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Lead Crew - Mission #171
05 June 1944
Lessay, France
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B-17G Sack Time #42-102544 (358BS) VK-K
41st CBW-B Lead (360BS) - Pilot Capt F.F. Wilson / CoPilot 1Lt E.N. Thomas

(Back L-R) Capt Fred F. Wilson (P)(1), 1Lt Earl N. Thomas (CP)(2),
1Lt Lawrence D. Ross (N)(3), 1Lt Dick W. Merz (B)(3)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Herman H. Mirkin (R)(1), T/Sgt Warren G. Hubley (E)(1),
S/Sgt Wendell R. Petree (WG)(1), S/Sgt Dwight W. Roads (TG)(1),
S/Sgt Elvin F. Webbink (BT)(1)

Mission Note: Primary target was Gun Emplacements near Azeville, France with three Squadrons of 12 B-17s each . Group Leader and 41CBW-B Air Commander was Colonel Kermit D. Stevens (427th BS). High Squadron was lead by Major George T. Mackin (358th BS). Low Squadron was led by Capt Fred F. Wilson (360th BS). The Lead Squadron dropped bombs on the primary target at Azeville, high squadron on an airfield near Carentau and Low Squadron on an airfield (landing area) at Lessay after making three bomb runs on the primary target and each time finding the target obscured by clouds.

Crew Notes:

  1. Capt. Fred F. Wilson (P) and Enlisted Crewmen (front row). Were original members of the 16 November 1943 Lt Fred F. Wilson Crew.
  2. 1Lt Earl Thomas (CP) [See Thomas Crew photo]. Flew 5 additional missions with the 303rd BG(H) completing his combat tour on 23 June 1944. He then transferred to the 1st Scouting Force, Honington & Stepple Morden Airfields, flying P-51s. Lt Paul R. Ellsworth, 360th BS Pilot, also made the transfer to the 1st Scouting Force.
  3. 1Lt Lawrence D. Ross (N) and 1Lt Dick W. Merz (B) were KIA on 22 June 1944 on mission #188 to Wizernes, France, flying as members of the 41st CBW Lead Crew, 1Lt R.W. Erickson, Pilot in B-17G #42-97405 Mary Cary (360th BS) PU-H. (5 KIA and 5 rescued. KIA crewmen were in the B-17 when it exploded over the English channel. Rescued crewmen bailed out over the English Channel before the explosion)

[photo from the Peter M. Curry Collection - identification by Earl N. Thomas & Mark Forlow]