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S/SGT  William A. AVERY

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BTG
SERIAL #: 16087699 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 00949 CR: 00949

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

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

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 HISTORY..pw
 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.

MISSIONS OF LT RAYMOND GORMLEY

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"
_________________
ron 
eindhoven 
the netherlands 
http://www.mary-ruth.ontheweb.nl/
    
Michael, 

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. 
Jabo 
 

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

MEMO 2:

William A. Avery, Jr. was born on June 21, 1924 in Michigan. He was the son of William H.H. and Verva Lucille Shafer Avery. (His father's name is given in census data as "William Henry Harrison Avery," leading to speculation as to why 100th Bomb Group records record the airman as "William A. Avery, Jr.") The US Census 1930 lists the family in St Joseph, Michigan, while the US Census 1940 has them in Fair Plain.

Avery enlisted in Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 5, 1942 as a private in the US Army Air Forces. His enlistment data confirms nativity and birth year, and adds he had completed 4 years of high school. He was employed as a carpenter.
He was selected for flight duty, and trained as an aerial gunner. He was assigned to a crew in training, and later deployed to England in late August, 1943. He flew 7 combat missions.

On October 8, 1943, the crew flew on a mission against the war facilities at Bremen, Germany. Flak was heavy over the target, and attacks by enemy aircraft were constant. A FW-190, piloted by Oberletunant Erich Hondt, made several firing passes, but coud not bring the B-17 down. In a turn, the FW-190 rammed the B-17 and exploded, throwing Hondt free. The B-17 exploded, and wreckage fell into Holland. Germans recovered nine bodies from the crash site. Four were buried that day in Bellingwolde, while five others were buried in Leer, Germany on October 18, 1943. The last remaining body was discovered a week later in a canal.

After the war, the dead were retrieved, and moved to other cemeteries. Today, SSgt Avery lies in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Michigan.

SSgt William A. Avery, Jr. was acting as the right waist gunner on B-17F # 42-3886, named "Marie Helena," assigned to the 351st Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 949 was issued for this loss. Crew records and personnel records show the crew as:

2 Lt Raymond J. Gormley  p
2 Lt Edward J. Fox  c-p
2 Lt Peter T. Motta  nav
2 Lt William J. Heath  bomb
TSgt Jay B. McPhee  eng/tt gun
TSgt Dale A. Von Seggern  r/o
SSgt Donald R. Hilton  btg
SSgt Charles Presley  Lwg
SSgt Willim A. Avery, Jr.  Rwg
SSgt Clay E. Rife  tail gun


Ranks and grades as of mission date.

Gormley, Fox, Von Seggern, and McPhee were buried the next day in Bellingwolde. Motta, Heath, Hilton, Avery, and Rife were buried on October 18, 1943 in Leer. Presley's body was found in a canal a week later.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

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

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 157