29 November 1943

29 November 1943

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29 November 1943

War in the Air

Eighth Air Force Heavy Bomber Mission No. 140: 360 aircraft sent to attack port area at Bremen. 13 aircraft lost.


Teheran Conference: Churchill presents Stalin with the Sword of Stalingrad


US raid on Japanese supply dump at Koiari, Bougainville, ends in failure

New Guinea

Australian troops pursue the retreating Japanes towards Wareo

Coffee rationing begins

On November 29, 1942, coffee joins the list of items rationed in the United States. Despite record coffee production in Latin American countries, the growing demand for the bean from both military and civilian sources, and the demands placed on shipping, which was needed for other purposes, required the limiting of its availability.

Scarcity or shortages were rarely the reason for rationing during the war. Rationing was generally employed for two reasons: (1) to guarantee a fair distribution of resources and foodstuffs to all citizens and (2) to give priority to military use for certain raw materials, given the present emergency.

At first, limiting the use of certain products was voluntary. For example, President Roosevelt launched “scrap drives” to scare up throwaway rubber-old garden hoses, tires, bathing caps, etc.–in light of the Japanese capture of the Dutch East Indies, a source of rubber for the United States. Collections were then redeemed at gas stations for a penny a pound. Patriotism and the desire to aid the war effort were enough in the early days of the war.

House Votes Price Boost!

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 49 (should be No. 48), 29 November 1943, pp.ف &ل.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

WASHINGTONThe action of the House in sending to the Senate the Commodity Credit Corporation Bill, calling for an end to the food subsidy program after December 31 of this year, carried by a vote of 278 to 117, will only aggravate the wage situation in the country. All forecasts are that the Senate will concur in the House action.

It is expected that Roosevelt will veto the bill, since his entire program for the wage freeze depends on subsidies given to the big food corporations as a means of keeping down prices. But prices of course have not been kept down, and the workers of the country are clamoring for higher wages.

The House action was carried out in behalf of the war profiteers, who stand to gain millions more through higher prices – unlimited prices. Roosevelt’s fears that this will set the stage for widespread wage demands are based on the fact that even before the House action a number of unions have denounced the Little Steel formula and have demanded wage increases.

The CIO convention, in response to the pressure of the rank and file, formally went on record against the Little Steel formula. Since the convention, Murray’s own union, the United Steel Workers of America, has gone on record to demand a wage increase.

Long before that, however, the railway workers were pressing for wage increases and the unions in that industry have been preparing to take a strike vote.

The miners’ union set the stage other unions are following suit. As the situation becomes more unbearable for the workers, more and more unions will join the cry for higher wages.

In the past week the War Labor Board has already – for one involved reason or another – chiseled thirty-one cents a week off miners’ wages as set by the Ickes-Lewis agreement.

Also in the past week a Senate subcommittee favored the wage increase of eight cents an hour for 1,100,000 railroad workers. This is, to be sure, less than the rail unions demanded, but nevertheless overrules Czar Vinson, who opposed this increase recommended by a special committee.

The action of the WLB against miners’ wages – small though the cut is – indicates the assurance already felt by labor’s enemies because the miners’ strike is behind them.

Contrariwise, the action of the Senate sub-committee in favor of an increase in rail wages registers fear of a railroad strike on which a vote is now being taken.

Pointing a Moral

The moral of these latest developments on the wage front is obvious. Not that the miners lack militancy. Quite the contrary. They were the first workers to break out of the wage-refrigerator – and they have left the door wide open for all labor to follow suit. The point is this: the powers that be “relax” into their regular anti-labor practices as soon as labor lays down its “big stick.”

One may say this point was also brought out by the flip-flop executed by Chairman Davis of the WLB within the space of a week.

On November 5 he wrote to Vice-President Wallace, plainly declaring that labor is bearing alone the brunt of the hold-the-line edict. Was it merely a coincidence that this “pro-labor” view was stated at the same time that the CIO convention came out against the Little Steel formula and President Murray talked big about demanding more pay for the hundreds of thousands of steel workers?

The Little Steel formula was looking pretty sick. Did Davis see that, too?

But less than a week later Chairman Davis protested and denied and asserted that his statement was “widely misunderstood and misapplied.” He wanted everyone to know that as far as he is concerned the Little Steel freeze is still in full force and effect.

What happened between Mr. Davis’ first and second declarations? Well, the wage demands for steel workers have not yet materialized. Things seemed to quiet down – and so did Mr. Davis. It begins to look as if labor leaders are again engaged in the fruitless game of playing along with President Roosevelt, this time pinning highest hopes on FDR’s altogether inadequate subsidy plan for a rollback in prices. But it looks pretty hopeless. The subsidy plan is going down the river as big business is winning its fight for higher prices. Militant action en wages must be taken.

ILGWU Against Wage Freeze

Another large union came out against the Little Steel freeze last week, namely, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, with a membership of 500,000. President Dubinsky said he would demand a wage increase in excess of the Little Steel limit because, as stated in a resolution passed by the executive board, “The only real effect of the Little Steel formula to date has been the practical freezing of wages. Stabilization of living costs is largely wishful thinking, while the true inflationary forces, the industrial combines which control living necessities, are having a field day.”

These are true words. They not only correctly characterize the Little Steel outrage and the so-called stabilization program, but place the guilt for the present price crisis where it belongs, namely, on the capitalist class and its political servants. Wage demands are the only solution along these lines.

The CIO News reports that the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers Union “this week called for wage adjustments to meet the rising living costs . ”

The Textile Workers Union has issued a demand for a wage increase of “not less than ten cents an hour for all textile workers.”

Another move on the wage front was the letter of William Green, AFL president, to Chairman Davis of the WLB, in which Green expressed resentment at the implications of members of the board that more drastic anti-labor legislation should be passed. “Statements such as these made by the NWLB make it increasingly difficult for labor to participate in the work of the NWLB as now constituted,” Green stated.

The “Forgotten People”

While labor leaders hesitate to take action, the New York Times has started a campaign to pit the unorganized workers against the organized. Its correspondent on labor matters, Louis Stark, wrote several articles on the “forgotten people.” There are, as he pointed out, 15,000,000 clerical, white collar, professional and other unorganized workers who have not received even the fifteen per cent wage increase grudgingly allowed by the Little Steel formula. They haven’t been able to get this because, as unorganized individuals, they have not been able to protect their interests.

This fact gives the mentally spry editors of the Times an opportunity to brush aside the thousands of claims of ORGANIZED labor lying buried in the graveyard of the WLB, and nonchalantly declare that the “WLB has adopted a procedure which is bound to favor organized labor against the unorganized groups.”

From this false statement the Times proceeds to draw the fantastic conclusion that even the fifteen per cent wage increase permitted by the Little Steel formula is much too lavish. The clever idea of this capitalist

newspaper is that practically no allowance should be made to workers to meet the rise in living costs – except to those workers earning $25 a week or less.

Of course, labor leaders and union papers have protested against the anti-labor propaganda that Mr. Stark’s articles gave the capitalists and their spokesmen a chance to make. But here too words of protest are not enough. Action is required to get these “forgotten people” the wage increases long overdue. The necessary action is an all-out drive to organize the unorganized so that all labor will have the protection of united action.

If organized labor hesitates longer at this crucial point, the anti-labor forces will simply be given further chance to strengthen their lines.

Funeral rites must be given the Little Steel formula by coming out at once with definite wage demands in every industry.

Labor’s right to strike for its demands must be reasserted by taking back the no-strike pledge and wiping the Smith-Connally bill off the books.

No wedge must be allowed to exist between organized and unorganized labor. A militant unionization drive on the basis of specific demands for the unorganized workers must be undertaken at once.

A Missing Man: Major Milton Joel, Fighter Pilot, 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force: XII – The Names of Others: Jewish Military Casualties on November 29, 1943

Having focused so closely on Monday, November 29, 1943 – in terms of the loss of Major Milton Joel during the encounter of the 38th Fighter Squadron (55th Fighter Group), with the Luftwaffe over the Netherlands – “this” post is a follow-up to the events of that day: Here – paralleling much the same “template” as my ongoing series of posts (about 30, thus far) focusing on Jewish soldiers in The New York Times – are brief accounts about some other Jewish airmen and soldiers lost or involved in combat on that Monday in November.

