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S/SGT  Rudolph H. HARMS


S/Sgt Harms was KIA on Sept 3, 1943 on a mission to Paris with Lt Richard King's Crew. He was BTG. photo courtesy of Scott Harms

We just received the attached from the Epinal American Cemetery in France following our request for flowers at SSGT Rudolph Harms' grave on 9/3/18, the 75th anniversary of the crash and his death. The ribbon says "In Grateful Memory". What a lovely tribute.

"The departure of our boys to foreign parts with the ever-present possibility that they might never return....To many a mother the photograph of her boy in his country's uniform was the one never-failing consolation." - Louis F. Bachrach
Framed on the wall, beside the rocking chair of Minnie Harms, was the portrait of her youngest son, Staff Sgt. Rudolph Harms, and a picture of her church where the family worshiped, in the rural heartland of America.
In loving memory: Staff Sgt. Rudolph Harms was the Ball Turret Gunner on board SUNNY, on its fateful Paris Mission, Sept. 3, 1943.. William T. Anderson

SERIAL #: 16034540 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 00684 CR: 00684

Comments1: 3 SEP 43 BEAUMONT Le ROGER (Original 100th, Crew #26)




                                   1ST LT RICHARD C. KING
                              ORGINAL 100TH PILOT, 351st Squadron

CREW #26   A/C #42-3234        "LITTLE MIKE"        MACR #684

1ST LT  RICHARD C. KING             P;   KIA   3 SEP 43 PARIS
T/SGT   DERRELL C. PIEL         ROG;  KIA   8 OCT 43 BREMEN (WITH CREW 22, Capt. Thomas E. Murphy Crew)
S/SGT   DONALD E. WISE          TG;   KIA   3 SEP 43 PARIS

1.   25 JUN 43    BREMEN                A/C# 230086 Black Jack
     26 JUN 43    Le MANS               A/C# 230087  Shack Rat(Group did not get credit for mission   
2.   28 JUN 43    ST NAZAIRE            A/C# 23234  Little Mike 
3.   29 JUN 43    Le MANS                A/C# 230051 Nevada Wildcat
4.     4 JUL 43    La PALLICE              A/C# 23234  Little Mik e
5.   10 JUL 43    Le BOURGET            A/C# 23234  Little Mike 
6.   14 JUL 43    Le BOURGET            A/C# 23234  Little Mike 
7.   24 JUL 43    TRONDHEIM             A/C# 23234  Little Mike
8.   25 JUL 43    KIEL                        A/C# 23307  Skipper
9. . 28 JUL 43    OSCHERSLEBEN          A/C#23234  Little Mike 
10. 29 JUL 43    WARNEMUNDE           A/C# 23234  Little Mike  
11. 30 JUL 43    KASSEL                     A/C# 23234  Little Mike 
12. 12 AUG 43  WESSELING & BONN    A/C# 23234  Little Mike 
13. 15 AUG 43   MERVILLE & LILLE        A/C# 23234 Little Mike 
14. 19 AUG 43   WOENSDRECHT          A/C# 25865 Janie
15. 24 AUG 43   BORDEAUX                 A/C#23234  Little Mike  (injured by flak)
16.  8 OCT  43   BREMEN  (KIA)           A/C #25864 Piccadilly Lily (with Capt. Thomas E. Murphy Crew)

Subj: Re: Derrell Piel  
Date: 5/24/2003 6:32:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
I have several copies of letters of award in regard to Derrell . I also have a copy of his Selective Service Records along with a letter he typed to his folks. His given name is Derrell Clifford Piel. His date of birth is October 11, 1943. His address when he entered the service was Dunning, Blaine Co., Nebraska. The letter from the Department of the Army stating where he was interred states his name as Derrell C. Piel. I feel 100% sure of this. I see that on the web-site you don't have his grave. He is interred in Plot P, Row 9, Grave 14. Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands. Some more questions for you….Sandy Moroney family member


Mission: Paris                    M.A.C.R. #684
Date: 3 Sept.1943          Aircraft #42-30089 "SUNNY"
Time: 0920
A/C last seen: Over Beaumont AF

 Richard C.King  1st Lt           P    KIA
 George D.Brykalski F/O         CP    KIA
 Ernest Anderson 2nd Lt     NAV   POW
 Edward H.Hovde 2nd Lt    BOM   POW
 Robert L.McKnight T/Sgt   ROG   KIA (Crew #27)
 Trafford L.Curry T/Sgt       TTE  EVADEE
 Rudolph H.Harms S/Sgt     BTG   KIA
 Heber Hogge,Jr. S/Sgt     RWG   POW
 James M.Sides Sgt           LWG  POW 
 Donald E.Wise S/Sgt          TG  KIA

