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S/SGT  Lonnie B. RUTLEDGE

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG
SERIAL #: 15080089 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00272 CR: 00272

Comments1: 4 JUL 43 LaPALLICE (EAC - CL)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
 
                                A/C #42-30051
   MACR   #272,Micro-fiche 90

1st Lt Robert C.Pearson    P   POW  4 July 1943  La Pallice,France   
2nd Lt Melville G.Boyd,Jr  CP  POW  4 July 1943         La Pallice,France  
1st Lt Bruce T.Rinker    N  POW  4 July 1943  La Pallice,France   
2nd Lt John L.Dunbar  B  EVADEE 4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 T/Sgt Jack M.Goss  E  POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 T/Sgt Randall G.Yilla  R   POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
   Sgt Everett J.Moore  BT  POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt Lonnie B.Rutledge   RWG   POW  4 July 1943    La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt John T. Westwood   LWG   POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  
 S/Sgt Albert N.Purcell    TG   POW  4 July 1943   La Pallice,France  

 351st Sqdn.
V.E.Fienup,E.V.Mulholland and T.E.Murphy reported last sighting of A/C.
One of these gave following report: "#1 (Pearson) of 2nd Element approximately a miles from
target and slightly behind other formation. Formation turned slightly to left. Pearson turned
slightly to, the right and down. No 2 & 3 A/C of this Element followed throttled back and over
ran Pearson. Pearson motioned for 2 & 3 A/C to go ahead. This left #2 & #3 in rear of
formation These A/C proceeded to catch up. All during this time Pearson had bomb bays open.
Pearson descended turning and heading west over water. All engines were turning. No props
feathered or engine smoking. He descended very rapidly. Fienup saw 051 release bombs short of
target,do a 180  turn and lose altitude. Reason unknown."


Melville Boyd,Jr. later stated that all crew members bailed cut safely and landed on Il d
Oleron. He last saw all crew members safe in U.S.

In May 1979 Al Purcell returned a Crew roster of Crew #20 noting that all members except
Dunbar were POWs. Dunbar an evadee. Enlisted men in Stalag 17-B.

Al Purcell letter dated 9 Feb.1980   . . . ."As we started our bomb run both inboard engines
went out at the same time,which accounted for our loss of altitude so fast. Jack Goss(our
engineer) told me later that the 2 engines lost power at the same time for no apparent
reason,as if sugar or something had been put into the fuel. We dropped our bombs over the
water and as I understood we were trying to make it to Spain. At this point ME 109s attacked
us from the rear and knocked out another engine -- with, only one left we were ordered to bail
lut. We did shoot down 2 MEs. After the tail gunner I was the 3 or 4 man out. As I floated
down I watched the plane crash and burn on the small island. Pearson landed in the water,Boyd
broke an arm landing,Dunbar was lucky,the French hid him and he escaped capture. I had just
enough time to roll up my chute before being picked up. The rest of the crew were picked up
along with me. As for the engine failure -- Jack Goss gave me details at the time -- and said
Pearson was questioned by the Germans as to why he was leading 2nd element instead of A
flight. This made us think there was sabotage of some kind since the Group commander or some
high ranking officer was to fly with us but changed his mind the night before the mission.

MEMO 2:

POW/KIA notes: Original 100th, Crew #20.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: LaPallice DATE: 1943-07-04  
AIRCRAFT: "Nevada Wildcat" (42-30051) CAUSE: EAC-Crash Landed  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Robert Pearson on right and Lonnie Rutledge on left, stateeside. They are part of original Crew 20, the Robert C. Pearson crew. Detailed information. (100th Archives)

Robert C. Pearson crew. Standing (Left to Right): M. Guy Boyd; Robert Pearson; Lonnie Rutledge; Everett Moore;Bruce Rinker; John Dunbar 
Front row (Left to Right) Jack "Goose" Goss;John Westwood; Randall Villa; Albert Purcell  

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 4544