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S/SGT  HUGH HAMILTON

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG
SERIAL #: 14094112 STATUS: POW
MACR: 04268 CR: 04268

Comments1: 27 APR 44 THIONVILLE

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Winans C.Shaddix            P EVADEE 27/4/44 THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF
2nd Lt George T.Sullivan           CP POW 27/4/44    THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF          MACR #4268,Microfiche#1517
2nd Lt Harry Tennenbaum      NAV CPT  14/1/45     DERBEN
2nd Lt Cole M.Dailey              BOM POW 27/4/44    THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF
S/Sgt James H.Lee                 TTE POW 27/4/44    THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF
 S/Sgt Frederick H.Erb            ROG POW 27/4/44    THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF  
 Sgt John A.Pontzious            BTG LWA    7/5/44    BERLIN  (With crew of.R.W.Wright)  see note below
 Sgt William F.Cornelius          RWG POW  27/4/44   THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF
 Sgt Alex  “Horizontal” Herdzik LWG taken off crew before going overseas, crew used fill in gunner for all missions.    
S/SGT KENNETH V.HALE        LWG POW  27/4/44   THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT, AF  (from Lt Raring Crew, assigned to crew march 17, 1944) 
Sgt Hugh "Sam" Hamilton         TG POW  27/4/44   THIONVILLE, AF & LeCULOT., AF

349th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 9/3/44.

On 27/4/44 T/Sgt Raymond C. Lestico was aboard as NG; S/Sgt John B.Cortelletty (from Lt S.A. Clark Crew) replaced John Pontzious as BTG 
and S/Sgt KENNETH V. HALE (from Original Lt Raring Crew) flew as LWG. All three became POWs.

Note:
Letter from W.C.Shaddix of 24/10/84 states: " John Pontziouis,my regular BTG on the crew,came in drunk from an allnight carousing & I refused to let him go with us." The Pontzious record speaks for itself -he was a great one - He had a serious mental problem with guilt after we were lost and was sent home where he was crushed to death (I have heard) in a house moving accident in Michigan. I would give anything if I had just taken him with us."

Lt Tennerbaum was flying with J.T.Dyatt on 7/11/44 when Dyatt crashed at Felixstowe but survived.

Date Crew Nbr Mission Nbr Last Name Initial Rank Position Aircraft Nbr Target
3/16/1944 01 130 SHADDIX W C LT CP 723 AUGSBURG (flew as Copilot on Lt Dishion Crew)
3/17/1944 02 131 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31249 MUNICH
3/18/1944 02 132 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 MUNCIH
3/19/1944 02 133 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 MARQUIS, MIMMOYEQUES
3/22/1944 02 134 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 ORANIENBURG (BERLIN)
3/23/1944 02 135 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 88 BRUNSWICK/ WAGGUM
3/26/1944 02 136 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 56 SCHKEUDITZ/JU-88 PLANT
3/27/1944 02 137 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 BORDEAUX/ MERIGNAC
4/7/1944 02 141 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 68 QUACKENBRUCK (SCRB)
4/8/1944 02 142 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 86 QUACKENBRUCK
4/9/1944 02 143 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 KRZESINKI (POSEN)
4/10/1944 02 144 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 86 RHEIMS/ CHAMPAGNE
4/11/1944 02 145 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 31534 POSEN / ROSTOCK T.O.
4/12/1944 02 146 SHADDIX W.C. LT P 723 SCHEUDITZ (RECALL)

DATE: 27 April 1944    349th Sqdn.  A/C #42-3534

TARGET: Thionville AF,France            MACR #4268 
(Micro-fiche #1517)

1st Lt Winans C.Shaddix                    P EVADEE
2nd Lt George T.Sullivan                 CP POW
 T/Sgt Raymond C.Lestico               NG POW
2nd Lt Cole M Dailey             BOM/NAV POW
 T/Sgt Frederick H.Erb                 ROG POW
 T/Sgt James H.Lee                     TTE POW
 S/Sgt John B.Cortelletty              BTG POW (from Lt S.A. Clark Crew)
 S/Sgt William F.Cornelius             RWG POW
 S/Sgt Kenneth V.Hale                LWG POW (from Lt Raring Crew)
 S/Sgt Hugh Hamilton                    TG POW