Barney Sutton, regular waist gunner on this crew, had flown six or seven missions when he received an appointment as an Aviation cadet. He returned to the U.S. and was replaced on the Crew by James Sides. Sutton became a navigator and, in the fall of 1944, returned to England for duty with the 398th Bomb Group. In a letter to this writer in 1979 Sutton had this to say, "The Esprit de Corp of the 398th was nothing to match the 100TH. However, at that time the 100TH had been shot down twice, and I feel sure the 398TH had suffered also." At the time of the 3 Sept.43 Paris mission, Derrell Piel was on sick leave and was replaced by Robert McKnight, the regular radio operator of crew #27. On 8 Oct. 1943, flying with crew #22, Piel was KIA. It is rather ironic to note that McKnight's regular crew successfully completed their tour of 25 missions

Statement of Trafford Curry taken at Thorpe Abbotts in January 1944:

"I was in the top turret at the time we were hit amidships by flak from the Paris area. Our A/C left the formation in a steep dive and when it leveled off several thousand feet below I came out of my turret to see what was taking place. I quickly observed that the A/C was burning both in the bomb bay and the navigator's compartment. The A/C was very badly damaged and the fires were too far advanced to be extinguished. I put on my chute and when given the bail out order I tried to go out the navigator's hatch, but changed my mind when I saw the fire and smoke in that part of the A/C. I then went to the bomb bay and jumped through the flames that practically covered that area of the A/C. Just before I jumped I looked back and saw Lt.King and his co-pilot adjusting their chutes. After my chute opened I saw several other chutes come from my A/C, but never knew who they were. The A/C disappeared still in level flight and I learned later that it crashed in a field several miles away, still in level flight, but exploded soon after. I was not able to obtain any information about any of my crew members."

Plane was on bomb run when hit by flak and apparently lurched up and its right wing struck the tail section of A/C # 42-30059 flown by crew #23. Eyewitness accounts have some conflict but some said that bombs from #059 fell onto #089.

Heber Hogge is authority for information that Edward Hovde was wounded in left leg and had it amputated at hip. See M.A.C.R. #685 and #686 for more data on this crew.

Missions of Lt.Richard C. King Crew (from Paul Andrews appendices in Luck of the Draw by Frank Murphy)

June 25,1943 Bremen,     a/c 230086 "Black Jack"
June 26,1943 LeMans,     a/c 230087 "Shack Rat" (Group did not get credit for this mission)
June 28,1943 St Nazaire  a/c 23234  "Little Mike"
June 29,1943 LeMans      a/c 230051 "Nevada Wildcat"
July  4,1943 LaPallice   a/c 23234  "Little Mike"
July 10,1943 LeBourget   a/c 23234  "Little Mike"
July 14,1943 LeBourget   a/c 23234  "Little Mike"      

*Note, the following came from Jim Sides personal Log recorded during World War 2.  Some of the dates were changed from the original log to correspond with the correct mission Jim is describing. Mike Faley April 1, 2000

Missions flown by S/Sgt James Sides Jr. as given on April 1, 2000
Crew 26, 351st Sqdrn,  AC #42-3234 'Little Mike"
Left Waist Gunner and Assistant Radio Operator

1.  July 24, 1943-Trondheim, Norway, Target-Submarine Pens.  Longest air raid made by  8th Air Force
bombers to date.  Twelve Hours and fifteeen minutes.  Intercepted by 6 German ME 109's and Heavy Flak.
Received hit by 88mm shell in vertical stabilizer.  Bombing altitude 19,000 feet.

2.  July 25, 1943-Rostock, Germany.  Target was covered by smoke,  Bombed Submarine Pens at Kiel, Germany,
Heavy Flak, intercepted by 8 German fighters. Mission time: eight Hours.

3.  July 28, 1943-Hanover, Germany, (Oschersleben) Target was FW 190 Assembly Plant.  Attacked by German Fighters and five 
of 100th Bombers were destroyed.  bombing altitude 18,000 feet. (** Side note here, according to 100th records,
No aircraft were lost that day-Mike Faley)

4.  July 30, 1943-Kassel Germany, Target was F.W. 190 Assembly Plant.  Crossed over Belgium, met great deal of 
Flak.  Intercepted by 25 German fighter planes which followed us to the target.  Fighter attack lasted for one hour and 
fifteen minutes.  Bombed Target from 24,000 feet. Flak heavy over target.  Before leaving Germany we were met by 25 
American P-47 that flew above us.  Attacked by 3 FW 190 German Fighter Planes.  One fighter was destroyed by 
myself and ball turret gunner.  Sides was given the credit of destroying one enemy aircraft.  We were on oxygen for four 
hours and fifteen minutes.  Mission lasted 8 hours.

