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B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946

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B17MontBlanc
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2010/12/12 04:49:15 (permalink)
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B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946

On Nov. 1st, 1946 the B 17 No. 43-39338, belonging to 15th TCS (Troop Carrier Squadron) of the 61st TCG (Troop Carrier Group) crashed on the Aiguille des Glaciers (Mont Blanc, the highest mountain at the Italian-French border).
The aircraft exploded and most of its pieces disappeared in the snow of the glaciers  that descend from the mountain.
After many years, progressively,  several pieces of  the wreckage started to be brought down by the melting glaciers, and still they do.(See http://www.gavs-torino.it/b17_bianco.htm   please notice:  ...b17_bianco...) 
We have collected several of  those pieces and identified the aircraft serial No., thus discovering the
names of the crew members, as well as some  details of the accident.
We have also undertaken  initiatives in favour of those misfortunate crew members  and we intend to organize a celebrating ceremony next summer with the discovery of a memorial tablet.
We are in contact only with the daughter of Major Lawrence L. Cobb, one of the dead pilots ,  a lady who lives in Europe, but we have no contact at all (neither she has) with the families of the other crew members (most of which still missing) .

We would like to inform them of our discoveries and about the celebration that will be carried out in summer 2011.

Can somebody help us in reaching possible relatives of that B17  crew members (here below listed)  or suggest how we can find them ?

For possible contact please contact   pierluigi.duranti@teletu.it

Command Pilot            Colonel Fair, Ford Larimore                0-17029
Command Pilot            Upham, Hudson  Hutton                      0-19467
Co-Pilot                      Major Cobb, Lawrence Lofton            0-24736
Navigator                    2nd Lt. Ramires, Alfred Doroteo           O-2082524
Engineer                      M/Sgt.Gilbert, John Edward                6990531
Ass’t Engineer  S/Sgt. Hilton, William Allec                  38515193
Radio Operator           S/Sgt.   Dobovich, Zoltan Joseph         33835227
Ass’t Radio Operator  T/Sgt. Cassel, William Seldon  34896920


post edited by B17MontBlanc - 2010/12/20 03:44:20

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    B17MontBlanc
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    Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 1946 2010/12/13 07:07:32 (permalink)
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    On Nov. 1st, 1946 the B 17 No. 43-39338, belonging to 15th TCS (Troop Carrier Squadron) of the 61st TCG (Troop Carrier Group) crashed on the Aiguille des Glaciers (Mont Blanc, the highest mountain at the Italian-French border).
    The aircraft exploded and most of its pieces disappeared in the snow of the glaciers  that descend from the mountain.
    After many years, progressively,  several pieces of  the wreckage started to be brought down by the melting glaciers, and still they do.(See http://www.gavs-torino.it/b17_bianco.htm)
    We have collected several of  those pieces and identified the aircraft serial No., thus discovering the
    names of the crew members, as well as some  details of the accident.
    We have also undertaken  initiatives in favour of those misfortunate crew members  and we intend to organize a celebrating ceremony next summer with the discovery of a memorial tablet.
    We are in contact only with the daughter of Major Lawrence L. Cobb, one of the dead pilots ,  a lady who lives in Europe, but we have no contact at all (neither she has) with the families of the other crew members (most of which still missing) . 
    We would like to inform them of our discoveries and about the celebration that will be carried out in summer 2011.
     
    Can somebody help us in reaching possible relatives of that B17  crew members (here below listed)  or suggest how we can find them ?
    For possible contact please contact   pierluigi.duranti@teletu.it
     
    Command Pilot            Colonel Fair, Ford Larimore                0-17029
    Command Pilot            Upham, Hudson  Hutton                      0-19467
    Co-Pilot                      Major Cobb, Lawrence Lofton            0-24736
    Navigator                    2nd Lt. Ramires, Alfred Doroteo           0-2082524
    Engineer                      M/Sgt.Gilbert, John Edward                6990531
    Ass’t Engineer  S/Sgt. Hilton, William Allec                  38515193
    Radio Operator           S/Sgt.   Dobovich, Zoltan Joseph         33835227
    Ass’t Radio Operator  T/Sgt. Cassel, William Seldon  34896920
     
    Janice Borgstrom Massucci
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/13 09:55:11 (permalink)
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    HI!  My dad was a B-17 WWII Pilot and lived to be 86.
     
