Top row L-R: Unknown, Fred A. Hendricks (P), Frank P. Zalinski (N), Unknown, Unknown. Bottom L-R: Unknown, Unknown, William B. Miller (G), Eugene E. Watkins (G), Paul L. Nance (FE). (photo courtesy of Chad Williams, grandson of Paul).
On the morning of Saturday May 20th, 1944, LT Hendricks was making an instrument take-off on runway 07. The visibility was 80 yds due to a heavy fog. The co-pilot, LT Wolff, warned the pilot of the loss of one engine and was going to feather it. LT Hendricks turned up full turbo power to the remaining three, but take-off was doubtful.
LT Hendricks gained altitude but hit some trees at the end of the runway knocking out a second engine and tearing a hole in the nose and damaging the left rudder. He managed to climb to 300 feet, just above stalling speed. LT Hendricks called for an emergency landing as the A/C started down. The Flight engineer, S/SGT Nance left the flight deck to go aft and sprained his ankle on impact.
The A/C landed in a field completely surrounded by trees and ditches, except for one section large enough for the plane to clear. The A/C slid a short distance before the left wing dug in spinning the aircraft around.
The crash ripped off the bomb bay doors and a fire had started in the bomb bay. LT Wolff was exiting through the top escape hatch when he was killed by exploding 0.50 caliber ammunition. One crewman was in the nose passage and was crushed. Another crewman was in the bomb bay and died. The pilot managed to escape with severe burns to his face. The Navigator and bombardier exited through a hole created by the crash.
S/SGT Nance left his spot on the flight deck when it became apparent that the ship was lost. His chute was at his gunnery station in the waist where he went to ride out the crash. S/SGT Nance has little recollection of the events following the crash, but learned he carried SGT Shanks clear of the wreckage as fire raged, and ammo exploded all around.
LT Wolff is buried at Cambridge. Hendricks was too young to join the Army Air Corps so he went to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He had been fighting in China when the Army Air Corps recruited him to the Army Air Corps (he wore 2 sets of wings). After the crew returned from Europe, Hendricks continued his service and went on to train/fly B-29 aircraft and was even called up for the Korean War.
|Name||Rank||Position||First Mission||Last Mission||Status|
|Fred A. Hendricks||2nd LT||Pilot||05/08/44||10/15/44||WIA/Severe burns|
|Robert L. Wolff, Jr.||2nd LT||Co-pilot||05/08/44||05/20/44||KIA|
|Frank P. Zalinski||LT||Navigator||05/08/44||12/26/44||WIA/Major injuries|
|Wilbur N. Foster||LT||Bombardier||05/08/44||10/18/44||No injuries|
|Paul L. Nance||S/SGT||FE/Top||05/08/44||06/14/44||WIA/Major injury|
|Leonard K. Shanks||SGT||Radio||05/08/44||10/15/44||WIA/Major in jury|
|Eugene E. Watkins||SGT||Gunner||05/08/44||10/15/44||No injuries|
|Thomas B. Newbold||SGT||Gunner||05/08/44||05/20/44||KIA|
|William B. Miller||SGT||Gunner||05/08/44||08/30/44||No injuries|
|Dallas B. O'Neall||S/SGT||Nose Gunner||05/08/44||05/20/44||KIA|
|Charles E. Welch||Crew Chief|
|001||05/07/44||California's Golden Bare||TK||42-52691||B24H|
|002||05/08/44||California's Golden Bare||TK||42-52691||B24H|
|004||05/11/44||California's Golden Bare||TK||42-52691||B24H|
|005||05/20/44||California's Golden Bare||TK||42-52691||B24H|
|025||06/17/44||Lady From Hell||PH||42-52681||B24H|
Completed 31 Missions
|Created 04/10/99||Modified 05/08/12|
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