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S/SGT  Charles W. EMERSON

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG

SERIAL #: 37485764 STATUS: KIA
MACR:

Comments1: 11 SEP 44 RUHLAND (EAC)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

    Lt Harry M.Hempy            P    CPT   26/11/44  HAMM
    Lt Jack W.Janssen        CP    CPT   26/11/44 HAMM
    Lt Cyril A.Roberts       NAV    CPT   26/11/44 HAMM
    Lt Donald H.Friedman   BOM    CPT   26/11/44 HAMM    SN# O-768950
   Cpl John P.Moncure      ROG    CPT   26/11/44 HAMM
   Cpl Warren B.Smith       TTE   RFS  REPLACED BY T/SGT ALEXANDER L. HUBIAK
   Cpl Donald J.Farley       BTG   CPT     26/11/44  HAMM
   Pfc Frank A.Bonagur     WG   CPT     26/11/44  HAMM
   Pfc John P.Russo,        WG   NOC   (Removed when crew reduced from 10 to 9 men)
   Pfc Charles W.Emerson  TG   KIA     11/9/44     RUHLAND

418th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 23/7/44.  Crew flew HEAVEN CAN WAIT II  43-37517  Their first aircraft was called "DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY"

Charles W. Emerson Staff Sergeant, 
U.S. Army Air Forces 
Serial #37485764 
418th Bomber Squadron, 100th Bomber Group, Heavy 

Entered the Service from: Iowa 
Died: September 30, 1944 
Buried at: Plot F Row 4 Grave 138 
Cambridge American Cemetery 
Cambridge, England 

According to a letter received from Donald J.Farley in Nov.1983,the following crew 
changes were made. 

1. After 5 or 6 missions Warren Smith ,who had served about 10/15 years in the Regular Army, asked to be removed from 
flying status. He was replaced by T/Sgt Alexander L.Hubiak who had flown approximately 20 missions with another crew 
and finished his 35 with Hempy's crew. T/Sgt Hubiak flew missions with Lt McEwen and Lt Stout before coming too this crew. 
A T/Sgt Thomas E.Porch then replaced Hubiak as Engineer. Porch was from the M.J.Anderson crew. 

2. John P.Russo was removed from the crew to bring it to nine men and put into the "spares" pool Charles Emerson,who is
 buried at Cambridge, was killed by fighter attack and,although badly damaged,Hempy's ship limped home. A S/Sgt Alex 
 Sood,from the crew of F.H.Schaffhauser replaced Emerson and completed his tour.

September 11, 1944 was a memorable day for me, we lost twelve B-17's from our group, some came down in your town, one crashed on top of the school in Kravaska. The 100th Bomb Group took an awful beating, we were in the middle of it, our tail gunner and friend Charles Emerson was killed as a result of that mission. We were lucky enough to get back to England on 2+ engines. Marie and I were in the Chech Republic 4 years ago today when your museum was dedicated in rememberance of that day. September 11th was on my mind when I got up this morning. I never thought there would ever be a more tragic September 11th. I was wrong....Don Farley

MISSION LIST OF 1ST LT DONALD H. FRIEDMAN

1.   02/08/44    LeFERE
2.   03/08/44    TROYE
3.   04/08/44    HAMBURG
4.   05/08/44    MAGDEBURG
5.   08/08/44    ST SYLVIAN
6.   11/08/44    VILLACOUBLAY
7.   18/08/44    PACY sur ARMANCON
8.   25/08/44    POLITZ
9.   27/08/44    BERLIN
10. 03/09/44    BREST/CROZON
11. 05/09/44    STUTTGART
12. 08/09/44    MAINZ
13. 09/09/44    DUSSELDORF
14. 10/09/44    NURNBURG
15. 11/09/44    RUHLAND (SGT EMERSON KIA)
16. 27/09/44    MAINZ
17. 28/09/44    MERSEBURG
18. 30/09/44    BIELEFELD
19. 02/10/44    KASSEL 
20. 05/09/44    HANDORF
21. 06/10/44    BERLIN
22. 07/10/44    BOHLEN
23. 09/10/44    MAINZ
24. 12/10/44    BREMEN
25. 17/10/44    COLOGNE
26. 19/10/44    LUDWIGSHAVEN
27. 22/10/44    MUNSTER
28. 26/10/44    HANOVER
29. 05/11/44    LUDWIGSHAVEN
30. 06/11/44    NEUMUNSTER
31. 09/11/44    SAARBRUCKEN
32. 10/11/44    MAINZ
33. 16/11/44    AACHEN/LANGERWEHE
34. 21/11/44    OSNABRUCK
35. 26/11/44    HAMM 