But first, “something completely different”. Well, somewhat different. Well, at least kind’a different… An “artifact” direct from November of 1943: The cover of that month’s issue Astounding Science Fiction, featuring art by William Timmins, illustrating the story “Recoil” by George O. Smith.

You can view similar – let alone unsimilar – images, and many more at my brother blog, WordsEnvisioned.

Now, back to the topic at hand…

Some other Jewish military casualties on Monday, November 29, 1943 (2 Kislev 5704) include…

United States Army (Ground Forces)

Bernstein, Samuel M., Cpl., 33034466 (in Ireland)
314th Ordnance Maintenance Company
Mr. William Bernstein (father), 807 Carson St., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Born Pittsburgh, Pa., 10/29/16
Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh) 9/7/45
Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England – Plot F, Row 5, Grave 4
American Jews in World War II – 511

Fine, Benjamin, Pvt., 33100225, Purple Heart (at Venefro, Italy)
179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division
Mr. and Mrs. Abe and Goldy Fine (parents), 705 Washington Blvd., Williamsport, Pa.
Born Grodek Molodetzna, Russia, 8/30/13
Place of Burial unknown
American Jews in World War II – 520

Horwich, Irving I., 2 Lt., 0-1307017, Purple Heart (at Mount Pantano, Italy)
A Company, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division
Graduate of University of Notre Dame
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip and Anna Horwich (parents) ((or, Mrs. David Goldstein (mother?)), 805 West Marion St., Elkhart, In.
Mrs. Adeline Levine (sister), Elkhart, In.
Born 6/12/13
Hebrew Orthodox Cemetery, Mishawaka, In.
Jewish Post (Indianapolis) 12/31/43
The American Hebrew 3/10/44
American Jews in World War II – 123

United States Army Air Force
8th Air Force

Gladstone, Stanley, 2 Lt., 0-750137, Bombardier, Air Medal, Purple Heart
338th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group
B-17G 42-37811, Pilot: 2 Lt. Herbert O. Meuli, 10 crewmen – no survivors
MACR 1391
Mrs. Yetta Gladstone (mother), 3822 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Aviation Cadet Jasin J. Gladstone (brother)
Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England
Casualty List 1/1/44
Brooklyn Eagle 12/31/43
American Jews in World War II – 321

“I would love to go over seas again just for the purpose of finding those graves. I will do all I can to help. Thanking you for having interested in my crew. I still worship the lot of them and I would to God that their bodies are found.” – Edgar E. Schooley, summer, 1945

Gorn, Lion A., S/Sgt., 32411565, Gunner (Right Waist), Air Medal, Purple Heart, 4 missions
525th Bomb Squadron, 379th Bomb Group
B-17F 42-29787, “FR * E”, “”Wilder Nell” II”, Pilot: 2 Lt. Charles H. LeFevre, 10 crewmen – one survivor: S/Sgt. Edgar E. Schooley, Jr, Tail Gunner
MACR 1332
Mrs. Janice L. Gorn (wife), 255 East 176th St., New York, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan [?-10/50] and Fannie Rebecca (Widoff) [8/29/92-10/64] Gorn (parents)
Mildred E. Gorn (sister)
Name commemorated at Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Holland
Casualty Lists 1/1/44, 12/24/45
P.M. (…the newspaper P.M., that is…) 11/2/46
American Jews in World War II – 331

Based on comments by Fold3 contributor patootie63, the image below, Army Air Force photo A-71044AC (A-11535) captioned, “A crew of the 379th Bomb Group poses beside B-17 Flying Fortress “Wilder Nell II” at an 8th Air Force base in England, 11 November 1943,” presumably shows Lt. LeFevre’s crew posed before the nose of their simply nicknamed bomber.

Though (except in one case – see below!) names cannot be attached to faces on an individual cases, assuming that this is the LeFevre crew, then the men would be:

Le Fevre, Charles H., 2 Lt. – Pilot (rear, far left)
Miller, John R., 2 Lt., Co-Pilot (rear, second from left)
Spurgiasz, Jan, T/Sgt. – Navigator
Valsecchi, Alfred, 2 Lt. – Bombardier (rear, third from left)
Mulligan, James C., T/Sgt. – Flight Engineer
Dixon, Leonard, T/Sgt. – Radio Operator
Hunter, Robert W., S/Sgt. – Gunner (Ball Turret)
Laird, Wesley W., S/Sgt. – Gunner (Right Waist)
Schooley, Edgar E.. S/Sgt. – Gunner (Tail) (probably front row, far left)
…and Sgt. Lion A. Gorn
…of whom the only survivor would be S/Sgt. Schooley.

S/Sgt. Schooley’s postwar account of the loss of the crew of Wilder Nell II, in the Individual Casualty Questionnaires in Missing Air Crew Report 1332, recounts that the aircraft was damaged by both flak and fighters, with Lt. LeFevre giving orders to ditch while the aircraft was still over land. With the exception of Lieutenants LeFevre and Miller, the entire crew – standard for B-17 ditching procedure – was soon gathered in the aircraft’s radio room.

A particularly poignant and haunting aspect of Sgt. Schooley’s account is his mention that Sergeants Schooley, Gorn and radio operator Hunter said “good-bye” to one another just before the the plane struck the sea, with Sgt. Dixon remaining in his seat (transmitting the plane’s position?) even as the plane struck the water.

When the plane impacted, the bottom of the radio room burst open, and “Everything happened so fast that nobody could think very much. I was just tossed by some one.” Sergeants Laird and Mulligan were probably pinned in the sinking plane, while Sgt. Gorn – who stood up just after the B-17 first struck the water (there were typically two impacts when an aircraft ditched, the first moderate in force and the second almost always far more severe) – was thrown forward, and did not survive the ditching. Dixon, Miller, Spurgiasz, and Valsecchi managed to escape the sinking plane. Sadly, though Lt. LeFevre survived the ditching, he became jammed in the co-pilot’s side (right side) window as he attempted to escape the sinking Wilder Nell II. In Sergeant Schooley’s words, “I know he was stuck in the window because I tried to get to him to help, but the sea was too rough. If you will look up the weather on that day, you will know better than I can write.”

Then, “Dixon, Valsecchi and Spurgiasz were hanging on an uninflated dinghy in the water. About 100 ft behind me. Dixon saw me and spoke my name. Then an Me-109 came down and opened up his guns and then I passed out from the cold”.

As described at ZZAirWar, Wilder Nell II ditched one mile off the Dutch coast, near Petten.

While Sgt. Schooley attributed the deaths of those men who had survived the ditching to a strafing Me-109, ZZAirWar suggests a different explanation: machine gun fire from a coastal gun emplacement: “A German officer came running towards the machine gun nest and stopped the shooting [this was a heavy defended coast line, part of the anti-invasion Atlantic Wall]. “Schooley floated unconscious against a wave breaker and was dragged onto the beach. Also Lefevre and Valsecchi washed ashore that day.”

“They were all three brought to the nearest hospital, which was the German Navy Hospital in village Heiloo (‘Hialo’ and ‘Halio’ writes Schooley). This was the to us well known Dutch Mental Hospital ‘St. Willibrordus’, of which the Germans had confiscated a large part and made it their Kriegsmarine Lazeret. Lefevre and Valsecchi were dead and later buried in Heiloo on the General Cemetery. Schooley regained consciousness after 4 days.”

Finally (but there seems not to have been a “finally”…) the following is a transcript of a handwritten letter that Sgt. Schooley included along with his crewman’s completed Individual Casualty Questionnaires:

While in the German Hospital at Hialo [actually, Heiloo] Holland, the German people would not tell me any thing.

When I got well and was sent to Amsterdam they told me that they had a body or two. Then they showed me the name of a man and it was Valsecchi 2nd Lt. Then they told me that he was buried some where in Holland, and that Somebody else was there also but they couldn’t describe him to me and he had no identification. That is all I know.

I would love to go over seas again just for the purpose of finding those graves. I will do all I can to help. Thanking you for having interested in my crew. I still worship the lot of them and I would to God that their bodies are found.

Edgar Schooley died on March 12, 2015. His obituary can be found at, where appears his portrait (below). And so, in the above crew photo of Wilder Nell II, he appears to be in the front row, at far left.

Lion Gorn’s wife Janice – Dr. Janice L. Gorn, affiliated with New York University – never remarried. Born March 23, 1915, she died on December 18, 2002. The Honoree Page for her husband can be found at the website of the National WW II Memorial: “Arrived in England in October. Forty three bombing kills. He and eight others on B-17 were killed on the way home over North Sea. Tail gunner was rescued and imprisoned until end of war. There were no fighter escorts at the time.”

