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S/SGT  Delbert E. BARNHART

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG
SERIAL #: 35471387 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 04234 CR: 04234

Comments1: 28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (FLAK) (originally with 1141 QMC Com.)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

COL  ROBERT  H. KELLY                  COM KIA 28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)
CAPT  WILLIAM G. LAKIN                     P KIA 28 APR 44 " " "
LT HERBERT A. ALF                           CP POW 28 APR 44 " " " (formation officer, flew in tail)
CAPT  JOSEPH H. "BUBBLES" PAYNE     NAV KIA 28 APR 44 " " "
LT MAURICE  H. CAIN                         BOM POW 28 APR 44 " " " 
T/SGT LEO R. CANNON                      ROG POW 28 APT 44 " " "
T/SGT JAMES C. BROWN                    TTE KIA 28 APR 44 " " "
S/SGT ALBERT M. FREITAS                 BTG POW 28 APR 44 " " "
S/SGT JOHN N. SPIKER                       WG KIA 28 APR 44 " " "
S/SGT JOSEPH A. RICHARD                 WG POW 28 APR 44 " " "
S/.SGT DELBERT E. BARNHART            TG KIA 28 APR 44 " " "  (manned 50 cal in radio room) 

THE ABOVE WERE FLYING WITH LAKIN AND THE NEW GROUP CO, ROBERT KELLY.

COL KELLY COMMANDED THE 100TH FOR ONE WEEK AND TWO DAYS.  HE WAS LOST ON HIS FIRST MISSION TO SOTTEVAST. AT TAKE-OFF TIME THE NEW COMMANDER ELECTED TO BUMP THE 100TH'S BEST FLIGHT LEADER (CAPT JACK SWARTOUT) AND LEAD HIMSELF. THE RESULTS WERE A DISASTER, TWO SHIPS WERE LOST WHEN THE COL ELECTED TO MAKE A SECOND RUN OVER THE TARGET AT THE SAME ALTITUDE AND ON THE SAME HEADING. AMOUNG THE KIA'S WAS THE 100TH BELOVED LEAD NAVIGATOR JOSEPH "BUBBLES" PAYNE; SAID BY JIM BROWN AND HARRY CROSBY TO HAVE BEEN THE BEST.

This was what can best be called a "pick-up" crew of veteran airmen, with the exception of Col. Kelly fresh from the States and had became the 100th's Commanding Officer only nine days prior to the mission. Joe "Bubbles" Payne was a member of the original air echelon of the Group as were T/Sgt James C. Brown and S/Sgt Albert M. Freitas.  With the exception of Magee Fuller, they were the last of the "Original 100th" to become casualties.  T/Sgt Leo R. Cannon joined the Group in August 1943, his orginal crew (F.H. Meadows) was shot down at Bremen 08 Oct 1943. Capt William G. Lakin had been with the Group prior to October 1943.  The following from MACRs:  "….On 02 May 1944, at 0730 hours an American Airman was captured by two German soldiers on the street of Rochville, Sottevast, France. The Germans record the following
data: Name: Cain, Maurice # 0-681859. According to his statement he rescued himself from the burning aircraft on 28 April 1944. Sent to Airbase Command, Paris, France..Date 3 May 1944 @ 1320 hours."
                           The Originating German Officer is not identified..pw



EMAIL = cannon@rabun.net
UNAME = Michael A. Cannon
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
TAPS_PERSON = Leo R. Cannon
TAPS_DATE = October 24, 1997
TAPS_UNIT = 350th
TAPS_POSITION = Radio Operator
TAPS_RELATION = Child
QUESTION = Question: 
FEEDBACK = Feedback:Leo R. Cannon joined his second crew after his 1st was shot down. He was in the hospital with the flue when his 1st crew was shot down. 
 
 
Mr. Faley
Yes, I do have a copy of my Dad's first crew. He was assigned to this crew when they were first organized in the states. I know that he told me that his second crew was a pick up crew, but I do not know if he had flown with them since his first crew was shot down. His first crew was shot down on their 8th mission. My Dad was shot down on his 14th mission. Therefore he flew 7 mission after his first crew was shot down.  I will send individual pictures of the first crew later. A fact that you may not know. Delbert Barnhart was not the Tail Gunner on the last crew. He was an extra crew member. He was in the Radio Room with my Dad using the gun in that compartment. When the plane was first hit, they both were not hit. They were attempting to get out when the plane was hit a second time. At this time my father was hit. He fell on the floor & Barnhart fell on top of him. When he awoke some time later Barnhart was gone and so was the rest of the plane about six feet from his head. He some how got out of the plane, pulled his rip cord,  made one oscillation & hit the ground. And was later captured by two German officers. Thanks Mike Cannon

Pfc. Delbert E Barnhart was transferred to the 100th Bomb Group, 350th Bomb Squadron on Sept 7, 1943 along with Pfc Woodrow W. McCurry from the 1141 Quartermaster Complany.

MEMO 2:

Delbert Eugene Barnhart was born in Montgomery, Ohio on December 14, 1920 as a son to Wesley and Anna M. Barnhart. The US Census 1930 lists the family as residing in Salem, Ohio. He graduated from Bucyros High School in 1939.

Barnhart was drafted, and inducted at Cincinnati, Ohio on August 26, 1942. His enlistment file hows he had completed 4 years of high school, and was a semi-skilled worker in a machinist shop. He was assigned to the Army Air Forces, and trained as an aerial gunner. He was sent to crew training with a crew headed by Lt Lakin.

This crew was assigned to England, and arrived there in 1944. Ground training and familiarization flights followed, and then combat missions were assigned. According to records, this crew was dispatched on 20 missions.  On April 28, 1944, the target area was the V-weapons facilities located at Sottevest, France. The commander of the 100th Bomb Group decided he would fly this mission, and became the Command Lead. Crew assignments were shuffled accordingly. No bombs were released on the first bomb run, but the Commander ordered another run, at the same altitude and air speed as the first. This allowed German gunners to accurately bracket the formation with flak.

The Command ship took several direct hits, and plunged to the ground as a ball of flames. Somehow, five of the eleven men aboard survived, but were captured. The dead were recovered, and evidently buried locally, as after the war, the remains were retrieved and moved. Today, SSgt Barnhart lies in the Germantown Cemetery in Germantown, Ohio.

SSgt Delbert E. Barnhart, although normally assigned as tail gunner, was acting as dorsal fin gunner on B-17G # 42-107024, no name, assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 4234 was issued. Crew rosters, and personnel memos show the crew was:

Col Robert H. Kelly  COM p
Cpt William G. Lakin  p
2 Lt Herbert Alf  c-p
Cpt Joseph H. Payne nav
2 Lt Maurice H. Cain  bomb
TSgt James C. Brown  eng/tt gun
TSgt Leo R. Cannon  r/o
SSgt Albert M. Fretas  btg
SSgt John N. Spiker  wg
SSgt Joseph A. Richard  wg
SSgt Delbert E. Barnhart  tail gun

Lt Alf was positioned in the tail gunner's seat (acting as formation observer.) This was usual procedure for Lead crews. SSgt Barnhart was in the radio room, acting as the dorsal fin gunner.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Sottevast DATE: 1944-04-28  
AIRCRAFT: (42-107024) CAUSE: FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 232