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S/SGT  Roland L. DOUGLAS

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG

 Roland L. Douglas - 351st TG (100th Photo Archives) 

SERIAL #: 35895660 STATUS: POW
MACR: 11363 CR: 11363

Comments1: 31 DEC 44 HAMBURG (MID AIR WITH 42-31066)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
          BROWN'S CLOWNS

  Lt Gerald Brown           P CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
  Lt Arthur L. Jacobson CP POW 3/2/45 BERLIN         (With crew of  J..P. Ernst) SEE BELOW
  Lt Ralph W. Bayer    NAV KIA 10/1/45 COLOGNE     (With crew of J.J. Dodrill)   SEE BELOW
  Lt Joseph J. Dye     BOM CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND  (With crew of T. Hughes)
 Sgt Gifford D. Vieth  ROG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Sgt Walter R. Peters TTE CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Cpl Roland L. Douglas BTG POW 31/12/44HAMBURG (With crew of C.M. Williams)
 Cpl Wayne E. Page     WG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Cpl Clarence S. Kellogg TG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND

351st Sqdn.  Crew appears on Crew Roster of 4/8/44 as above.  See S.O.C. 
P. 95.  Crew joined 100th Group on 25/7/44.     

Lt Ralph Bayer is memorialized on the WALL OF THE MISSING at Cambridge. 
Letter from G. Brown (30/4/84) Jacobsen died of cancer 1981 Seattle.  
Ralph Bayer left the crew in late 1944..  Went to J.J. Dodrill crew. He was replaced on the Crew by  LT KIMBALL from Lt D.L. Thompson Crew 
Joe Dye left the crew Sept/Oct 1944 and finished his tour with Lt Tom Hughes Crew.  
Dye replaced by William Titley, from the crew of O.C. Everltt, who CPT 29/1/45. 
Gifford Vieth now (1984) a prominent attorney in Washington, D.C. 
Roland Douglas left crew in Aug 1944 when it became a lead crew and no longer had a BTG position. 

A Cpl. George Vogiatzis was a WG on crew when it arrived at 100th.  He was removed to 
make a 9 man crew and went to the 9th Air Force as a B 26 gunner.  Was 
KIA after a few missions. "Originally a member of Gerald Brown's Crew. Cpl Vogiatzis Transferred to a B-26 unit 
upon arrival in England after Crews were reduced from 10 to 9 men. He was assigned to
 the 554th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group (M). He died 16 Sep 1944 and is buried
 in the Cambridge American Cemetery (Plot D, Row 6, Grave 56)"  

Lt. Erwin A. Lentz assigned to crew as Mickey Operator and CT.

MISSIONS FLOWN S/SGT DOUGLAS with "BROWN'S CLOWNS" before going to Lt Williams Crew as TG

8/4/44 Hamburg
8/8/44 St.Silvain
8/11/44 Villa Coublay
8/13/44 Nantes-Gassicourt 


**************************************************************************************************************
LT JACOBS:

CREW, FEB 3, 1945: TARGET-BERLIN

Maj Robert Rosenthal           Command Pilot     Landed in Russian Lines
Capt John Ernst                       P                  POW
1st Lt Arthur L.Jacobseon       CP                   POW  (from Crew of Lt. G. Brown)
1st Lt Stewart J. Gillison      Command NAV     EVA   (from Crew of Lt W. Terminello)
1st Lt Louis C. Chappel           NAV                KIA     (from Crew of Lt W.J. Wilson)
1st Lt Robert H. Stropp       Radar NAV          Landed in Russian Lines
1st Lt Eugene E. Lockhart     BOM                 KIA   (from the Crew of Lt Oren Hopkins)
T/Sgt Charles H. Webber     ROG                Landed in Russian Lines 
T/Sgt Dugger C. West        TTE                 POW
S/Sgt Warren Winters         WG                  POW
S/Sgt G.A. Windisch            TG                  Landed in Russian Lines
Ernst's leg amputated  in German Hospital night of 3/2/45 & he was soon exchanged.

See "CONTRAILS" p.131 & S.O.C. p.95. Also p.219/223 of "FLYING FORTRESS" by E.Jablonski.