Though Army Air Force navigator Second Lieutenant Ralph Victor Guinzberg, Jr. (0-797311), was killed in action on the 29th of November, as a member of the 334th Bomb Squadron of the 95th Bomb Group, he had participated in two particularly significant combat missions prior to that dat, during neither of which was he injured. Born in 1916, he was a 1938 graduate of the University of Wisconsin. His family resided at 485 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, while his uncle Frederick lived in Chappaqua, N.Y.

The photo below was published in The Daily Argus (Mount Vernon) on August 27, 1943 (via FultonHistory)

The “first” of the two incidents was a mission to Kassel, Germany, on July 30, 1943, during which his aircraft, B-17F 42-30192 “OE * Y“, “Jutzi“, was struck by flak while about 10 miles from Knocke, Holland, knocking out the hydraulic and oxygen systems, and disabling three engines. Control of the bomber being temporarily lost, Lt. Jutzi ordered the crew to bail out. The plane’s four gunners and radio operator did so, but the radio operator and tail gunner did not survive. Realizing that the plane could be kept under control, Lt. Jutzi countermanded his bailout order, and ditched Jutzi six miles from Dover. Injured by flak during the mission, Lt. Guinzberg saved the life of S/Sgt. Harold R. Knotts, after the latter had been knocked unconscious during the ditching.

Lt. Jutzi, his three fellow officers and the flight engineer were rescued. Thus, a total of eight men eventually survived the mission, the incident being covered in MACR 217.

The crew roster for the mission comprised:

Robert B. Jutzi, Pilot (POW 9/16/43 while piloting Terry and the Pirates, 42-30276)
Robert D. Patterson, Co-Pilot (Completed 25 missions)
Wilbur W. Collins, Navigator (POW 9/16/43 aboard Terry and the Pirates, 42-30276, with Lt. Jutzi)
Harold R. Knotts, Flight Engineer (POW 11/29/43 aboard Blondie III)

T/Sgt. Robert Randall, Radio Operator (KIA)
S/Sgt. Warren W. Wylie, Left Waist Gunner (POW)
S/Sgt. Philbert A. Comeau, Right Waist Gunner (POW)
S/Sgt. Leland M. Bernhardt, Ball Turret Gunner (POW)
S/Sgt. Harold W. Jordan, Tail Gunner (KIA)

The mission eventuated in Lt. Guinzberg’s receipt of a Commendation, the text of which appears below, in this article from the New Castle Tribune of August 27, 1943.


Lt. Ralph V. Guinzburg, Jr. Awarded Purple Heart and Air Medal

Although Wounded When His fortress Was Shot Down, He Rescued Engineer

Lt. Ralph Victor Guinzburg. Jr., 27, of New York City and Chappaqua has been awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal and has been recommended for the Silver Star for saving a fellow flyer although himself wounded when his B-17 was shot down over the British channel late in July.

According to word received by Lt. Guinzburg’s family, the Fortress was hit by anti-aircraft shells as it headed home from a mission over the continent.

The last entry in the plane’s log, which was kept by Lt. Guinzburg, navigator, was “Ack-ack inaccurate, low and to the left.” A few minutes later the Fortress was struck three times, with Lt. Guinzburg receiving shrapnel wounds in the ankle. Five of the crew bailed out as the B-17 began to lose altitude at the rate of 1000 feet a minute. Lt. Guinzburg and three other officers remained in the plane, trying to get it back to the coast of England.

Seven miles from the British coast, the Fortress crashed into the sea. One man was knocked unconscious and Lt. Guinzburg was thrown violently against the roof of the ship. He suffered a deep cut on the forehead but remained conscious. As the Fortress began to sink, he remained inside to push the unconscious man through the hatch, while the others helped from the outside.

The plane’s automatically inflated life-rafts were already floating on the water as the plane went down. Carrying their unconscious comrade between them, the three men swam to the rafts and were shortly rescued.

Lt. Guinzburg attended the Fieldstone School in Westchester and is a graduate of Wisconsin University. Before his overseas assignment, he was on anti-submarine patrol here. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Guinzburg.

Complete citation of Lt. Ralph Victor Guinzburg, Jr.

Through the Commanding Officer:

“1. As a result of enemy anti- aircraft fire on a mission over Germany on July 30. 1943, the airplane on which you were the navigator was seriously damaged. Three engines, the oxygen system, and the hydraulic system were rendered unopperative. After making a forced landing in the open sea, the plane began to sink rapidly. Observing, when about to leave the aircraft, that the aerial engineer was missing you searched and found him in the radio room. He was unconscious, his foot pinned by equipment. You brought him through the plane safely into the dinghy. For a few minutes you were securely in the dinghy when the stabilizer of the sinking aircraft brushed by causing another member of the crew to jump into the water. Though physically weakened by injuries, you, with unfailing determination, paddled to him and helped him to climb into the boat. You are commended for extraordinary courage.

“2. A copy of this commendation will be filed in your official file and made a part of your next efficiency report.”

Colonel Air Corps, Commanding.

“1. I desire to add my commendation to the above for your extreme coolness and courage in your action during the damaging of your airplane.

“You have been an inspiration to the entire command.”

Colonel Air Corps, Commanding.

“1. Your actions under duress reflect the spirit which we like to consider symbolic of Americanism.

“2. My heartiest congratulations.”

Major Air Corps, Commanding.

Likewise, the story was reported upon in the New York City-based German refugee newspaper Aufbau, on September 24, 1943, in an unsigned article that oddly was in English, not German. (? – !)

More Medals for Guinzberg

The navigator of a Flying Fortress returning home from a bombing mission over Europe made an entry in the plane’s log. “Ack-ack inaccurate,” he wrote, “low and to the left.” It was the last sentence in that log. A few minutes later the Fortress was struck three times. The navigator suffered a shrapnel wound in the ankle. Five of the crew bailed out as the plane began to lose altitude at the rate of 1,000 feet a minute. The navigator and three officers remained in the plane. They tried to get the B-17 back to the English coast.

Seven miles from the coast of Britain the Fortress crashed. It plunged into the sea, and in the rush of its downward flight one man was knocked unconscious and the navigator was hurled violently against the roof of the ship. There was a deep cut on his forehead, but he was still conscious.

The Fortress was beginning to sink. The navigator stayed inside. He did not leave until he had helped push the unconscious man through the hatch, while the third man helped from the outside.

By this time the plane’s automatically inflated life-rafts were already floating on the water. Carrying their unconscious comrade between them, the three men swam to the rafts and were shortly rescued.

The navigator who stayed in that sinking Fortress to save a fellow-officer is a 27-year old New Yorker named Lt. Ralph Victor Guinzberg. He has been awarded the Purple Heart and was recommended for the Silver Star for his heroism on that mission. The incident took place in July.

Lt. Guinzberg, who holds the Air Medal for an earlier exploit, is the nephew of Ralph Guinzberg of the Jewish Welfare Board’s Greater New York Committee. He is the grandson of Mrs. Henrietta Kleinert Guinzberg, of Westchester, who founded the Red Cross Chapter of Westchester more than a quarter of a century ago.

Lt. Guinzberg attended the Fieldston School in Westchester and is a graduate of Wisconsin University.

On September 7, 1943, Lt. Guinzberg was wounded in the leg by flak while flying aboard B-17F 42-30233 (“QW * X”, “Rhapsody in Flak”) with the 412th Bomb Squadron, during a mission to Watten, France. (By definition there’s no MACR for this incident.) The plane was piloted by Lt. Edmund L. Barraclough. The image below, dated September 24, 1943 (coincidentally the same date as the above Aufbau article) shows his receipt of an award (I’m not sure which). Note that he’s using a cane to support himself.

Lt. Guinzberg’s last mission: The incident is covered in MACR 1560 (extremely poor reproduction by Fold3…) and recorded in the very “early” Luftgaukommando Report KU 462 (probably destroyed or lost, as it never became part of NARA’s holdings).

He was killed during the Bremen mission while aboard B-17F 42-6039 (“BG * H“, “Blondie III“) piloted by 1 Lt. Leslie B. Palmer. The bomber was last seen in the vicinity of Bremen, losing speed but under control, but there were no specific witnesses to Blondie III’s loss, or at least none whose names appeared in MACR 1560.

