1. The AAF forum will close permanently on December 1, 2017. I no longer have the time to manage a project like this, obviously, or give it the attention that it deserves. I still think fondly of the early days in 1998 when this all got started. A small, but eager group of tech savvy 1st and 2nd generation descendants made great friends with the last of the WWII veterans thru the newfangled internet. They're all gone now. It's time for me to turn the page. Thanks for being along for part of the ride. I'm sorry it got so bumpy in the end.
    Dismiss Notice

Miss Charlotte 885th Sq. Special Sept 10'1944

Discussion in '2641st SG (P)/15th SG (P)' started by Cépé, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Cépé

    Cépé New Member

    :) Hello at all

    Miss Charlotte, B-17 "F" # 42-30500, was reported MIA with his entire crew during an night drop supplies to the italians partisans the night of 9/10 september 1944.
    The ship, heavy loaded with packs and containers inside, 9 airmen aboard, isolated and lost over clouds, wind and snow fall, over the Alps, sudently percuted the North face of peak Gran Mioul, few 10 miles south of the city of Sestriere, close the Frech-Italian border.
    Only one police man of Sestriere, Victorio Bianco, earing the regular nose of an "big airplane flying althrough the night, then, far at the South, the nose of an suddent explosion following by many flashes and finally big fire then... no more.
    Beacuse the 1944/1945 winter was very strong, is only in June that the wreckage of "Miss C" was discovered, with still his entire crew around, not so far the top of the mountain, few 10.000 feets of altitude.

    In 1992, the Aéro-Re.L.I.C'team re-discovered the crash site. In 1993, the two sisters of the radio operator, Sgt Ernest Kölln, climbed with us the mountain and can see where theyr brother have disappear.
    An plaque was scelled not so far the site.

    Last year, the city of Sestriere, elevated an very fine monument at the memory of the crew. To the September 10'2016, and big ceremony will take place and we ara at this time searching for the relatives of the crew. With the fine help of Robert Swang (from this fabulous forum) we had the possibility of have the adress of all the families.

    I try to post pictures of the 2015'ceremony, and will give you more info quickly.


    rthomley and Airwar like this.
  2. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Article about Lt. Kolln

    Attached Files:

  3. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Cepe, keep us posted on the families search. We may have to do more searching if not all names on the first list I sent you work out. ( Robert Swag aka Rolland Swank ;) )
  4. Cépé

    Cépé New Member

    Hi from all

    Ho...!! I'm sorry Rolland... I writte under bad sick at this time since 4 days... I will inform you about the follow about the families and relatives I schedulled. Have a nice day.

  5. Cépé

    Cépé New Member

    Thank you Airwar for the old article. We continues our searhes for the families.
  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Cepe & Rolland probably you can show their names so all researchers on this forum can research,

  7. Cépé

    Cépé New Member

    Sorry "Jaap"... Taken from our web site : www.aero-relic.org

    Keep up the good work,



    Sestrière's B-17 Flying Fortress, Italy
    Pilot : second lieutenant John R. Meyers

    Mission : drop supplies for the italians partisans
    Date : September 10,1944, MACR 957

    Airbase : Alger-Maison Blanche, Algeria

    Dropping containers to piemontese underground
    Zone of crash
    Mount Grand Mioul, south of Sestriere, Italy


    42-30500 "Miss Charlotte"
    15th AF, 885th BS
    John R. Meyers
    Darl J. Heffelbower
    Ian S. Raeburn
    Raymond L. Wilson
    Ernest G. Kolln
    Donald C. Pullis
    Robert B.Lloyd
    Louis H.Simpson
    Walter H.Bildstein

    During september 10 to september 11, 1944's night, a B-17 called "Miss Charlotte", taking along on her board 9 crewmen, flies over the Mediterranean sea in direction of the mountainous zone of Cuneo, in Italian Piemont with mission : dropping 14 containers and 4 big packs of approximatively 1/4m3 to the Italian Piemontese underground.
    The weather was very bad in this sector, and the plane taken in a terrible snowstorm, will go too much north of its drop-zone, in a place where the alpine peaks largely exceed 10000 feet, whereas the envisaged flight's altitude was... 7000 feet!.

    In Sestrière, Italian ski resort, located not far from Montgenèvre, close to Briançon, a soldier in faction at the guardroom, the captain Vittorio Bianco, drink a coffee cup.

    The night is totaly black, when suddenly, coming from the south, a characteristic buzz from a lonely plane is heard.

    Surprised, the officer warmly equipped left the guardroom for better locate from where comes this noise. It seem's that a big plane flies in the mountains?

    Then, the echo decrease, suddenly a short lightning followed by a red/orange gleam, illuminates instantaneously the mount Gran Mioul's peak, while few seconds later, a terrifying explosion is heard.

