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 Lt. Col. Charles Bean "Crankshaft" Cruikshank.  

Charles Cruikshank

SERIAL #: O-791077 STATUS: POW sn #3057
MACR: 01028 CR: 01028

Comments1: 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER ("CRANKSHAFT"), Original 100th, Crew #31




  Crew #31           418th Sqdn. M.A.C.R. #1028

Aircraft #42-30725
Date: 10 Oct.1943
Time: 1500/1530 "AW-R-GO"
A/C last seen: Munster

Crew aboard:
 Charles B.Cruikshank Capt.         P POW
 Glenn E.Graham 1st Lt.           CP POW
 Frank D.Murphy Capt.           NAV POW
 August H.Gaspar 1st Lt         BOM POW
 Orlando E.Vincenti T/Sgt       ROG KIA
 Leonard R.Weeks T/Sgt.       TTE POW
 Robert L.Bixler S/Sgt.           BTG POW
 James M.Johnson S/Sgt         WG POW
 Donald B.Garrison S/Sgt.        WG POW
 Charles A.Clark Sgt.                TG KIA

Crew on 21st mission. Weeks said that Vincenti bailed out of bomb-bay with chute afire. Had been fighting fire in radio room.

Garrison saw both James Johnson & Robert Bixler wounded and in waist of plane. Plane blew up and Garrison blown out. Ship had dropped bombs on target.

Weeks said; "Germans said Vincenti's chute had burned in the descent and that he was dead before hitting the ground. Bixler said Germans had shown him Vincenti's dog tags and told him that he was dead."

Johnson said he was blown out of ship and his chute opened at about 5,000 ft.  Clark couldn't seem to get his escape hatch open and was probably killed when plane blow up. Fighter attack caused fire in ship.

German Records show :Sgt. Charles A. Clark interred on 11 Oct 1943 at Lienen Cemetary/Wesph. Northwestern  third of cemetary, southern grave.  O.E.Vincenti northern grave (probably entirely burnt since Id tag was found burnt ,too.)
 Mrs.Agnes Clark 603 Laurel Ave. Highland Park,Ill.

From: Frank Murphy 
To: Mike Faley, 100th BG Historian and Photo Archives)

I have talked to Charlie Cruikshank a lot lately.  He feels, as do I, that what essentially did us in at Munster on 10 October 1943 was the lead airplane, Brady and Egan, getting knocked out on the bomb run.  We were the deputy lead and followed John down as he sank for perhaps as long as 10-15 seconds not knowing how badly he was hit, even though he was streaming smoke and fluids.  We then pulled up and continued the bomb run but all this, I feel, disrupted the integrity of the 100 BG formation and gave the swarms of Luftwaffe fighters buzzing like bees all around us the opening to take us on individually.  You know the rest of the story. Take care, Mike,

Frank Murphy, Navigator

Mission Log of Charles B. "Crankshaft" Cruikshank.

 Date   Target     Time
 26 Jun 43  Le Harve, France    04:45
 28 Jun 43  St. Nazaire, France    10:00
 29 Jun 43  Le Mans, France    05:20
 04 Jul 43  La Pallice, France    11:00
 17 Jul 43  Hamburg, Germany    05:50
 24 Jul 43  Trondheim, Norway    12:00
 26 Jul 43  German Convoy    06:15
 29 Jul 43  Warnemunde, Germany   11:15
 07 Aug 43  Kassel, Germany    06:20
 15 Aug 43  Lille, France     04:15
 17 Aug 43  Regensburg (Lnded Bertreau, Algeria) 11:30
 27 Aug 43  St. Omer, France    03:30
 31 Aug 43  Paris, France     05:40
 07 Sep 43  Watten, France    03:50
 10 Sep 43  Lille, France     04:30
 23 Sep 43  Vannes, France    05:00
 26 Sep 43  Paris, France     04:30
 01 Oct 43  Emden, Germany    06:35
 04 Oct 43  Hanau, Germany    07:00
 09 Oct 43  Danzig (Marienburg), Germany  11:15
 10 Oct 43  Munster, Germany (Shot Down - POW) 04:15

Sadly, another search for one of our aircrew members has ended in futility.  Today I had a call from the nephew of Bob Bixler, BTG on our crew, in Kansas.  I also talked at length with Bob's widow in Wickenburg, AZ.  Bob died from a stroke in February 1998.  Practically all his life after the war he was an engineer with the Arizona Highway Department and, apart from his wife, left a son, Robert Bixler, Jr and a granddaughter.  Except for a fellow POW (not a 100th vet) Bob was never in contact with anyone from the 100th BG or any 8th Afveterans organization….Frank Murphy


