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358th Worthley Crew
Joe R. Worthley, Pilot
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JOE R. WORTHLEY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 06 Feb 1944)



JOE R. WORTHLEY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 19 Apr 1944)



JOE R. WORTHLEY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 27 Apr 1944)



JOE R. WORTHLEY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 06 Dec 1943)

(Back L-R) Sgt Benjamin F. Malherbe (RWG);
2Lt Eugene C. Blum (B); 2Lt Joseph B. Ratay (N);
2Lt Kenneth D. Crook (CP)(POW)(2); 1Lt Joe R. Worthley (P-KIA)(1)

(Front L-R) Sgt Grant W. Vanderhoff (BT);
T/Sgt Edwin D. Johnson (E)(KIA)(3); T/Sgt Harry R. Egan (R);
S/Sgt Fred B. Larson (TG); S/Sgt Ray I. Robinson (LWG)

  1. Worthley (P) - Upgraded from Co Pilot to Pilot from Lt A.L. Emerson Crew. KIA on 24 May 44 mission # 159 to Berlin, Germany in B-17F #42-97787 (No name) 358BS (VK-M) ditched in North Sea (9 KIA, 1 POW)
  2. Crook (CP) - POW on 24 Feb 44 mission # 112 to Schweinfurt, Germany in B-17 #42-31562 (no name) 358BS (VK-A) Lt J.F. Henderson, Pilot (10 POW). Hit by flak that blew off the #1 Engine.
  3. Johnson (E) - KIA 11 Feb 44
Twenty-five dispatched (26 Credited missions) of 1Lt Joe R. Worthley:
With his original assigned crew - 13 credited missions - 87 (11 Dec 43), 89, 91, 93, 98 (AS), 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 108 (11 Feb 44). (AS) Credited abortive Sortie - #4 engine failure. Turned back 5 minutes inside enemy coast (3:37 hrs).
After Mission 108 - 13 credited missions with various crews - 109 (20 Feb 44), 110, 111, 121, 122, 127, 131, 132, 134, 136, 142, 157, 159 (24 May 44).

B-17Gs flown by 1Lt Joe R. Worthley on his 26 credited missions

  • 42-37927 (No name) (358BS) VK-P - 1 mission (87)
  • 42-37893 Bam Bam (358BS) VK-O - 1 mission (89)
  • 42-29629 Connecticut Yankee (358BS) VK-M - 2 missions ( 91, 93)
  • 42-2973 Iza Vailable (360BS) PU-G - 1 mission (98 - AS )
  • 42-5854 Alley Oop (360BS) PU-C - 1 mission (99)
  • 42-39782 Wanton Woman (358BS) VK-L - 1 mission (100)
  • 42-97948 Padded Cell II (358BS) VK-J - 5 missions (101, 102, 103, 104, 105)
  • 42-39810 Big A Bird aka Special Delivery (358BS) VK-E - 1 mission (108)
  • 41-24561 (B17F) The Duchess (359BS) BN-T - 1 mission 109
  • 42-31669 Shoo Shoo Baby (358BS) VK-J - 3 missions (110, 111, 131)
  • 42-38159 (No name) (358BS) VK-E - 2 missions (121, 122)
  • 42-31739 Pugnacious Peter (358BS) VK-P - 1 mission (127)
  • 42-31583 Clover Leaf (358BS) VK-C - 3 missions (132, 134, 142)
  • 42-97622 Paper Dollie (358BS) VK-K - 1 mission (136)
  • 42-31574 Ole George (358BS) VK-G - 1 mission (151)
  • 42-97787 (No name) (358BS) VK-M - 1 mission (159)
Crew Notes (Original Crewmen - Missions 87 through 108):
  • 1Lt Joe R. Worthley (P)(KIA) - First mission (87) flown as CoPilot with combat orientation Pilot, 2Lt Aubrey L. Emerson. Twelve other missions flown as First Pilot.
  • 2Lt Kenneth D. Crook (CP)(POW) - Stood down on mission 87. Flew as CoPilot on twelve 1Lt Worthley crew missions (89, 91, 93, 98(AS), 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 108) and one mission with 1Lt John F. Henderson, Pilot (112) in B-17G 42-31562 (No name) 358BS VK-A to Schweinfurt,Germany on 24 Feb 1944. The B-17 was hit by flak which blew off the #1 engine as it was leaving the target and was believed to have crashed at Boppard, Germany. All ten crewmen became POW's (MACR 2762).
  • 2Lt Joseph B. Ratay (N), 2Lt Eugene C. Blum (B), T/Sgt Edwin D. Johnson (E), T/Sgt Harry R. Eagan (R), Sgt Grant W. Vanderhoff (BTG), S/Sgt Ray I. Robinson (LWG), Sgt Benjamin F. Malherbe (RWG), S/Sgt Fred B. Larson (TG) - All were seriously injured on mission 108, 11 Feb 1944 - their 13th combat mission. All except Sgt Vanderhoff were removed from combat duty after mission 108 and were sent back to the USA for recuperation. (See Incident #1 below). 2Lt Ratay (N) flew on an additional mission (90) with 2Lt William C. DaShiel (P). Sgt Vanderhoff returned to combat duty on 29 May 1944 and flew on nineteen additional combat missions: With 1Lt John H. Cook (10 missions - 164, 167, 170, 171, 176, 180, 181, 183, 184, 186); With 2Lt Walter J. Mayer (4 missions - 233, 234, 240, 243); Other Pilots (5 missions - 190, 195, 213, 214, 231). Completed his combat tour (32 credited missions) on 17 Sept 1944 (Mission 243).
Crew Note (1Lt Joe R. Worthley (P)(KIA) - Missions flown after mission 108):
Was not injured on mission 108. Flew on thirteen additional combat missions as First Pilot with members of other crews as his mission crewmen (109, 110, 111, 121, 122, 127, 131, 132, 124, 136, 142, 151, 159) . Completed his 26th combat mission (159) on 24 May 1944 when his B-17 ditched in the North Sea with only one survivor (MACR 5173) (See Incident #2 Below).