EYEWITNESS REPORT from MACR #  "A/C #44 8379 was hit by flak,reported to be a ground 
rocket a few seconds before bombs away. A/C continued on run and dropped bombs.  Fire and 
dense white smoke was seen in the fuselage and bomb bay, including the cockpit.  Bomb bay 
doors closed and then reopened.  Pilot opened his window and peeled gently off to the 
right,  directing deputy leader to take over on VHF.   A/C headed NE and flew level for a few 
moments while six members bailed out (3 appeared to come from waist or tail and 3 from 
bomb bay..There was a small explosion in #3 engine nacelle and thd A/C headed down, burning 
and beginning to spin when last seen at 15/000 feet.  Observers believe entire crew had an 
excellent chance to bail out."
****************************************************************************************************************
LT BAYER:

CREW:
MACR # 11744, Microfiche # 4313   A/C #42-37939   "THE ALL AMERICAN GIRL"

2ND LT JOHN J. DODRILL         P KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
2ND LT DAVID S. WILLIAMS   CP KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
F/O JOHN D. GROSS           NAV POW 10 JAN 45  COLOGNE
2ND LT MELVIN D. SNYDER BOM NOC
CPL GEORGE R. BENNETT    ROG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL HARRY E. MITCHELL      TTE KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL MYRON E. WARNER      BTG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL GARLAND L. JOSEPH     WG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL ROY E. TOLL                 TG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE

351ST SQDN..   CREW AS ABOVE JOINED THE 100TH ON 28 OCT 1944

ON 10 JAN 45, LT RANDOLPH W. BAYER, FROM THE CREW OF GERALD BROWN, WAS FLYING AS NAVIGATOR AND WAS KIA.  SGT DAVID W. PITMAN WAS FLYING AS NOSE GUNNER AND WAS KIA.
 
EYEWITNESS: "A/C #42-37936 was last seen at 1228 headed toward Belgium with bomb bay doors open. The doors had been open since the target.  All engines were operating and the aircraft did not appear to be having difficulties."

  Story of the Century  Page 95 states: "….. All American Girl (named by Seymour Eichen, who flew it's first 35 missions) was flown on it's 99th , Jan 10, 1945, by John Dodrill of Puente, Cal.  One engine out, he was in control when he left the formation and flew down through the clouds, but no one knows the mysterious fate that overcame  the "All American Girl."  Afterwards a rumor spread she was on the a German Airfield."   (This was unfounded….pw)All nine of her crew are memorialized on the WALL OF THE MISSING  at Cambridge.

************************************************************************************************************
LT DYE:

CREW:

2ND LT THOMAS C. HUGHES             P CPT 21 MAR 45 PLAUEN           sn# 0-802858
2ND LT  ROBERT W. CRITTENDEN      CP CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND     sn# 0-2058726
2NS LT JOSEPH R. CALISTRO        NAV CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND
2ND LT FARRIS A. TURNER, JR      BOM NOC                                         sn# T-3860
CPL WILBUR R. GOCKMAN             ROG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 16139074
CPL JOHN A. WOLOS                    TTE CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 32888588
CPL WILLIAM R. LUBY                   BTG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 36475228
CPL GLENN R. DAVIS                     WG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 33632343 
CPL JOHN G. ISARIS                      WG NOC                                         sn# 32979919
CPL RUDOLPH H. DUNKER               TG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND       sn# 36449523

351ST SQDN..  CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 23 SEP 1944.  CREW FLEW A/C 337815 "YOU CAN'T LOSE"

F.A. TURNER FLEW EIGHT MISSIONS WITH THE HUGHES CREW; TRANSFERRED TO RADAR SCHOOL(MICKEY).  ASSIGNED TO THE LEAD CREW OF R.C. ELLIS AND CPT WITH ELLIS.  HE WAS REPLACED ON THE CREW BY LT JOSEPH DYE WHO COMPLETED HIS TOUR WITH ME (26 MISSIONS).  CPL JOHN ISARIS DROPPED FROM CREW UPON ARRIVAL AT THORPE ABBOTTS DUE TO REDUCTION OF CREWS TO 9 MEN. 

Missions of Lt Thomas C. Hughes (mpf 2002) 

1. 07/10/44 BOHLEN
2. 09/10/44 MAINZ
3. 12/10/44 BREMEN
4. 15/10/44 COLOGNE 
5. 17/10/44 COLOGNE
6. 18/10/44 KASSEL
7. 22/10/44 MUNSTER
8. 30/10/44 MERSEBURG (RECALLED)
9. 05/11/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN
10. 06/11/44 NEUMUNSTER
11. 09/11/44 SAARBRUCKEN
12. 16/11/44 AACHEN
13. 21/11/44 MERSEBURG
14. 26/11/44 HAMM
15. 30/11/44 MERSEBURG
16. 12/12/44 DARMSTADT
17. 24/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN
18. 25/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN
19. 27/12/44 FULDA
20. 28/12/44 KOBLENZ
21. 30/12/44 KASSEL
22. 31/12/44 HAMBURG
23. 05/01/45 FRANKFURT
24. 07/01/45 COLOGNE
25. 20/01/45 HIELBRONN
26. 21/01/45 MANNHEIM
27. 28/01/45 DUISBURG
28. 29/01/45 KASSEL
29. 03/02/45 BERLIN
30. O9/02/45 WEIMAR
31. 15/02/45 COTTBUS
32. 17/02/45 GIESSEN
33. 19/02/45 OSNABRUCK
34. 08/03/45 GIESSEN
35. 10/03/45 DORMUND
*************************************************************************************************************  
S/SGT Roland L. DOUGLAS

