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LT  Charles E. BAKER


Lt Charles E. Baker

MACR: 08818 CR: 08818

Comments1: 11 SEP 44 RUHLAND (EAC)




2nd Lt Charles E.Baker                   P    KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 2nd Lt Charles D.Chiles                CP    POW    11/9/44  RUHLAND
2nd Lt Donald H.Lienemann       NAV    POW    11/9/44  RUHLAND 
 2nd Lt Raymond J.McGuinness  BOM     KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 S/Sgt David A.Gurman             ROG     KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 T/Sgt Eugene C.Damrel           TTE     POW    11/9/44  RUHLAND (Severly wounded)
 S/Sgt Roy C.Johannesen          BTG     KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 S/Sgt David Rattin                   WG     KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 S/Sgt Fred A.Fischer                TG     KIA      11/9/44  RUHLAND
 S/Sgt Wilson R.Gee                 WG     UNK     TAKEN OFF CREW TO REDUCE TO 9 MEN

349th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 2/8/44. Micro film 
Casualty report lists all of above except Sgt. Gee as aboard A/C on 11/9/44. 
SOC oh p.79 says this ship was a "sepulchre for 7 men". (cannot identify seventh man;  are they counting Damrel ?

Flying A/C 42-97806 XR-D "Now An' Then"

A bit of irony presents itself in S.0 #247 dated 12 Sept.1944 at Thorpe Abbotts
Paragraph 1. " .  .  .  . . 2nd Lt Charles E.Baker, 0760691,349th Sqdn. 100th Bomb Gp, having been found physically disqualified for all 
flying duty,is suspended from duty involving flying,of this date."
 2nd Lt Charles E.Baker  . . . . Is placed on DS for an indefinite period WP Rail o/a 12 Sept.1944 fr AAF Sta 139 to 
AAF Sta 101 , RUAT President,  Central Medical Board,for purposes of undergoing observation & treatment. .  .  .  .  
. Upon discharge from and at the discretion of the President tnereof,  will proceed on TD for a period not to exceed 30 
days to Sta 511 . . . . . ."It seems that the reasons for grounding Lt.Baker had been discovered and the process was in 
motion to so act prior to his final flight.  The orders came a day to late

Account by Lt.Chiles:  "After the enemy planes made their first attack, our
inter-phone system was shot out. Lt Baker & myself tried to use alternate
sources but it was impossible. A fire was raging in the bomb bay and the instru-
ment panel was shot up badly. Lt.Baker rang the bell indicating that we were
to abandon ship. If the bell rang I couldn't hear it for the guns and engine
roar. It wasn't heard in the nose either. Smoke began to fill my oxygen 
system and another system did the same thing. Baker pointed at my chute so I
put in on and I put his on him under his flak suit while he was fighting the
controls to get the ship on an even keel. We were leading the squadron but by
that time we were either the only one left or the only one I could see & we
were still on fire & still being attacked by enemy fighters & our guns were
still going, how many I don't know. Baker tried to set up the Automatic pilot
but it was laying on the floor. He motioned for me to get out. Everything was
getting black. I motioned to the men in the nose to follow me & I must have
gone out the hatch then. The next thing I remember was floating in air (It
was the ship exploding which threw Lt.Chiles out..jb) Lt.Baker didn't wear his
dog tags that day but I believe he had an identification bracelet on. I didn't
see any more of the six men listed in the casualty questionnaire.

It was the opinion of Lt Lienemann that Rattin, Fischer and
Gurman had been blown our of the A/C but that they had not been able to open
their chutes -being dead or unconscious -. He also believed that the ball
turret with Johannesen inside had plummeted to earth after the plane exploded.
Chiles was shown Johannesen's dog tags by the Germans and he said they were
"badly bent up and all bloody".


1. 03/08/44 TROYES
2. 06/08/44 BERLIN
3. 14/08/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN
4.` 03/09/44 BREST
5. 09/09/44 DUSSELDORF
6. 11/09/44 RUHLAND

A/C was badly damaged by 20MM shells, two hitting through a waist window while another ignited a gas tank.  Moments later the wings shriveled and the fuselage snapped in the middle.