CREW

2nd Lt Marquard J.Anderson         P    CPT       2/10/44  BRUNSWICK
2nd Lt Dean E.Salmeier              CP    CPT        15/lO/44    COLOGNE
2nd Lt Bertram H.Olson  jr         NAV   NOC 
2nd Lt Thomas M.Barrett         BOM   CPT 
 S/S~t Ronald H.Harknett        ROG    CPT    12/9/44   MAGDEBURG
 S/Sgt Thomas F,Porch            TTE   CPT    26/11/44  HAMM
   Sgt William F.Nanasy          BTG    CPT    12/9/44    MAGDEBURG
   Sgt Gerald E.Moore           RWG   CPT     17/lO/44  COLOGNE
   S~t George F.Murasky        LWG    CPT     12/9/44    MAGDEBURG
   Sgt Tom J.Wich                    TG   CPT     12/9/44    MAGDEBURG

418th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined 100th Group 25/5/44. According to a letter of 
Nov.1983 from Arthur J.Farley of the H.M.Hempy crew, Thomas Porch finished his 
tour with the Hempy crew. A letter from Arthur Juhlin of the D.A.Jones crew 
(7/1/84) states that Thomas Barrett completed his tour with the Jones crew.


MISSION RECOLLECTIONS OF LT DONALD FRIEDMAN (DEC 17, 2002)

WORST: SEPT 11, 1944 RUHLAND:  WE WERE THE ONLY PLANE OF OUR SQUADRON TO GET BACK--LOST OUR TAIL GUNNER--DIRECT HIT
                         IN THE TAIL, AMMO EXPLODED-WE HAD A STAND DOWN FOR TWO WEEKS, NO PLANES.
GOOD MEMORY:  200TH MISSION PARTY.  GLENN MILLER, JOHNNY DESMOND (SINGER) AND RAY ELDRIGE ON DRUMS.
BEST MEMORIES: COMPLETION OF 35 MISSIONS, PRESIDENTIAL CITATION, CLUSTERS, BOOKSTORES IN CAMBRIDGE & OXFORD
                       WENT TO A PLAY IN LONDON AND SAW "ARMS AND THE MAN by G.B. SHAW.  ONSTAGE WAS LAWRENCE OLIVIER,
                       RALPH RICHARDSON AND SYBIL THOMDYKE
MOST FRIGHTNING: 2 MISSIONS TO "BIG B" BERLIN, HOWEVER, WE DID GET FRESH EGGS THOSE AM'S (MORNINGS)



Harry M Hempy, Jr. 50-Year Resident of Pleasanton Harry quietly passed away in Pleasanton September 21, 2010 at the age of 88. Mr. Hempy built his home on Foothill Road where he became lifelong friends with his neighbors, the Moller family. He had fond memories of round-ups with the ranching family and many new-found friends. He was born Harry Martens Hempy Jr. in Pomona, CA on October 20, 1921. In 1943, Lt. Hempy, home on leave, met his future bride, Evelyn Rhees. They shared 50 years of loving marriage prior to her death in 1993. By 1944, now Capt. Hempy, was piloting a B-17 flying fortress. He flew 35 combat missions into Germany, earning a Presidential Unit Citation for a Sept. 11, 1944 raid. All planes in his squadron were lost except Hempy's, appropriately named "Heaven Can Wait". The plane is immortalized in a painting by Nicholas Trudgian depicting Hempy's plane landing in England on two engines with over 100 bullet holes throughout the fuselage. After the war he worked briefly as an air traffic controller before being recalled to duty for the Korean War. He was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska during the war, where he piloted supply planes to the Aleutian Chain. He returned as an air traffic controller where he remained for 30 years until his retirement in 1973. He was a world traveler, having visited over 50 countries throughout his life. He particularly liked cruising, travelling on several with his wife, Evelyn. Mr. Hempy is survived by sons Fred (Dineen) and Rick (Rhonda) of Pleasanton; and daughters Sandy Philippe (Tom) of Pleasanton and Sally Pereira (Dave) of Mountville, PA. He also leaves behind 10 grandchildren and 8 great-grand-children. A graveside service will be held at 1pm on Sunday, October 3 at Dublin Pioneer Cemetery, 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin.