5.  August 12, 1943-Bonn, Germany-Primary Target was Gasoline and Oil Storage Tanks.  Secondary target was City 
of Bonn.  Heavy Flak.  Bombing altitude ws 26,000 feet.  8th lost 25 bombers this raid.

6.  August 14, 1943-Southern France-Duck Diversion Mission (*note: Duck was a symbol for decoy-MF)-Altitude
20,000 feet.  Escorted by American P-47's.  Purpose was to flush up enemy aircraft to intercept and destroy.

7.  August 15, 1943-Lille France, Target was Airport.  Secondary target at Merville, France.  Bombing altitude was
20,000 feet.  Met very heavy flak at Merville. Was intercepted by 20 German fighters.  Mission was successful.

8.  August 19, 1943-Holland-First and secondary targets were overcast.  Failed to drop bombs.  Returned to base.
Mission unsuccessful.

9. August 24, 1943-France, Air Fields in France near Paris.  Bombing altitude 24,000 feet.  Very Heavy flak and 
enemy fighters.  Our radio operator , Derrell Piel was wounded by Flak.  Was Attended by Sides.

10. September 3, 1943- Paris, France-Target was Renault Works in Paris, Secondary target was Air Field at 
Evruex, France.

Note: LITTLE MIKE, crew 26 was flying in borrowed aircraft from another crew.  LITTLE MIKE had been damaged so 
badly on a previous mission that is was unable to fly.  Bombing altitude was 23, 000 feet.  On target run we had a direct hit by 
88mm in our number 2 engine which caught fire.  We were knocked out of formation.  Our plane was still under control.  King 
attempted to get back into formation.  We were then either hit or we hit another plane.  See Crew 23 statements.  We then received direct hits by anti-aircraft fire in our bomb bay section and in the radio compartment, each hit causing fire.  All communications were knocked out in our plane.  Our ball turret gunner came out of the turret and started to put on his chute, saw the fire in the radio hatch and grabbed a fire ext. and started fighting the fire in the radio room.  Hogge and I were firing at enemy fighters coming in on us.  At this time smoke was so thick that we could hardly see anything, I knew it was time to get out of the aircraft, I disconnected my oxygen and motioned for Hogge to bail out.  Hogge and I both were wearing backtype parachutes.  At that time
I apparently blacked out from the lack of oxygen.  I heard a very loud explosion.   When I came to, I realized that I was falling, I was then able to grab my ripcord and pulled.  I then determined that I was about 5000 feet above the ground.  That I had fallen about 15,000 feet while I was unconscious.  There was a German fighter circling around me all the way to the ground.  Probably 
radioing my position to my captors.  I was captured immediately then transported to Bastille Prison where I was kept during the night.  Both of my ears had been ruptured along with some flak wounds in my back.  The next day I was transported to Frankfurt, then to Dulag Luft Prison.  Two weeks later I was transported to Munich to Stalag 7A.  Thirty days later I was transported by cattle car to Stalag 17B at Krems Austria.  Was interned there until March 26, 1945.  On that Day 4200 American POW's were forced to march across Austria in the foothills of the Carpathain mountains to Insbrook Austria.  Appox. 280 miles.  On May 3. 1945 we were liberated by Pattons 13th Armored Division.  Then transported to Camp Luckie Strike in France.
Met Edward Hovde and Ernest Anderson at the 100th Reunion in Tampa Florida in 1990.  We did not know about Curry until later years .Hogge said that he bailed out and did not know about Curry before the airplane blew up.  Therefore, it appears that I was the only survivor that survived the explosion.  Also, I am the only remaining survivor of my crew.  God has really blessed me.
                                                              JIM SIDES-APRIL 1, 2000

Mike: Sorry I haven’t got back sooner, but have been busy with our new home.  
I have been working on the ‘Works vs Word’ problem.  My ‘save as’ option will not let me copy to the Word text program, gives me an error but the save as option has many different Word options, tried 2 different one but got the same error msg.  I will send you hard copies of my data ASAP, so you will have the info but you will probably have to rekey the data into your files.  Be aware I am pretty much of a neophite in computers, but my daughter received your email as a BCC, so I am sure the data is there, just need somewone to convert it.  I recall that in your original email, there were two other names, would their system accept my data file?  I  will try and send a copy to them in case their system is different from yours. Also, if you don’t mind, sent me your phone # so we can talk one on one.