Posted by Charles Dwight Chiles on 7/22/2001, 12:29 am 
This is a wonderful web site.I was called tonight by a local B-17 history buff. I had no idea this site existed.He found me on the Braniff Airlines History webpage.My crew and I were shot down 9-11-44. I lost my best friend that day Lt.Charles Baker. He sat next to me in the left seat as pilot. I sat right as co-pilot. He was sharp guy and a very gentle person. He and I shared many moments discussing our lifes and what we were going to do to help each other on our next mission.We even shared the same first name. In a horrible irony, Baker wasn't even suppose to pilot that day.A medical discharge never got to him. As for our navigator Don, I guess James Thoburn, me and Baker always upset Don with our late night tricks.Don was a semi-good sport but apparently he disapproved of Baker and I. I miss Baker, the stories we would tell going in for the night or when we would tach up the engines, release brake, look at each other and yell, "HERE WE GO GD". Don, I know our language was not good on the intercom. But shit, they were always shooting at us, the pilots! If anyone has a copy of the Discovery Channel special, email me.God bless everyone, and God bless all who remember the "Now and Then".

Yes, Baker was a real pilot.He and I were real pranksters with our crew. I guess we were young and cocky. He and I often would snore in the intercom to make the crew think we were asleep. Another time, he and I were acting drunk over the intercom. That really upset everyone Best, 
"Charlie" Dwight Chiles

Subj: 100thBG Error Report 
Date: 7/22/2001 9:34:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: (Charles Dwight Chiles)To: mpfaley@aol.comCC:  
 Charles Dwight Chiles comments = "Lt. Charles Baker my fellow pilot who sat next to me as Pilot perished that Sept.11,1944. Lt. Don Lienemann reported that T/Sgt.Eugene Damrel was the tail gunner and was patched up by several crew members. That is not correct. He was our flight engineer and TT gunner. I personally put a turnakat on him, snap his parachute on and pushed him out the door. I went back up to help Baker. I helped put his chut on as he struggled keeping the nose up. He signaled all to bail out. I have since spoken to Flight Engineer Damrel in the 1960's. Get it right. Eugene Damrel was Baker and my TTE not the Tail Gunner as LT. Lienemann describes in his recent report in 1995.Best, CO-Pilot 2ndLt. Charles Dwight Chiles B-17 A/C 42-"-97806 XR-D "Now An' Then"

Mike, it is with great sadness that I send you this note. I wanted to let you, and the 100th Bomb Group know that dad went to his glory on December 22, 2006. I was with him full-time during the summer and fall of 2006. He caught pneumonia in mid-October and really didn't have the energy to recover. Although I miss him terribly, he is in a better place now. I am attaching pdf copies of his obituary and an article on him that appeared in the Omaha World Herald. Please let me know if there is any additional information that you would like to have.

P.S. Sometimes Earthlink places "null" at the beginning of the document title, however it can still be opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Subj: Re: 100thBG Error Report 
Date: 8/5/2001 8:46:50 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: (Charles Dwight Chiles)To:  
Dear Michael,Thankyou so much for the addition of my comments. Confidetially,2nd Lt. Linneman, our navigator,was always angry at Baker and I for a number of things including being pranksters. Linneman never like Baker and ours foul language. Linneman was a good man, a Baptist. He didnt drink or smoke. This is something Baker and I did lots of. One day, on leave to London, Linneman and I had it out on the train. He really stated what he thought of me and people like me. Most of what he said was true, but given the times I got really angry. I pinned him down on the floor of the train and scared the hell out of him and the other guys. Anyway,it doesnt matter any more. The last conversation I had with him was in 1995. He asked me then if I thought my heavy drinking had anything to do with Bakers orders to be pulled from flying duty. I asked Linneman how my drinking would cause Baker to be pulled from flying duty.Anyway, 60 years later things havent changed.Dwight Chiles