 My name is Donald J. Farley. I completed 35 missions with the 100th Bomb Group, 418th Squadron. Our crew left Grenier Field New Hampshire on July 2 1944. We had picked up a new B-17 from Kearney, Nebraska. We flew to Newfoundland on one hop, then the next hop was probably one of the longest, we were in the air 15 hours and 15 minutes. We landed in Wales on July 4th and gave up our new plane. We went to the WASH for further training, this is where we were assigned to our Group. The word regarding the reputation of the bad luck outfit was quickly spread to us before we even got to the 100th Bomb Group airfield at Thorpe Abbots. We did some practice flights or decoy action before we flew our first mission on August 2, 1944. Our crew was as follows:

 POSITION          NAME                              MISSIONS
 PILOT               HARRY M. HEMPY              1 THRU 35
 CO-PILOT          JACK W. JANSSEN             1 THRU 35
 NAVIGATOR      CYRIL A. ROBERTS             1 THRU 35
 BOMBADIER       DONALD H. FRIEDMAN        1 THRU 35
 ENGINEER         WARREN B. SMITH             1 THRU 12
           "            ALEX HUBIAK                    12B THRU  21
           "            THOMAS E. PORCH            22 THRU 35 (-26)
           "            ------------ MOORE                  # - 26
 RADIO OPER.      JOHN P. MONCURE             1 THRU 35
 BALL TURRET    DONALD J. FARLEY            1 THRU 35
 WAIST GUNNER FRANK A. BONAGUR           1 THRU 35
 WAIST GUNNER JOHN P. RUSSO                   0
 TAIL GUNNER    CHARLES W. EMERSON       1 THRU 15
      "           "     J. H. GAGE                           # - 16
      "           "    ALEX J. SOOD (STRONG) 17 THRU 33 &  35
      "           "    CURTIS HOOKER                   # - 34

TAIL GUNNER --CHARLES W. EMERSON--WAS KILLED AS A RESULT OF ENEMY ACTION ON OUR 15TH MISSION OF SEPTEMBER 11TH, 1944, OUR TARGET FOR THE DAY WAS RUHLAND, OIL REFINERY. HE WAS GIVEN CREDIT FOR DESTROYING 1 ME-109, ON THAT SAME MISSION, BALL TURRET GUNNER DONALD FARLEY WAS CREDITED WITH TWO PROBABLE DESTROYED AND ONE DAMAGED ENEMY FIGHTERS.

JOHN RUSSO - WAIST GUNNER - REMOVED FROM CREW BEFORE FLYING FIRST MISSION, CREWS WERE REDUCED TO NINE MEN BY ELIMINATING ONE WAIST GUNNER.

ALEXANDER HUBIAK WAS GIVEN 1/2 CREDIT WITH A GUNNER FROM ANOTHER AIRCRAFT IN BEING THE FIRST GUNNER (S) TO SHOOT DOWN A ME263  JET.  IT HAPPENED ON OUR 17TH MISSION, SEPTEMBER 28, 1944 TO MERSEBERG, OIL REFINERY.  
 

THE 100TH BOMB GROUP COMPLETED A TOTAL OF 306 MISSIONS

BOMB                                 100TH       HEMPY'S
LOAD              DATE         GROUP#    CREW#                                 * DESTINATION
20-250            8/2/44         172          1                                     Tergnier, La Fere, railway bridges
20-250            8/3/44         173          2                                     Troyes, railway junction
10-500            8/4/44         174          3                                     Hamburg, oil refineries
12-500            8/5/44         175          4                                     Magdeburg, tanks and AC factory.
                                                                                                      Salvo bombs. Flew home alone on 3 engines, couldn't feather 
                                                                                                      engine, when Hempy throttled back, prop flew over top of cabin and
                                                                                                       landed in a field. Charles Emerson was given credit for destroying one
                                                                                                        FW190.
8-1000            8/8/44         178          5                                    St Sylvain, ground def. German headquarters near lines
38-100            8/11/44       179          6                                    Villa Coublay, airfield. At Paris "Royal Flush" went down on 76th mission.
                      8/18/44       182          7                                    Pacy sur Armancon, oil dump. 3 runs over target.

I believe most of the above missions were flown in various planes.If above assumption is right the remaining missions were flown in "HEAVEN CAN WAIT", plane #337517. It was flown by another crew after we completed our missions and the plane nearly crashed into the control tower on January 31, 1945, and went into two pyramidal tents which housed maintenance crews. When it blew up it reduced another fortress into salvage and damaged two others fortresses standing nearby. The story of its demise is listed on page 179 in "Century Bombers" the story of the Bloody Hundredth by Richard Le Strange (Assisted by James R. Brown)
 
                     8/25/44        184          8                                     Politz, oil refinery. Lost group inclouds. Went to target with another 
                                                                                                      group. 
                     8/27/44        187          9                                     Berlin. Weather was bad group turned
                                                                                                     back.                                                                                            10-500           9/3/44          190         10                                    Brest, ground def. Troops isolated at Brest, made 3-runs at
                                                                                                        9,000'.
                     9/5/44          191         11                                    Stuggart, aero engines.Came back on three engines.
                     9/8/44          192         12                                    Mainz, ordnance depot. Accurate flak.
                     9/9/44          193         13                                    Dusseldorf, arms factory. Came back on 3-engines. No bombs dropped 
                                                                                                       P.F.F. was out.
 