Dear Mike:     4/21/05

Was glad to get return mail from you and the 100th BG
Be advised that I have transcribed the aforementioned letters, and am forwarding them to you.  Be aware I cannot send at this time a copy of the original letters because I am in the process of moving to a new home and my letters are boxed and in storage.  After my move I will be able to send you copies of these original letters.  I believe I have some original pictures of Rudolph when he had been home on leave also.  

I am the unofficial caretaker of the Harms genealogy, and the following is in major part, what I have entered in my genealogy file for Rudolph.  Be aware I use some of my own coding and references to indicate where in my hard copy files data is located.  

Since this file can be edited, please scratch any and all data that you deem un-necessary for your files.  My text file is microsoft works.

Robert Harms

PS:  If you have any other current info on Rudolph’s crew, please advise in a return email, such as is anyone still alive, any family addresses, etc.

PPS: I have just retired from the LA area (year ago).  My son Scott works for the LA Co. Sheriff Dept in the forensics dept.  My daughter Cynthia is a retired Lt Col in Marines, and her husband is a retired Col in the Marines, and is working in Belgium at SAUCER SHAPE as an assistant legal advisor.  

Name: Rudolph HARMS
Birth: 19 Feb 1916 Crescent City, Iroquois, IL
Death: 3 Sept 1943 France
Burial:  Solem, France, Plot H, Row 4, Grave 61
Father: Hio H HARMS (1877-1946)
Mother: Wilhelmine BRUNIGA "Minnie" (1875-1962)

Chicago, Illinois, Aug 28, 1941
1. It gives me pleasure to advise you that RUDOLPH HI HARMS, enlisted on Aug 28, 1941 in the Regular Army of the United States for Air Corps, Sheppard Field, Texas for a period of three years.
2. He gave his age as 25 years and stated that he was not married, and that no one was dependent upon him for support.
3. He gave as his nearest relative, HI HARMS.  He designated the following person to be notified in case of emergency: HI HARMS, father, Box 202, Crescent City, IL.
4. The consent to his enlistment was signed by: Not Required
5. In the event he gave an incorrect age; falsified his marital status; has dependents, or submitted a false consent to enlistment, I am enclosing a self-addressed envelope (no stamp is necessary) addressed to his first Commanding Officer which may be used if you desire to communicate with his Commanding officer regarding any mis-statement of facts.  This letter has been shown to the soldier in order that he may reaffirm the answers he gave on his application for enlistment.
/s/Signatue of recruiting officer: Edward F Shaifer
Rank: Lt Col. Cavalry

!OBIT: Page 141, Dateline: WATSKA REPUBLICAN MAY 1944
Was previously reported missing.
After eight months of anxious waiting, Mr & Mrs Hio Harms, Crescent City, have received word that their son, Staff Sgt RUDOLPH H HARMS was killed in action, Sep 3, 1943.  He had been reported missing since that date, and at one time his parents had been informed unofficially that he had survived an air crash, and was in this country.
Staff Sgt HARMS was a lower turret gunner on a flying fortress (B17) with the US Air Forces in England.  It was while on a mission over France that the crash occurred.  He had entered service Aug 27, 1941, and received training at Sheppard Field and other flight centers before he went overseas in May, 1943.  He had received several citations for flights over enemy territory.
RUDY HARMS was born near Crescent City, Feb 19, 1916.  Besides his parents, surviving are: his twin brother Russell, Martinton; two other brothers, John of Crescent City and R Wesley, Danforth; two sisters, Mrs John (Mamie) Focken, Cissna Park; and Mrs Dorothy Heuton, Danforth.  Two brothers and a sister preceded him in death.
Memorial services have been tentatively set for this Crescent City hero on Sunday, May 14, at the Crescent City Lutheran Church.

!MILI: Page 141, Dateline: WATSEKA REPUBLICAN FEB 3, 1944
Mr & Mrs Hio Harms, Crescent City are the proud recipients of the Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters, earned by their son, 
S/Sgt RUDOLP H HARMS, who has been missing in action since Sep 3, 1943.
In a private ceremony performed at the Harms home at 2:30 Sunday aftenoon the presentation was made by a Staff Sergeant, who accompanied Capt. Quam, Pontiac, Sixth Service Command, who spoke briefly to the parents and friends.
The Air Medal Citation was issued Jul 21, 1943 and the Oak Leaf Clusters issued August 17, and Sep 24 representing exceptional meritorious achievement, while participating in 15 separate bomber missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe.