Postwar Casualty Questionnaires revealed that shortly after Lt. Guinzberg informed the crew, via intercom, that their plane had entered Germany territory, it (and presumably, other 95th Bomb Group B-17s) was attacked by Me-109s. Immediately after, Lt. Guinzberg was killed by enemy fire – the crew’s sole casualty – and the plane sustained such damage that they was forced to parachute. All did so successfully, with the crew landing and being captured in the vicinity of Oldenburg. According to David Osborne’s “B-17 Master Log”, the aircraft crashed at Aumhle Bosel, four miles southeast of Friesoythe. Blondie III was the only 95th Bomb Group aircraft lost that day.

Lt. Guinzberg received the Air Medal, 4 Oak Leaf Cluster, Soldier’s Medal, and Purple Heart. He completed between 14 and 17 missions. He is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery, at Neupre, Belgium. (Plot B, Row 25, Grave 2)

Lt. Ralph Guiznberg’s name appears in the following sources:

War Department Casualty Lists 10/10/43, 1/1/44
The Daily Argus (Mount Vernon) 8/27/43, 2/9/44, 1/17/45
New Castle Tribune (N.Y.) 8/27/43
Aufbau 9/24/43
American Jews in World War II – 338

Weider, Norman L., 1 Lt., 0-795530, Co-Pilot, Air Medal, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, 15 missions
548th Bomb Squadron, 385th Bomb Group
B-17G 42-37874, WHO DAT – DING BAT ”, Pilot: 1 Lt. William Lawrence Swope, 10 crewmen – no survivors MACR 1532
Born 12/24/19
Mrs. May Weider (mother), 107-55 123rd St., Richmond Hill, N.Y.
2 Lt. Arthur Weider (brother)
Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England
Casualty List 1/1/44
Brooklyn Eagle 12/31/43
Long Island Daily Press 1/16/43, 12/31/43
The Record (Richmond Hill) 11/4/43
American Jews in World War II– 466

The photo below was published in the Long Island Daily Press on January, 16, 1943. Caption? “The war has brought these youths together at Moody Field, Tx. The boys – on their way to commissions as second lieutenants in the Air Force – are, left to right, Gerard T. Soper of 152-50 129th Street, Ozone Park Norman L. Weider of 107-55 123rd Street, Richmond Hill, and Henry L. Timmermans of 50-24 214th Street, Bayside.” A review of various databases (WW II Memorial, NARA, Fold3, etc.) reveals that Soper and Timmerman – assuming they eventually served in combat – survived the war, and were never POWs.

A little over a month before the November 29 mission, Lt. Swope’s crew posed in front of B-17F 42-30094 “Belle of the Blue” at Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England, for a photo that would become Army Air Force image C-59116AC / A9135. Caption?: 𔄙st Lt. W.L. Swope’s crew of the 548th Squadron of the 385th Bomb Group based in England, standing by their B-17 Flying Fortress. 22 October 1943.”

The four officers in the front row have been identified by Fold3 researcher Patootie63 as:

Far Left: 2 Lt. Robert Charles H. Prolow, navigator
2nd from left: Lt. Weider
3rd from left: Lt. Swope
Far right: 2 Lt. Douglas H. Baker, bombardier

The six crew members in the rear, albeit without names correlated to faces, are probably:

T/Sgt. Stanley Robinson – Flight Engineer
S/Sgt. Richard E. Street – Radio Operator
S/Sgt. James W. Harbison – Gunner (Ball Turret)
S/Sgt. Francis J. Magner – Gunner (Tail)
S/Sgt. Earl R. Robinson – Gunner (Left Waist)
S/Sgt. Elmer J. Congdon – Gunner (Right Waist)

Nearly one month later, the December 31, 1943, issue of the Brooklyn Eagle, in its daily back page column “With Our Fighters”, reported that Norman and his brother Arthur spent Thanksgiving together at Great Ashfield. The brief news item closes with Arthur’s hope that, “But he [Norman] was positive he’d get back home, and I’m pretty confident myself that he’s safe somewhere.”

Old Newspapers Old Newspapers


Second Lt. Arthur Weider, a navigator in the ferry command, delivered a B-17 to Scotland last November. While there he visited his brother, 1st Lt. Norman L. Weider, a pilot and flight commander in the A.A.F. at an air base near London.

They spent the 24th and 25th together and then Arthur returned home. On November 29 Norman went on his 15th mission and didn’t return.

“I phoned him long distance on the 27th,” Arthur said today – he’s home for a few days. “At that time he was out on the Bremen raid. The next day was a raid on Berlin and since that date he has been listed as missing.

“But he was positive he’d get back home, and I’m pretty confident myself that he’s safe somewhere.”

The 24-year-old pilot enlisted the day Germany declared war on the United States and has been in England since last August.

The Weiders live at 107-55 123rd St., Richmond Hill.

The below image of Lt. Weider, contributed by researcher “Anonymous“, is from his FindAGrave biographical profile. The original source of the clipping is unknown, but given is halftone printing, it’s probably from a newspaper.

As reported in Missing Air Crew Report 1532, three witnesses reported seeing WHO DAT – DING BAT drop out of the 385th Bomb Group’s formation over the Zuider Zee, with Lt. Swope or S/Sgt. Street radioing that the aircraft had only 30 minutes of fuel remaining and they would try to reach England. Last observed descending into clouds near “Tessel” (Texel) Island, Holland, the plane was never seen again.

Sixteen days later, on December 15, police at Whit Stable, Kent County, England, discovered the bodies of two men on the Whit Stable Bay mud flats. S/Sgt. Congdon, the plane’s right waist gunner, was found within one of the bomber’s two 5-man life-rafts, while 200 yards away was found the body of 2 Lt. Prolow, the plane’s navigator. According to the Squadron Flight Surgeon, indirectly quoted in MACR 1532, both men had survived until approximately December 14.

Lt. Prolow is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Coton, England, while S/Sgt. Congdon is buried at Beaverdale Memorial Park, in New Haven, Ct. Notably, the date on both men’s tombstones is actually November 29, the date when WHO DAT – DING BAT was actually lost, suggesting a discrepancy in records, or, an error in the account as presented in the Missing Air Crew Report.

AC 2C Charles Goldberg and Gunner Abraham Yudkin

Died or Murdered While Prisoners of War

While researching records in Henry Morris’ We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945, I came across the name of Gunner Abraham Yudkin, who served in the Royal Artillery and who the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records as having been killed on November 29, 1943. Further research at the CWGC database for that calendar date yields a record for Aircraftman Second Class Charles Goldberg, whose name is absent from Morris’ book. As well, neither man’s name ever appeared in any wartime issue of The Jewish Chronicle. Biographical information about the men follows…

Goldberg, Charles, AC 2C, 1061437, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Mrs. Shirley Goldberg (wife), Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Mr. and Mrs. Louis and Cissie Goldberg (parents)
Singapore Memorial, Singapore – Column 429
We Will Remember Them – Not Listed

Yudkin, Abraham, Gunner, 1819219, England, Royal Artillery
2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 48th Battery
Born 1914
Mrs. Frances Yudkin (wife), Hackney, London, England
Mr. and Mrs. Sam and Anne Yudkin (parents)
Singapore Memorial, Singapore – Column 34
We Will Remember Them – An Addendum – 23

The date of “November 29, 1943” and commonality of the Singapore Memorial somehow seemed to link the two, and a web search (the mens’ serial numbers were the “key” here) revealed their story: They were both prisoners of war of the Japanese, and among the 548 British and Dutch POWs aboard the Japanese army cargo ship SS Suez Maru. I don’t know when they were captured, but given the place of their commemoration – the Singapore Memorial – perhaps they were taken captive on or about February 15, 1942, during the fall of Singapore.

As for the Suez Maru? On November 29, 1943, the Surabaya-bound ship was sunk by a torpedo attack from the submarine USS Bonefish, while 50 miles northeast of Kangean Island, north of Bali. Whether Goldberg and Yudkin (let alone any of the other 547 POWs, on a specific name basis) survived the vessel’s immediate sinking, or not, will never be known among men. But in any event, what transpired soon after has become known as the “Suez Maru Massacre”, and in some ways parallels and is representative of the horrors that befell American POWs aboard what are now known as the “Hell Ships” later in the war.

As described by Jan Lettens at WreckSite, Suez Maru Massacre, “Unbeknown to the submariners [of the USS Bonefish] , Suez Maru had on board 415 British and 133 Dutch POWs. 69 Japanese were killed in action.

