Accident and Missing Air Crew Reports

573rd BOMB SQUADRON

ROLE: NAVIGATOR

INDIVIDUAL & NON-INDIVIDUAL CREW MEMBERS; & WITNESSES

Sources: AAIR, USAAFDATA, MACR, WWII AAF Casualty List, NARA (see resources page).


Assigned
Squadron Crew Year Month Role Name Rank Serial Status
573573120432NCalvert, Russell J.1/Lt.O798744
SOURCE: MACR 08058, 42-95802. 25 Aug 1944
NOTES: Target: Brest/Penscorff Coastal Defences. Mid-air collision between stabilizer of lead flight No.4 (42-95802 - Thorn) and left propellor of No.6 (42-95797 - Rice). Thorn lowered landing gear, one man bailed out, then aircraft went into spin. Calvert, who managed to bail out and was picked up by fishermen, stated that Thorn was low on gas and planned to land in Cherbourg and left the formation, but then decided to rejoin the formation and follow them to Cherbourg.
573573113432NCollins, Donald E., (Rip)1/Lt.O669007POW
SOURCE: MACR 06359, 42-107834. 5 Jul 1944
NOTES: Target: Senoche F/D. 42-107834 was hit by FLAK and crashed near Foret de Dreux. One witness statement says that Hartman bailed out of top hatch, but was knocked out and failed to open parachute. CP and B suffered burns.
57357312543NDudley, Norman S., Jr.Capt.O669017POW
SOURCE: MACR 11662, 42-95825. 23 Dec 1944
NOTES: Target: Ahrweiler, Germany. Formation attacked by 50 to 75 enemy aircraft attacking in waves of 10 to 15 aircraft. 42-95825 was in a 3 ship lead flight and bombing was by flight in trail. Enemy aircraft had already attacked the low and high flights. After the lead flight turned off target, 30 enemy aircraft made single attacks from the rear. Abraham in 42-107747 wavered in formation and then dropped back. Explosive shells were seen striking Boylan in 42-95825. The wings, fuselage, and nacelles were hit. His speed fell to 180 and he nosed aircraft down. All crew survived and became POW. The only remaining aircraft of the lead flight, Dillard in 42-107806, then climbed and joined the lead flight of the box ahead.
573573149NGreico, Joseph1/Lt.O792460
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-17994. 5 Apr 1944
NOTES: Aircraft type B-26-B4, No. 41-17994 crashed on take off, immediately after becoming airborne, due to loss of power in the right engine. With this loss of power, after being airborne, the aircraft lost airspeed and altitude rapidly, forcing crash landing.
The investigating committee is convinced that the pilot used good judgement in making a wheels up landing after loss of airspeed. Also the committee find it impossible to determine any cause other than loss of power in right engine.
A proper and efficient pre-flight check was made. There are no recommendations for action to prevent repetition.
NOTE: This accident occurred at RAF Toome Bridge, Northern Ireland (a replacement crew training center) before this crew (except Greico) were assigned to the 573rd Bomb Squadron.
573573146458NHanna, Robert C.1/Lt.O732466
SOURCE: MACR 14863, 44-35303. 17 Aug 1945
NOTES: At 06:09, Major Richmond and crew left Marignane, France in A-26C Invader 44-35303 on route to Marrakech. The crew and aircraft were on a ferry mission and returning to the US. At 06:39 after reaching 8,000 feet and levelling off on course the aircraft was seen, by the 2 other aircraft accompanying (#4176 - Massoni and #9560 - MacFarren), to go into vertical dive. Wreckage was later seen floating in the sea south of Marseilles. It was reported that one body was seen floating in the water, and a life raft was dropped. However, when the life raft was later recovered, no survivors were found.
573573137449NHenley, William C.Capt.O665918
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-22603. 21 Apr 1945
NOTES: Taxiing accident at Maastricht/Beek (Y-44).

