Visiting a crash site

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Mary Kircher Roddy, May 16, 2017.

  1. Mary Kircher Roddy

    Mary Kircher Roddy New Member

    My first time posting on this site. I'm not sure of the protocol. I have done a ton of research on a 447th Bomb Group B17 which went down 18 Jun 1944. I had an article about my research published in a magazine and I've given several presentations on my research. About a month ago I finally discovered the location where the pilot was originally buried. He was the only one who died on the mission. I have the coordinates of the original grave. It is in a field outside of Ohlum, Germany, not far from Hanover. I am thinking of visiting Germany next summer and I'd like to visit the site. Does anyone have any recommendations about doing this?
     
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  2. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  3. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    The 447th lost 2 aircraft on 18 June 1944, 42-97148 with the crew of Lt. Schreiner, and 43-37714 with the crew of Lt Golden, which are you referring to?
     
  4. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Hal, 43-37714 with Mark Golden.
     
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  5. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Yes, thanks, we were both typing at the same time and I just now just read the link you posted on her research. Too bad she hadn't posted this earlier, we could have saved her some time. Our friend Jaap should be able to point us in the right direction for help in visiting the site. I've just sent him an email with a link to this thread.

    EDIT: There are some interesting comments in the post-war crew questionnaires, Mary do you have the Missing Air Crew Report?
    This aircraft had only been in service for 2 weeks before she was lost. It is possible that Lt. Golden had flown this aircraft over from the US to Rattlesden. I do not have a photo of either the crew or the aircraft. Lt Golden had just flown his first mission on June 3, 1944 and had flown a total of 6 missions prior to June 18th.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  6. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  7. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Some questions for Mary. Was Golden killed on the ground after a successful parachute jump? The MACR suggests that was a possibility.
    Was there anything useful in the IDPF file for Golden?
     
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  8. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Copy of Special Orders #124 dated May 25, 1944 assigning Lt. Golden and his crew to the 708th Squadron.



    Golden orders.jpg
     
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  9. Mary Kircher Roddy

    Mary Kircher Roddy New Member

    It appears from the IDPF that he did not land safely. The IDPF had one page in it, 11 May 1945 Report of Burial, US Military cemetery in Margraten Holland, noting it is a Reburial, with a notation “Previously buried in isolated grave located at : Coords: 595-112
    Another page, 15 April 1948, Disinterment directive. Moving remains from temporary grave to permanent. “Condition of remains: Crushed skull. Fractured mandible and all major bones. Remains complete. Advanced stage of decomposition. Means of identification. Initial MLG on ring. Mark L Golden printed on bracelet.”

    I think with that description of the remains, "crushed skull, fractured mandible and all major bones," either his chute didn't open or maybe the chute was damaged/torn/hit by flack or something, so he probably hit the ground hard and was killed on impact.
     
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  10. Mary Kircher Roddy

    Mary Kircher Roddy New Member

    I have the MACR. I don't have a picture of the full crew (darn!) but the Ardmore Airbase yearbook had pictures of Golden and all the enlisted crew, so I've been able to see most of the guys. I have been able to find college yearbook photos of Walton-Black. Also, a relative of Walton-Black sent me the attached photo of him with his father taken about Oct or Nov 1945. Walton-Black's father was a decorated WWI member of the Irish Guards and served with the Canadian forces in WWII. Captain James Black. He is mentioned in Rudyard Kipling's History of the Irish Guards. - NOTE: I'm having trouble posting the photo. I keep getting an error message. So I uploaded it to Imgur. Here's the link http://imgur.com/k2ifPM8

    If you look at the picture, you can see that James Walton-Black is missing his left hand. I would love any ideas how I can further research this loss. He clearly could not have been a B-17 co-pilot with only one hand. There is nothing in the MACR that mentions any injury to him on the mission. Two crew members were injured and there are several pages in the MACR about them, and Walton-Black reports on some of those injuries, but nothing regarding him. So I suspect it might have been frostbite or some injury in the POW camps he was in. Any ideas how I might look more into this? (I realize I'm kind of off my original thread so if I need to post my questions about James Walton-Black elsewhere, just let me know.)
     
