Do you have any images or other media memorabilia you would also like to have posted on our website?
Thank you for this wonderful resource! My name is Anne St. Clair, and I am the granddaughter of James W. St. Clair, who was a co-pilot with the Streicher crew for the 718th Squadron of the 449th Bomb Group. I would love to connect with anyone who may have photos or stories of him or his crew.
I am told that my grandfather, James St. Clair, flew B24 Bomber missions to the south of France the days before D-Day to make the German Army think the D-Day invasion was going to be much further south in France than the Normandy Beaches. On D-Day, he flew a mission to the Polesti Oil Fields in Romania, one of his many missions to the Polesti Oil Fields that supplied the German Army with gasoline. James St. Clair was credited with flying 51 B24 missions, a very high number. Early in WWII, a bomber crew was allowed to go home after 25 missions. Later in WWI, a bomber crew member had to be credited with 50 missions before he could return home. The crew got extra credit for a mission if their plane was hit with flak or enemy fire.
I would be eager to learn more. Thank you to all of you and to all of these brave men for their dedicated service.
Anne St. Clair
My father James A. Mitchell was a member of the 449th Bomb Group stationed in Grottagle, Italy in 1944. He was aboard “Hells A Poppin” but not the day it went down. He was working on Staley’s crew that had loaned the plane to another crew that day. I have quite a few photos of that time as well as information on all of Staley’s crew that I would like to share. I have gone through the FB site and found it really informative.
Please let me know if that is possible.
Thanks for the great website. My uncle, Frederick C. Ostrom, served as a bombardier in the 449th Bomber Group, Squadron 719, the Shelby MacArthur Crew. I think he flew as many as 52 missions, mostly out of Italy, I gather.
After doing lots of research looking for info of my Uncle”s military career I was told by a B-24 group to check out the 449th BG web site. I read stories about how these men sacrificed for the good of the country.
Couldn’t be any prouder especially for my Uncle, Staff Sargent Harold Fox Jr. (ball turret). I’m attempting to build a replica of the bomber he was shot down in “TWO TON TESSIE” #42-52117. I have most of the INFO except for the three digit numbers on the nose just below the nose turret. Would appreciate any information.
Hello my grandfather was a nosegunner in the 449th bomb group in stationed in Italy in 1944-45 His name is NADE HABSHEY and he passed October 2012. His wife and my grandmother passed this August 2020. He had an everlasting love for aviation and aircraft. He told me great detailed stories of flying on a B-24 bomber and the He would play documentaries about the B-24 for me as a little kid. He always noted the adrenaline rush from being in the air for the first time fighting in another country. I can only imagine what the experience was like.
I am Bruce Ross my dad Hal A Ross was top turret gunner on Richard Bosworth’s crew. He passed away on June 17th. I am so proud of his service. These men were so brave.
September 16 2020 Yes , I am extremely proud of every one of you guys!!!!!
Took a lot of guts to get up and get off the ground and not knowing if you’d return or not.
Myself? I took the easy way out – Navy ROTC at Illinois Tech ’62-67 then three years and three deployments off the coast of Vietnam…..got shot at but no scars to show for it…..USS Saint Paul CA-73 ….Like the B-24s you flew and are gone so are all the all gun cruisers…….made into razor blades or whatever.
Now for the fun part: How did I come across you guys: You see I was born February 18th to an Austrian mom and her German husband in Sierning, Austria. Before she passed away she was fond of telling people that I spent the first couple of days in a bomb shelter under the hospital…….the nurses etc. had left me in the whatever passed for a baby room and my mom in her hospital bed and panicked when the bombs started dropping. My mom got up and got me and after banging on the bomb shelter door got let in. The Austrians weren’t used to bomb raids back then whereas my mom had spent time with my dad in German cities so was somewhat familiar with the procedures……..So long story short 76 years later I started to follow up on her story and lo and behold it appears to be true as on Mission 30 you guys took of with thirty-one B-24H’s to bomb the ball bearing factories in Steyr, Austria ….5 miles or so as the crow flies from where I was born. So Congrats on a good mission as you missed me!!!!!!
We immigrated to the land of the free in ’56 and now I’m semi-retired in Port Charlotte, FL.
How time flies ……There was no Air Force back in ’44 and now you have a Space Force……….
Wishing and praying that you and yours survive this latest threat – COVID-19!!!
Port Charlotte, FL
Related to Chester W. Sorenson, known as ‘Swede’ from the 449th & 716th Squadron’s. He was shot down over Italy on December 28th, 1944 but was recovered and kept flying. So proud of all the men who flew for the 449th! Thank you for collecting this awesome piece of history!