UNAME = dwight chiles
CONNECTION = I am a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = I truely appreciate the correction made to 2nd Lt. Donald H. Lienemann account of individual names of our tail gunner and our TTE T/Sgt. Eugine C. Damrel. Lienemann states that several crew members patched up Damrel's arm after his right hand was shot off. Actually what occured was he came down from the Top Turrett with his hand shot off to show me and fellow Pilot 2nd Lt.Charles Baker. As co-pilot, it was my duty to administer First Aid to Damrel. After doing so, Baker and I discussed Damrel's condition. Damrel was in shock and we were getting hit hard by ME-109's. It was Baker and my who decided to snap Damrel's parachute on and toss him out. As I took Damrel down to the lower hatch our Interphone was not working. I pushed Damrel out, saw his chute deployed. My mask was filled with smoke and as I turned around to signal the other men to get out, I was blown out just a few feet above the hatch. This is all I remembered until I regained my self near 4,000 feet. I was picked up by a nearby farmer and his son. I spent the night with the family. The mother spoke english. Next morning I was picked up only to be picked up again the following day by German authorties. I was transported to Stalg One, Barth,Germany and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.Best,C. Dwight ChilesRet. Braniff Airlines 1946-1982


Charles E, Baker was born on January 9, 1920 in Ohio. No parentage or census data has been located; although, it appears from the Ohio Birth Index that his mother's maiden name was Creone. His NARA enlistment file states he enlisted in Detroit, Michigan on November 10, 1941 as a private in the Army Air Forces. The file also confirms nativity, that he had completed 4 years of high school, and that he was employed as an architect. He was selected for flight duty, and trained as a pilot. He was then commissioned , awarded wings, and assigned to crew training. Later, he deployed to England with this crew, arriving August 2, 1944. The crew was dispatched on, and received credit for, 6 combat missions.

On September 11, 1944, the crew was part of a formation that attacked the Ruhland oil refinery in Germany. Over the target, the formation was attacked by 50-70 enemy aircraft. At least three B-17s were set ablaze in the first firing pass. Baker's aircraft was hit by 20mm shells, 2 through the waist window, and 1 hit a fuel tank. Some of the crew were wounded by shells or shrapnel. One wing came off the aircraft, and the aircraft exploded. It broke in two pieces at the waist, hurling most crew members out into space, dead or unconscious and unable to use their parachutes. At least three reached the ground safely, but were immediately captured.

Six dead were recovered from the crash site near Liepnitzen, in what is now the present-day Czech Republic. They were buried locally, and retrieved after the war. Lt Baker now lies in a group burial with men who died that day in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. The grave location is in Section 85, Sites 72-76.

Lt Charles E. Baker was performing duty as First Pilot on B-17G # 42-97806, named "Now An' Then," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report covers this loss. Crew roster and personnel files state the crew consisted of:

2 Lt Charles E. Baker  p
2 Lt Charles D. Chiles  c-p
2 Lt Donald H. Lienemann  nav
2 Lt Raymond J. McGuinness  bomb
TSgt Eugene C. Damrel  eng/tt gun
SSgt Davis A. Gurman  r/o
SSgt Roy C. Johannesen  btg
SSgt David Rattin  wg
SSgt Fred A. Fischer  tail gun

SSgt William R. Gee (waist gunner) was removed from original crew due to dropping crew size to nine.
Lts Chiles and Lienemann, along with TSgt Damrel (right hand blown off) survived to become POWs.


TARGET: Ruhland DATE: 1944-09-11  
AIRCRAFT: "Now An' Then" (42-97806) CAUSE: EAC & Explosion  




Lt Charles E. Baker Crew,  Lt Albert Trommer Crew, Lt Riegel Crew Headstone Memorial 

Charles "Eddie" Baker (photo courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Charles "Eddie" Baker (photo courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Charles "Eddie" Baker; Jewish Welfare Board card (photo courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Article on Charles "Eddie" Baker (courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Draft card for Charles "Eddie" Baker (photo courtesy of Laura Shivers)

Lt Don Lienemann book “ Miracles Do Happen” 



Crew 1

ID: 187