Quick Search
359th Purcell Crew
William A. Purcell, Pilot
 Home About Us Contact Us Donate Newsletter 8th AFHS Links FAQ Facebook Search
 Personnel Aircraft Nose Art B-17 Thunderbird Ground Support Uniforms Journals More Info
 Mission Reports Combat Crews Individual Photos Photos POW KIA MACR Overseas Graves TAPS


WILLIAM A. PURCELL CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 28 Nov 1943)

(Back L-R) 2Lt William A. Purcell (P)(KIA), 2Lt Francis D. Krohn (CP)(KIA),
2Lt Marvin H. Mussett (N)(KIA), 2Lt Joseph B. Kyne (B)(KIA),
S/Sgt James C. "Sonny" Beeny (R)(KIA)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Peter C. Castriciano (E)(KIA)(*), Sgt Kermit W. Nye (LWG)(KIA),
Sgt John W. Swanson (TG)(KIA), Sgt Leonard N. Faner (BT)(KIA)(*),
Sgt Harley R. Eastburn (RWG)(KIA)(*)

(*) Buried at Ardennes American Cemetery, Liege, Belgium


Six Combat missions flown by 2Lt William A. Purcell:
87 - 11 Dec 43 to Emden, Ger, 88 - 13 Dec 43 to Bremen, Ger, 90 - 20 Dec 43 to Bremen, Ger,
94 - 31 Dec 43 to Ship "Orsono" near Bordeaux, FR, 95 - 4 Jan 44 to Kiel, Ger, 98 - 11 Jan 44 to Oschersleben, Ger

Six B-17s flown by 2Lt William A. Purcell on his six combat missions

  • B-17G 42-31055 Aloha (P) (360BS) PU-J - Mission 87
  • B-17F 42-5264 Yankee Doodle Dandy (358BS) VK-J - Mission 88
  • B-17G 42-31177 Lonesome Polecat (359BS) BN-L - Mission 90
  • B-17F 41-24561 The Duchess (P) (359BS) BN-T - Mission 94
  • B-17G 42-31483 Bonnie "B" (P) (359BS) BN-P - Mission 95
  • B-17F 42-29894 Baltimore Bounce (359BS) BN-X - Mission 98
Crew Notes:
  • 2Lt William A. Purcell (P-KIA) - All six missions flown as First Pilot

  • 2Lt Francis D. Krohn (CP-KIA) - Stood down on mission 87 where a substitute mission orientation CoPilot, 2Lt Billy M. Goolsby, was used. With 2Lt Purcell (Missions 88, 90, 94, 95, 98).

  • 2Lt Marvin H. Mussett (N)(KIA), 2Lt Joseph B. Kyne (B)(KIA), S/Sgt Peter C. Castriciano (E- KIA), S/Sgt James C. "Sonny" Beeny (R-KIA), Sgt Leonard N. Faner (BTG-KIA), Sgt Kermit W. Nye (LWG-KIA) - All six missions flown with 2Lt Purcell.

  • Sgt Harley R. Eastburn (RWG-KIA) - Stood down on mission 95 when substitute RWG, T/Sgt Carl B. Murphy, on his 2nd mission, was used. T/Sgt Murphy went on to complete a 30 mission combat tour on 7 Aug 1944 as a utility Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner or Engineer with 12 different pilots. In 1943 T/Sgt Murphy was the First Basemen on the 303rd BG(H) 8th AF championship baseball team. Sgt Eastburn flew on five missions with 2Lt Purcell (87, 88, 90, 94, 98).

  • Sgt John W. Swanson (TG-KIA) - Stood down on mission 95 when a substitute Tail Gunner, Sgt R.M. Gilstrap was used. Sgt Gilstrap became a POW on his 8th mission ( #98) on 11 Jan 44, with the 2Lt Henry J. Eich crew. Sgt Swenson flew on five missions with 2Lt Purcell (87, 88, 90, 94, 98).

  • Sgt Cyril J. Dockendorf (Photographer) - not in crew flew with the 2Lt Purcell crew on mission #88.

(KIA) All ten crewmen KIA on 11 Jan 44 mission #98 to Oschersleben, Germany in B-17F #42-29894 Baltimore Bounce (359BS) BN-X. Aircraft left the formation, wing came off, rolled over on its back, blew up at 20,000 ft and crashed near Laubke/Lippe, Germany.

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]