This crew,except for Lestico,Cortelletty & Hale,had joined the 100th Group on 9/3/44-
EYEWITNESS REPORT: "A/C #534 was hit by flak as it left the target area at 1939 hours. No.3 engine began to smoke and the A/C began to lag. It remained with the formation however,until 2010 hours when 10 chutes were seen to come out,and the A/C descended in slow spirals,apparently under AFCE control.'

                  WITNESSES:  Capt.Van Steenis,Lt.McGuire,Lt.Harris

In a statement by Lt.Shaddix dated 7 (Dec.?) 1944 he says that the A/C crashed near Ardooie,Belgium and exploded upon impact. It was on fire in air. He and Erb slightly injured. Seven men reported to have been captured by Germans and one man evading. Believed the evadee to be Lt.Sullivan.(Shaddix did not know Sullivan had been captured at a later time..pw)

 
2nd Lt George T.Sullivan       CP POW (no info on POW camp.  most likely Stalag luft III of Stalag Luft I)

T/Sgt Raymond C.Lestico       NG POW (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

2nd Lt Cole M Dailey     BOM POW  (Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11

T/Sgt Frederick H.Erb    ROG POW (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

T/Sgt James H.Lee        TTE POW (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

 S/Sgt John B.Cortelletty       BTG POW (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

S/Sgt William F.Cornelius   RWG POW  (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

S/Sgt Kenneth V.Hale           LWG POW (no info, but most likely Stalag luft 4)

S/Sgt Hugh Hamilton               TG POW  (Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16

Somewhat unusual is that Lt.Shaddix is shown in the records to have rejoined the 100th Group with a new crew on 6/4/45. Unusual in that evadees were usually returned to the U.S.A. and not allowed to fly missions in the ETO for fear that subsequent capture might result in a breach of security endangering the underground operations in Europe.

Letter from W.C.Shaddix of 24/10/84 states: " John Pontziouis,my regular BTG on the crew,came in drunk from an all night carousing & I refused to let him go with us." The Pontzious record speaks for itself -he was a great one - He had a serious mental problem with guilt after we were lost and was sent home where he was crushed to death (I have heard) in a house moving accident in Michigan. I would give anything if I had just taken him with us." "The regular navigator,Harry Tennenbaum,was not aboard because "Mickey" operators were not supposed to go on short missions."

Shaddix,injured when parachuted to ground,was nursed back to health by Belgian resistance people. Later joined the Armee Blanche and fought in the Ardennes forest.

Stayed in servicd & served in Pacific theater and flew B-47s for 10 years. Retired in 1960.

Additional information concerning W.C. Shaddix

Dear Sir,
Your database states that the A/C "Ol'Dad" crashed at Ardoye/France in April 1944.
I was born in Ardoye. That village is not in France, but in Belgium. It is situated in the northern part of Belgium, better known as Flanders.
My mother (she pased away in 2001) saw the plane coming down on farm, and my dad, later on, showed me the house on which one of the bombs came down. The ruin was still visible till the end of the 50's. By the way, the correct spelling of our village is not Ardoye, but Ardooie.
Kind regards,
Rik
Mailbox: rikverhelle@skynet.be

Most unusual is the fact that Winans Shaddix Evaded capture,returned to England and was sent back to the 
U.S.A. HOWEVER, he returned to Thorpe Abbotts in April 1945 with a NEW CREW and was assigned to the 351st 
Sqdn.
****************************************************************************************************************
Military Memoirs of "Sam"