    I don't know any other way for you to share your information but I wanted to let you know that
    your website, information, photos and videos are incredible - thank you, on behalf of all
    USA citizens for honoring the men on that flight.  THANK YOU!  GRAZI!  :)
     
    Janice Borgstrom Massucci
    susank
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/13 19:18:10 (permalink)
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    Pierluigi -
    Did you get my email to you about this crew?
     
    I have been looking through the MACR files on Footnote.com and have found records of this crew in several different places:
    in the files for AC #4339338, #45-519, #44-87415 (crew with next of kin), #42-72554,  #4339465 (which is the plane that, on 16 Aug 1947, ran out of fuel and ditched near Hawaii while bringing the Ambassador to Japan, George Atcheson, and high-ranking members of MacArthur's HQ to the States)  and there are a couple of pages in the section of MACR files in 1947 labelled as Jan-Nov.
     
    Susank
    arrowpig
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/14 01:05:21 (permalink)
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    Hello,
     
    I am the grandson of Col Hudson Upham.  But the e-mail gets kicked back to me when I try to send to pierluigi.duranti@teletu.it.
     
    Please contact me via this thread or a personal message, as I'm now registered on this site.  I have some more information about Hudson and about the funeral held 1 November 1946 at the headquarters of the 99th Bataillon de Infanterie Alpine, Bourg St. Maruice,
    France, if it would be of interest to you.
     
    arrowpig
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/14 01:09:42 (permalink)
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    Hi, I just replied on a separate thread, but I'm not sure if it's the same.   E-mailing to your pierluigi.duranti@teletu.it e-mail address, the message I send comes back to me undelivered.
    I am the grandson of Col. Upham who died in this accident in 1946.  I have more information about Hudson, but not about the other families.  I am interested in knowing more about the summer, 2011 activity currently being planned.
     
    Thanks,
    Jon
    susank
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/14 01:32:19 (permalink)
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    Hi Jon -
    Thanks for your reply - I have not heard back from the email address for pierluigi either but I'll bet he is fast asleep right now.
     
    Susan
    dennis_burke
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/14 09:09:36 (permalink)
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    The stars and Stripes newspaper dated 1947 January 10th
     
    Carried a news article saying that the search was being called off and no trace of the men had been found.  its list sthe men with their home towns as follows:
    Col. Hudson H Upham, assistant chief of traffic for EATS of Los Angeles, Calif.;
    Col. Fred L Fair, Cheif of Staff, EATS, Washington DC
    Maj. Lawrence L Cobb, executive officer of the EATS trqaffice section, Petersburg, VA
    2nd Lt Alfred D Ramirez of New York City
    M/Sgt John E Gilbert, Frankfurt, Indiana
    T/Sgt William S Cassell, Mount Airey, North Carolina
    S/Sgt William A Hilton, San Angelo, Texas
    S/Sgt Zoltan J Dobozich, Butztown. Pennsylvania
    The organisaors of the event should make contact with the local newspapers in those places, though some like New York are very large cities obviously, and ask for letters to be published looking for relatives to contact them.
    If you drop me a message with workign email I'll send on the article to you.
    dennis_burke
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/14 09:38:44 (permalink)
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    From the databases  on Ancestry.com
    National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006
     
    The mens remains were buried in 1947 in Arlington national cemetery.
     
