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LT  Charles S. HARDING

MACR: 07502 CR: 07502





                    A/C 42-107137 XR-O flew 14 missions in this A/C   MACR #7502,Microfiche #2732
2nd Lt Charles S.Harding,Jr.            P    INTERNEE 13/7/44 Munich  sn# O-757191
2nd Lt Bennie D.Wilson                CP     INTERNEE 13/7/44   Muncih
2nd Lt Thomas P.Hunt               NAV    INTERNEE 13/7/44 Munich              
2nd Lt William F.Edmondson        BOM     KIA          5/8/44 Madgeburg  
S/Sgt John L. Craven                  TOG  INTERNEE  13/7/44 Munich (Replaced Lt Edmonsdson after mission 7)
 S/Sgt Thomas D.Miles                ROG   INTERNEE 13/7/44   Munich
 S/Sgt Norbert A.Fike                 TTE   INTERNEE  13/7/44  Munich
   Sgt Norman D.Fuller                 BTG  INTERNEE  13/7/44  Munich
   Sgt Wesley H.Peck                 RWG  INTERNEE  13/7/44  Munich
   Sgt Clare R.Harnden                 TG   NOC
S/Sgt Robert J. Buchanan              TG   INTERNEE  13/7/44  Munich (FROM THE JOHN HARRISON CREW)   
Sgt Lester J.Henderson              LWG  INTERNEE 13/7/44   Munich

349th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 25/5/44. See John Miller letter 8/3/81. Also,MIGHTY 
EIGHTH WAR DIARY says crew down in Switzerland.  On 13/7/44, John L.Craven flew as nose gunner, Robert 
J.Buchanan flew as tail gunner. Craven had gone overseas with the I00th Group Ground echelon then 
volunteered for aerial gunnery.  Craven,Buchanan & Fuller returned to Thorpe Abbotts in Feb.1945. 
Crew was interned in Switzerland at Adelboden for 1 month, then to Wengen for 6 1/2 months. 

Crew flew first 3 missions in A/C 42-31987 

Lt.Edmondson NAVIGATOR with the crew of A.J.Gallagher when killed.  Lt. Edmondson was Bombardier on the Harding Crew for 6 or 7 missions then he was transferred to Lt Gallaghers crew as a Navigator.  

  Missions of 2nd Lt. Charles S. Harding, Jr (mpf 2000)

1. 30/5/44  TROYES
2. 31/5/44  OSNABRUCK
3.   2/6/44  BOULOGNE
4.   4/6/44  BOULOGNE
5.   5/6/44  ABBEVILLE
6.   6/6/44` D-DAY, OUISTREHAM
7.   7/6/44  NANTES
8. 12/6/44  ROSIERES (S/Sgt Cravens joins crew as Toggelier)
9. 15/6/44  MISBURG
10. 18/6/44  OSTERMOOR, GER
12. 26/6/44  DROHOBYCZ, POLAND
13.   3/7/44  ARAD-ROMANIA
14.   5/7/44  BEZIERS
15. 11/7/44  MUNICH
16. 12/7/44  MUNICH
17. 13/7/44  MUNICH *

* From the remembrances of S/Sgt Norm Fuller. (mpf nov. 2000)  
"Around Augsburg, the IP, our engines began detonating and we were unable to keep speed up with the others in formation.  After given clearance, we dropped some of the bombs and proceeded to drop all of them, then started throwing all available weighty things out of the waist.  Guns, ammo, anything that could be thrown out, was.  Then, with the ongoing problem of not being able to maintain speed or altitude, we made a 180 heading westward towards, England.  Immediately, we were hit, direct hit, behind #3 engine with a hole so big you cannot believe it size.  Then a "bail out" order was given but not one of us did.  Into our view came 2 ME-109 fighters at 3 & 9 O'Clock high.   They pulled up to our wing and motioned to follow, we did and they took us to their base, a B-17 landing on a fighter strip.  We were tense and hopeful.  We made it and were then told that the war for us was over, since we were in Switzerland, a neutral country.  We all dropped to the ground and I think we all kissed it.  We were there for 7 months and were treated very good considering what it must be like in a POW camp."

"When we got hit, our Toggelier from Boston (Sgt Cravens) in his typical accent said over the intercom "We've just lost all our erl" meaning oil.  Also, Harding asked Hunt, the Navigator for a fix or location.  Nonchalantly and without any anxiety in his voice, said, "Sure, we are over Europe".  We all broke up over that and really laughed, it broke any tension that might become evident.  We were actually fighting for our lives since we did not know what circumstances might be forthcoming.  God was there in that plane with us and had his protective hand on us."