Santa Clara, CA
Jan Gage Moody. Daughter of Chester Donald Gage, bombardier serving in the 717th bomb squad.Flew 50 missions and received the distinguished flying cross
This is a great supplement to the four books on the 449th (and it’s searchable). Our Dad was 1st Lt. Alphonse F. (Al) Hanley. He was the “Red Rider” of “Queen of Hearts” fame, due to his red hair. 50 missions flown (Many with Kennelly as Pilot), from 9 January to 5 July 1944. He was a Pilot in the 716th Squadron. Thank you!
I am a relative of Lt. Lynford Austin. I was just doing some research for a B-24 model I am going to put up next to his picture. Just wanted to say thank you.
Palm Bay, FL
Hi .. My uncle Virgil Kitchens was a gunner on the Betty Jean. He was shot down on January 19, 1944. The way my aunt told it, he was able to avoid capture and made it to Switzerland. I have several of his pictures that were taken in Nebraska 1943 of the Betty Jean and crew prior to their deploying to ETO. Love the site, thank you. I wished Uncle Virgil could have lived to see this.
Hello. My father, James Freeh, was a B-24 pilot stationed in Grottaglie from June – October 1944. He was in the 717th Bomb Squadron. He flew 39 missions and was credited with 50 missions. Dad attended a number of the 449th Bomb Group reunions including the wonderful trip to Italy in 2001. He passed away in April 2007.
I really like the website and enjoy keeping up with news about the 449th. I am delighted that the 2nd generation is so active in keeping the stories of these brave men alive and in our hearts. I have not attended a reunion, but my brother Steve did accompany Dad on the Italy trip and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the veterans and their children.
Hello- I noticed a few posts referencing an incident involving three planes from the 449th 717th that occurred on April 2, 1944. Three planes were lost when the lead plane was hit by flak and the debris took down two others. My uncle, Jake Kury was the pilot of the Peerless Clipper, one of the planes that went down. A number of years ago, I did research to find out what happened that day. Up to that point, our family had no information on what happened. I contacted surviving members of the fourth plane in the formation and received a number of first hand accounts, including a letter from Col. Sass, the CO. I am happy to share what I have found.
Love the website. My grandfather loved his crew and talked a lot about his experience with the 449th.
I’d like to know more about the mission that my grandmother’s first husband (Leonard Resnick O-805674) was flying when he was killed. As far as I know he died on 5 APR 1944 while flying with the 449th. My grandmother told me that he was shot in the neck and was the only casualty from his crew. She was told this by the other pilot who returned with the rest of the crew after their tour. My dear grandmother died a few years ago. She told me bits and pieces of the story over the years but I’d like to to know the mission details.
I am a retired Marine FA-18 pilot and I am curious about this man who meant so much to my grandmother. I found out from my research that we both have the same award-the Air Medal. I want to know more.
What a wonderful website! Congratulations from the 345th Bomb Group Association.
I am one of the sons of George E Bender. Thank you for building this site, my dad almost never spoke of the War, so I know very little about his life at that time. This helps!
Looking at my dads (Lewis Fletcher, 449th-718) photos and English/Italian dictionary might be something you could use. I gave some stuff to the B-24 museum in Pueblo CO, too bad they don’t have a plane….
Keep up the great work, didn’t know you existed until today.
Tom, born right after he came happily home at the end of the war
Hello, my father Howard Bourdon was the navigator on the Suzan Jane. He was very proud of his time serving in the 717th squadron. He flew 35 missions including the famous 4/4 /44 raid on the Bucharest marshaling yard. Thank you for keeping alive the memory of all those brave men of the 449th
Tarpon Springs , Fl
After seeing WWII footage of the B-24 on the TV I decided to dig out my grandpa’s old stuff and that led me to this site. Thank you brave men!
my father’s cousin, sgt. paul biggart, of ww2 was in the 449th bomb group. he was shot down and killed feb, 25, 1944 near regensberg, germany. i read on your website that there was a crew reunion in 1983 in Austria with the other plane’s pilot that shot them down. are there any photos or written accounts of this? my father is no longer living. i assume everyone from the crew are deceased? i am interested in delving further into this part of my family history. any information would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
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B-24 Liberator 449th Bomb Group My Achin Back S/Sgt Rudy Moreno- tail gunner
My uncle passed away on a mission. Thank you for keeping this available.
My name is Zachariah Zdinak, and I am the Interlibrary Loan/Public Services Assistant, here at the St. John Paul II Library at Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio).