    The B-17 "Miss Charlotte", has just hit the northern face of the mountain, which is localised approximately 12.5 miles in the south of the captain Bianco's location.

    None of the 9 crewmen survives at the crash. This lost of a crew recently arrived from the USA, was the first lost in operation of the 885th Bomber-Group!

    48 years later (July 12, 1992), our team located the wrecks of the B-17 on the Northern wall of Gran Mioul, disseminated from the top of the mountain (10000 feet hight), to the foot, this is almost more than 1 miles.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Click to enlarge
    One year later, July 20, 1993, the two sisters of radio-operator Ernest Kolln (which we had located in the USA. thanks to the assistance of John K Mattison, veteran of the 885th Squadron Special which had known the crew of the Miss Charlotte), came on the crash site where had been this tragedy.

    It was, for us, the occasion to seal a plate in the memory of this crew on the wall of one Gran Mioul's farm, located on the western side of the mountain.

  8. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Jaap, here is some info I gave Cepe and and as I understand it, it was passed on to the officials of the town. They are attempting to make contact. At this point, I think we are waiting to see which of these fail and then do a followup. I suspect they will not all work, so when we are notified of who they can't contact, we can try to find more info at that point.
    Pilot: John R Meyers, 2nd Lt, O-822048 (Aero-Relic is in contact with relatives.)
    Mother per MACR: Mrs Florence L Meyers, 26 Arcadia, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Co-pilot: Darl J Heffelbower, 2nd Lt, O-771020 (Aero-Relic is in contact with relatives.)
    Father per MACR: Fred C Heffelbower, 211 Harrison Street, Newton, Kansas
    Radio Operator: Ernest G Kolln, Sgt, 6932468 (Aero-Relic is in contact with relatives.)
    Father per MACR: John Kolln, Dow City, Iowa
    Navigator: Ian S Raeburn, 2nd Lt, O-723433 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56366127

    Mother per MACR: Mary Gordon Raeburn, Box 53 Barnes Road, Portland 1, Oregon, Father: John S Raeburn
    Sisters: Rosemary Katherine (Catherine?) Pullin) , (1925- ?) Dorothy Agnes (1926- ?)
    Brother: Alan McKenzie Raeburn born 1931 died 22 March 2012, buried Livermore CA, Memory Gardens Cemetery. His wife is: Janice M Raeburn
    The sisters address in 1948: 6610 Barnes Rd, Portland OR.
    Brother Alan's Obit: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/contracostatimes/obituary.aspx?pid=156781381
    (Note: should be possible to trace others in above obituary if needed).

    Current Address for Sister Dorothy, (age 89):
    Dorothy Agnes Raeburn , (address and phone number given to Cepe.)
    Bombardier: Raymond L Wilson, 2nd Lt, O-772102 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=65780661
    (Headstone application on ancestry and fold3). Father per MACR: Charles P Wilson, 4529 Northeast 39th Street, Portland, Oregon
    Mother, Reland Wilson
    Graves of Charles and Reland: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1335009
    Brother: Everett E Wilson: (grave next to raymond?) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=65780815
    Notice in Paper: Daily Capital Journal (Salem Oregon)

    Tuesday, March 8, 1949
    Funeral Set for Lt. R. L. Wilson

    Funeral services are to be held in Portland at the Colonial Mortuary Friday, March 11, at 10 a.m. for a former Salem man. Second Lt. Raymond L. Wilson, who lost his life in World War II. Interment will be in Lincoln Memorial park in Portland. Lt. Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Wilson, formerly of Salem and now of 4529 N.E. 39th avenue, Portland, was killed in action in the Mediter ranean theater September 10, 1944. Born in Grand Island. Neb.. Oct. 20, 1923, Wilson came to Salem in 1936. He was graduated from Salem high school and attended Multnomah and Oregon State college prior to joining the air force in March 1943. Wilson was a member of the Salem high school 'S' club and the National Athletic Scholarship society and for the years 1940-41 was Oregon state light-weight wrestling champion.

    Surviving besides the parents are a sister, Mrs. K E. Holt of Aurora: and two brothers, William L. Wilson of Portland and Everett E. Wilson of Salem.
    Brother: William L Wilson Portland Sister: Lucille Holt (Mrs. Kenneth E Holt) of Salem

    Obituary for Sister Lucille: http://www.coffeltfuneral.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2889628&fh_id=10979
    Children of Lucille Holt (Sloan). Raymond would be an Uncle to these people.
    Cecil E Holt Address and phone number given to Cepe for Cecil
    Raymond K Holt Address and phone number given to Cepe for Raymond.
    Norma J Holt Address and phone number given to Cepe for Norma.
    Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Donald C Pullis, T/Sgt, 12127802 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=119339622