 MPFaley:  were you contacted by a gentleman about those zanny hats you wore back from Regensburg mission 
 FrDMurphy:  No.   I haven't heard from anyone about those weird hats. 
 MPFaley:  you will 
 FrDMurphy:  What happened was that in Marrakech we ran into some Senalgelese soldiers wearing those hats and we swapped ours for theirs.  The hat I brought back to England is now in the museum at Thorpe Abbotts. 
 FrDMurphy:  Yes.  My hat is at Thorpe Abbotts. 
 FrDMurphy:  The dagger that you see in my waist belt in the photo is also at Thorpe Abbotts.  We bought them from street vendors in Africa. 
 MPFaley:  Damn you did some trading over there 
 FrDMurphy:  We were on our way back to England via the ATC (Air Transport Command) and overnighted at the Moumonia Hotel in Marrakeck--Winston Churchhill's favorite hotel.  Our airplane was too badly damaged to fly back to the UK.  And, yes, we did a lot of haggling with the thieves in Marrakech. 
 MPFaley:  you youngsters took them for everything they had or was it the other way around 
 FrDMurphy:  I think they came out better.  That was a way of life with them, but we got what we wanted and it broke the tension we were experiencing after a very difficult mission.  It was a very tough day for the group at Regensburg.  You know the details.  
 MPFaley:  That was such a tough mission and you had to see so much from where you were in the formation 
 MPFaley:  what did the 350th look like out your window, had to be brutal on the first pass 
 MPFaley:  were you at the side gun in nose  
 MPFaley:  how much time did you have to react to fighters coming in and going from your Nav position too that gun.  
 FrDMurphy:  The Regensburg mission was unbelievable.  To be under attack by hordes of German fighters for ten minutes was a lifetime.  We took all they had for an hour at Regensburg.  It was an eternity.  I truly did not think any of us would survive.  The 100th was the last group in the wing and low.  They came at us from above, below and head on and from the rear.  I could only see to each side and from in front but they never stopped coming.  We ran out of ammo in the nose and I took off my oxygen mask and we 
 FrDMurphy:  I dragged two boxes of ammo from the radio room through the bomb bay back to the nose==WITH NO OXYGEN---adrenalin will work miracles. 
 MPFaley:  Man, that is a LONG way without OXY 
 MPFaley:  what is the sight you so vividly remember about that mission 
 MPFaley:  one sight that is just etched in your mind 
 MPFaley:  how many spare boxes of ammo did you carry on the plane? 
 MPFaley:  for that mission and on just regular missions 
 MPFaley:  how many boxes did each gun station have 
 FrDMurphy:  We were firing constantly.  There was never a letup.  It was bedlam--a nightmare.  What I remember most is the head on attacks and masses of 20mm time fused shells from the German fighters bursting and walking through our formation.  I would turn my head away, close my eyes and await death.  
 MPFaley:  That is terrifying 
 FrDMurphy:  We carried extra boxes of ammo in the radio room.  I don't know how much our standard ammo boxes at each gun station had but it was a fair amount.  We were just overwhelmed at Regensburg. 
 MPFaley:  never expected that type or length of attack 
 FrDMurphy:  To fly across Germany at its widest point in the summer of 1943 with no fighter escort at all and only 140 aircraft in our task force and taking on the German air force at its strongest was what we were expected to do. 
 MPFaley:  and you did it.  Must have been quite a feeling to leave the target and sweat out the Alps and going to Africa 
 FrDMurphy:  The 350th was our high squadron.  They had the same day we had in the lead squadron.  We did get a respite when we turned south from the target to go to Africa.  But, there were German fighters out there and we did not  know what to expect.  The pressure was never off. 
 MPFaley:  did Maj Egan stay in the CP seat the whole mission and where was Graham on the mission (CP). Was he stood down because Egan was flying the mission? 
 MPFaley:  The 350th was your low squadron, 349th and 351st your high squadron.   
 FrDMurphy:  John Egan was in the nose with Augie Gaspar and me during the heavy fighting and fired the right nose gun.  Glenn Graham was in the CP seat the whole time. 
 MPFaley:  REALLY 
 FrDMurphy:  Yes, 
 MPFaley:  during the formation and going to North Africa did he then stand behind Crankshaft and Glenn in the cockpit? 
 MPFaley:  surprised he was not in the CP seat being the CO of the Squadron.  Another Question, were you deputy lead that day or was it Veal/Barr 
 MPFaley:  or Cleven/Scott 
 MPFaley:  in case Kidd and Blakely went down 
 FrDMurphy:  We were leading the second element of the lead squadron and were the deputy lead but had no lead responsibility unless Jack Kidd and Blakely were lost.  Egan did stand in the cockpit most of the time en route to Africa but did not occupy the right seat.  Cleven was the lead in the low squadron. 
 MPFaley:  When you touched down how much fuel did you guys have left 
 FrDMurphy:  I believe we were on fumes.  Was told the red lights on all tanks were on. 
 MPFaley:  do you recall the battle damage? 
 MPFaley:  when you landed 
 MPFaley:  and do you remember seeing any crews ditching due too running out of gas or fighters after the target 
 FrDMurphy:  We had lots of bullet holes and skin damage but our big problem was that a cannon shell had hit and severely damaged the main wing spar in our right wing.  The airplane was not safe and we left it on the ground in Africa.  Yes, I did see one airplane in the Med as we approached Africa.  Don't know who it was but it presumably ran out of fuel. 
 MPFaley:  Must have been Van Noy who ditched off of Sicily 
 FrDMurphy:  Could have been, but there were lots of airplanes from other groups up ahead of us. 
 MPFaley:  Quite a story. 
 FrDMurphy:  Yes.  Munster was equally terrifying and we did not make it.  At both Regensburg and Munster I felt I would not survive but I did.  Ann is calling me so must go.  But, please give Harry my very best and most sincere thanks for all he has done for the 100th with his incomparable contribution to our marvelous web site.  Best to you both. 
 MPFaley:  thank you Sir