Crew:
Lt Clifton M.Williams                              P   KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
Lt Kenneth W.Newkirk                         CP  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
Lt Richard F.Williams                           NAV  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG                              A/C #43 38124
Lt Lawrence W.Ward                        BOM  POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                             MACR #11363,Fiche #4182
T/S/Sgt Charles J.McGinley                 ROG  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
T/Sgt .Alvin H.Petteys                      TTE  KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
S/Sgt Lee F.Carpenter                      BTG  KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
S/Sgt  James H.Murphy                     WG  POW 31/12/44 HAMBURG  TAPS: 1973
  Cpl  Gordon R.Sinclair                       TG   CPT   15/3/45 ORANIENBURG /WITH THE S. JOHNSON CREW AS NAV (see note)

351st Sqdn. Sqdn Diary of Sept.1944 notes this crew as joining the 100th Group in Sept. A Cpl.Harvey J.Lehman was 
on the crew at that time but no further record of him has turned up.

On 31/12/44, S/Sgt Roland L.Douglas,from the crew of Gerald Brown,was flying in place of Gordon Sinclair and was 
made a POW.

                Roland Douglas

       After leaving our crew in August 1944, our ball gunner Roland Douglas was assigned to the Clifton
Williams crew.  The 100th Group flew a mission to Hamburg on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1944, and
suffered some of the worst casualties of the war.  "Of the 3rd Division bombers lost, ten fell to flak and
fourteen to fighters.  Half the Divisional loss was borne by one unit:  the 100th Group."  The Might
Eighth, p. 204. Twelve B-17s of the 100th Group went  down.  The Brown crew luckily did not participate in 
this mission.  But Douglas did, with the Williams crew.
       Recall that the first mission flown by the Brown crew (including Doug) was in "Fools Rush In."  During
the Hamburg raid on December 31, the Williams crew was  flying in formation just below "Fools Rush In."  On the
bomb run, after releasing its bombs, "Fools Rush In" was hit by flak.  The plane nosed down and crashed into the
B-17 being flown by the Williams crew, including Doug. The Williams plane was cut in two, and both it and
"Fools Rush In" went down in flames.  Century Bombers  p. 171.

       As tail gunner, Doug was in the severed rear section of the B-17 as it went down.  He managed to bail
out near the qround and landed safely.  He was captured by the Germans.

Doug and fellow prisoners of war were placed in a boxcar and were being moved by train to a prison camp.
Several days later, on January 3, this boxcar was in the marshalling yards at Fulda, when the 100th Group bombed
those yards (our Mission 21).  The guards would not let the prisoners out of the boxcars, so they dropped to the
floor as bombs landed all over the place.  Fortunately  Doug's boxcar was not hit.  Doug was ultimately freed by
Allied troops in May 1945.

*****************************************************************************************************************

MEMO 2:

From Gerald Brown Crew, he replaced Gordon Sinclair on this mission.
________________________________

'I could have kissed old Patton'
By Carson Gerber , Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune May 26, 2014 

Roland Douglas was malnourished and starving. For four months, he’d been living on a daily food ration of sliced bread, cabbage and some foul-smelling soup the Germans gave him to eat inside their prison camps.

Douglas may have been a German war prisoner, but at least the 19-year-old from Peru was alive.

Odds were he should have died when his B-17 bomber plane named “My Gal Sal” plummeted more than 26,000 feet out of the sky over Nazi Germany.

But Douglas hadn’t died. Instead, he was captured and shipped from prison camp to prison camp across an enemy country torn apart by World War II.

Douglas is 88 years old now, but he remembers the events of that time in vivid detail. That’s a good thing, since there aren’t many people left to tell those kinds of stories.

Douglas is the last living World War II POW in Miami County. He still lives in Peru, where he was born and raised, and he’s happy to tell anyone his tale.

He does just that every Saturday to groups of kids coming through the Grissom Air Museum, where he has a corner dedicated to his harrowing journey across Europe.