    Father per MACR: Clifford W Pullis, Jr., 60 Franklin Avenue, White Plains, New York (14 feb 1900 – 15 march 1968)
    Mother: Viola H Pullis NO OTHER CHILDREN FOUND
    (These listed below are brothers and sisters of Clifford, so Uncles and Aunts to Donald).
    Uncle: Lester D Pullis (1909- ?), Aunt: Helen L Pullis (Field) (1892-,?) with daughter Jane Field (~1926- ?),
    Aunt: Dorothea R Pullis (1898- ) Uncle: Stephen F Pullis (1889 – 1973 (son Kenneth ? +3 other children
    Headstone Application for Donald (for those with fold3 access).
    https://fold3.com/image/317774792/?terms=donald c pullis

    Claude Allen Pullis (wife Esther) son of Stephen F Pullis. (address and phone number given for Claude to Cepe).
    rwg-Robert B Lloyd, Cpl, 39912971 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39758027
    Mother: Ruth B Lloyd, Box 83, Eagle, Idaho 1890- 1985 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=64633244
    Father: Emrys J Lloyd (1882-1933)
    Brother: Leonard Erickson Lloyd 1916 - 1999 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=124125074
    Son of Leonard is Kenneth Eric Lloyd (there is obit with findagrave. Some names could be followed up on are listed there).
    Obit for brother Hiram J Lloyd: died in 2009 http://www.scnews.com/obituaries/article_69003958-1bc5-547d-8a5f-8282baae54b4.html
    Brother Idris Emlyn Lloyd died in 2010. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=idris-emlyn-lloyd&pid=138738230
    Brother Russell may still be alive. Wife is Leona. (Address and phone number for Russell given to Cepe).
    lwg-Walter M Bildstein, Cpl, 38514657 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56362370

    Mother per MACR: Agatha Bildstein, Route #1, Harrold, Texas
    Father: Frank Bildstein. A brother is Joe (Joseph) F born (about 1912) died 1981 , and sister Francis E (born 1915-?).

    May be able to get lead on any Bildstein relatives through the Scott children. Obit for Evie Swanson Scott Bildstein. (She married brother Joe F.).
    Evie had children by previous husband (Scott). May be able to get leads to any Bildstien relatives through the Scott children. (“Technically” these are step children to Joe).

    David Scott 3/13/2014
    David (Stringbean) Scott died on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Austin. A private interment will be attended by family members at Jonestown Cemetery in Alvord, Texas.
    Scott was born May 10, 1944 in Vernon to Frank Scott and Evie Swanson Scott. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Robert Scott. He is survived by his wife, Linda Knudsen Scott; brother, Jimmy R. Scott of Vernon, and four children, Tami McFarland, Jennifer Hart, Jason Watts and Brian Scott, and 10 grandchildren.
    Memorial donations can be made to Hospice Compassus, 1717 N. IH-35, Suite 130, Round Rock, Texas, 78664.

    Jimmy R Scott. (address and phone number given to Cepe for Jimmy Scott ).
    Tail gunner: Louis Harry Simpson, Cpl, 37676872 http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6352405
    Mother: Edna B Simpson, Box 153, Camanche, Iowa, (Clinton County) (died 1990).
    Father: Harry Lyman Simpson (died 1952)

    (Obituary for Harry is on ancestry.com, lists son and daughter.)
    Sister of Louis: Bernice A Rowe born about 1920. She may have been working in Cincinnati Ohio as waitress in 1940
    Bernice A Rowe ) ("Possibly" old address and phone number for sister Bernice given to Cepe)
    Brother of Louis: William Frederick Simpson (age 85) (wife Marilyn J) (address and phone number given to Cepe).
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
    Airwar likes this.
  9. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    As a side note, Monroe MacCloskey (who was the leader of the 885th) does not seem to mention this loss in his book "Secret Air Missions". The book does not have an index, but I skimmed through it again and could not find it. He does note that they lost 17 planes and 16 crews while operating out of North Africa and later Italy. He was a hands-on leader and flew many of the missions. He has some good descriptions of what it was like to fly these night missions, particularly in the mountains and in bad weather.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  10. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rolland,when I find something, I will send it to you by PM.

  11. Cépé

    Cépé New Member


    Yes, the book "Secret Mission" by Monroe Mc.Closkey don't talk about "Miss Charlotte" as "Dallas Lady" (B-24 "G", # 42-78243), both planes loss on 9/10 and 11/12 of september 1944 in the Alps'mountains with total loss of their crew. I don't know why no mention of these two losses in this book ?

    These planes belonged at the 885th Sq. Special, before the 885th was mixed with the 859th Sq. Special from the 8th USAAF'Carpetbaggers and becoming the
    15th Special Group early in 1945 for few weeks, before to be definitivly called 2641st Provisionnal group (Special).

    We coninue our "searches for soul"...

  12. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

Share This Page