On 21 April 1945, 1st Lt Kenneth L. Baker, was flying an-A-26C25 aircraft, A.F. #43-22603 on an operational mission. While returning from the mission, adverse weather conditions existed at the home base, Lt. Baker lost the home field, because of low ceilings and very poor visibility. He located Y-44, and made a decision to land there. This field is under construction and has no flying control. After landing, Lt Baker had to turn around at end of runway, to proceed to taxi-strip, as there were no strips at end of runway, onto which he could turn. Another aircraft landing behind him, made him taxi directly off the runway, in order to-avoid a collision of two aircraft. In so doing, the right wheel dropped into a hole, causing right prop to dig into the ground.

All three blades of the right prop were bent. One of two bombs, which had hung up, because of faulty shackles, fell, and slightly damaged the bomb-bay doors.

Immediate cause: Taxied into hole with right wheel damaging right prop blades.
Underlying cause: Pilot had to get off rurway to avoid landing aircraft colliding with his aircraft and no taxi strips were available at end of runway.
Responsibility: Airport terrain, one-hundred percent (100%).
Recommendations: None.

573573150432NKreiling, Charles H.2/Lt.O672951DNB
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-35067. 8 Oct 1943
NOTES: All crew were killed in aircraft 41-35067 on 8 October 1943 when it crashed after it got into an uncontrollable spin. Roles are assumed from existing role data and rank. Although Boyette's role was deduced as CP by elimination, he is attributed as Pilot on the accident report. Davis' forename comes from 573BS History (reel A0644 page 905), which also states that Parnell was a crew chief. Davis's ASN from 391BG Medical Journal (Reel B0427 page 1046).
ADDENDUM: Accident Report has since been received and details have been updated accordingly. Abernath's ASN is shown as O-731776. This crew was previously listed as crew #391101.
57357311843NNetherton, William S.2/Lt.O807281
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95801. 24 Aug 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at RAF Friston.
On 24 August 1944, at about 1615, Lieutenant Frederick E. Barker filed a clearance for a ferry trip to Friston Air Field. Previously, flying control at AAF Station 166 had called flying control at Friston and they reported the field in good condition and cleared us for a B-26 landing there. On arriving at Friston the pilot contacted flying control and was cleared for an immediate landing. Even though there was intermittent precipitation in the area; it was impossible for the pilot to ascertain the condition of the field from the air, and the slippery, soggy field was not reported to the pilot by flying control. A good landing was reported by the crew, however, there was not enough traction on the grass field to stop the B-26 at the end of the runway. In the opinion of the committee the cause for the accident would be considered entirely on the judgement of flying control. There are no recommendations.

The statement by 2/Lt. John J. Reynolds states:
1. On 24 August 1944 at about 1615, we were circling Friston air field. I, as co-pilot, contacted the tower for landing instructions and received them. We were to touch down on the very end of the field on a short strip of steel matting. We made a normal approach to a landing and the pilot, Lt Barker, decided that we would overshoot: so we went around again ano made another normal approach with wheels down and flaps down at approximately 140 m.p.h. to the runway. We touched the runway first on the steel matting and rolled until we hit the first hill on the runway where we bounced into the air again. We settled back down and everything was normal and under control. The pilot held the nose wheel off the ground to lose speed, but not for long as the runway is not too long. When the pilot put the nose on the ground and tried to apply the brakes, they did not respond to the pressure. At this time, we were about three fourths of the way down the runway and still traveling approxiwately 100 m.p.h. The pilot tried to apply the brakes again and found them to be no good. He then tried to ground loop the airplane, but could not. We saw that a crash was coming and relayed that information to the crew. I did not have time to pull up the wheels, but I cut off the mixture control and master and ignition switches before we hit the dirt embankment at the end of the runway. As we hit the embankment, the nose and main wheels were sheared off and we went over it and into a gravel pit on the other side of the embankment, which pit is about 30 to 40 feet deep and 55 feet wide. The last I can remember clearly is the plane crashing into the pit while I was holding the wheel in the forward position with one hand and opening the hatch with the other.
2. After the crash, I can remember being helped out of the plane by Lt Netherton who was riding in the radio compartment and remember seeing Sgt Schaefer and Puterka trying to get to the pilot and get him out of the airplane. The right engine was on fire but not burning too badly at that time. After. The above Sgts succeeded in getting the pilot out of the aircraft, Sgt Puterka went back and started throwing dirt upon the burning engine, and Sgt Schaefer continued to help Lt Barker up the hill and to the ambulance. Everyone was given immediate medical attention of the highest kind.
3. The weather at the time we arrived at Friston was a moderate rain, with visibility at approximately 1 to 2 miles. It would clear up in places and visibility would increase to 3 miles. On the field itself it was raining and the ground was soggy and slick. The tower cleared us to land at their field and did not report the slippery runway.