Charles S. “Chuck” Harding,  June 5, 2003.  A pilot with the 349th Squadron, Chuck flew his first mission on May 30, 1944, participated in the D-Day missions, and on July 13th brought his disabled aircraft down safely in Switzerland, where he and his crew were interned.  After devising an escape plan, they were able to return  to Allied control.  Army Intelligence adopted this escape plan successfully for use for over 100 other internees.  

Chuck graduated from Lafayette College in 1947.  It was there he met and married his “lovely bride”, Betty. (He always referred to her that way.)  Chuck became an FBI agent in 1948 and served with the Bureau for nearly 24 years.  He and Betty have three adored daughters and five grandchildren.  

Chuck was dedicated to the 100th Bomb Group and served as chairman of the site committee for several years before being elected as our President in 1999 at the Cincinnati Reunion and serving until the Omaha Reunion in 2001.  Chuck continued to be active on the Board, including attending the Houston off-year Board meeting in 2002.   Even after his Presidency, he was always helpful with the many requests he received for his wisdom and guidance.  He was thrilled when his brother Rex became a member of the 100th Foundation a few years ago.

During his Presidency the Association merged into a Foundation.   Ray Miller & Bill Carleton proposed a plan, Len Rosenfeld & Bud Vieth did the legal work and Chuck was there as the first Foundation President.  The accomplishments did not stop there.  There are too many to name them all, but at the top of the list is the creation of the 100th website.  It has, without a doubt, been the most important achievement of the Foundation and has been an official source of information for family members and historians.  Thank you, Chuck for seeing the possibilities...the website will insure the 100th's legacy far into the future.  

Chuck was always proud of everyone he ever knew, and they of course held him with in the highest regards and with the deepest respect and affection.  To everyone from boyhood & college friends, former FBI agents, cadets in training, his crew and all their family members and all the 100th members and of course his precious family, Chuck was a pillar of strength and was the best humanity had to offer.  His open attitude and friendly manner, not to mention his ability to listen and act on his beliefs, made him not only a great man, but a great President to the 100th Foundation.  He was a friend to all and a mentor to many, including the 100th Historical Staff.  In Splasher Six, Spring 2000 issue, pages 10-12 is an article called Know Your President, which tells more about Chuck’s life.  How do you say goodbye to such a man? You don’t. You keep his life and principals alive in our memories and hearts, as we do with all our 100th Veterans.  

(The 100th Bomb Group Historical Staff)

                              349TH BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON (H) ARMY AIR FORCES
                                            Office of the Operations Officer
                                                        APO 569

4 August 1944


On 17 July 1944 at 0925 hours the following Combat Crew, assigned to this organization, parachuted from an abandoned B-17G somewhere over England. Aircraft was abandoned account of fire.

1st Lt. Harold L. Heyneman  0-681539        (Navigator/Bombardier)
2nd Lt. Joseph Trapnell IV    0-818761        (Pilot)
2nd Lt. Melvin L. Kodas       0-503283        (Copilot)
T/Sgt Murry W. Holditch      18178502       (Top Turret Gunner)
T/Sgt. John P. Cooper           32931713       (Radio Operator Gunner)
Sgt  Adam C. Stoppel           17088192        (Left Waist Gunner)
S/Sgt. Robert Patrick             14065993        (Right Waist Gunner)
S/Sgt. William A. Geigle      33188079        (Ball Turret Gunner)
S/Sgt. Clare R. Harnden        16084649        (Tail Gunner)
S/Sgt. Byron R. Greene         31289048        (Toggelier)

FRED W. CRAFT JR.                                                                                              
1st Lt.. Air Corps.
Asst Ops Officer.

The aircraft on July 17, 1944 was A/C# 42-102977 was called "TRAPS".

Subj: Re: Crew list July 14, 1944  
Date: 5/29/2003 10:37:15 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: Heine48 
To: MPFaley 
My father was bombardier/navigator qualified (two ratings) When Lt. Fred Robertson the regular navigator was assigned to lead crews my father was assigned on the missions as navigator…Jim Heyneman



TARGET: Munich DATE: 1944-07-13  
AIRCRAFT: (42-107137) CAUSE: FLAK (Interned in Switzerland)  




Charles S. Harding, Jr. Crew (left to right)
Back: Lester Henderson (TG), Norbert Fike (TTE), Bennie Wilson (CP),
Robert Buchanan (TG), Norman Fuller (BTG)
Front: Thomas Hunt (NAV), Thomas Miles (ROG), Charles Harding (P), Wesley Peck (WG)) 

XR-O was interned in Switzerland after Charles Harding crew were forced to land there on July 13,1944 



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2171