!OBIT: Page 141, Dateline: CRESCENT CITY
Staff Sergeant RUDOLPH HARMS son of Hio Harms and his wife Minnie nee Bruniga, was born north of Crescent City, Feb 19, 1916.  On Mar 19, he and his twin brother were baptized in the name of the triune God in Holy Baptism. Rudolph attended the country and the High Schools of Crescent City.  He attended the Sunday School and services of St Peter Lutheran Church.  On Apr 13, 1930 he was confirmed in a class of 5 in our church.  His memorial verse being Romans, 5-1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ".  On Mar 14, 1940 the deceased also became a voting member of our church.  After his confirmation he worked on the farm and of late years as a tank truck driver in Kankakee.  Realizing that he would be called into the service of our country, he enlisted and entered the service on Aug 27, 1941, and was sent to Sheppard Field before going overseas last May 1943.  He was reported missing in action last Sep 3.  The last report of the government was that he was killed in action last Sep 3, 1943 on one of our flying fortresses.  Thus RUDOLPH, like many of our boys, gave up his life for his country.  Knowing RUDLOPH as we did, he was always of quiet nature, faithful to his parents and faithful to his church.  The plane, as told by the government, came down near Clichy, France.  For his services rendered, two Oak Leaf Clusters and an Air Medal were presented to his parents for him.  He was a member of the 100 Bomb Group Corps.  May he now rest in peace and may the light of everlasting glory shine round him.  He reached the age of 27 years, 6 months, and 14 days.  Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Amen.

!OBIT: Page 142, Dateline: CRESCENT CITY
Memorial services for Staff Sergeant RUDOLPH H HARMS son of Mr & Mrs Hio Harms, Crescent City, will be conducted at 2 PM Sunday, May 14, at the St Peter Lutheran church with Rev H.E. Bruns officiating.
S/Sgt HARMS, a turret gunner on a flying fortress, was first reported missing in action last Sep 3, 1943 and is now listed as killed in action when the plane he was aboard crashed over France, according to word from the War Dept., received 2 weeks ago.
Born Feb 19, 1916 at Crescent City, he was the son of Mr & Mrs Hio Harms.  He entered the service Aug 27, 1941, and was stationed at Sheppard Field, Texas, and other army air training centers before being sent overseas in May, 1943.  Prior to his enlistment he was employed as a tank truck driver.  He attended the Crescent City Schools.

!MILI: Page 142, Dateline: CRESCENT CITY
Among Flying Fortress crews raiding a German plane factory at Kassel on Saturday, was S/Sgt RUDOLPH HARMS, 27, son of Mr & Mrs Hio Harms, Crescent City.
A Chicago paper carried Associated Press stories of this raid and mentioned S/Sgt HARMS name in both Saturday and Sunday issues.
S/Sgt HARMS, a ball turret gunner, reported that "two F-W 190's sneaked up from under a formation.  I got two shots at them at 500 yards.  There was a big red flash and one went out of control, burning fiercely".
This raid was the second raid on Kassel within the week, the main target being the Fieseler aircraft plant rumored to turn out 500 fighter plane engines monthly.
HARMS entered the service in the Army Air Corps in Aug 1941 and first went to Sheppherd Field, Texas.  From there he was transferred to various fields for instruction and was sent overseas for active duty in May of this year.
He is the youngest of the family and at present the only one in the service.  His mother reports that he writes often and had recently expressed the belief that he might be home by September. She explained that he based his opinion on the number of raids in which he had participated, the custom usually being to send them home after a specified number of raids.

!MILI: Page 142, Dateline: JUL 31, 1943 A US BOMBER BASE IN BRITAIN ( AP)
Lt Joseph L Simmonds of Denison, Texas, returning from a raid over Kassel yesterday, reported the Germans "looked like a bunch of amateurs", even tho the raiders encountered from 15 to 40 fighters.
With the No. 4 engine full of anti-craft shell holes and the emergency radio smashed, Simmonds' Fortress continued to make the bombing run and fought off 15 fighters which chased her practically all the way home.
One bullet whisked off the side ammunition belt of Sgt Vincent C McGinnis of Freeport, IL., waist gunner, and grazed his left eyebrow.
At another station after yesterday's raid, S/Sgt RUDOLPH H HARMS, 27 years old, of Crescent City, IL., ball turret gunner and former farmer, reported "two F-W 190's sneaked up from under a formation. I got two shots at them from 500 yards. There was a big red flash and one went over out of control burning fiercely".