Barker, Netherton, Walker, and Bistagne sustained major injuries in the crash; the rest of the crew received minor injuries.

The reason for this flight was to ferry 2 minimal flight crews to Friston in order to fly 2 of the group's aircraft back to Station 166. These aircraft were likely to be 42-107671 (two cylinders out of lost engine) piloted by L/Col. Ljunggren, and 42-95808 (right horizontal stabilizer had 3 ribs broken, left engine mechanical failure) piloted by Capt. Jannsen. Both aircraft made emergency landings at Friston returning from mission #139 on 9 August 1944, and it is likely that repairs to these had been completed.

These personnel were all members of the 572nd Bomb Squadron, but flying a 573rd Bomb Squadron aircraft. Bistagne's role is not annotated on the report and no record of him has currently been found in the group's records.
ADDENDUM: Accident report for 43-22603 on 21 April 1945 shows that Bistagne was Engineering Officer.
573573127447NTodd, Ernest E.1/Lt.O706986KIA
SOURCE: MACR 14626, 42-95878. 23 Dec 1944
NOTES: Assigned to 574BS, 391BG, 9AF USAAF. Transferred to 1st Pathfinder Sqn, 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Euskirchen railroad bridge in B-26 42-95878 'Weary Lera' shot down by flak while leading 322BG crashed in flames near Bonn, Germany. (source: AAM - http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/10081).
573573106432NTurnage, James G., Jr.Capt.O422762
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95943. 15 Mar 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at Matching/Sta 166. The pilot was ferrying this ship from AAF station 519 (RAF Grove, Berkshire) after modifications. The pilot apparently made a normal approach but landed a little long (he estimated about 300 yards from the head of the runway). Immediately starting to apply brakes, the pilot claimed the left brake was not holding, which forced him to be easy on the good brake (skid marks by both wheels for the last 75 yards dispute this point and seem to indicate an excessively fast or long landing). At any rate the ship rolled off the end of the runway and the nose wheel collapsed. The fact that the main wheels never got off the end of the runway indicates that at this point the pilot had killed much of his speed, but the continued use of brakes greatly increased the down load on the nose wheel burying it in the soft earth. The extra resistance caused thereby overstressed the nose wheel assembly. It is believed at the accident was due 100% to pilot error, and 70% judgement and 30% technique. Whenever it appears impossible that a stop can be effected before rolling into soft earth, brakes should be released at the last moment to reduce the extra download on the nose wheel with the result that it will continue to roll.
57357311243NWechsler, Howard1/Lt.O797108
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95804. 29 May 1944
NOTES: Crashed on take off at Stansted/Sta 169. ADDENDUM: Suffered an engine failure on take off for the Orival mission on 29 May 1944. The aircraft flown by Capt. Kenneth W Mitchell, crashed at Mole Hill Green, about 1.5 miles SW of Stansted, Essex. The aircraft took off from runway 03 at Matching Green with 2 x 2,000lb bombs on board. Take-off was normal, but at about 200 feet altitude the right engine cut out, caught again briefly, then completlely cut out. The pilot sounded the alarm bell for a crash landing. Unable to maintain altitude and airspeed, the pilot flew straight ahead, and the co-pilot, Lt. Schiro cut the mixture control and switches for the left engine before the aircraft hit the tops of some trees. The aircraft hit the ground violently at 1130 hours and began to burn before coming to a stop. All the crew escaped before the aircraft exploded four minutes later.