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S/SGT  Elmer J. ANDERSON

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG
SERIAL #: 39698527 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 05625 CR: 05625

Comments1: 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES/DUNKIRK (SEE RYAN MEMO)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2ND LT JOHN F. RYAN, JR.              P KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
2ND LT JOSEPH H. TOBICZYK        CP KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
2ND LT HANS J. CHORPENNING    NAV KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
2ND LT CARL S. McGINTY            BOM KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
T/SGT GEORGE L. SHERBACK       ROG POW 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
T/SGT MARVIN F. FENNER           TTE KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
S/SGT JAMES F. HEALY               BTG KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
S/SGT HAROLD R. WHIPPLE        RWG KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
S/SGT ARCHIE J. McFARLAND      LWG KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK
S/SGT ELMER J. ANDERSON           TG KIA 12 JUN 44 ROSIERES & DUNKIRK

349th  Sqdn.. This crew was on it's first mission.  Ship A/C 337601 "Pack of Trouble"? was hit by flak over Dunkerque at 0853 hours at 24,000 feet.  #4 engine caught fire and the right wing broke off  near the engine inducing a spin. five or six chutes were reported.

Sherback had no recollection of leaving the plane and believed he must have been blown clear.  A German officer told him the plane exploded and all "remains went into the sea."

All the above KIA's are commorated on The Wall of the Missing at the Ardennes American Cemetary in Belgium.

01 Sep 96 Letter to Col. Harry F. Cruver from George L. Sherback sole survivor of the John F. Ryan Crew.

Dear Harry;

Sorry about the long delay in replying to your requests. Primarily there were two reasons (excuses), the first being a search through the attic area for the photo you wanted. I never did find the typical crew in front of a B-17 taken at Dalhart, Texas just before shipping out. However, two others that may be useful are enclosed. Planning and touring Ireland also took a great deal of time.

About the mission (12 Jun 44)

1.  The report of fire in # 4 engine is in error. Actually # 4 was intact and the fire was between # 3 & # 4 in what I say was a gas tank. My last observation from the radio room was a fairly large hole that was enlarging as the skin was melting.

2.  The first sign of trouble was a report of smoke followed closely by There is a lot of fire on the right wing.

3.  A short time before the above, McGinty (Lt. Carl S. McGinty  BOM) sustained a wound to one of his feet. I immediately asked if I could help take care of it but was told by Chorpenning (Lt. Hans J. Chorpennng  NAV), our Navigator, to wait a minute to see if he could take care of it. shortly McGunity agreed that it was done as well as could be done in the plane.
 
4.  My last clear memory in the plane was putting on my chute and heading into the waist where the guys were getting ready to go out. I recall being at the ball  turret support when the lights went out. The next vague memory was thinking at one point that it was so quiet and it was such a beautiful day. Next memory  is lying on the ground with blood all over the place. The Germans were on a bank approximately 30  40 yards away calling for me to come out. My first response was to stay put and have them come and get me but the blood was still flowing so I unfastened my chute, threw my escape kit aside and walked out. I found out later that the area was mined and I was fortunate to get out of it.

5.  Conversation with German officer after first aid to wounds. This officer held the rank of Captain, was a Cambridge graduate and spoke excellent English. After some first aid for my wounds, I was taken to a  bunker where this officer informed me that our aircraft had exploded and fell into the channel and that all my comrades were lost. 

6.  Crash Site: I have absolutely no idea except for what the German Captain said.

7.  First mission: As a complete Ryan Crew this was the first. However, during June 6 to June 10 during the short two-a-day runs I seem to remember that Ryan and Fenner flew at least one or more of these with other crews. I may be wrong here but the memory is fairly strong.

8.  Post Crash Info: From the bunker I was taken to a hospital in Lille where my wounds were treated. Nest stop was Dulag Luft in Frankfurt for the solitary confinement and interrogation routine after which I was sent to the orthopedic hospital in Meiningen for about one month then to Stettin near the Baltic. Left this camp on Feb. 6, 1945 and marched 86 days until liberated by the 104th Div. On the Mulde River near Helle, Germany. We were flown out to Camp Lucky Strike in France for shipment home. Was discharged at San Antonio in the fall of 1945


This  is about all I can tell you of this unhappy experience. I know it would be nice to have more detail but nothing will change the reality of the loss of nine excellent people with whom I was privileged to live and fly with even for a very short time.

Regards George S. Sherback


The following form contents were entered on 26th Dec 1
Date = 26 Dec 1 16:23:31
subject = 100thBG Feedback Form
messages = 351
TYPE_FEEDBACK = ASK A QUESTION
EMAIL = mlaporte@deloitte.com
UNAME = Meg Sherback LaPorte
CONNECTION = I am a relative of a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = I noticed that my Dad's plane name wasn't listed. . . is the list complete? I'm wondering if I've had the wrong name all these years.  "Pack of Trouble", 349th Squadron, shot down 6/12/44. . . PS:  First time visiting this site and find it a great resource!

MEMO 2:

See Ryan Memo field

Elmer J. Anderson was born in California in 1916. Data on his parents nor census records have not been located. It is known he graduated from Central Union High School in 1943, and worked in the pharmacy department of the Fresno County Hospital.  He was drafted, as shown by his service number, and inducted into military service on May 10, 1943. He is listed as having completed 4 years of high school, and that he was divorced, with dependents. One source states he had a son, Donald N. Anderson, with no mention of his wife. Anderson was assigned to the Army Air Forces, selected for flight duty, and trained as an aerial gunner in Utah and Arizona before being promoted to Sergeant, and sent to crew training. He trained with the Ryan crew, moving overseas to England in May, 1944.

On June 12, 1944, the crew received their first combat mission assignment - bombardment of the coastal defenses at Dunkirk, France. Over the target, the aircraft was hit by flak. A fire broke out in the wing fuel tank between the # 3 and # 4 engines. The wing broke off, then the aircraft exploded, throwing one crew member out into space. The aircraft crashed into the North Sea, approximately 14 miles north of Dunkirk, killing the remaining crew. No remains were recovered, and all the crew are remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium.

Elmer J. Anderson was acting as the tail gunner on B-17G # 43-37601, named "Pack of Trouble," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 5625 was issued for this loss. Crew rosters show the crew consisted of:

2 Lt John F. Ryan, Jr.  p
2 Lt Joseph H. Tobiczyk  c-p
2 Lt Hans J. Chorpenning  nav
2 Lt Carl S. McGinty  bomb
TSgt Marvin F. Fenner  eng/tt gun
TSgt George L. Sherback  r/o
SSgt James F. Healy  btg
SSgt Harold R. Whipple  wg
SSgt Archie J. McFarland  wg
SSgt Elmer J. Anderson  tail gun

TSgt Sherback was the only survivor

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-06-12  
AIRCRAFT: (43-37601) CAUSE: FLAK - Explosion  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: Wall/Misng CEMETERY: Ardennes, Neuville-en-Cond, Belgium  
ID: 82