	We’ll start with Pearl Harbor – I was 19, living on a piece of land – it couldn’t be called a farm – near Tucker, GA.  Before the draft could get me, I volunteered for Aviation Cadets.   Was going to be a hotshot pilot.  Problem was, I had to wait until I was called; which turned out to be several months later.  
	Until then, I got dirty looks from people who saw me – a healthy guy of draft age, but not in uniform.  I was happy when my notice came on Feb. 3, 1943, to report to Nashville, Tenn. for Cadet Training.
	We began training, full of excitement; then it happened: Our entire class – 500 altogether – was eliminated from cadet training.  Our records showed the official reason: PHYSICALLY UNFIT FOR MILITARY AERONAUTICS! 
	Turned out the real reason was that until now, aerial gunners were strictly voluntary; but with the news that the average life of a gunner in combat was 6 seconds, volunteers quit volunteering,  And since bombers had to have gunners, out entire group of 500 were to be gunners.
	We protested, screamed, etc – physically unfit to fly in the front of a plane, but fine to fly in other parts of the plane!
	Despite our protests, we were sent to Gulfport, Miss. For basic training as privates; along with the warning to our new commanders – “They’re washed-out cadets and mad at the world.  Treat ’em rough!” 
	So we went through basic training; a few weeks at the small base at Gulfport; then we walked the few miles to Keesler Field to complete basic training.

	Completing basic training, we were promoted to Private First Class, and rode on our first troop train to Denver – Buckley Field, actually – a few miles east of town.  Here we started Aircraft Armories’ School – studying machine guns, bombs, etc.
	After a few weeks there, we were moved to Lowry Field, a few miles closer to Denver, where we were introduced to power turrets, bomb racks, etc. 	We were given Class A passes, which allowed us to go into town when we weren’t busy training.  Denver was a pretty town, with pretty girls who were usually friendly to the G. I.’s.  I actually managed to date a couple – new experience for me! 

	On July 20, ’43, we were sent to Las Vegas, Nev. – to what is called Nellis AFB now.  Was called Rattle Snake Bomber Base back then.  This is where we became aerial gunners – we fired shotguns at skeet and trap, machine guns mounted on posts in the ground, in the back of pickup trucks, and handled power turrets with twin 50 caliber guns.  Then we got to fly in AT-6’s – twin cockpit planes, with a 30 caliber gun mounted on the side of the cockpit.  We shot at a sleeve target towed by another plane.  Luckily, we didn’t hit the tow – plane.  Or maybe we were just too good.-

	On Oct. 16, we were promoted to sergeant and sent to various bases for assignment to flying crews I wound up at Peyote AFB, in the far western part of Texas.  I became the tail gunner in a B-17 crew.  The entire crew is shown here:


	Lt. Winans C Shadix		Pilot
	Lt. George Sullivan		Co-pilot
	Lt. Harry Tennenbaum		Navigator
	Lt. Cole M. Dailey			Bombardier
	Sgt. James M. Lee			Flight Engineer
	Sgt. Fred H. Erb			Radio Gunner
	Sgt. William Cornelius		Waist Gunner
	Sgt. “Horizontal” Herdzik	Waist Gunner (he did not go over s						with us)
	Sgt. John Pontzious		Ball Gunner
	Sgt. Hugh Hamilton		Tail Gunner


	We spent 3 months flying around that part of the west – day flights and night flights – even did a little air – to – ground target shooting, until the local ranchers decided we were shooting their cows.
	On Jan. 26, ’44, we headed overseas – to Grand Island, Neb., then to Manchester, N.H., to Goose Bay, Labrador – lots of snow and cold there!  Took over two weeks to get to Nutts Corner, Ireland – landed there on Feb. 12.
	A couple days there, then about 3 weeks at a place near what is called the Wash, in the northeastern part of England, We got a refresher course in skeet shooting among other things.  I got the feeling that we were just waiting until there was a place for us somewhere.
	On March 11, ’44, we were assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, and began flying missions – sorties, they called them.  I was in on the second and third raids over Berlin, among other places.
	Johnny, our ball gunner, didn’t like having to fly in that little ball turret, so he talked me into trading places on a mission.  Luckily, it was an easy mission, but I agreed – This is no position in which to fight a war.  If you’re aiming your guns horizontally, your shoulder blades are closest to the ground; your rear end is aiming at the enemy.  Your legs wrapped around the twin 50 gun barrels, and your hands up over your head, moving the turret and firing the guns.  

