B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 44-6253

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6253


MACR: 13978


History of
B-17 44-6253

Delivered Hunter 15/6/44; Dow Fd 25/6/44; Assigned 353BS/301BG Lucera 3/7/44; Missing in Action Padua 11/4/45 with Walter Haaser, Cole, Sparks, King, Forche, Brillan, Gordon, Yates, Gamble, Fishleder (10INT); flak, crashed Morbegno, Italy; Missing Air Crew Report 13978.

Last updated: 14. November 2021


B-17 44-6253 Details

Witness statements to the loss of B-17G 44-6253

I was co-pilot in airplane 44-6382, flying in the 2-1 position and was on V.H.F, at the time airplane 44-6253 in the 3-1 position called that he was heading for Switzerland. He stated that he had “an engine out and was going to Switzerland.” He did not say how serious his trouble was but our tail gunner reported that only one (1) engine was feathered. A bad oil leak had been noted before starting the bomb rum. They left our formation with the plane under control, no chutes visible and headed toward the Swiss border. This was on the rally from the first bomb run at about 1300 hours.

2Lt. Claude A. York
Co-Pilot A/C #44-6382
Piloted by 2Lt. Thornhill
Flying Position 21

Airplane #44-6255 got number four engine shot out over the target and started to get little behind the formation. About that time the pilot said that 253 was going to Switzerland. I was watching it and he had not lost much altitude. Black spoke was coming from number one or number two engine, al though I am not sure which one. No parachutes were seen to leave the airplane.

S/Sgt. William C. Kelley
Tail Gunner A/C #43-39492
Piloted by 1Lt. Voss
Flying Position 22

Ship number 44-6253 was in the three-one position in the formation when the number four engine was knocked out by flak. They dropped back behind the formation after we left the bomb run the first time, and followed us for approximately three or four minutes. Then they left the formation and the co-pilot said they were heading for Switzerland. There were no chutes to come out while I was watching them and the ship was under control.

Sgt. Orin D. Baxter
Tail Gunner on A/C #44-6382
Piloted by 2Lt. Thornhill
Flying Position 21

Source: 13978


B-17 44-6253 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT Walter B Haaser INT
CP F/O Jack W. Cole INT
ENG/TT SGT Robert L. Forche INT
RO SGT William H. Brillan INT
BT SGT Andrew H. Gordon INT
WG SGT George C. Yates INT
TG SGT Blaine J. Gamble INT
TOG SGT Leonard M. King INT
PHOTO SGT Martin S. Fishleder INT

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