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T/SGT  Lester I. BERG

SERIAL #: 36170576 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 00117 CR: 00117

Comments1: 25 JUL 43 WARNEMUNDE (FLAK - EAC) Original 100th, Crew #17




Crew #17 Aircraft #42 5867 "Alice From Dallas"            M.A.C.R. #117  Crew was flying  A/C #42-5862  "DURATION + 6" on July 25, 1943

1st Lt William D. Desanders        P    COMPLETED TOUR 13 FEB 1944 
2nd Lt William J. Styles            CP POW   25 July 1943  Warnemunde. Kiel
2nd Lt Calvin H. Defevre          NAV KIA   25 July 1943  Warnemunde, Kiel
2nd Lt William E. Griffith         BOM KIA   25 July 1943  Warnemunde, Kiel
T/Sgt Lester I. Berg                  TTE KIA   25 July 1943  Warnemunde, Kiel
S/Sgt   Charles J. Mayville        WG KIA   25 July 1943   WarnemNnde, Kiel
T/Sgt   George L. Rudden        ROG    COMPLETED TOUR      (With Crew #10)
S/Sgt   Norman C. Eddy          BTG KIA    25 July 1943   Warnemunde, Kiel
S/Sgt   Maynard T. Parsons      WG  POW   25 July 1943   Warnemunde, Kiel
S/Sgt    Robert D. Lepper          TG  POW   25 July 1943   Warnemunde, Kiel

Mission Log of William D. DeSanders with comments by DeSanders shown in brackets.
1.  6/25/1943  Bremen, Ger. (Lost 3)
2.  6/28/1943  St. Nazaire, Fr. (Flak rough - all OK - Good bombing)
3.  6/29/1943  Le Mans, Fr.
4.  7/10/1943  Le Bourget @ Paris. Fr, (Lost Duncan) This is Charles L. Duncans crew?pw
5.  7/24/1943  Trondheim, Nor. (Beautiful bombing)
6.    7/25/1943  Kiel, 25862 "Duration + 6"

"On July 25, 1943, Bill Desanders had an ear infection and Captain Richard Carey, Operations Officer of the 350th, flew in his stead and became a POW.  Another replacement on the crew this day was T/Sgt. Steven S. Kopczewski, the regular radio operator on Crew #11.  He was killed in action. The Aircraft "Duration + 6" was so damaged by flak that Capt Carey decided to ditch in the North Sea. 6 were KIA and 4 POW." "Capt. Carey, Lt Styles (CP), Sgt Robert Lepper (WG) and S/Sgt Maynard Parsons (TG) were picked up by a Danish fishing boat and the latter two were taken to a hospital in Schleswig."   Unable to bomb Warnemunde, the primary target, the Group flew to Keil where intense flak was met.  Plane was so damaged by flak that Captain Carey decided to ditch in the sea.  All the crew except for pilot and co
pilot were in radio room when ship hit the water.

Apparently, Parsons and Lepper, both of whom were wounded, got out ofthe overhead hatch but the others in the radio room were trapped and went down with the ship which rapidly sank.  A subsequent report by William Styles said that, "Griffith was struggling to get out of hatch as the plane was sinking, that is the last I saw of him."During a search for survivors, Danish fishermen found the body of Sgt. Kopczewski but, after making certain of death, left it in the water. Carey, Styles, Lepper and Parsons were picked up by a Danish fishing boat and the latter two were taken to a hospital in Schleswig It was mission #8 for this crew who were flying in "Duration + 6" and not their regular plane, "Alice From Dallas".

Bill Griffith and Big Joe were shooting Pheasants and killed a few.  The local constable caught them and said they had killed the landowners foul and needed to go and appologize to them personally in Class A's.  So they dress up in Class A's and go knock on Sir Rupert Manns manor and they were invited in. Instead of getting the 3rd Degree, they were invited in for Tea and cookies and talked for over and hour.

Subj: name missing  
Date: 1/18/2005 5:26:25 PM Pacific Standard Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
My husband William J Styles was a member of the 350 BS yet his name is not listed any where as a member…He was co-pilot with Bill DeSanders on "Alice from Dallas" but was switched to fly with Dick Carey on a mission and was shot down July 1943. and became POW until his release in 1945..I don't see his name on that list either….Do you need more info to list him?
Jane Styles