!LETTER: Page 143, Dateline: APR 20, 1944, HOLLIS OKLAHOMA RE: LAST FLIGHT
Mrs Wesley Harms, Danforth, Illinois
Dear Mrs Harms:
Yes, my son was on the ship with RUDOLPH when it went down, he has been home here 3 weeks, but he didn't know as much about the boys as we at home.  He was down among the French from Sep 3 till Jan about the 18th.  He said the hit that got the ship was nearer him, (McKnight) and your brother than any of the crew, but he never did see any of the boys after the hit.  He tried, but it was too late.  He went out over the plane first saw that 3 of the engines were all to pieces, came back tried to see about the boys farther back, but by the time he could go back the oil (not gas) had gotten afire from the engines and he couldn't get to them so he said to King, "I'm getting out".  King and Brykalski are the only boys that he saw after the hit, as they are in the same compartment with him.  All communications were blown out. Traff said he was afraid you might never hear from your brother, but not to give up for anything can happen on those planes.  He knew one instance where the ball turret was blown off, and the boy was still alive.  Also said he was most sure your brother didn't have his tags on, as he hardly ever wore them.  He said he didn't have his on either.  A lot of the boys don't wear them.  The ship didn't blow up in the air, it landed about 10 miles from where he did, but the Germans are so strict that no one could get near the plane, so he could not find out anything about whether there were any bodies on the plane or not.  But if he is among the French, he will be fed, if it is possible for they sure are fine to the boys and take care of them.  Traff went to Miami FLA. for rest and check up, as that is army rules.  He looks as well as any body.  Hadn't lost any weight.  He went by the Kings, or they met him in Birmingham for a visit.
Hope you hear from your brother some time, when you do, be sure to let us know as we are anxious to know about all of the boys. Hoping and praying, as ever.
/s/ J M Curry, R #2, Hollis, Oklahoma
PS: Have written your mother also.
(NOTE: It appears that Mr Curry was confused about the relationship, and thought Lena was brother to Rudolph, not R. Wesley)

!LETTER: Page 144, Dateline: JAN 26, 1943, SIOUX CITY, IOWA
Dear Wesley & Lena:
I got your letter tonight.  Have been gone over night.  Stayed in Kansas last night.  Had trouble with our plane.
About getting a pass to come home, there is a rumor that we may get a six day furlow next month.  The group that was here ahead of us got six days, so we probably will too.
The trouble with coming up here, we are going on some cross country flight.  Just when I don't know, but we may be gone for two or three days at a time.
I am scheduled for a twenty four pass next Tuesday, so if somebody does come that will be the best chance to take.
As far as I know the next place we (go) to is Salina, Kansas.  That isn't much farther from home.
I will call home tonight or tomorrow night.  It doesn't cost much to call from here.
I don't have time to write any more now, so will close.
/s/ Rudy
!LETTER #2: Page 144, Dateline: WALLA WALLA WASHINGTON MARCH 11, 1943
Dear Wesley, Lena & Family:
I received a letter from you some time ago, but haven't got around to answer it.  Am still in the same darn place and I don't like it here.  Just isn't any fun here.  Went to a dance last night.  They had a nice floor, but the music was terrible.  I suppose the reason for that is that most people can get a better paying job somewhere else, and won't bother with an orchestra job.
Went to Rapid City SD last week.  Took some men over there and came right back.  We flew down and back in ten hours, and it takes a train three days, one way.  Saw some pretty country.  The fountain of youth in Wyoming.  I get to the post theater a lot.  They have better shows there than they have in town.  Most of the shows in town I have already seen.
Did you have to pay any income tax?  Suppose it is quite a job figuring yours up.  I sent mine in today, but it didn't amount to much.  Next year I will get stuck.  If I make what I am now all of this year it will be over seventeen hundred dollars.
Got a letter from the folks today.  Mother says Dad is feeling pretty good.  There doesn't seem to be any more to write about, so will sign off for this time.
Love, /s/ Rudolph

!LETTER: Page 144, Dateline: SHEFFIELD, ALA  12-29-43
Mr & Mrs H Harms, Crescent City, ILL
My Dear Friends:
Just a brief line to give you information just received as follows:
3 prisoners of war
1 dead
6 missing in action
On the other plane:
4 dead
2 prisoners of war
4 missing in action
No indication of what is status of your son.
Will send immediately the names and addresses you request.
With deep sympathy
Your friend
/s/ R H King, Columbia Ave, Sheffield ALA