    Name: Wm S Cassell
    Service Info.: T/SGT AIR CORPS US Army
    Birth Date: 30 Aug 1935  <------------not sure about this , would have made him only aged 11!  Probably should be 1925.
    Name: Lawrence L Cobb
    Service Info.: MAJ AIR CORPS US Army
     
    Name: Zoltan J Dobovich
    Service Info.: STAFF SGT AIR CORPS US ARMY
    Birth Date: 19 Sep 1925
    Name: Ford L Fair
    Service Info.: COL AIR CORPS US Army
    Name: John E Gilbert
    Service Info.: M/SGT AIR CORPS US Army
    Name: William A Hilton
    Service Info.: S/SGT AIR CORPS US ARMY
    Birth Date: 2 Sep 1921
    Name: Alfred D Ramirez
    Service Info.: 2ND LT AIR CORPS US Army
    Name: Hudson H Uphan
    Service Info.: COL AIR CORPS USA
    Birth Date: 13 Dec 1912
    All were buried in Arlington National Cemetery
    Buried At: Section N 15 Site Half 1
    Death Date: 1 Nov 1946
    All have Interment (buried) Date: 10 Oct 1947
    B17MontBlanc
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/15 03:00:29 (permalink)
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    Hi Jon !
     
    I am more than happy to succeed in getting in touch with you.
     
    Sorry for not replying before, but I have had a server failure just these days.
     
    However the link has been established and I will send you a comprehensive report about out initiative soon by separate e-mail.
     
    Thanks a lot !!
     
    Pierluigi
    B17MontBlanc
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    Re:Help to contact relatives of a B17 Crashed on the Mont Blanc in 194 2010/12/15 03:03:22 (permalink)
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    Hi Susan !
     
    I thank you very much for your great contribution in our researches.
     
    I have had problems with my server (my messages in your direction came back as SPAM....)  but now the link works and I'll get back to you by separate e-mail
     
    Ciao!
     
    Pierluigi
    B17MontBlanc
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/15 09:36:08 (permalink)
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    Thanks for your information.
     
    My group and myself will be pleased to receive a copy of the article You mention   ( pierluigi.duranti@teletu.it).
     
    As far as the accident report is concerned we have received also the official one from the Army.  What we are looking for, now, are possible relatives of the crew memebers to inform about our findings and about the memorial celebrating initiatives that are being organized next summer.
     
    In a couple of days, thanks to this excellent forum, we have already succeeded to find some of them !
     
    Best regards
     
     
    Pierluigi
    Scott Burris
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/15 11:43:58 (permalink)
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    Threads merged.

    Scott Burris, 381st BGMA 
    ArmyAirForces.com
    benotforgot
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 00:45:29 (permalink)
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    I was informed of this thread via email . . . and have responded to the emails privately . . . but just to put the info on here . . . the mother of William A. HILTON was the baby sister of my great-grandpa . . . I know of only one son of HILTON, and he died at the age of 17 . . . I am not aware of any other descendants . . . as of this date, I am not aware of any photos of HILTON . . . but there are other cousins I will be contacting about this . . . HILTON did have numerous siblings and half-siblings, but it is believed they are all deceased . . . HILTON's findagrave page is . . . http://www.findagrave.com...e=gr&GRid=49204442 . . . he also has a page at footnote.com, as well as ancestry.com . . .
    post edited by benotforgot - 2010/12/19 14:45:44
    pathfinder504
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 09:34:38 (permalink)
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    Pierluigi--
     
