Delivered Cheyenne 22/10/43; Gr Island 3/11/43; Memphis 9/11/43; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-W] Bassingbourn 20/12/43; Missing in Action 129m Stendahl 8/4/45 with 1Lt Robert E Fuller (POW), 2Lt Woodrow A Lien, T/Sgt Francis McCarthy, S/Sgt Richard D Proudfit, S/Sgt Wylie McNatt Jr, S/Sgt Ralph J Leffelman, S/Sgt Willian H Cassidy, S/Sgt James D Houtchens, Sgt Lemoyne Miller (9 Killed in Action); flak hit between fuselage and #2 engine caused massive fire which detached the port wing, exploded in the resulting dive, crashed Stendahl; MACR 13881; (oldest G in group) 1 x POW, 9 x KIA. WEE WILLIE.

Details 42-31333 / Wee Willie

The Missing Air Crew Report, MACR 13881, included a statement from a witness:

“We were flying over the target at 20,500 feet [6,248 meters] altitude when I observed aircraft B-17G, 42-31333 to receive a direct flak hit approximately between the bomb bay and #2 engine. The aircraft immediately started into a vertical dive. The fuselage was on fire and when it had dropped approximately 5,000 feet [1,524 meters] the left wing fell off. It continued down and when the fuselage was about 3,000 feet [914.4 meters] from the ground it exploded and then exploded again when it hit the ground. I saw no crew member leave the aircraft or parachutes open.”

Wee Willie was the oldest B-17G still in service with the 91st Bomb Group, and the next to last B-17 lost to enemy action by the group before cessation of hostilities. The War in Europe came to an end with the unconditional surrender of Germany just 31 days later, 8 May 1945.

B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie

www.americanairmuseum.com // B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie

www.americanairmuseum.com // B-17 #42-31333 Wee Willie

Crew 42-31333 / Wee Willie

PositionRang/RankNameStatus
P1LTRobert E. FullerPOW
CP2LTWoodrow A. LienKIA
ENG/TTS/SGTWylie McNatt, Jr.KIA
ROS/SGTRalph J. LeffelmanKIA
BTS/SGTWilliam H. CassidayKIA
WGS/SGTJames D. HoutchensKIA
TGSGTLe Moyne MillerKIA
TOGS/SGTRichard D. ProudfitKIA

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