I wanted to say I think you all are doing a wonderful job with this sight.
My great-uncle was Nicholas Zdinak (Right Waist-Tail Gunner) on the Johnson Crew. He died on September 16, 1995 of complications from open-heart surgery at the age of 75. I’m very proud of the work he and the other Horseman did, to keep us safe and free from tyranny.
You will find him at the St. Nicholas Cemetery in Weirton, West Virginia. Just across the Ohio River from where he grew up on the Ohio side. He is buried next to his wife Margaret of 42 years.
My uncle, Corporal Merle Franklin of the 716th squadron, was a ball turret gunner on the Princess Helen which was lost on 11/16/1944. The crew or aircraft were never found. I only know of my uncle from stories passed on from my dad. My dad tried for years until his death in 1990 to discover what happened to the crew but was unsuccessful. I am proud of all who served and those that supported them.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Glad I found your website. I’ve been looking for anything on my uncle 2nd Lt. JOHN L. CRICKENBERGER who was in the Wehling crew. I’ve been wondering if his plane may have had any nose art? Would anyone on your site know that? I do have a couple of photos of him in uniform and sort of a small journal he kept during his missions.
Would Like any information reference plane name/number for the Prelaz Crew. My late Father-in-law Edmund F. Szypulski was a 2nd Lt. serving as a Navigator with the Prelaz Crew.
Donna Brunson. Researching Paul Lhevinne, Lost on April 2, 1944. Starr Crew 449th, 117th. He was the son of my husband’s grandfather. Our family never knew what happened to him. Thank you for this site and for all of the history you have made available to the public! We now know what happened to Paul and where he was buried.
Clarkdale, AZ USA
I am the son of Anderson, Ralph M; 14119900; 719 Squadron. Ralph was part of the Rosander, Toivo J.G. crew. Ralph departed for Grotagilie Italy on January 19, 1945 and departed from Italy on May 25, 1945. I would like to be in contact with anyone who may known or who served with my Dad during his time in the Army Air Corp. Ralph was from Savannah, GA, married to Opal Lee Moore in November 1942. I believe he was an Airplane Armorer Gunner 612. He enlisted June 5, 1942 and was mustered out October 16, 1945 at the rank of Sgt.
Thanks from a grateful son,
Columbia, MO USA
My father Joseph Druzak was a proud member of the 449th Bomb Group during WW2 where he served as a Pilot of a B-24. He sadly passed away last fall and I am sure he would have wanted to let fellow 449’ers know of his passing and how proud he was to be a fellow member.
My late Uncle George F. Ditzhazy had a great scrap book on his time with the 718th. passed January, 2017.
Fabulous Site here, thanks for all of the hard work compiling all of this info on the 449th, my father would have been proud to have viewed this site, he was 2lt John J Rhoades – B24 copilot shot down over Ploesti oil raid mission, captured and spent time as a POW in Rumania.
San Diego , CA
This is the foto of the unlucky Forbes Crew, that perished some 20 miles after leaving the target, the Messerschmitt aircraft factory at Regensburg on Feb. 25, 1944.
On that day there was the biggest air battle at the Regensburg area of WWII.
The German fighter pilot, who shot down the B-24 belonged to a unit, that had sent its pilots to Regensburg to pick up new ME-109 fighter planes at the factory.
When the 15th Air Force raid started, some of them took off from the airfield, while bombs were exploding.
Obviously the Forbes B-24 had left the formation short time after bombs away, and was fired at by a single ME-109.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to talk to an elderly man, who was a schoolboy and an eyewitness at that day.
The B-24 started to lose height and plunged into a forest near the city of Kelheim. People on the ground did not understand, why no crew member had bailed out.
May be the pilots had been hit, and nobody would give the bail out signal.
The German fighter pilot went on to shoot down a B-17 from the 99th Bomb Group (Kirkpatrick Crew) nearby and finally, when a second raid that day started by the 8th Air force, was himself shot down and killed by Major Braodhead from the 357th Fighter Group.
The wingman of Major Braodhead, Lt. Beemer was shot down by friendly fire from the Flying Fortresses and severely wounded made POW.
This was a day of disaster for many gallant airmen as well as for people on the ground – and the beginning of lasting pain for their families back home.
I did my research for many years to preserve the memory of all these unlucky people – hoping for peace for the future.
My father, Eugene Ward, flew 53 missions over Italy. He tells us about his experiences often. His stories are some of my favorite memories. I would like to know when & where this year’s reunion is.