I am writing with the sad news that Lt. Col. Charles Bean Cruikshank of the 100th Bomb group passed away last night - May 2, 2010.  He was a pilot and POW in WWII shot down over Munster.  His date of birth February 12, 1917.
You may contact me at this email addresss for further information.
Irene Cruikshank



TARGET: Munster DATE: 1943-10-10  
AIRCRAFT: "Aw R Go" (42-30725) CAUSE: EAC  




 Charles B. Cruikshank crew taken at Gowen Field, Idaho in Novermber 1942. Standing (Left to Right); Charles Mertz, August H. "Augie" Gaspar, Frank D. Murphy and Charles B. Cruikshank. Kneeling; Orlando E. Vincenti, Charles A. Clark, Robert L. Bixler, Robert D. Lepper, S/Sgt Pepper and James M. Johnson. Detailed Information Photo courtesy of Frank D. Murphy John Brady Crew in North Africa after the Regensburg Mission 17 Aug 1943 Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) Four 100th B-17s over the Alps, top "Cowboy" Roane in "LADEN MAIDEN," 2nd from top (smaller image) Henry Henington in "HORNY," center Bob Wolff in "WOLF PACK, lower "Bucky" Egan and "Crankshaft" Cruikshank in "MUGWUMP" Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Officers from Crew #31 at Wendover Field, Utah in December 1942. From left C. Maertz, Charlie B. Cruikshank (Crankshaft to the 100th), Anthony H. Gaspar, and Frank D. Murphy. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Frank D. Murphy and John C. Egan photographed at the Mamounia Hotel, Marrakesh, Morocco 20 Aug 1943. (100th Photo Archives) 

 The Charles B. Cruikshank crew in Telergua, Algeria, 17 Aug 1943. Crew #31 just after landing. L-R A. August H. Gaspar, Charles A. Clark, James M. Johnson, Robert Bixler, Frank D. Murphy, Donald B. Garrison, Leonard R. Weeks, Orlando E. Vincenti. The pilot Charles B. Cruikshank is kneeling. Charles Clark and Orlando Vincenti were to be killed almost two month later at Munster (10 Oct 1943) Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Major John C. Egan, left, and Anthony "Augie" Gospar in Marrakesh, Morrocco, August 20, 1943 (100th Photo Archives) 

 Charles "Crankshaft" Cruikshank, left, and Glenn Graham in Marrakesh, Morrocco, August 20, 1943 Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 August 20, 1943 in Marrakesh, Morrocco. Augie Gaspar, back to camera, Glenn Graham and John Egan discuss a fare with a Marrakesh hack driver. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Officers of Crew #31 at Mamounia Hotel, Marrakesh, Morrocco. Standing left to right; Augie Gaspar, Charlie Cruikshank, Frank Murphy and Glenn Graham, the co-pilot kneeling. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Augie Gaspar, Bombardier from Crew #31 dealing with street vendors in Marrakesh, Morrocco Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 From left; James M. Johnson, Donald B. Garrison, Augie Gaspar, Frank D. Murphy, and Glenn E. Graham Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Charles B. Cruikshank crew wearing Fezzes and pith helmets from North Africa. This is a public relations photograph made at Thorpe Abbotts some weeks after the Regensburg mission. John Egan is shown kneeling wearing his white flight jacket, Cruikshank is on the extreme right,  kneeling on the left,with a dagger in his pocket is Frank Murphy. This photograph appeared in Stars and Stripes. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Standing, James Johnson, Don Garrison, Vincenti (killed in action), Kneeling, Lt. Gus Gasper (Lt. Cruikshanks crew) Picture taken at site 5. Karl Treanor collection 

230725 Aw-r-go on the ground Oct 10, 1943 MUNSTER mission.  Flown by Capt Charles Cruikshank.Photo courtesy of Volker Urbansky. 