	My position in the tail was much better – kneeling on two pads, sitting back on something like a bicycle seat, and leaning forward on a padded sheet of steel.  Arms go around the steel to fire the twin 50’s.
	The only time I got hit by enemy fire, I was lucky.  Explanation: my parachute – a chest pack with two big snaps – was behind me, out of my way.  Over my fleece – lined clothes, I wore the parachute harness, with two rings in front; a big metal buckle in front, also.  We always wore a flak vest over everything – with strips of heavy metal inside it.  When I got hit, I was leaning forward.  A piece of flak came up between my knees, up between the flak vest and parachute harness.  It was as big as my thumb – it hit the buckle; the vest kept it from going out, so it went in - through my clothes and imbedded in my stomach muscles.  It didn’t really hurt – I don’t think – but when we were out of danger, I reached in to get it.  Felt a few drops of dried blood.  Didn’t mention it to anyone.  Didn’t want a Purple Heart for something insignificant. 
	I was shot down on April 27, ’44 – less than two weeks before D-Day.  Everyone knew the invasion was imminent – didn’t know which day, though.  The Germans were ready – They were gathered all along the French-Belgian coast.  We were making short flights across the English Channel, attacking the German installations.

	On my “Big Day”, we made our usual short flight, landed home safely, and then we’re told we were to make another raid – No. 13.  Something told me this was it.  Anyway, we loaded up again, hit our target somewhere down in France and headed back – probably 100 bombers or more in our formation.
	Nearing the channel, a lone battery of anti-aircraft guns fired at us.  The fire bursts of flak blew our plane out of the formation – no other plane was touched.  The flak cut our fuel lines, and killed 3 of our 4 engines, but luckily, no one was hit.
	The plane struggled along on one engine, losing altitude, of course.  We threw out flak vests and everything we could, to lighten the load.  Finally, a few minutes later, fire broke out in the one engine.  Shad, the pilot, said “That’s it, boys.  Get out!”
	I snapped my chute in place and went up into the body of the plane.  I’d promised the ball gunner that if this ever happened, I’d be sure he got out of the turret, but he was already out of the plane.  The others were either out, or ready to jump.  As I went out the door, I had the thought – make a delayed jump – don’t pull the ripcord too soon – they won’t see you as long.  Yet, out of the plane, I counted to 7, said “this isn’t enough” – pulled the ripcord anyway.  I waited to see the chute open, but nothing happened.  The ripcord – a chrome hand-sized loop, attached to a wire that holds the chute together – was still in my hand.  I looked at it, ran my left hand down the wire – totally disengaged.
	So I stuffed the ripcord into my pocket – don’t ask why – and pulled the flap on the chute; then the chute opened and blossomed above me.  Hanging there, swinging around, I looked around for the first time.  Saw two other chutes in the distance – lower.

	It didn’t take too long to hit the ground.  Three thumps –feet, rear end, then the back of my head.  Sitting up, I saw the chute collapse in front of me.  Unhooking it, I stood up, brushing Brussels spouts off.  I’d landed in a woman’s garden.
	Several civilians ran toward me, smiling and talking, but I didn’t understand them.  Women hugged me and kids shook my hand.  Probably thought I was starting D-Day.  I tried to get away – they were showing the Germans where I was.  A woman caught my hand and pulled me into her house and into her basement.  Hearing thumping upstairs, I went through the basement window and across the yard.  Another woman pulled me into her kitchen and gave me a glass of milk.