    A noble endeavor indeed.  If I may suggest one thing.  That you assign someone to clarify and correct the English translation of your webpage.  Particular attention must be given to the spelling of the men's names.  I notice that the web page spells CASSELL's name with one L.  Cobb's first name is misspelled. Ford's last name is misspelled as well.
    I am curious about the original question you posed here regarding this B-17 being part of the 15TCS/61TCG.  Apart from some extraneous paperwork found at the crash site belonging to one of the casualties, there is nothing in the record to suggest that the plane or crew were a part of the 61st Troop Carrier Group. Three of the men are shown as assigned to HQ/EATS in Wiesbaden, Germany,  and the other five assigned to Eschborn AAB in Frankfurt, Germany.
    pathfinder504
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 10:10:04 (permalink)
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    The Dobovich family hailed from Pennsylvania, but Zoltan's siblings went in two directions from there.
    His brother Anton (Anthony) passed away in Burlington, NJ in 2006.  His brother Stephen passed away in Henderson, NC, four months ago (Aug 2010).
    It shouldn't be too difficult to find their kin, who would be nephews and nieces to Zoltan.  He also had a sister, Ethel, but presuming she married, there will be a name change, and you'll have to get that from one of the surviving family.  She was the youngest of the Dobovich children.
    Reading the reports as translated from the French recovery teams, there was very little in the way of human remains recovered from the site.  Those remains were buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  The headstone lists all of the crew...but that unfortunately does not mean there are full bodies there, or that any of the recovered remains can be associated with a particular casualty.
    Just as a side note, the Dobovich family was of Hungarian decent, not Russian or Polish.
    pathfinder504
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 10:30:10 (permalink)
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    Curiously enough Dobovich is a rather unique name.  There appear to be desendents in Jackson, NJ...particularly Carlton Z born in 1946.  As a forensic historian I seldom make money bets--but I'd be willing to bet that his middle name is Zoltan after his uncle.
    benotforgot
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 17:40:24 (permalink)
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    New York Times. November 7, 1946. 8 U.S. AIRMEN MISSING. Col. F.L. Fair Among Those on Board Naples-London Plane. FRANKFORT ON THE MAIN, Germany, Nov. 6 -- The United States Army revealed tonight that the Chief of Staff of the European Air Transport service was among four officers and four enlisted men aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress now overdue five days on a flight from Naples to London. The officer was identified as Col. Ford L. Fair of Washington, D.C. Others listed as missing:
    • Col. Hudson H. Upham, pilot, assistant chief of staff for traffic for EATS, of Los Angeles.
    • Major Lawrence L. Cobb, co-pilot, executive officer traffic section EATS, of Petersburg, Va.
    • Lieut. Alfred D. Ramirez, navigator, of New York City.
    • M-Sgt. John E. Gilbert, engineer, of Frankfort, Ind.
    • T/Sgt. William S. Cassell, assistant radio operator, of Mount Airy, N.C.
    • S/Sgt. William A. Hilton, assistant engineer of San Angelo, Texas.
    • S/Sgt. Zolton J. Dobozich [sic], radio operator, of Butztown, Pa.
    pathfinder504
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    Re:B17 Crash on Mont Blanc 1946 2010/12/18 21:28:43 (permalink)
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    Alex--
     
    Troop Carrier Command and  European Air Transport Service are two completely different things.  It would also be incongruous for a Troop Carrier Command unit which was equipped with C-47 and C-54 aircraft to have a B-17 in it's stable.  I do see in the Mauer book that 15TCS was based at Eschborn at the time of the incident.  But again there is nothing in the record that puts the PLANE in the 15th TCS.  There is one page in the JAN-NOV paperwork referenced by susank that gives the unit assignments for the men aboard.  That is what I quoted in my posting.  None are 15th TCS or 61 TCG.  It specifically says "five of the men and the plane..." assigned to Eschborn AAB in Frankfurt, Germany.
     
    pathfinder504
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    Re:Bizare S/N 2010/12/19 12:49:51 (permalink)
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    B.
    At the crash site inbetween the wreckages , the life preservers of Brig.General D.Pratt of the 82nd
    Airborne killed on the early hours of the landing in Normandie in a glider accident and this
    of an Airborne paratrooper Brogan Harold J were discovered along with the remains of the crew.

    First of all you have REALLY got to verify your sources.  General Pratt was Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne in Normandy--not the 82nd.
    There is nothing that I see here that associates the mae west marked "Pratt" with GENERAL Pratt.


    Brogan was indeed a member of the 508th PIR of 82nd Abn, and KIA in July 1944 during the Normandy campaign.  He is buried at St. Laurent sur mer.


    Mae West vests were items of AAF issue--not exclusively that of Airborne troops.  Discarded equipment was routinely collected after an operation and, upon inspection, was re-issued.  This is likely the reason that the vest marked Brogan was found at the crash site years after his death elsewhere.  It is odd though that he wrote his name on the vest, since paratroopers drew their vests from piles of like items before a mission.  They didn't keep them in their lockers or dufflebags for continuous use.  It would be more likely for an AIRMAN to have his vest stenciled with his name than a paratrooper.

    Col. Ford L. Fair of the crash scenario was a Junior (Jr).  His father was the Brigadier General.  You have to be careful to differentiate between the two.




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