It all began on New Year’s Eve, 1944, when Douglas and eight other crew members of the 351st bomb squadron took off from England for a mission to Hamburg, Germany. The target of the B-17 fleet was an oil refinery outside the city used by Nazis.

On most missions, Douglas sat behind a machine gun in a kind of glass bubble sticking out from beneath the plane called a Sperry ball turret. From there, he defended the plane against enemy fire.

But on that day, Douglas took a position behind the gun in the tail of the plane. In the end, that saved his life.

While coming up on their target, enemy fire from German 88 planes exploded on the squadron.

Douglas’ plane didn’t sustain too much damage, but another bomber flying above them named “Fools Rush In” blew up in the attack.

Moments later, his plane was severed in half by the debris raining down from above, killing six of the men inside.

As the plane spiraled to the ground, Douglas struggled to free himself. With less than 1,000 feet before he slammed to the Earth, he managed to push himself from the tail and pull his parachute.

Seconds later, his feet were on the ground.

In a daze, Douglas looked around. He saw around 25 Russian and Polish workers building an irrigation ditch.

Not knowing what to do, he tried to jump the ditch, but didn’t make it and fell in. That’s when an elderly German solider nabbed him.

“He pulled me out of there, and my boots were full of water, going ‘shoosh, shoosh, shoosh,’ every time I took a step,” Douglas recalled.

He was first taken to a forced labor camp nearby that usually served as a camp for Polish workers. Then it was on to the small town of Finkenwerder, where he was put up in the local courthouse.

There wasn’t any running water there because the area had been bombed by allied troops, but the guards that night let Douglas listen to a speech by Hitler on the radio.

Douglas remembered his thoughts after listening to the Fuhrer.

Hitler killed more of his own people than we ever did,” he said. “He was crazier than hell.”

From the courthouse, Douglas was shipped back to Hamburg, where he was put on a train heading to Frankfort for interrogation.

He finally ended up at a prison camp in Nuremberg on Feb. 1, where he sat idle and hungry for two months during a cold winter.

During that time, no one knew whether Douglas was alive or dead. He was officially missing in action.

The Germans did let him write a letter to his family. In it, Douglas wrote, “I am a Prisoner of War in Germany. I am OK. Don’t worry about me. I haven’t got a scratch.”

The letter didn’t arrive back in Peru until two months after he’d already returned home.

Gradually, U.S. troops pushed their way across Germany. With the threat of combat looming at the Nuremberg camp where Douglas was held, guards rounded up all the prisoners and began a 100-mile march to Moosberg. It took 12 days.

The prisoners finally made it to the prison camp in mid-April. Two weeks later, Gen. George S. Patton and U.S. troops arrived to liberate the prison.

Ten Germans guarded the camp. When Patton arrived, Douglas said five of them fled and five stood and fought. They were all killed.

With the first taste of freedom in four months, Douglas said he had a crazy impulse.

“You know, I never thought I could kiss a general, but [expletive], I could have kissed old Patton,” he said with a laugh.

Douglas was released as a POW on April 29, 1945. The war officially ended nine days later.

From the prison camp, Douglas hopped a truck to Camp Lucky Strike in France, and then caught a ship to Boston. He was back in Peru on June 15.

“Landing back in the United States beat everything,” he said.

Being on the verge of starvation for four months, Douglas had lost a lot of weight. But he started putting it back on when he got home. He said he gained 67 pounds in 45 days.

It didn’t take long for Douglas to assimilate back to normal life once he arrived in Peru. He got a job working for a farmer, who also happened to be the Miami County sheriff, which paid 50 cents a day.

Douglas eventually got a job as a train conductor. He did that for 40 years. He also served as the operator of the Kokomo and Peru airports in the 1950s.

In 1989, Douglas started volunteering at the Grissom Air Museum, talking about his experiences to visitors. He said kids seem especially interested in what he’s saying.

“The kids are fascinated by all of this, and that’s encouraging,” he said.

After all, it will be the kids who carry on his story when he’s gone. And as the last World War II POW in the county, it’s a story that needs to be remembered.

“There’s not too many of us old vets left at all,” he said. “But you don’t think about stuff like that at my age.”

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Hamburg DATE: 1944-12-31  
AIRCRAFT: (43-38124) CAUSE: Collided with 42-31066  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 Gerald Brown crew; (left to right) Wayne Page in aircraft at the waist gun position, Standing; Clarence S. Kellogg, Walter R. Peters, Gifford D. "Bud" Vieth, Gerald Brown and Roland L. Douglas. Kneeling; Joseph J. Dye, Ralph W. Bayer and Arthur L. "Art" Jacobsen. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 1370