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S/SGT  Clarence A. COOMBS

UNIT: 418th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BTG

S/SGT Clarence Coombs and family (photo courtesy of Heinrich Eickholt)

SERIAL #: 11068212 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 01031 CR: 01031

Comments1: 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER/ MID-AIR WITH ME 109

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Richard B. Atchison,Jr.    P    POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 0-738063
2nd Lt Willard Secor               CP    POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 0-802472
2nd Lt Kenneth Baron           NAV   POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 0-675982
2nd Lt Sol Goldstein              BOM   POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 0-676255 
 T/Sgt Russell W.Bennett       TTE   POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 33275678
 T/Sgt Elder E. Lisch              ROG  KIA       10/10/43   Munster    sn# 16094155
 S/Sgt George J. Brassell        BTG   KIA       22/12/43  Munster     sn# 33322241
 S/Sgt Elliot O.Preble             'WG   KIA       10/10/43  Munster     sn# 31164132
 S/Sgt Westley M.Field            WG   KIA      10/10/43   Munster     sn# 31204708
 S/Sgt Van T.Wright                TG   POW    10/10/43   Munster    sn# 35370362

418th Sqdn. Crew,as above ,joined 100th Group on 25/8/43. 
On 10/10/43 a S/Sgt CLARENCE A. COMBS  was BTG in place of Sgt Brassell and was KIA.

MACR #1031 A/C #42 30047 "SWEATER GIRL".

Note George Brassell was KIA on the 100th's second Munster mission  with crew of T.F.Goupill 
when killed and is buried in Cambridge cemetary.

Statement by Kenneth Baron  "I was wounded during an attack by an enemy a/c before I bailed out, sustaining a penetrating wound Of the right thigh which broke the femur. Due to possible shock I have no clear recollection Or the mission nor of most events until I was picked up on the ground by the Germans I do know we flew along the Rhine river some distance from its mouth and that we dropped our bombs  I do not recall seeing the target, although we were in large formation when we were subjected to an intense and accurate flak attack and when we were attacked by large numbers Or enemy a/c/

When I bailed out, I was the first person to leave by the lower nose exit because I recall releasing the door by means Or the emergency release handle The bombardier was immediately behind me, preparing to bail out, but once I left the ship I did not see him again, nor did I see the ship after I left it It was flying straight and level at that time to the best Of my knowledge I executed a delayed jump in order to reach ground more quickly and I opened my chute at what I estimated to  be 5000 ft  During my descent I could recall seeing no aircraft of any sort "

Apparently for over a year there was much confusion as to the exact fate of this crew  A German Major had taken the dog tags from several crew members when they were captured and later reports from German sources claimed that Atchison, Secor and Bennett were KIA and buried near Munster (dog tags had been switched in some manner).

The crew this day was flying B-17F 42-30047 "Sweater Girl" LN-Q instead of their regular B-17F "Terry n'Ten" 42-30062, LD-O which was named by Lt Atchison for his wife. The crew was assigned Terry n'Ten on September 16,1943.   On October 10,1943 the target was MUNSTER, just after the bomb run, the 100th was hit by fighters,and intense flak with one ME 109 colliding with Lt William Beddow's aircraft "Sexy Susy, Mother of Ten" 42-30723 EP-D which had completed only 6 mission prior to October 10th.  The collision occurred on Lt.Beddows left wing with flames erupting throughout the plane.  The bailout order was given and 4 men got out, the plane exploded in mid air after going into a steep spiral killing Lt Beddow and 5 of his crew.  It has been speculated that "Sweater Girl" also was damaged by this midair collision but surviving crew members report that the aircraft was under heavy flak followed by fighter attacks and was severly damaged before the crew was ordered to bail out.  There is no mention from Crew reports that their plane sustained any damage from Lt Beddow's mid-air collision with the Me109.  According to eye witness accounts, Lt Atchison was hit in No 2 Engine, it must have been an oil line because oil was pouring out in a stream.  All the officers along with the TTG and TG were fortunate in escaping the severly damage B-17 but unfortunately, the rest of the crew perished when the plane crashed a few miles north of Munster at Ostberven near the Dormund-Ems canal. (mpf 6/2001)

MISSIONS OF LT RICHARD ATCHISON CREW (from Paul Andrews Appendix for "Luck of the Draw")MPF 2001

1. 15/09/43 PARIS  AC# 42-861  LADEN MAIDEN
2. 16/09/43 LAPALLICE  AC# 42-30062 TERRY N'TEN
3. 26/09/43 PARIS  AC# 42-30062 TERRY N'TEN
4. 27/09/43 EMDEN  AC# 42-30758 ROSIE'S RIVETERS
5.  2/10/43 EMDEN  AC# 42-30062 TERRY N'TEN
6.  4/10/43 HANAU  AC# 42-30062 TERRY N'TEN
7.  9/10/43 MARIENBURG AC# 42-30062 TERRY N'TEN
8. 10/10/43 MUNSTER  AC# 42-30047 SWEATER GIRL

One last thing....... for now.I think Dick told me that his plane was painted "TnT" for Terry N Ten..... not sure I have that right though.
    
Subj: Re: Lt Atchison  
Date: 8/3/2002 8:38:54 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: lowtech@lowtech2k.com 
To: MPFaley@aol.com 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
 
I found out that Scott (Dick's son) has some photo's, none of the crew 
or plane that he knows of.  I did find a written interview that was done 
with Dick. In it he does call his plane "TNT".  One piece of info in it 
that I did not find anywhere else is about "Rosie's Riveters"

"We all got shot down that day, but one of us got home.  Tail end 
Charlie.  It was his third Mission.  About 20 minutes before we got to 
the target, he got damaged so he headed for the deck.  His name was 
Rosie Rosenthal.  I don't remember his real first name, we all called 
him Rosie." RBA

If Rosenthal was tail end Charlie, he would have been the photographer 
would he not?  As such, there would be no footage of this event.

I did find a picture of nose art from "Sweater Girl" in a book.

If Dick's plane was taken down by debris from a mid air collision, as 
others have said, it appears he was not aware of it.

I'll be in touch as I get the pieces put together.

Dave

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Munster DATE: 1943-10-10  
AIRCRAFT: "Sweater Girl" (42-30047) CAUSE: EAC & FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 954