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  11. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Mary,
    Here is the photo of James Walton-Black you wanted to post. The max size for images in a post is 2.5 MB, this new image is about 1.5 MB.
    James Walton-Black.jpg
     
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  12. Mary Kircher Roddy

    Mary Kircher Roddy New Member

    Thanks. I originally tried to post ones smaller than that size limit and I kept getting error messages. So when I uploaded to Imgur, I used my best resolution and just put up the link. But I appreciate your getting the full photo on this page.
     
  13. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Dear Mary,

    Our German friend and WWII researcher Dirk Hartmann lives near Hannover and Iam sure he wants to help you
    Hartmann.Huelsede@gmx.de

    regards Jaap Vermeer MDE
     
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  14. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

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  15. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Mary, I read the IDPF a little differently. The injuries are might also be consistent with being beaten to death. I am curious if you plotted the locations of capture. None of the men seem to have moved very far after landing and sometimes the locations can tell you something. Often plotting the locations gives you an exact flight path of the plane.

    The order of bailout seems to be:

    1st out of the plane (out the tail gunners hatch) was Gaswint. (So he should have landed farthest from the plane crash site assuming the plane was flying more or less in a straight line. That is not always true, sometimes when the plane is on autopilot it will go in circles.

    Out the front navigator's hatch went: Howes, then Long, then McColgan, then Golden and finally Walton-Black.

    Out the rear door went Valentine then Kauffman (both injured) then Slater and Giannoni who had helped the first two wounded men get out. Based on where Valentine and Kauffman were captured, it appears the plane was traveling roughly ESE.

    The last two groups of men, bailing out the front and back of the plane where probably doing that at about the same time.

    Note that the Germans had both Golden's id tag and his jacket which had his name. On Page 18 of the MACR (submitted by Long?),
    the German interrogator asks where is Golden? When Long? refuses to answer, the interrogator makes an interesting comment, saying:

    "American pilots are so dumb. They successfully bail out and then hide their chutes, but leave their jackets with the name on them in plain view; like the one we found with the name Mark L Golden on it."

    So what to make of that? If Golden's parachute failed, I would think the Germans would have had his jacket, id tag, parachute and body. If Golden had landed and was on the run, he may have hidden his chute and possibly ditched the jacket but would probably have kept his id tag. If he had been killed on the ground by civilians, they may have taken the jacket, and the chute (if Goldman had not buried it) and id tag. But the civilians may have hid or buried the body. The military authorities may have later taken the jacket and id from the civilians but the authorities may not have been told about a body.

    Typically when the German military buried dead air crewmen, they would use the nearest church or city cemetery. They rarely would just bury them in a field somewhere. From your first statement, I gather Golden was not buried in a cemetery, is that correct? Can you give us the location you are trying to visit?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  16. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Good analysis Rolland.
     
  17. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Mary, another question. You state you have the MACR and it is 52 pages long. The MACR on fold3 now is 50 pages long. One of the pages we may be missing is a typed statement done after the war by one of the crew survivors. We have Long's typed Casualty Questionnaire (starts with "Your Name", now page 26 on fold3, but I think someone else may have typed a similar page. I am not sure what the final "missing" page might be.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  18. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Mary two articles
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Rolland,

    The 50 pages of this MACR as posted on fold3 includes a number of duplicate pages, e.g. the NOK page, etc. After eliminating the duplicate pages my copy of this MACR is 44 pages, including the cover page.

    I think one telling item is the statement in the co-pilot's post-war questionnaire. For the level of detail in his statement one would expect that if something was amiss during Golden's parachute descent he would have commented about it.

    Hal
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  20. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Looking that the pages as now numbered on fold3.com , it appears 5 men returned the post war questionnaires.
    There are 5 pages for each for Golden, pages 17, 18, 19 20 and 21. Two of them, 18 and 19 are typed.

    There are only 4 pages for the "Name page" where the man identifies himself. Page 22 (and 23) from Giannoni (hand written), 24 from Howes (hand written), 26 (and 25) are typed from Long and lastly 27 is from Walton Black (hand written). So only 4 names of men who returned the forms and only Long typed his. I think we are missing a 5th man who typed his responses on the Golden page (which we have ) and on his (missing) Name page.
     

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