!LETTER #4: Page 144, Dateline SHEFFIELD ALA, 4-20-1944
My Dear Mr & Mrs Harms
Your letter of the 17th has just been handed me, and I am dumbfounded to know that you haven't had any word about the news Traff Curry brought back and assumable other news.  So I am quitting everything on the spot to give you all the latest news and get this off by return mail.
First please continue to pray not only for your son, but for Lt. King, my boy, Brokalski, and McKnight.  We have no word from any of them.
There were 10 men on the plane instead of (?) ? ? had heard.  The 10th man was E.O. Anderson of Oakland California.  He was the navigator & is a prisoner of war in Germany.  His nearest of kin is his Mother, Mrs E.O. Anderson of 2129  26th Ave, Oakland California.  He did not get a scratch.  I have just received a letter from his mother.
Hoode is in a hospital in Paris and has had one leg amputated above the knee, and 3 fingers amputated from left hand.  His wife got (I think) his first letters written about Oct 5th (five months later) or there abouts.  At her last letter to me they still did not have his address and could not write to him.
Trafford Curry escaped from the enemy and got back to England.  He, of course, is forbidden to tell how it was accomplished.  I met him in Birmingham ALA and spent 1 1/2 hours with him.  When I found that he was passing through I wired Mr Wise and he and his wife met me and we all three met Curry and put him under a cross fire of questions for 1 1/2 hours and here is what we got:
The boys were on their 14th mission, but were not on the "Little Mike".  The "Little Mike" made 2 missions and made a forced landing at an other field and Curry said he saw it standing on its nose and was being salvaged.  At the time of this ??? the "Little Mike" was being repaired from damage on former trip.
Our plane did not have a collision with another plane as formerly reported, it was hit directly several times by anti-aircraft fire about midship and three of the engines knocked out and was so severely damaged that it turned around and went the opposite direction for about 10 or 15 miles - landed and about 5 seconds later it exploded.  The Germans would not let any one go near the plane - so it is not known whether there were any of our boys aboard or not.
CURRY knew nothing about any of the others than himself until he got back to the United States.  He could not tell one word about any of the others except Dick & Bykalski.  He said Bykalski had his chute on and was at the wheel and that Dick (Lt King) had his in his hand.  The plane was on fire - not from gas, but oil from the knocked out engines.  His chute caught fire and he had to get ??? clothes out and then jumped through the fire and left the plane at 1800 feet.  The plane was on the bomb run over the Renault Aircraft works at the outskirts of Paris at 22,000 ft.  After the hits it began losing altitude at rate of 1000 feet per mile.  He says he saw Dick turn on the alarm, but all electric connections were knocked out, and it would not alarm. He also says he saw him put it on automatic, but he doesn't know whether that worked or not.  He was loud in praise of the French.  They were marvelous to him.  Fed and cared for him at the danger of their lives and would not accept a cent of pay for it.  There was plenty of food there.  No scarcity of food.  They did not suffer from cold.  The executions had almost stopped as the Germans realized that the day of retrobution was close at hand.  He said there were a great many of our boys over there that couldn't get out of France.
In asking you to pray for the four named boys especially was because those 4 boys are the ones we have not heard from.  Of course we want to continue ??? in our prayers for all 10 of them.
Please let me make this very plain.  The plane that was supposed to have been in collision with ours was flown by Lt. Floyd.  Lt. Floyd was killed at the wheel and slumped over the wheel and did come near colliding with ours, but did not.  His plane went down and at last report from War Dept: 4 dead, - 4 missing in action, 2 prisoners, - however this report is several months old.  One of our planes did explode in the air on the mission, but it was not ours.  When CURRY left England there was only one man left of the 90 in our group that went over together that was still in action.  The others, you understand had some of them completed the 25 missions and returned ??? were missing in action or dead (CURRY ???)
They left Newfoundland at sunset and arrived in England at sunrise and didn't seem to think a thing of it.
I am quitting now in order to be sure to get his in the mail.
Please let me know promptly when you get this letter so if you don't, I can send another off to you.
Your friend,
 R H King, 
1107 Columbia Ave, 
Sheffield, ALA

Hi Harms
The sec of war asking that I assure (you) of his deep regret in the loss of your son, S/Sgt RUDOLPH HARMS who was previously reported missing in action.  Reports received in the War Dept establish the fact that your son's death occurred 3 Sep 1945, over France.  Letter follows.

