His crew consisted of:


546th Bomb Squadron

384th Bomb Group


The crew of the SKY QUEEN: From L to R standing: Lt. Kenneth Dutton, Lt William Dietel, Lt Herbert Funk and Lt Clyde Davis. Kneeling from L to R: SSgt Dunmeyer, Sgt Bollinger, SSgt Edward Amory, Sgt Jack Mason, SSgt Wyman Martin and TSgt Howard Adams. (picture via Ab Jansen in Sporen aan de Hemel, volume I, page 279)

Lt. Kenneth Dutton (co-pilot), Lt William Dietel (pilot), Lt Herbert Funk (navigator). Lt Clyde Davis (bombardier), S/Sgt Dunmeyer (BBT), Sgt Bollinger (radio operator), S/Sgt Edward Amory (waistgunner), Sgt Jack Mason (tailgunner), SSgt Wyman Martin (asst. radio operator) and TSgt Howard Adams (gunner).

They were one of the original crews with the 384th BG which came over with the group from the USA.

On 28 July 1943 the 384th flew mission #11, to the Fieseler Works in Kassel, Germany. Lt. Dietel's crew flew B17 42-30032 BK-D "Sky Queen". Sgt Bollinger had to be replaced due to ear problems by Sgt Salvatore Perrotti. Another new member to the crew on this mission was 2Lt Jacques Riddel. He had just come over to the Bomb Group with his own crew, but as was common, every new pilot would fly a few 'familiarization' missions as a co-pilot with an experienced crew.

As the Dietel crew was already into their operational tour, the original co-pilot of this crew, 2Lt Dutton insisted that he join the crew on this mission. The crew had trained together and were bend on flying every mission together so they could complete their tour and return to the States as a crew. He was granted permission and so the B17 took to the sky with five, instead of the normal four officers on board.

Bad weather caused the formations to break up and only four of the 20 bombers dispatched by the 384th actually bombed Kassel. The other bombed Targets of Opportunity.

The formations faced heavy resistance by the German Luftwaffe. A total of 22 B17s were shot down, of which Lt. Dietel's plane was one. It was the only plane lost by the 384th that day. It was shot down by Lt. Erich Hondt, Staffelkapitan of 2./JG 11 and crashed near Kortwoude in the province of Friesland. Nine of the crew died while the two survivors, Sgt Salvatore J Perrotti (Radio Operator) and T/Sgt Howard J Adams (TT) were taken prisoner.


The tail section of the SKY Queen. (Picture courtesy of
Ken Decker, 384th BG historian via Mr. Frank Weening)

The nine airmen were first buried in the small town of Opende. After the war Lt. Dietel, Lt. Riddel, S/Sgt Mason and S/Sgt Armory were reinterred in Margraten. 2Lt Herbert Funk, 2Lt Clyde Davis, 2Lt Dutton and S/Sgt Martin were reburied at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. on 14 December 1950. T/Sgt Lloyd Dunmeyer's remains were brought back to the States at the request of his family.

After the war, the people in Opende commemorated the crew with a stone plaque at the local cemetery where the crew had once been buried. It was unveiled in 1985 by Mr. Howard Adams, the surviving Tot Turret Gunner/Engineer. The memorial now stands at the site where an Australian Lancaster crew is buried that were killed near the same town, 6 months later, in February 1944.


(picture by Wim Bastiaanse)

S/Sgt Jack Mason is buried at Margraten American Cemetery, Plot O Row 9 Grave 6


Margraten American Cemetery

See Also:
1Lt William Dietel
2Lt H W Funk
2Lt Jacques Riddel
2Lt K C Dutton
2Lt Clyde Davis
T/Sgt L Dunmeyer
S/Sgt Edward Amory
S/Sgt W D Martin

Sources:
Roger A. Freeman, The Mighty Eight War Diary, Arms and Armour, London, 1990
Ab Jansen, Sporen in de Hemel, volume I, Baarn 1979

Acknowledgments:
Mr. Howard Adams, top turret gunner/engineer of the SKY QUEEN
Mr. Frank Weening
Mr. Ed Earp
Mr. Allan Blue
Mr. Robert Adams
Mr. Ken Decker (384th Bomb Group History and Research site)

Directions to Margraten American Military Cemetery

Posted 21 August 2005


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This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.

 

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