“Escorting Japanese minesweeper W-12 rescued some 200 Japanese and Korean survivors. Only after the war, the fate of the POWs was revealed: Kawano Usumu, commander of W-12 had instructed his gunners to kill all (200 – 250) survivors.

“At 14:15, the massacre began the Japanese fired with their machine guns from a distance of 50 meters and continued until the sea around turned red with blood. More than 2 hours later, at 16:30, the W-12 moved away from the scene, having carefully verified that all were killed.”

1. The W-12 was torpedoed and sunk on April 6th, 1945 by submarine USS Besugo (SS-321).

2. After the completion of the Japanese War Crimes Trials, no further action was taken to indict Kawano Usumu, Commander of Minesweeper W-12, for the killing of Allied Prisoners of War, neither Lt. Koshio for carrying out the orders on the Suez Maru.

Lasky, Isaac, Pvt., 7368048, Royal Army Medical Corps
Born 1918
Mr. and Mrs. Abram and Lily Lasky (parents), Sheffield, England
Tel-el-Kebir War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt – 4,E,3
We Will Remember Them – 116

Levin, Sam, Pvt., 187618, South African Medical Corps, Technical Service Corps
(wife), at 161 Jules St., Belgravia, Johannesburg, South Africa
Alamein Memorial, Egypt – Column 146
South African Jewish Times 1/15/43, 9/7/45
South African Jews in World War Two – xii
Previously MIA, @ 1/1/43 – Presumably escaped from captivity, or, evaded capture

Babahikian, Setrack Haji, Driver, PAL/31428, Royal Army Service Corps
Heliopolis War Cemetery, Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt – 5,P,13
We Will Remember Them – An Addendum – 42

United States Army Air Force

Breslau, Morton David, 2 Lt., 0-673470, Navigator
548th Bomb Squadron, 385th Bomb Group
POW, Stalag Luft I, North Compound I
B-17F 42-30204, “GX * H”, “Gremlin’s Buggy”, Pilot: 1 Lt. Richard Yoder, 10 crewmen – 5 survivors MACR 1581, Luftgaukommando Report KU 465
Born July 22, 1916
Mrs. Bertha Breslau (mother), 2503 (2305?) University Ave., New York, N.Y.
Casualty Lists 1/7/44, 2/5/44
Returned POW List 6/16/45
Syracuse Herald-Journal 10/5/43
American Jews in World War II – Not Listed

While my prior series of posts, concerning Major Milton Joel, focused on P-38 Lightning losses incurred by the 8th Air Force on November 29, 1943, the 8th Air Force actually lost a total of 16 fighters (seven P-38Hs and nine P-47Ds) that day. From this group of pilots there were seven survivors, among whom was Second Lieutenant Charles K. Hecht, Jr. (0-795955), a member of the 358th Fighter Squadron of the 355th Fighter Group. Flying p-47D 42-8631 (the un-nicknamed “YF * U“), he crash-landed in Holland, and was captured, spending the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I (Barth), specifically in the POW camp’s South Compound. He was awarded the Air Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster. Born on September 20, 1918, he was the son of Charles K. Hecht, Sr., and Sadie (Berg) Hecht), and resided at 1202 Cedar Avenue, in Columbus Georgia. He passed away on July 18, 2001.

Some years ago – specifica lly, in 1994 – I h ad the good fortune of interviewing Mr. Hecht about his wartime experiences. His words provide an interesting counterpoint to those of William S. Lyons, who served in the 357th Fighter Squadron of the 355th. You can listen to Mr. Hecht’s recollections and comments below, a “breakdown” of the topics discussed being listed below the sound-bar.

0:00 – 1:54: Entering the United States Army Air Force, from being an enlisted man in the Army ground forces.
1:55 – 2:46: Pilot training.
2:46 – 3:50: Becoming a fighter pilot, and, being assigned to the 355th Fighter Group.

3:51 – 5:18: The death of his brother, Major Morris Hecht, commander of 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force. The two news items below, from November 5, 1943 about Major Hecht’s death, and, from January 28, 1944, about Charles’ MIA status, are from The Southern Israelite.

5:18 – 6:17: Service in the 358th Fighter Squadron movement to England aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. (At 5:40: “A cabin for two, and fourteen of us in it.”)
6:17 – 6:57: Arrival and experiences in England.
6:57 – 7:25: Thoughts about implications of being captured and identified as a Jew. (He didn’t think about it!)
7:25 – 8:30: Flying the P-47 flying combat missions.
8:30 – 10:30: Mission of November 29, 1943 possibly having shot down an “Me-210” (9:36). (Given the service history of the Me-210, the aircraft encountered was almost certainly an Me-410.)
10:30 – 11:40: Crash-landing in Holland. His wingman was probably 2 Lt. Richard Peery in 42-22484 (“YF * L“), who also survived.
11:40 – 12:23: Being captured.
12:23 – 13:05: During his interrogation, was there a focus upon his being a Jew? – (Answer: No.)
13:05 – 13:30: Arriving at Stalag Luft I (Barth). Comments about Captain Mozart Kaufman (494th FS, 48th FG, 9th AF).

13:30 – 14:02: POWs remembered from Barth:

“Willie Yee” from Hawaii: 2 Lt. Wilbert Y.K. Yee, 0-735224, Bombardier, 546th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, B-17F, 42-24507, Pilot: 2 Lt. James E. Armstrong, “JD * B”, “Yankee Raider”, MACR 772

“Wally Moses” (?) (Probably “Mo” Moses, from Vidalia, Ga.)

Other members of 358th Fighter Squadron remembered from Barth

“Kossack”:Capt. Walter H. Kossack (POW 11/7/43, P-47D 42-8477, “YF * X”, MACR 1282)

“Roach”: (2 Lt. William E. Roach (POW 11/7/43, P-47D 42-22490, “ YF * U”, “Beetle” (In Luftwaffe service as “7 + 9” ), MACR 1281)

“Carver”: 1 Lt. Harold I. Carver (POW 3/16/44, P-51B 43-6527, “YF * J”, “Indiana Clipper”, MACR 3391)

14:02 – 14:35: Activities at Barth.
14:36 – 15:10: Segregation of Jewish POWs.
15:10 – 15:47: Liberation.
15:47 – 15:55: Did he keep a diary?
16:10 – 17:08: Return to United States and home at Columbus, Georgia.
17:10 – 17:26: Other aspects of his interrogation.
17:26 – 17:55: Memories of other Jewish aviators.
17:55 – 18:10: Service In Air Force Reserve.
18:11 – 18:40: Return visit to Steeple Morden in early 1990s.

18:40 – 19:26: Other Jewish POWs remembered from Barth:

Capt. Leon Bernard Margolian, 0-420749, Fighter Pilot, 65th FS, 57th FG, 12th Air Force, POW 12/10/42, Shot down during dogfight with Me-109s at “Marble Arch” (near Ra’s Lanuf – a town on the Gulf of Sidra), Libya, while piloting P-40F (“Tiger Lil“, “5 * 4”?). Wounded during the incident.

The image below, a portrait of Captain Margolian from his POW diary, was sketched by “ Smedley “. A review of various databases and websites reveals that “ Smedley ” was in all probability Captain Arthur A. Smedley, Jr., of either the 96th Fighter Squadron or Headquarters Squadron of the 82nd Fighter Group. He was captured on January 30, 1943.

This image, also from Captain Margolian’s diary, shows a sketch of “Tiger Lil” – “5 * 4“. The artwork is by “ Llewellyn “, who was probably Captain Raymond A. Llewellyn, of the 66th Fighter Squadron, 57th Fighter Group, captured on November 1, 1943.

And, Captain Margolian’s POW “mug shot”…

2 Lt. Milton Plattner, 0-736650, Navigator, 20th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force, POW 12/19/43, B-17F 42-5427, Pilot: 2 Lt. John C. Williams, MACR 1530, 10 crew members – 8 survivors Luftgaukommando Report ME 572

The video below, from Andy Kapeller’s YouTube channel Andrea ́s-living-history-hautnah, entitled � Weerberg Nurpensalm“, shows the remnants of 42-5427 as they appeared four years ago (and probably still do today?). The video description is: “Wandern am Weerberg zur Alpe Obernurpens. Wrackteile an der Absturzstelle des amerikanischen Bombers B-17F Flying-Fortress (Nr. 42-5427) der 2nd Bomb Group, 20th Bomb Squadron der 15th USAAF aus Amendola (Italien) kommend, welche am 19.Dezember 1943 um ca. 12 Uhr dort zerschellte.”