100th Bomb Group Crewmen who made the Regensburg Shuttle mission, 17 August,1943 at Thorpe Abbotts,Note Maps Censored out Charles "Crankshaft" Cruikshank crew on right including Frank Murphy AP War Correspondent Gladwyn Hill (glasses) and Doris Fleeson,New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune reporter. Photo cleared to run 23 August 1943 AP wire

Stars and Stripes article on Regensburg.  

Stars and Stipes article Part II on Regensburg with Cruikshank Crew and John Egan. 

Capt Charles "Crankshaft" Cruikshank Crew in North Africa after Regensburg Mission Aug 17, 1943.  They are in Front of Mugwump. 
Courtesy of Jim Blakely, Forkner Photo collection and Matt Mabe .

Charles B. Cruikshank "Crankshaft" was Original 100th. His Crew #31 was shot down at Munster on 10 Oct 1943, their 19th mission. This is an excellent photo of the charismatic "Crankshaft." Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

Charles "Crankshaft" Cruikshank (photo from the collection of Jim Potts)

Unknown Officer, Charles Cruikshank, and August Gaspar (from the collection of Jim Potts)

Glenn Graham and Charles Cruikshank (from the collection of James Potts)

Four 100th B-17s over the Alps, top "Cowboy" Roane in "LADEN MAIDEN," 2nd from top (smaller image) Henry Henington in "HORNY," center Bob Wolff in "WOLFF PACK, lower "Bucky" Egan and "Crankshaft" Cruikshank in "MUGWUMP". Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

1983 100th Bomb Group Restaurant Grand Opening in Cleveland, Ohio. From left; Howard Hamilton, Charlie "Crankshaft" Cruikshank, Albert "Bucky" Elton, their old 350th Squadron CO, and William H. Fletcher.   William H. Fletcher Collection

 Lead Squadron flying over the Alps on 17 Aug 43. Command Pilot Jack Kidd (Group Operations Officer) & Ev Blakely in Just-a-Snappin A/C 23393 LD-Y, John D. Brady & John L. Hoerr in Stymie A/C 23237 LD-R, Command Pilot John Egan (418th Squadron Command Officer) and Charles Cruikshank in Mugwump A/C 230066 LD-U, and Bob Wolff & Charles Stuart in Wolff Pack A/C 230061 LD-Q. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini)  

 A/C 230061 Wolff Pack with damaged stabilizer, A/C 23393 Just-a-Snappin in lead, and A/C 230066 Mugwump at the bottom on the 17 Aug 43 Regensburg mission. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini) Wolff crew information | Blakely crew information | Cruikshank crew information | Regensburg mission information 

 Lead Squadron Regensberg 17 Aug 1943. The damaged B-17 in the center was flown by Robert Wolff. In September 1943 the Germans were to fish Bob and his crew out of the English Channel. Wolff's water landing was one of the most successful of the war. There were no injuries, either in the landing or egress. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) Bob Wolff's damaged B-17 over Italy 17 Aug 1943. Detailed information (100th Photo Archives) 

 On return from Regensburg rain, Cruikshank crew being interviewed by Gladwyn Hill of AP and Samuel Goldstein, Life and AP Photographer. (100th Photo Archives) 

 100th aircraft in Africa LD-U - 42-30066 Mugwump - Charles Cruikshank/ John Egan, EP-A, Thomas Murphy & Beirne Lay Jr (Foreground) this is the famous "PICADILLY LILLY," 42-5864,  XR-J 25861 Cowboy Roane - "LADEN MAIDEN," XR-D,230611 Henington - "HORNY" (100th Photo Archives) 

 Lt. Col. Kidd (Group Opns. Officer). Look at that board and the names, you are looking September 3, 1943, from that list the following crews will be missing that day. Winkelman, Fineup, Floyd and not on the board yet is Richard C King. Henington will ditch in the Channel.  (100th Photo Archives) 

230725 Aw-r-go on the ground Oct 10, 1943 MUNSTER mission.  Flown by Capt Charles Cruikshank.Photo courtesy of Volker Urbansky. 

John Brady, John Egan, and Charles "Chankshaft" Cruikshank in Algeria, following the Regensburg Mission (photo courtesy of the Edmund Forkner family and James Blakely). 

In the Front Row you have Lt Woodward Crew, Frank Murphy, Charles Cruikshank Major John Egan (CO 418thth BS)  Alvin Barker (351st operations officer) , Eve Blakely, James Douglas, 



Crew 1

ID: 1097