1st Lt Frank W.
2nd Lt John J. Coppinger, co-pilot
2nd Lt Carl F. Conley, Navigator
T/Sgt Wallace J. Meyer, Toggelier
T/Sgt Weston H. Rodkey, Radio operator
T/Sgt Paul V. Carlson, Engineer
S/Sgt Felix W. McIntosh, Ball Turret Gunner
S/Sgt Thomas C. McDonald, Waist Gunner
S/Sgt Edward T. Coley, Waist Gunner
S/Sgt George W. McMullin, Tail Gunner
The crew flew
its first mission to Augsburg on 18 March 1944.
On 22 April 1944 they were to fly their 9th
mission. This time the target would be Hamm,
Germany. The crew took off in B-17 #42 37783 XR-B,
nicknamed "Dobie". 100th BG led Bomb Wing 13B
behind the leading Bomb Wing 13A. After bombs
away, the 100th would lead all the bomb wings
back to England. The mission was flown in the
late afternoon, leaving the English coast at
Lowestoft at 17.53, reaching the Dutch coast at
18.19. Although the IP (Initial Point) was
missed, the target was recognized and the bomb
run commenced from an alternative IP. The city
was bombed at 18.55.
also flying with 100th Bomb Group on this
mission, recalled this mission in his book
"With Crew #13". He flew in the plane that
led the entire 100th Bomb Group. Group Commander
Colonel Kelly flew his first mission with his
crew. Also on the crew was their squadron
commander, Major Elton. Mr. Benham describes the
mission from the perspective of the lead plane.
No fighters were encountered and the escort was
really good. Heavy flak was encountered over
Hamm during the bombing. He writes that as far
as he understood, no planes were lost.
The group in
which Lt Harte and his crew flew, fared little
different. They were the only crew lost by the
100th BG that day.
Enemy fighters attacked "Dobie" just after
bombing and turning to the Rally Point. They
damaged particularly #3 engine, after which the
B-17 started to lag. Witnesses saw the crew
attempting to jettison equipment from the plane.
It appears that all ten men did bail out
although Sgt. McDonald was badly wounded before
leaving the ship.
finally crashed near Oberschelden, west of Siegen, Germany.
Three of the
crew, 1Lt Frank Harte, navigator 2Lt Carl Conley
and waist gunner S/Sgt Thomas McDonald, were
killed and the others taken PoW.
Some of the
crew felt that Lt Harte & Lt Conley may have
been killed by German civilians or soldiers
after they landed.
S/Sgt Mc Donald is buried at Margraten Military
Cemetery, Plot E Row 18 Grave 6.