!LETTER #6: Page 144, Dateline: SHEFFIELD ALA. 2/6/1944
Mr Hi Harms, Box 202, Crescent City, ILL
My Dear Mr Harms:
We talked with Mrs Bradley (sister of T/S TRAFFORD L CURRY) last night and they are expecting him home every day on a furlough.
His mother doesn't have a phone, but lives about 2 miles from her daughter, Mrs Bradley.
I am mailing him a letter in the mail requesting him to immediately phone or telegraph me whole thing and let him know that we had no advice about your son.  When I hear I'll immediately notify you.
Your friend
R H King, 1107 Columbia Ave, Sheffield, ALA


Original 100th, Crew #26


TARGET: Beaumont Le Roger DATE: 1943-09-03  
AIRCRAFT: "Sunny" (42-30089) CAUSE: FLAK & Collided with A/C # 42-30059  


PLOT: B ROW: 17  
GRAVE: 57 CEMETERY: Epinal Am Cemetery  


Rudolph H. Harms   351st   BTG   KIA   3 Sep 43   Paris   Richard C. King Crew

 Rudolph H. Harms - 351st - BTG - KIA September 3, 1943. Richard C. King Crew. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Photo provided by Great Niece Cindy (Harms) Anderson

I have attached a copy of a poem written by my son Sean in honor of the 100th Bomb Group.  It was published in the The Gilman Star (Illinois) newspaper on November 14, 2013.  The poem was in honor of my Great-Uncle S/SGT Rudolph Harms. Courtesy of Cindy (Harms) Anderson

Sgt Rudolph Harms, BTG on Lt King Crew was KIA on Sept 3, 1943.  courtesy of Scott Harms.

Cira 1942-43  This scanned image was shot for use in a magazine, not sure it was ever published showing of Fly Fortress B-17 ball turret gunner  Staff Sgt Rudolph H Harms (2nd from left) loading up on ammo. Names of the other 3 crewman are not listed on the back of this photograph. Rudolph Harms was apart of the  'Little Mike' (#23234) crew, Thorpe Abbott Airfield.  (Photo courtesy of Scott Harms)

Cira  1941-43  Enlarged area of 'below' posted group picture, showing my Great Uncle, Rudolph H Harms, seen kneeling, center row, 3rd from left with the mustache, along with fellow crew man, tail gunner Sgt. Donald Wise who is standing, 1st guy on the right, hands in front of him. Both flew on "Little Mike" and apart of the 351 Bomb Sqd. (Photo courtesy of Scott Harms) 

Wendover Field December 1942, 351st BS 

Here is a poignant photo from February 3, 1944, when the father and mother (Minnie and Hio Harms, Crescent City, Illinois) of SSGT Rudolph Harms (then listed as missing) received his Air Medals (x3) not knowing he would be declared dead in May: KIA 9/3/43 - Paris Mission, 351st. News article from local paper, Watseka Republican, has the details. Bless 'em all.

Article about Family accepting Rudolph Harms Air Medal.  The  father and mother (Minnie and Hio Harms, Crescent City, Illinois) of SSGT Rudolph Harms (then listed as missing) received his Air Medals (x3) not knowing he would be declared dead in May: KIA 9/3/43 - Paris Mission, 351st. News article from local paper, Watseka Republican, has the details. Bless 'em all.

Air Medal, 8th AF patch, Commemoration paperwork. 

inside of Service program for Sgt Harms along with Air Crew Wings

Air Crew Wings of Sgt Rudolph Harms. 

Air Medal, Wings, stubby wing patch for Rudolph Harms 

 Complete Richard C. King Crew photographed in 1943 before overseas assignment. Standing from left: Heber Hogge, Jr., Donald E. Wise, Trafford L. Curry, Barney Sutton (Assigned to an Aviation Cadet Class after six missions), Rudolph H. Harms: Kneeling from left: Ernest Anderson, Edward H. Hovde, Richard C. King, and the legendary Owen "Cowboy" Roane, who received his own crew prior to overseas assignment. It fell to Roane to witness his old crew going down at Paris September 3, 1943 - resulting in the death of five, King, Brykalski (who replaced Roane on the crew), McKnight, Harms, and Wise. In 1993 on the 50th anniversary of the mission, Roane told Paul West and Charles M. Beck it was then and remains one of the saddest days of his life. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

William T. Anderson

We commissioned noted aviation artist Mark Styling to do a print of Rudolph Harms' crew and their B-17. Paris Mission, 9/3/43. We are giving one to Eileen Breymeyer, the family's oldest surviving family relative, who gave my wife a Power of Attorney for our heroism medal award request for Rudolph submitted to the USAF in May. This was based on accounts of the crew's final mission on the 100th Bomb Group website. All the photos are from the website. There are no photos of nose art for "Sunny" but there is one of "Sunny II" so we think this is accurate.



Crew 1

ID: 2182