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427th McGarry Crew
John J. McGarry, Pilot
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JOHN J. McGARRY CREW - 427th BS
(crew assigned 427BS: 16 Nov 1943 - photo: 23 Oct 1943)

(Back L-R) T/Sgt Henry J. Grace (E)(KIA), S/Sgt Walter A. Kowalonek (TG)(WIA),
S/Sgt Ira Friedman (BT)(WIA), S/Sgt Ervin Hilborn (LWG)(WIA),
Sgt Elmer A. Wilson (R)(1), Sgt Edgar S. Brown (RWG)(1)

(Front L-R) 1Lt John J. McGarry (P)(KIA), 2Lt Willie C. Cotham (CP)(KIA),
1Lt Robert W. Halligan (N)(KIA), 1Lt Kenneth D. Foe (B)(KIA)


JOHN J. McGARRY CREW - 427th BS
(crew assigned 427BS: 16 Nov 1943 - photo: 23 Oct 1943)

(Back L-R) 1Lt John J. McGarry (P)(KIA), 2Lt Willie C. Cotham (CP)(KIA),
1Lt Robert W. Halligan (N)(KIA), 1Lt Kenneth D. Foe (B)(KIA)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Henry J. Grace (E)(KIA), S/Sgt Walter A. Kowalonek (TG)(WIA),
S/Sgt Ervin Hilborn (LWG)(WIA), Sgt Elmer A. Wilson (R)(1),
Sgt Edgar S. Brown (RWG)(1) S/Sgt Ira Friedman (BT)(WIA),


JOHN J. McGARRY CREW - 427th BS
B-17G #42-31241 Spirit of Wanette aka City of Wanette (427BS) GN-W
(crew assigned 427BS: 16 Nov 1943)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt Ira Friedman (BT)(WIA), T/Sgt Henry J. Grace (E)(KIA),
S/Sgt Walter A. Kowalonek (TG)(WIA), S/Sgt Ervin Hilborn (LWG)(WIA),
Sgt Edgar S. Brown (RWG)(1), Sgt Elmer A. Wilson (R)(1)

(Front L-R) 1Lt Robert W. Halligan (N)(KIA), 2Lt Willie C. Cotham (CP)(KIA),
1Lt Kenneth D. Foe (B)(KIA), 1Lt John J. McGarry (P)(KIA)


B-17G #42-31616 Spirit of Flak Wolf (427BS) GN-U


Crash site of B-17G #42-31616 Spirit of Flak Wolf (427BS) GN-U


Cadet John J. McGarry (P)(KIA)

Cadet Willie C. Cotham (CP)(KIA)

(KIA-WIA) On 09 April 1944 mission #132 to Marienburg, Germany in B-17G #42-31616 Spirit of Flak Wolf (427BS) GN-U. Crashed shortly after mission take-off, about 2 1/2 miles from the end of the runway. Because of its heavy gas and bomb load, it couldn't gain sufficient altitude. A tree was hit while taking off tearing off the tail and part of the stabilizer. Still unable to gain altitude and hard to control, it hit another tree and crashed to the ground catching fire one mile south of Winwick. (6 KIA and 4 seriously, but not critically, injured with bums and contusions). The wounded men were thrown from the B-17 during the crash landing. The four wounded men flew no more combat missions.

Substitute Crewmen on 09 April 44 crash landing: T/Sgt Stephan Stuphar (R-KIA). Lt Grover C. Henderson Crew, for T/Sgt Elmer A. Wilson (R)(1); S/Sgt M.A. Vargas (RWG-WIA) for S/Sgt Edgar S. Brown (RWG)(1).

  1. T/Sgt Wilson suffered a lung area wound and S/Sgt Brown suffered a hip wound, both from flak, on the 28 Feb 44 mission #114 to Bois Coquerel, France and flew no more combat missions.

Willie Caruthers Cotham and wife Mullis in 1943 — clipping from the Lawrence County Democrat-Union in 1944

[crash site, Cotham photos and clipping courtesy of James Pilkinton]
[crew photos and newspaper clipping courtesy of Ken Lehnert, son-in-law of Ervin Hilborn]
[third crew photo from the 303rd BGA Archives - identification by Barbara McGarry Donnelly]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]