Jacques E. Riddel was born in 1918 in Illinois. Later his family moved to Los Angeles, California.

After one year of college, Jacques took a job as a clerk before he enlisted in the Army on January 7, 1942. He was married.

He was accepted in flight training to become a bomber pilot. In July 1943 he was attached to the 384th Bomb Group, flying out of Grafton Underwood.  2Lt Riddel was to fly his first mission on July 28, 1943.

As was common, every new pilot would fly a few 'familiarization' missions as a co-pilot with an experienced crew. 2Lt Riddel was to fly with 1Lt Dietel's crew. They were one of the original crews that came over with the Bomb Group when it was sent to England.

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)

As this 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.

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". 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 SSgt 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)

2Lt Jacques E. Riddel is buried at Margraten American Military Cemetery, Plot M Row 22
Grave 7.

Margraten, The Netherlands

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

The Mighty Eight War Diary, Roger A. Freeman, Arms and Armour, London, 1990

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

Updated 20 August 2005

If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

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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