Translation? “Hiking on the Weerberg to the Alpe Obernurpens. Wreckage at the crash site of the American B-17F Flying Fortress bomber (No. 42-5427) of the 2nd Bomb Group, 20th Bomb Squadron of the 15th USAAF, coming from Amendola (Italy), which crashed there on December 19, 1943 at around 12 noon.”

Though most of the debris is unrecognizable, from 2:50 to 3:00, Mr. Kapeller’s camera focuses upon an intact remnant of the plane: A cylindrical ring with protrusions. This object is an exhaust manifold assembly from one of the bomber’s four Wright Cyclone engines. A clearer view of the varied designs of exhaust manifolds for a B-17’s engines (notice that the design of the manifold differs depending upon the location – positions “one” through “four” – of the plane’s engines) appears in the illustration below, from the Illustrated Parts Breakdown for the B-17G (USAF TO 1B-17G-4).

2 Lt. Arthur A. “Red” Carmel, 0-668893, Bombardier, 407th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, 11/16/43, B-17F 42-29996, “PY * R“, “Flagship“, Pilot: 2 Lt. Joseph F. Thornton, MACR 1384, 10 crew members – all survived Luftgaukommando Report KU 429

2 Lt. Milton Julius Caplan, 0-683250, Navigator, 511th Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, 1/30/44, B-17G 42-3509, “DS * Z“, “Crystal Ball“, Pilot: 1 Lt. Charles E. Robertson, “DS * Z”, “Crystal Ball”, MACR 2262, 10 crew members – 9 survivors Luftgaukommando Report KU 771

2 Lt. Isaac Sackman Marx, 0-735623, Bomber Pilot, 578th Bomb Squadron, 392nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, 11/13/43, B-24H 42-7483, “R-“, “Big Dog”, MACR 1553, 10 crew members – all survived Luftgaukommando Report KU 414

9th Air Force: A B-26 Returned – Two Crewmen Did Not

Among the over 16,000 Missing Air Crew Reports filed for WW II-era USAAF combat or operational losses at least 235 for aircraft which were not actually lost, and either returned to their own base of origin, or, returned to “other” air bases in England, Western Europe, the Mediterranean Theater, the Pacific, or Asia. MACRs in such circumstances – all for multi-place aircraft, typically bombersand in one case each, a P-61 and C-47 – generally pertain to incidents during which one or more aviators parachuted from their aircraft due to their immediate (very immediate!) perception and belief that the plane was about to crash, battle damage, loss of control by pilots, (very) sudden mechanical failure or fire, severe injury or wounds, bad weather, or, some some combination of these factors.

One such incident is epitomized in MACR 16096, a high-numbered post-war “fill-in” MACR pertaining to an incident that occurred on November 29, 1943. This involved to Martin B-26B Marauder 41-31679 – “Itsy Bitsy” / “FW * K” – of the 556th Bomb Squadron of the 387th Bomb Group, piloted by Major Walter J. Ives. (The MACR lists two serials for the aircraft: 41-31679 and 41-31697, but the correct number is the former, as 41-31697 was “Duck Butt” / “TQ * R“.) Two of the plane’s crewmen, co-pilot 1 Lt. Jess A. Watson, and flight engineer S/Sgt. Curtis L. Christley bailed out over the English Channel (at 50-14 N, 00-40 E a little over half-way between Eastbourne, England and Dieppe, France – see the Oogle map below) when the bomber’s controls became frozen by ice and the plane appeared to go out of control. However, Major Ives managed to regain control of the plane, to land at an RAF Spitfire base with his four other crewmen. After refueling, he flew back to the 387th’s base at Chipping Ongar.

Lt. Watson and S/Sgt. Christley were never seen again.

MACR 16096 covers the incident in detail, and includes statements by T/Sgt. Andrew Smerek, the radio operator, and S/Sgt. Martin S. Cohen, the bomber’s tail gunner. These statements, both written nearly two years after the incident, convey the nature of the event in vivid and frightening clarity.

Here’s S/Sgt. Cohen’s statement:

3831 Pennsgrove Street
Philadelphia 4, Pa.
September 5, 1945

N.W. Reed, Major, Air Corps
Chief, Notification Section
Personal Affairs Branch

This is in reply to your letter of August 31, AFPPA-8-JH, concerning Staff Sergeant Curtis L. Christley, 33154439. As you had stated, I was the tail gunner of the air crew of which Sergeant Christley was engineer on November 29, 1943. According to your request the following is a report to the best of my knowledge of the circumstances concerning the mission:

We were flying lead ship for the group piloted by Major Walter Ives. The weather was very bad that day. As I remember many of us remarked that it was much too bad for flying. However, we took off, anyway.

We flew over a rather wide part of the Channel. As it was later estimated, about twenty miles from the French coast we received a recall from Wing. When we turned around I sat by the waist windows. The pilot tried to climb through the overcast which was very thick. When we reached approximately 16,000 feet (This was the approximate height at the time of the incident estimated upon our return.) the plane iced up and went out of control. I did not have my head-set on, so I could not say what conversation followed. However, I noticed the bomb-bay doors opening, and the bombs were salvoed.

My parachute was in back of me and upon seeing this I turned around to get it. When I looked forward again someone was standing on the catwalk, whom I later found out to have been our navigator. By this time we were about 10,000 feet, and the ship seemed to be under control. We were under the overcast as I could see the Channel.

Between the time that we were given the word to return and the time of the incident, the remainder of the ships in our group had left us. About a half hour later I went up front and found out that Lt. Watson, our acting co-pilot and Sgt. Christley, the engineer, had bailed out. This was done while my back was turned looking for my parachute, so that I did not see them jump.

As we neared the English coast two Spitfires, which were flying around, motioned for us to follow them, and we landed at their base. Major Ives called our field and reported the incident. Then we gassed up and left for our home field.

I would appreciate your advising me of any information concerning Lt. Watson and Sgt. Christley. I trust that this account will be of some help.

And, here’s T/Sgt. Smerek’s statement:

Sept. 9, 1945
In Regard to AFPPA-8-JH

A few days ago I received a letter in regard to a mission in which I participated on Nov 29, 1943, and asking me to give information about S/Sgt. Curtis L. Christley, who was engineer gunner on the same plane. It’s been a long time and I don’t remember very clearly just what happened. But here it is – as much as I remember.

We were flying lead ship in a formation of 18 planes. Major Ives was the pilot and my regular pilot Lt. Jesse Watson was flying as co-pilot because they were breaking him in as flight leader. Christley was the engineer and the other members of the crew were Lt. Neal bombardier Lt. Arthur Newett navigator and Sgt. Martin Cohen as tail gunner.

We hit some bad weather over the Channel and it kept getting worse. We kept on climbing to get over the bad stuff and then I got the message over the radio that we were recalled back to our base. I called Maj Ives on interphone and he acknowledged. He gave the message to the rest of the formation and we started back. There was plenty of ice on the windows at this time and I noticed the altimeter as being over 15,000 ft. Then Maj Ives yelled over the inter phone to bail out. At that time I noticed the bomb bay doors opening and the bombs being salvoed. Lt Watson pulled his co pilot seat back and all in the same motion went through the radio room and jumped out the bomb bay. Sgt. Christley watched him go by and promptly put his chute on and followed him out.

I was busy sending out an S.O.S. and giving Lt. Neal a hand in fastening his individual dinghy to his ‘chute harness. Lt Newett sat on the door between the radio room and the bomb bay and wasn’t sure whether he wanted to go or not. At about that time Lt. Neal was motioned up front by the pilot and Maj Ives evidently had the plane under control again for no one else left the plane. It all happened just that quickly. When I noticed the altimeter again it read 700 feet.

I immediately contacted Air Sea Rescue and sent my message in the clear telling them that two men had bailed out and giving them the approximate position which I received from the navigator. I kept in constant contact with them until we landed at some base – which incidentally they directed us to.

That’s just about all that happened. I saw Christley and Watson go and I wasn’t too eager to go until I had to! I was questioned about this same matter when I was in France last November. I hope I have managed to help you in some small way. I never did hear anything about either one of the men and was hoping to hear that they were prisoners of war. I’d be glad to hear from you if you decide on anything definite.

