Database Search

You are in the database section of the website.

Select a record category from RECORDS above. When you have selected a category, you will see search options for that category above the record list. 

Most fields require at least three characters. When you submit your query, the search engine will return all records that contain your search term.

Note that when searching for an aircraft serial number, you must enter the full serial number without the leading "4" and without a dash in the Aircraft SN search field. For example, you would enter 42-37772 as 237772.

The Personnel name field searches both last and first names, so if you enter the search term, "Russ", the search engine will return both Russell Abel and James Russell.

You narrow the search by entering more characters into the search field. For example, "Russ" returns many hits. "Russell" returns fewer hits. The same principle applies to all queries.

The POW and KIA categories are list only and are not searchable.

S/SGT  Lester W. SAUNDERS

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG

Lester Saunders (photo from the collection of William McClelland)

SERIAL #: 36600511 STATUS: KIA
MACR:

Comments1: 8 OCT 43 BREMAN (EAC) DSC

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1st Lt Everett E.Blakely                     P     CPT
 2nd Lt Charles A.Via,Jr.                  CP   SWA   8/10/43  Bremen
1st Lt Joseph H." Bubbles" Payne      NAV    KIA   28/4/44 Sottevast  (With crew of W,G.Lakin - mission lead by Col. R.H. Kelly)
 2nd Lt James R.Douglas                BOM    CPT 
T/Sgt Howard J.Brock                  TTE    POW   17/8/43 (With the W.R.Flesh crew)      Regensburg
T/Sgt Monroe B.Thornton               WG   CPT 
T/Sgt Edmund G.Forkner              ROG    CPT 
S/Sgt John L.Olson                        BTG   Transferred 
S/Sgt Lyle E.Nord                           WG   KIA   29/5/44 (with crew of B.L.Williams) Leipzig, Aircraft repair depot..
S/Sgt Lester W.Saunders                 TG   KIA  8/10/43  Bremen (DSC and PH for this mission)

418th Sqdn.  An ''Original" crew.  CREW #35  A/C #42-30061     "JUST-A-SNAPPIN"

NOTE: JOHN OLSON, AFTER FLYING SEVERAL MISSIONS WITH THIS CREW MAY HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER GROUP.
LT PAYNE WAS REPLACED ON THE CREW BY HARRY CROSBY FROM THE CREW OF LT JOHN BRADY.  SGT OLSON WAS REPLACED ON THE CREW BY SGT WILLIAM MC CLELLAND/  T/SGT THORNTON BECAME THE ENGINEER AFTER AUGUST 17, 1943 AND HIS POSTION AT WG WAS FILLED BY SGT ED YEVICH.     

JUST-A-SNAPPIN IS ONE OF THE BETTER KNOWN PLANES IN 100TH LORE, SHE IS REMEMBERED FOR BRINGING THIS CREW BACK FROM BREMEM ON 8 OCT 43.  BADLY DAMAGED EV BLAKELY AND JOHN KIDD, GROUP OPS OFFICER WHO LED THE MISSION FROM THE CO-PILOT'S SEAT, LANDED "JUST-A-SNAPPIN" IN A FIELD AT LUDHAM.  DAMAGE TO THE HYDRAULIC SYSTEM RENDERED THE BRAKES IN-OPERATIVE AND "JUST-A-SNAPPIN" COLLIDED WITH A LARGE TREE.  IMPACT WAS BETWEEN THE #1 AND #2 ENGINE.  THERE ARE SEVERAL PROMINENT  PHOTOGRAPHS OF HER AND THE TREE.

Much has been written about this crew. See p.49 of THE BLOODY HUNDREDTH by H.Varian and p.184/195 of FLYING PORTRESS by E.Jablomski for details of the mission of 8/10/43.

On 8/10/43, S/Sgt Edward S.Yevich LWG & S/Sgt William F.McClelland, BTG were aboard in the place of H.J.Brock & J.L.Olson. Both of these men were wounded.

See photo of this crew on p.228 of "CONTRAILS"

Lyle Nord was flying as TG on the crew of B.L.Williams on 29/5/44 and was hit in the back by a 20mm. He had flown a total of 27 missions,the last 8 of them with the Williams crew.

CREW ON OCTOBER 8, 1943 MISSION TO BREMEN:

MAJ. JOHN B. KIDD   COM PILOT
1st Lt Everett E.Blakely        P     CPT
 2nd Lt Charles A.Via,Jr.      CP   SWA   8/10/43  BREMEN
1st Lt Harry Crosby   NAV CPT     GROUP NAVIGATOR
 2nd Lt James R.Douglas  BOM    CPT    GROUP BOMBARDIER
T/Sgt Monroe B.Thornton      TTE   CPT 
T/Sgt Edmund G.Forkner   ROG    CPT 
S/Sgt William F. McClelland         BTG   WIA 8/10/43 BREMEN  SN#17164959
S/Sgt Edward S. Yevich   WG WIA 8/10/43 BREMEN
S/Sgt Lyle E.Nord           WG   KIA    29/5/44 LEIPZIG (with crew of B.L.Williams), Aircraft repair depot..
S/Sgt Lester W.Saunders       TG   KIA      8/10/43 BREMEN  

*SAUNDERS, LESTER W. (KIA)
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Lester W. Saunders (36600511), Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Gunner on a B-17 Heavy Bomber in the 418th Bombardment Squadron, 100th Bombardment Group (H), EIGHTH Air Force, while participating in a bombing mission on 8 October 1943, against enemy targets in the European Theater of Operations. The personal courage and devotion to duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Saunders on this occasion have upheld the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.
Headquarters: European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, General Orders No. 97 (1943)
Home Town: Cook County, Illinois

MEMO 2:

 - No MACR.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Bremen DATE: 1943-10-08  
AIRCRAFT: "Just-A-Snappin" (42-3393) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: D ROW: 5  
GRAVE: 90 CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  

PHOTOS:

 Lester W. Saunders 418th WG Illinois KIA 15 Oct 43 Bremen Everett E. Blakely Crew 

Lester Saunders in North Africa (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Lester Saunders and Edmund Forkner; far right (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Everett E. Blakely crew. Standing from left; Lyle Nord, Charles Via, Everett Blakely, Joseph " Bubbles" Payne,Howard Broch Kneeling; Lester Saunders, Edward Yevich and Edmund Forkner. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

The Everett E. Blakely crew. Standing from left, William McClelland, Harry H. Crosby, Charles A. Via, Jr., Everett E. Blakely, James R. Douglas, Kneeling, Lester W. Saunders, Monroe R. Thornton, Edward S. Yevich, Lyle E. Nord, and Edmund G. Forkner. Detailed Information (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Ev Blakely Wedding 
Back row:  Bubbles Payne, Jim Douglass head down, Edward S. Yevich, Monroe Thornton 
Front:  Les Saunders Ev Blakely, Margaret Ann, Lyle Nord

Harry Crosby, Charlie Via, Ev Blakely, Jack Kidd, Jim Douglass, Lester Saunders, Monroe Thornton, and William McClelland in North Africa (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Back Row: Bubbles Payne, Ev Blakely, Charles Via, James Douglass, ; Front Row: Saunders, Niedermeyer, Forkner, Nord,   (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Just-A-Snappin' and members of the Blakely crew in Algeria (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

Charles Via, Lester Saunders, and Edmund Forkner in Algeria (from the collection of Edmund Forkner)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 4584