Granite City, IL
I am looking for any info on my father’s experiences during his time with the Brzychcy crew of the 449th 717th squadron.
I hope you all have a GREAT time in New Orleans in September! Long live The Flying Horsemen.
Bonner Springs, Kansas
Hello, I’m the grandson of Sgt. Oliver Clyde Roye, he was with the 449th. I have hundreds of pictures of bombings, planes and other related material. Upon the recent death of my father, I’ve decided to donate the photos to a museum or the 449th. I feel these photos belong to the world, not just me.
Sincerely, David Roye
Thank you to the 449th Bomb Group for the information I found on my uncle Edward A. Fetting. I found photos of his plane “Miss Behavin” that was involved in a mid-air collision over Steyr, Austria. I now have a full account of what happened and can pass this information on to my grandsons.
It was with much surprise and delight I saw the MURCH group picture, the same one I have on my wall, and my Dad, Carl S Kocis, ball gunner, standing there in his 18yr glory. Nice picture. Thanks for your website and to the heroes of WWII this 4th of July, 2016, 73 years after that picture was taken.
Carl J Kocis II
My father, Major James W. Rierson was assigned to the 449th Bomb Group, 716 Squadron and was shot down with the Weeks crew. When my father passed, I donated his WWII memorabilia and records to a US military museum in Fort Myers, FL. They were so grateful for the items, as they had nothing like them to tell the story of the B-24 crews. I am incredibly proud of the 449th and the brave men who flew. Thank you, gentlemen. We all are forever in your debt.
Sarasota, FL, United States
MT Holly, NJ, USA
I’m the grandson of LANG, William E, Bombardier. He was in the 718th Squadron and listed on your website as part of the Morrison Crew. He flew on 23 combat missions with the 718th and his last mission was with Leighton Ellis’ crew in April of 1945, where their plane was hit and damaged. They managed to navigate to the Swiss border, where they bailed out over Lake Constance. They were taken by the Swiss and interned near Dubendorf, Swizerland for about 5 weeks until the crew’s release. My mother was named after that lake (Connie Lang). William (Bill) Lang passed away in Sept of 1985 at his home in Fullerton, Ca. He was a great man, and I’m glad to have known him. As a lot of servicemen, he rarely, if ever, spoke of his time in the military. I found I few of his records, and then found this website while searching for more information. Thank you for compiling so much information on your website and honoring these brave men.
San Marcos, CA, USA
Very proud of my father, John L. Gougeon, Sr., a member of the 716th and a survivor of the Dalrymple crew. Dad passed away April 12, 2012.
Sterling Heights, MI
OMG – my first visit to the new site and I am so impressed. I miss everything being so far away in Moldova. But this got me right into the swing of it all. Such fond memories. The website has so many good things already. Great job EVERYBODY!!!
I’m a nephew of Lt. Howard Hanson, the pilot of the Hanson Crew. I just received the Spring issue of the Latepass and am looking forward to the results of the DNA investigation now underway. I don’t have any electronic items of memorabilia, but would be happy to mail copies of a couple of items that I have.
Green Valley, AZ
Would like pictures of Capt OT Dawson and Ed Westlake. Will upload photos of Westlake’s flight compass and many things of OT Dawson. Even have his 201 file. He is the nephew of my grandmother.
Hot Springs, AR
Thank you so much for this site. My father, Robert Hughes, was the navigator in Emil Baer’s crew in the 719th Squadron. He rarely talks about his time in service, so it is nice to get some information here. I have a hard time believing what these young men did for all of us. I am attaching a picture of his short snorter, just for those interested in such things. By the way, he celebrated his 90th birthday last July and is still going strong.
Maplewood, MO USA
My husband, son and I loved reading about my father-in-law’s bomb group! He served in the 716th Squadron. Once in a while he will tell us about some of his experiences in Grottaglie. It is always nice to read about his service history and about those he served with! Nice website!
San Jacinto, CA U.S.
My Father Warren Nolan was a Flying Horseman. I enjoyed your web site very much, thank you.
Danbury CT, U.S.A
We are a group of American and Bulgarian historians living in Northern Bulgaria collecting local rememberances and related history of the Air War in the Ploesti, Giurgiu (Romania) and Rousse/Ryce/Ruschuk and Shumen (POW camp) (Bulgaria) areas
We are successfully collecting and recording recollections and photographs of POW’s and KIA’s in this area.
Anyone with requests or contributions regarding aircrews lost in the Northern Bulgaria area, please contact the undersigned.
Hayward S. Melville
US Phone#: 707-678-4573