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LT  William J. HEATH


 Bill Heath, bombardier on the Raymond J. Gormley crew. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

100 BG / 351 BS
From Newport, Washington.

KIA 8-10-1943 as bombardier of B-17F / #42-3386 / EP-'H' / 'Maria Helena' / MACR 0949. Target: Bremen, Germany. Rammed by a FW-190 and both aircraft went down and disintegrated in mid-air. Crashed near Bellingwolde, 23 miles east of Groningen, the Netherlands. 10 KIA.

2Lt Heath is buried at Ardennes Cemetery, D-11-16.
Also see

Source of the portrait photograph: Bombardier Class Book 43-5, San Angelo, Texas. Courtesy of my Fields of Honor Database colleague Corrina who indexed this class book. 

The photograph of 'Maria Helena' is courtesy of
The artist impression of the aircraft is courtesy of

William J. Heath (photo courtesy of Arie-Jan van Hees)

MACR: 00949 CR: 00949

Comments1: 8 OCT 43 BREMEN (MID - AIR WITH FW - 190)




2nd Lt Raymond J. Gormley           P   KIA   OCT 8, 1943  BREMEN                              ONE OF THE TWO
2nd Lt Edward J.Fox                  CP  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN                      TERRIBLE MISSIONS THE 100TH FLEW
2nd Lt Peter T.Motta              NAV  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN                      IN OCTOBER 1943. THIS A/C AND THE 
2nd Lt William J.Heath               B0M  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN                      PICCADILLY LILY ARE SOMETIMES MIXED
 T/Sgt Dale A.Von Seggern       ROG  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN                      UP IN 100TH
 T/Sgt Jay B.McPhee              TTE  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN
 S/Sgt Donald R.Hilton            BTG  KIA  OCT 8, 1943   BREMEN                      A/C #42 3386 "MARIE HELENA" EP-H
 S/Sgt Charles Presley              WG  KIA  OCT 8, 1943  BREMEN                      MACR #949,Micro fiche #314
S/Sgt William A.Avery,Jr.            WG  KIA  OCT 8, 1943  BREMEN
S/Sgt Clay E. Rife                         TG  KIA  OCT 8, 1943  BREMEN

351st Sqdn. Assigned 100th Bomb Group late August 1943.


1.  10/09/43   PARIS             A/C 42-3386  MARIE HELENA
2.  16/09/43   BORDEAUX      A/C 42-3386  MARIE HELENA
3.  23/09/43   VANNES          A/C 42-3386  MARIE HELENA
4.  27/09/43   EMDEN            A/C 42-3386  MARIE HELENA
5.  02/10/43   EMDEN            A/C 42-3386  MARIE HELENA            
6.  04/10/43   HANAU           A/C 42-3474   KING BEE 
7.  08/10/43   BREMEN          A/C 43-3386  MARIE HELENA

From the MACR it would appear that this crew was attacked by E/A and crashed about 20 miles SE of 
Emden,Germany. Bodies were burnt to 3rd degree and at least one was not identified at the time.   An 
eyewitness statement said:  ". . .a red nosed FW 190 crashed into Lt Gormley's aircraft and both went 
down in flame."

 Top Turret gunner Sgt John Ehlen on Piccadilly Lily reported " the FW 190 crashed into the his left wing root. Gormley had been flying a wing postion and the whole formation was in a flat turn.  The FW 190 passed over our wing and crashed into the B-17 (Marie Helena) on the turn". Walter "Chief" Moreno flying nearby in Messie Bessie noted " Red nose FW 190 crashed into ship #386 and both went down in flames 20 miles SE of Emden"  The shattered remains of Marie Helena crashed near Bellingwalde, Friesland." 

Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject:       
B17F-50-DL EP-H "Marie Helena" 100BG 351BS 

1lt Raymond J Gormley P 
2lt Edward J Fox CP 
2lt 2lt Peter T Motta N 
2lt William J Heath B 
t/sgt Jay B McPhee E 
t/sgt Dale A Von Seggern RO 
s/sgt Doinald R Hilton BTG 
s/sgt Charles Presley WG 
s/sgt William A Avery Jr WG 
s/sgt Clay E Rife TG 

"Plane was rammed by A FW 190 flown by Oblt Erich Hondt, both aircraft went down and disintegrated in mid-air 
the wreckage falling over a wide area near Bellingwolde, 28 miles east of Groningen holland at 15.30 hrs 
most body's were burnt to 3 degree and Lt Gormley and Llt fox, t/sgt Von Seggern and t/sgt Mc Phee and s/sgt Presley were burried in the protestant churchyard Bellingwolde 
Lt Motta, Lt Heath , s/sgt Hilton, s/sgt Avery Jr and s/sgt Rife were burried on 18 oktober 1943 in the nearby Lutheran cemetery at Leer Germany , s/sgt Presleý's body was found a week later in canal" 

"From another dutch book about the 8th air force there is the story of the german pilot Oblt Hondt 
where he says that he was shot down by the B-17 and he won't let him go that’s why he rammed him 
he survived because his FW exploded and he was thrown from the plane but was serious wounded. Iin the book is also some photo's of the german pilot and there is a drawing of the FW just before he rammed the B-17"
the netherlands

Hondt flew a Focke Wulf 190A-5/U12 Werknummer (Serialn.) 410266.Underside from the engine cover was red cover from the propeller also.There were red strips from the top of the engine cover to the back of the wings. Tail was white.I have some photos from the plane but don’t know how to add it to the post. 

Remains were interred in the Bellingwalde cemetary on 18/10/43. 
See correspondence with Chris Timmer,Loosterweg 1, 9566 PC Veelerveen,Nederland 1987 
Letter from The American Battle Monuments Commission dated 14/9/87 states as follows:

Avery  buried Private cem. Michigan
Hilton  buried Private cem. Missouri
Rife     buried Private cem. Missouri
Fox     buried Private cem. Virginia
Presley  buried Private cem. Alabama


Hi Michael,

Some background; My brother was bombardier on the Gormley crew Marie Helena EP-H  23386 B-17 F all ten crew KIA on Oct 8,1943 Bremen raid. On the 100th website in Splasher Six my wife and I wrote “Following My Brothers Path. I have asked you a question or two before and I have another one.

The spring of 05 my wife and I went to the exact crash site near Bellingwolde, Netherlands, about 200 yards from the German border. Shortly after this last Christmas, I received a small packet from the farmer that farms the land of the crash site. This last fall he worked the land and later found a small piece of the Marie Helena that had been buried for 63 ½ years and he sent to me. I am guessing, but it looks like a ambient air temp gauge. It is round, 2 inches in diameter with a slightly domed glass face (unbroken), ¼ inch thick, the back is aluminum with a thin 2” solid wire coming out with a rubber washer on it. Looking thru the glass on the front I can see a black background with white numerals. At the top is 0, to the left is –10 then –20. To the right of 0 is 10. I cannot see below these numbers because of corrosion. Looking below the 0 down towards the center I think I can see a C. The white pointer is off the peg as I can see it sometimes when I tilt it. I have not tried to clean the corrosion off of it. I treasure it.

I don’t know anything about B-17’s but I don’t think it would be on the dashboard but possibly would it be located somewhere else?

MY QUESTION IS;  What is it and where would it have been located on a B-17 F??
I know you are very busy so I want to Thank You  In Advance, Your Friend,

Ken Heath
2920 N. Maple Road
Spokane, WA   99206
(509) 924-4698 




TARGET: Bremen DATE: 1943-10-08  
AIRCRAFT: "Marie Helena" (42-3386) CAUSE: Collided with FW 190  


PLOT: D ROW: 11  
GRAVE: 16 CEMETERY: Ardennes, Neuville-en-Cond, Belgium  


William J. Heath   351st   BOM   Washington   KIA   8 Oct 43   Bremen   Raymond J. Gormley Crew   Photo courtesy of Paul Patist

 Bill Heath, bombardier on the Raymond J. Gormley crew. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 



Crew 1

ID: 2254