	As I gulped it down, two Germans came in the door with guns leveled at me.  I drained the glass, sat it down, and raised my arms.  Couldn’t understand the words, but no problem with the gestures.  They followed me outside and motioned me to the side of a small building.
	I’d been wondering why I hadn’t felt any fear so far, I’d felt surprisingly calm.  It wasn’t until a hand grabbed my shoulder and spun me around, facing the wall, that my knees began to quiver.  Thought he’d shoot me in the back, but he checked me for weapons.
	We wound up in what was probably the office of the chief of police of the town, which I think was named Ardoy, Belgium.  It was on the Belgium – France line.  Five of our crew was there.  We stayed there most of the afternoon; then were taken to the State Penitentiary in Brussels.  Spent 10 days in a typical cell; then on May 8, we took a train trip down the Rhine Valley to Frankfort.  Saw the famous castles on the Rhine – over the guard’s machine guns.

	Frankfort was the Interrogation Center, evidently.  We were separated, into various cells, and each one was officially interrogated.  They also notified the Red Cross that we were POWs, and that the Americans should be told.  We were issued clothing, tooth brushes, razors, etc, and left on May 16. 	We spent 4 days crowded into a boxcar; the train made its way across most of Germany and up to Heydekrug, in Lithuania, near the Baltic Sea.  We heard a few planes strafing something during the day, and bombing at night.  None of us in “my boxcar” was hit.
	May 20, we were introduced to Stalag Luft VI, the abbreviated way of saying the German words for Prisoner of war Camp for Air Force.  It was a huge square, cut into 4 compounds; everything surrounded by 10 foot barb wire fences.  Inside each compound was a small guard rail – 1 x 4 boards on posts about knee-high.  This rail was about 30 feet from the fence.  We were told that the guards in each tower in the corners of the compounds, had orders to shoot anyone who put a hand or foot past the rail.

	The two months we spent in Luft VI were fairly quiet.  One incident I remember was the result of some POWs digging a tunnel down through the floor of a room, and under the ground outside, heading past the fence.  The soil there was partly sand, so a hard rain would collapse the tunnel.  This happened shortly after I got there, and the Commandant had us all line up at attention.  He pointed to the collapsed tunnel and asked who did it.  No answer.  He pulled a small pistol from his belt and started screaming, threatening to shoot all of us.  Finally, he calmed down and laughed.  He said in perfect English, “If you boys want to get out of here, you won’t use your hands; you’ll use your brains!”
	The Russian army was gradually getting close; so on July 15, everyone in the camp was taken to the coast, a few miles away, and put into the hold of a ship named Masureu.  We were jammed in so tight that few could sit down.  We stood, over 24 hours, until reaching Swinemunde, near Stettin.  There, we transferred into boxcars for a trip down to Kief-heide, northeast of Berlin; another two days.  

	The famous Bayonet Run, from the railroad to Stalag Luft IV, about two miles, we made on July 18.  Handcuffed into pairs, a short POW to a tall one, carrying boxes of Red Cross food, we were forced to run, by our guards, young German Soldiers.  They kept jabbing with bayonets, and hitting with rifle butts; not enough to kill, but enough to draw blood.  A German doctor finally told them to stop; he didn’t have enough supplies to fix them up. 	Once we got inside the Compound, we were put into what we called dog houses; about 7 feet wide, 18 feet long, and a tall person could stand up straight only along the center ridge.  We had 10 men in each, sleeping side by side.
	One stormy day, I stood in our doorway, with Fred Erb, My radio gunner, behind me.  Another row of dog houses was in front of the row we were in.  Suddenly a bolt of lightning split the ridge of the dog house in front of us.  The force slammed me into Fred and we both hit the back of our place, stunned, but not really hurt.  The lightning killed one man standing in the other hut, blinded two that were sitting up, and stunned the others who were lying down.

	I don’t remember much about the winter there.  Have heard since then that it was the coldest, roughest winter in many years.  
	Anyway, on Feb. 6, ’45, about 10,000 POWs were evacuated from Stalag IV, Russians approaching again.  We were put into groups of 100 to 200, with a few old Germans for guards, and headed west.  We stayed on back roads, leaving main roads for military use.

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Thionville DATE: 1944-04-27  
AIRCRAFT: "Ol' Dad" (42-3534) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 2136