Related Crew Web Page Links:

INCIDENT 1: 11 Feb 44 mission #108 to Frankfurt, Germany in B-17 #42-39810 Big-A Bird 358BS (VK-E). Two engines were shot out a few seconds after bombs away. None of the gun turrets had power. Knowing that they had a fuel shortage, Lt Worthley tried to reach the RAF emergency field at West Malling, England. The remaining two engines cut out and the Fortress went down through some oak trees. The tail section remained in one of the trees and the #4 engine was torn off. The B-17 came to rest in a hop field of the August Pitt farm near Horsmonden, Kent, England. Seven crewmen were injured: Ratay (N) broken left leg; Blum (B) broken left arm; Egan (R) broken right arm; Vanderhoff (BTG) broken leg and facial cuts; Malherbe (RWG) fractured right hip; Robinson (LWG) dislocated hip; Lawson (TG) broken right leg. Vanderhoff (BTG), after recuperation, went on to complete his 35 mission combat tour on 17 Sept 44. The other wounded crewmen were sent back to the USA for rehabilitation. S/Sgt E.D. Johnson (E) was killed in the crash. Worthley (P) and Crook (CP) had no serious injury.

INCIDENT 2: 24 May 1944 mission #159 to Berlin, Germany in B-17G #42-97787 (No name) (358BS) VK-M (MACR 5173). Flak over Berlin was intense and accurate. Twenty-five 303rd B-17s sustained flak damage. 1Lt Joe Worthley's aircraft was last observed over the English Channel at 21,000 feet on fire at 1018 hours. Eight men were spotted leaving the B-17. Three 'chutes opened immediately and five men apparently had delayed jumps. The B-17 was not observed hitting the ground or water. It was later determined that the B-17 ditched in the North Sea.
Crewmen on the B-17 were:

  • 1Lt Joe R. Worthley (P)(KIA) - 24th mission
  • 2Lt Alfred B. Clumpner (CP)(KIA) - First mission - See Clumpner crew photo
  • 2Lt Carroll Binder, Jr (N) - 29th mission - See Quentin J. Gorman and Raymond Hofmnan crew photos
  • 1Lt Austin J. Mack (B)(KIA) - 28th mission - See Walter A. Kyse and James B. Taylor crew photos
  • S/Sgt Kenneth R. Pickell (E)(KIA) - First mission
  • S/Sgt Erwin C. Zimmer (R)(KIA) - Second mission
  • Sgt John W. Goetz (BTG)(KIA) - First mission S/Sgt Leslie M. Schweinebraten (RWG)(KIA) 27th mission - See Walter A. Kyse and James B. Taylor crew photos
  • Sgt James S. Baker (LWG)(KIA) - First mission
  • Sgt Elmer E. Simpson (TG)(POW) - First mission
[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]