The photo below (discovered via Pinterest, and then flickr) shows Captain Thomas H. Wakeman, Jr., and his crew standing before B-26B Marauder “Lil Grim Reaper” (or, “Underground Farmer“) / “KX * K” (42-31640) of the 387th Bomb Group’s 558th Bomb Squadron. The plane was lost in an accident on June 8, 1944.

Captain Wakeman
2nd Lt. William N. Schreiber – Co-Pilot
1st Lt. Kenneth A. Omstead – Navigator / Bombardier
S/Sgt. Ferdinand P. Brabner, Jr. – Flight Engineer / Gunner
S/Sgt. Paul M. Tarrant – Radio Operator / Gunner
Martin S. Cohen – Tail Gunner (At the time, listed as a PFC)

Born on June 7, 1922, S/Sgt. Martin S. Cohen (13098524) survived the war. He as awarded the Air Medal, 11 Oak Leaf Clusters (thus implying between fifty-five and sixty missions), and Purple Heart.

The son of Harry T. Cohen, he was born on June 7, 1922, and lived 3831 Pennsgrove Street in Philadelphia. During the war, his name appeared in both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Record, on November 18, 1943. His name can also be found on page 516 of American Jews in World War II. He passed away on February 4, 2006.

Dublin, Louis I., and Kohs, Samuel C., American Jews in World War II – The Story of 550,000 Fighters for Freedom, The Dial Press, New York, N.Y., 1947

Morris, Henry, Edited by Gerald Smith, We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945, Brassey’s, United Kingdom, London, 1989

Morris, Henry, Edited by Hilary Halter, We Will Remember Them – A Record of the Jews Who Died in the Armed Forces of the Crown 1939 – 1945 – An Addendum, AJEX, United Kingdom, London, 1994

South African Jews in World War Two, Eagle Press, South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1950

Attack on Kwajalein, Roi and Namur

On January 30, 1944, after a massive air and naval bombardment lasting some two months, a U.S. Marine and Army amphibious assault force of 85,000 men and some 300 warships) approached the Marshall Islands. On February 1, the 7th Infantry (Army) Division landed on Kwajalein Island, while the 4th Marine Division landed on the twin islands of Roi and Namur, 45 miles to the north. A single Marine regiment captured Roi on that first day, while Namur fell by noon of the second day. The battle for Kwajalein would prove more difficult, as the 7th Infantry pounded the Japanese garrison there for three days until the island was declared secure on February 4.

Though greatly outnumbered from the start (by more than 40,000 on Kwajalein) the Japanese chose to fight until the bitter end. Japanese casualties on Roi and Namur numbered more than 3,500 killed and around 200 captured, with less than 200 Marines killed and some 500 more wounded. On Kwajalein, close to 5,000 Japanese defenders were killed and only a handful captured the 7th Infantry counted 177 soldiers killed and 1,000 wounded.

@BattleofOrtona Blog – Weekly Report: 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, 29 November 1943

Unsuitable weather conditions have seriously hindered all operations on 5 Corps front by making cross-country movement of tanks almost impossible. Operations planned have either been postponed or cancelled.

APV Fighting State:

(i) Tks of “A” sqn TDR in Wksp for checkup.

(ii) Tks in 3rd Line Wksp are shown on a strength of “B” Sqn, TDR.

In spite of mud and disagreeable weather the spirit of the troops is high. The visit during the week of Col. Ralston, accompanied by Lieut-Gen Crerar was greatly appreciated by all the troops.

Courts Martial:
Three courts martial were held during the week. Personnel being sentenced to more than 14 days and less than 90 days F.P. or detention are serving the sentence at 25 Fd Punishment Camp, Lucera.

Emergency Rations:
Present shortage of emergency chocolate rations in the fmn is 560, but an effort is being made to eliminate this shortage. Difficulty is being experienced in this regard owing to the AFHQ control of such commodities.

First allotment of dehydrated mutton was made to the bde (2 ⅔ ozs per man). Frozen pork will be available during the coming week. Both of these items will overcome present monotony of diet of M & V ration and preserved meat.
Rum: No allotments available.

Ordnance Services:
During this month the fmn was equipped with sufficient canvas to put all ranks under cover and to provide a reasonable surplus of larger tents for use as offices, cook houses, messes and for amenities. Blankets to the scale of four per man and ten percent reserve for each unit were also obtained. These were mostly of American manufacture and were of excellent quality. All units were completed to full scale in all items of winter clothing and given a reasonable reserve to hold in unit stores.

During the past month a large release of compasses and binoculars was made to the fmn bringing the holdings of both items up to approximately 90% of W.E. Pistols Revolver, TSMGs and watches continue to be in very short supply.

Because of our experience with the Sherman V tk the formations has been asked during the past week by HQ Eighth Army for its views as regards tk mileages at which top overhauls will be required. Our experience to date based on a recently completed 1000 mile inspection of all tks in one regt indicates that the Sherman V powered with a Chrysler M4A4 engine is, apart from minor defects, mechanically sound.

Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 41, No. 91, Ed. 1 Monday, November 29, 1943

Daily newspaper from Denton, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

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eight pages : ill. page 23 x 18 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.

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  • Main Title: Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 41, No. 91, Ed. 1 Monday, November 29, 1943
  • Serial Title:Denton Record-Chronicle


Daily newspaper from Denton, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

Physical Description

eight pages : ill. page 23 x 18 in.
Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.


Published every afternoon except Sunday.


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  • Volume: 41
  • Issue: 91
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29 November 1943 - History

505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division


The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated under the Airborne Command, Fort Bragg, N.C., July 6, 1942, at Fort Benning, Ga. The regiment was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division Feb. 4 the following year.

During World War II, the 505th PIR participated in seven major campaigns and four regimental airborne assaults. On April 28, 1943, the 505th left the New York Port of Embarkation for Casablanca, North Africa, where the regiment underwent six weeks of grueling training. The Regiment then flew to Kairouan, Tunisia, where final preparations were conducted for the 505th's entry into battle.

The regiment made its first regimental-size combat jump July 9, 1943, as it landed behind enemy lines at Gela, Sicily. In its first trial-by-fire, the 505th, though outmanned and outgunned, used raw courage and fighting spirit to block the German Herman Goering Panzer Division and to save the beachhead and the Allied landings. With Sicily secure, the Allies continued attack on the Axis powers with landings on the Italian mainland.

The 505th conducted its second combat parachute attack on September 14, 1943, into Salerno, Italy, becoming the first unit to enter Naples. During the early months of 1944, the Division was moved to England as the allies were preparing for the assault on Western Europe. The largest combined military operation in history, "D-Day", was to be spearheaded by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.

On June 6, 1944, at 3 a.m., 505th Paratroopers were landing on the Normandy Peninsula for the regiment’s third combat jump. It was one of the first airborne units to hit the ground, and it liberated the first town in France, St. Mere-Eglise. The paratroopers jumped prior to the actual start of the invasion – "H-Hour". Because of that tradition, of being the first into the fight, the 505th motto is "H-Minus".

For their performance during the invasions, the 505th was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, which is the unit equivalent of the Medal of Honor awarded to individual soldiers. In the words of author Clay Blair, the Paratroopers emerged from Normandy with the reputation of being a pack of jackals – the toughest, most resourceful and bloodthirsty in Europe.

On September 17, 1944, as part of "Operation Market Garden", the 505th made its fourth jump at Groesbeck, Holland – the largest airborne assault in history. During that fierce combat, two lightly armed platoons – at most 80 men – were surrounded by an entire German infantry battalion supported by tanks. The Paratroopers fought back three savage German assaults and held their ground until relieved. The 505th received a second Presidential unit citation.

Later that winter the airborne troopers were thrown into the breach of the famous "Battle of the Bulge". Despite a lack of cold weather equipment, the 505th withstood the bleak winter and stopped fanatic German attacks cold. For its valor in the seven major campaigns the 505th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations and three Foreign decorations: the French Forragere, Netherlands Military Order of William, and Belgium Forragere.

After World War II, the 505th returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1947 the separate 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (the "Triple Nickles") the Army's only all-black Airborne unit, was merged into the 82nd when it was re-flagged as the 3rd Battalion, 505 PIR. In June 1957, the regiment was reorganized and re-designated as the 505th Infantry and relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division. This marked the end of the era of infantry regiments as tactical units and the beginning of the Pentomic era, in which regimental numbers were used for the purpose of perpetuating lineages and honors.