conversation with Capt Frank Murphy, Nav on Cruikshank crew and roommate of Capt Dick Carey  1/19/05
 MPFaley [12:36 PM]:  Frank did you know a Lt Styles at Stalag Luft 3 
 MPFaley [12:36 PM]:  he was on Dick Careys plane when it went down 
 FrDMurphy [12:36 PM]:  Mike,  no, what compound was he in? 
 MPFaley [12:37 PM]:  not sure Frank, but Styles wife is trying to get all this info on POW and people who knew her husband for a project her Granddaughter is doing 
 MPFaley [12:38 PM]:  we told her to get your book  
 FrDMurphy [12:39 PM]:  Good.  I have considerable info on the South Compound where Dick and I were interned and will see what I can find out, if anything about Styles. 
 FrDMurphy [12:39 PM]:  If she will give me her contact address and/or e-mail I will try to help. 
 MPFaley [12:41 PM]:  will do, hold on 
 MPFaley [12:42 PM]:  he was Dicks copilot on the mission 
 MPFaley [12:43 PM]: Her name is Jane.  
 FrDMurphy [12:45 PM]:  Okay, Fine.  Have noted it on  my writing pad. I wonder if he was in our compound as I believe I would have known about him if he was.  Dick had a couple of guys who regularly came over and chatted and played cribbage with him 
 FrDMurphy [12:51 PM]:  I will look into it, Mike 
 MPFaley [12:51 PM]:  Thanks Frank, I am sure the family would appreciate it.  
 FrDMurphy [12:52 PM]:  Hang on a second, Mike.  I think I have something. 
 FrDMurphy [12:56 PM]:  Okay, Mike.  Lt. W.J. Styles was in the South Compound.  He got out of the airplane and drifted 15 minutes in his Mae West before being picked up by a Danish fishing boat and was taken by the Germans when they returned to port.  He was from Troy, NY.Okay. 
 MPFaley [12:56 PM]:  so he was in your compound 
 MPFaley [12:58 PM]:  is the book Stalag Luft III any good for them as research? 
 FrDMurphy [1:00 PM]:  Yes, although I did not remember him specifically.  There is no book that will give them any info that I dod not have. Styles was with Dick. They were actually not shot down.  Engine failures caused them to drop out of formation and become stragglers.  The airplane mushed out and went into the drink.  He injured his back in the ditching but recovered. 
 MPFaley [1:01 PM]:  You ARE the person they need to talk too 
 FrDMurphy [1:02 PM]:  A friendly bomber circled Styles but they were about 150 miles from England with no chance of air/sea rescue.  That's about all I have. 
FrDMurphy [1:06 PM]:  My info is that Styles was born on August 24, 1920 and was a Roman Catholic.  Will they verify that?
FrDMurphy [1:14 PM]:  I remember Dick well because we were roommates.  Lt. Styles lived in a barracks two rows over from us.  If I can help it would be my pleasure.  Give Jane my e-mail address. 

From: [] 
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:14 PM
To: Wilburn, Wayne
Subject: Re: picture

I do have one of him in uniform and had already sent it to the WWII memorial but never thought of sending it to his Bomb Group...I will try to send it to far as his story is concerned, he enlisted right after Pearl Harbor....Recd his training in Alabama and Georgia (where I pinned on his wings)  He was the co-pilot of the "Alice from Dallas" was shot down over the No Sea in July 1943...returned home (Troy NY) got married and joined the family Business (Funeral Director) with his father.  He died March 22, 1975.Let me know if you receive all this (including pic)...and Thanks Jane


 Trapped in aircraft when it sank.

Lester I. Berg was born in North Dakota in 1920. No parentage, census data, or early-life records have been located.

According to his NARA enlistment data, he was drafted, and inducted into military service on February 5, 1942 at Fort Custer, Michigan. He had completed 2 years of high school, and was employed as an unskilled worker in the auto manufacturing business.

He was assigned to the Army Air Forces, and given training as both a flight engineer and as an aerial gunner. He was then assigned to crew training with Lt.Desanders. This crew moved to England in 1943, underwent familiarization training, and was dispatched on 8 combat missions.

On July 25, 1943, the crew was scheduled to bomb targets at Warnemunde and Kiel, Germany. Unable to release bombs at the primary target, the aircraft proceeded to the secondary at Kiel, and was severely damaged by flak. The pilot elected to ditch in the North Sea.

Four of the crew survived the crash, and were picked up by a Danish fishing boat. They were turned over to German troops, and became POWs. The other six were killed. According to one account, TSgt Kopczewski's body was recovered, but no burial site is known. TSgt Berg is remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England.

TSgt Lester I. Berg was acting as flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17F # 42-5862, named "Duration Plus Six,"assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 117 was issued to cover this loss. Crew records show the crew consisted of:

Cpt Richard Carey  p
2 Lt William J. Styles  c-p
2 Lt Calvin H. Defevre  nav
2 Lt William E. Griffith  bomb
TSgt Lester I. Berg  eng/tt gun
TSgt Steven S. Kopczewski  r/o
SSgt Norman C. Eddy  btg
SSgt Charles J. Mayville  wg
SSgt Robert D. Legger  wg
SSgt Maynard T. Parson  tail gun

Cpt Carey replaced Lt Desanders (ear infection) for this mission, while TSgt Kopczewski replaced TSgt George L. Rudden (original crew). No known reason.


TARGET: Warnemunde DATE: 1943-07-25  
AIRCRAFT: "Duration + 6 (42-5862) CAUSE: FLAK-CS  


GRAVE: Wall/Misng CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  
ID: 336