 ACCORDING TO HEMPY, WE FLEW MISSION 12B AND NEVER FLEW A 13TH. I TOLD HIM (YEARS LATER) 13 WAS MY LUCKY NUMBER. "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" #337517 CONTAINED A DOUBLE 13 BY ADDING THE FIRST THREE AND THE LAST THREE DIGITS. WE MADE IT THROUGH AND THE CREW THAT CRASHED IT CAN CLAIM THEY WERE PRETTY LUCKY AS NO ONE WAS HURT. 

                     9/10/44        194         14                                    Nurnberg, tank works. Flak bad-3 planes in group blew up.
                     9/11/44        195         15                                    Ruhland, oil ref
The hundredth lost 14 planes on this mission (12 is real count…mpf). The entire low squadron was lost. Hempy was flying tail end Charlie in the middle squadron and after the low squadron was shot down the fighters centered their attack on us. Our tail gunner Charles Emerson died about one week later 20mm in tail, 4-20mm in left wing, #1 engine out, #2 booster pump out, #3 engine o.k., #4 prop ran away, all oxygen gone back of bomb bay. MADE IT HOME. While we were on two weeks rest leave, our plane "Heaven Can Wait" was given four new engines, a complete new left wing and a new tail section. A picture of the tail section is shown on page 149 of the above mentioned book and is pictured with an erroneous caption in the rear of  the book "The Story of the Century" by John R. Nilsson.

                     9/27/44        202          16                                   Mainz, railroad marshalling yard
                     9/28/44        203          17                                   Merseburg, oil refinery
On above two missions, 64 bombers were lost by 8th Air Force. Top Turret gunner, Alex  Hubiak got  1/2  credit in being first gunner on bomber to shoot down a jet.

                     9/30/44        204           18                                  Bielefeld, ordnance dump
10-500           10/2/44        205           19                                  Kassel, aero engines
5-1000           10/5/44        207           20                                  Handorf, airfield. Could not drop bombs.
5-1000           10/6/44        208           21                                  Berlin, aircraft factory. Enough said. Last bomber wing 
                                                                                                      completely destroyed, 1/3 of division lost. 8th took a pounding.
5-1000           10/7/44        209           22                                  Bohlen, oil refinery
5-1000           10/9/44        210           23                                  Weisbaden, ordnance depot and Mainz railroad marshalling 
                                                                                                      yard                                        
5-1000           10/12/44      211           24                                  Bremen, AC factory. "Foch Wulf"
                     10/17/44      213           25                                  Cologne, railroad marshalling yards
                     10/19/44      215           26                                  Ludwigshafen, oil storage; and Mannheim, motor transport                 14-250           10/22/44      216           27                                  Munster, railroad marshalling yard.
20-250           10/26/44      217           28                                  Hanover, refinery
                     11/5/44       220           29                                  Lugwigshafen, railroad mashalling yard.
                     11/6/44       221          30                                   Neumunster, AC factory
8-1000           11/9/44       222           31                                    Saarbrucken, railroad marshalling yard.
                     11/10/44     223           32                                    Wiesbaden, airfield and Mainz. Crash landed at base with flat tires. 
                     11/16/44     224           33                                   Aachen, ground support
12-500           11/21/44     225           34                                   Merseburg, oil refinery; Osnabruck, railroad marshalling yard. We went
                                                                                                      to Osnabruck.
                    11/26/44      226           35                                    Hamm, railroad marshalling yard
* Comments are from notes kept by Don Farley and Harry Hempy.

We were sent home, got on board the USS Santa Paula a Grace line ship on December 15,1944, but were rammed by a PT boat before we got out of the harbor, Inspection and repairs got us on the way home on December 21, 1944. We had a delicious Christmas  dinner on board ship and landed at Newport News, Virginia on New Years day January 1, 1945. We left this country on July 2, 1944, we were over just six months to the day. Coincidently my brother-in-law, Bob Hamilton of Caseyville, Illinois departed on the USS  Santa Paula on January 5, 1945 for Italy.

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Ruhland DATE: 1944-09-11  
AIRCRAFT: "Heaven Can Wait" (43-37517) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: F ROW: 4  
GRAVE: 138 CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  

PHOTOS:

Charles W. Emerson 418th TG Iowa KIA 11 Sep 44 Ruhland Harry M. Hempy Crew

 "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" - Charles Emerson's station - He survived the mission only to die one week later from severe wounds.. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" - Back at Thorpe Abbots after Ruhland - 11 Sep 1944. (100th Photo Archives) 

 "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" - 337517 - Damaged at Ruhland 11 Sep 1944. The TG Charles Emerson died a week later from wounds in the tail gunner's position. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Damaged Tail.  "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" - 337517 - Damaged at Ruhland 11 Sep 1944. The TG Charles Emerson died a week later from wounds in the tail gunner's position. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 1506