Effective 1 September 1957 the lineage of Company A, 505 PIR was reorganized and re-designated as HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 505th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). It was relieved on 15 January 1959 from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany as part of a rotation that saw both 1-505th and 1-504th depart the 82nd. When the Pentomic era ended, 1-504th and 1-505th were re-flagged respectively as 1st and 2nd Battalions (Airborne), 509th Infantry, elements of the 1st Brigade (Airborne), 8th Infantry Division on 1 April 1963. The colors of 1-505th returned to the 82nd, where they were reorganized and re-designated on 25 May 1964 as the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, an element of the 3rd Brigade. The brigade was organized into three battalions – 1st Battalion, 505th PIR 2nd Battalion, 505th PIR and 1st Battalion, 508th PIR. At 2 a.m. April 30, 1965, the brigade was alerted for combat as part of "Operation Power Pack", the defense of the Dominican Republic against communist insurgents. Within 18 hours, the first C-130 landed at San Isidro Airfield, Dominican Republic. After two months of bitter fighting, the brigade returned to Fort Bragg.

On July 24, 1967, the brigade deployed to Detroit, Mich., to assist local authorities in quelling a civil disturbance. Less than a year later, on February 12, 1968, the brigade was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in response to the TET Offensive. After 22 months, the brigade had helped secure the region south of the de-militarized zone and redeployed to Fort Bragg in December 1969. the 505th was the only brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam conflict.

The brigade deployed to Washington, D.C., in May 1971 to help local and federal officials in their efforts to keep demonstrators from disrupting the daily operation of the Government.

In August 1980, the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, was alerted and deployed to conduct civil disturbance duty at Fort Indian Gap, Penn., during the Cuban refugee internment.

The brigade deployed its 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, to the Middle East in March 1982 as the first United States member of the Multi-National Forces and Observers (MFO) rotation in the Sinai. The battalion returned home in August 1982 from the most important peacekeeping mission in history.

In October 1983, the brigade deployed to the country of Grenada to evacuate U.S. citizens and restore free government during operation “Urgent Furty.” The brigade remained in Grenada for the duration of the campaign serving first in combat, then in peacekeeping operations until December 1983.

On October 3, 1986, the 505th PIR was reactivated under the auspices of the 3rd Brigade with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 505th PIR, and the 1st Battalion, 508th PIR, re-designated as the 3rd Battalion, 505th PIR.

In December 1989, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 505th PIR, participated in Operation “JUST CAUSE” and assisted in freeing the country of Panama from the dictator Manuel Noriega. Their efforts assisted the country of Panama to pursue its democratic destiny.

In August 1990, the 505th was airlifted to Saudi Arabia as a part of “Operation Desert Shield.” The 82nd Airborne Division spearheaded a coalition of multinational military forces aimed at deterring further Iraqi aggression and expansion into Saudi Arabia and the enforcement of sanctions against Iraq. The ground phase of operation Desert Storm began February 25, 1991, and saw the brigade move north to conduct combat operations through the Euphrates River Valley. After eight months, the brigade had helped secure U.S. objectives and redeployed to Fort Bragg in April 1991.

In March 1994, the 505th was tasked to implement a new concept for the Army as part of the New World Order. The regiment was tasked to organize, train, certify, and deploy a task force made up of National Guard, Army Reserve and Active duty troops to serve as part of the Multi-National Forces and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula. Task Force 4-505 was activated November 4, 1994, and was made up of 88 percent National Guard and Reservists from 32 different states, as well as 12 percent active duty Soldiers. Task Force 4-505 deployed to the Sinai from January 1995 through July 1995. The battalion was deactivated July 15 1995.

In September 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, along with the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division, was alerted as part of “Operation Restore Democracy” in Haiti. The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps in order to help oust the military-led dictatorship and restore the democratically elected president. The 82nd’s first wave was in the air, with the 505th loaded on aircrafts awaiting takeoff when the Haitian military dictators, upon learning the 82nd was on the way, agreed to step down and averted the invasions

In December 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in "Operation Restore Hope". The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, departed for Panama in order to restore order against the upsurge of Cuban refugees. The battalion participated in safeguarding the Cuban Refugees by active patrolling in and around the refugee camps.

From July 2002 to January 2003, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed to Afghanistan for "Operation Enduring Freedom". As part of the multinational force, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment engaged in combat operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces, trained troops for a new Afghan National Army and set the conditions for Democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.

From August 2003 to April 2004, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed as part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to engage in combat operations against terrorists and forces loyal to the former Saddam Hussein Regime, train elements of the Iraqi police, facilities protection service, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and New Iraqi Army, and set the conditions for democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Iraq.

From January 2004 to April 2004, the 2nd Battalion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to conduct combat operations and bolster security in Baghdad.

During the month of September 2005, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, minus 1st Battalion, responded to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans. Task Force Panther evacuated more than 5,000 people and rescued almost 1,000 people trapped and stranded at their flooded homes. The task force also assisted in the refurbishment of key facilities throughout the city, such as the Saint Louis Cathedral, the Superdome, the historic French Quarter, medical facilities, housing projects and schools. Paratroopers continuously conducted presence patrols to ensure the city's safety from looters and crime. The task force redeployed four weeks later.

From August 2006 to November 2007, the unit again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade combat team deployed, yet again, for an expected 12 month tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in November 2008 returning one year later.

HistoryPorn | Image | "The Sword of Stalingrad is presented to Joseph Stalin during the Tehran Conference on November 29, 1943. A gift from the United Kingdom, it bears the inscription "To the steel-hearted citizens of Stalingrad - the gift of King George VI - in token . "

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Churchill's policies contributed to 1943 Bengal famine – study

The Bengal famine of 1943 was the only one in modern Indian history not to occur as a result of serious drought, according to a study that provides scientific backing for arguments that Churchill-era British policies were a significant factor contributing to the catastrophe.

Researchers in India and the US used weather data to simulate the amount of moisture in the soil during six major famines in the subcontinent between 1873 and 1943. Soil moisture deficits, brought about by poor rainfall and high temperatures, are a key indicator of drought.

Five of the famines were correlated with significant soil moisture deficits. An 11% deficit measured across much of north India in 1896-97, for example, coincided with food shortages across the country that killed an estimated 5 million people.

However, the 1943 famine in Bengal, which killed up to 3 million people, was different, according to the researchers. Though the eastern Indian region was affected by drought for much of the 1940s, conditions were worst in 1941, years before the most extreme stage of the famine, when newspapers began to publish images of the dying on the streets of Kolkata, then named Calcutta, against the wishes of the colonial British administration.

The Rotary Club relief committee at a free kitchen in Kolkata in 1943. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

In late 1943, thought to be the peak of the famine, rain levels were above average, said the study published in February in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“This was a unique famine, caused by policy failure instead of any monsoon failure,” said Vimal Mishra, the lead researcher and an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.

Food supplies to Bengal were reduced in the years preceding 1943 by natural disasters, outbreaks of infections in crops and the fall of Burma – now Myanmar – which was a major source of rice imports, into Japanese hands.

But the Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen argued in 1981 that there should still have been enough supplies to feed the region, and that the mass deaths came about as a combination of wartime inflation, speculative buying and panic hoarding, which together pushed the price of food out of the reach of poor Bengalis.

Winston Churchill in 1940. Britain’s wartime leader has been quoted as blaming the famine on the fact Indians were ‘breeding like rabbits’. Photograph: Cecil Beaton/IWM via Getty Images

More recent studies, including those by the journalist Madhushree Mukerjee, have argued the famine was exacerbated by the decisions of Winston Churchill’s wartime cabinet in London.

Mukerjee has presented evidence the cabinet was warned repeatedly that the exhaustive use of Indian resources for the war effort could result in famine, but it opted to continue exporting rice from India to elsewhere in the empire.

Rice stocks continued to leave India even as London was denying urgent requests from India’s viceroy for more than 1m tonnes of emergency wheat supplies in 1942-43. Churchill has been quoted as blaming the famine on the fact Indians were “breeding like rabbits”, and asking how, if the shortages were so bad, Mahatma Gandhi was still alive.

Mukerjee and others also point to Britain’s “denial policy” in the region, in which huge supplies of rice and thousands of boats were confiscated from coastal areas of Bengal in order to deny resources to the Japanese army in case of a future invasion.

An emaciated family who arrived in Kolkata in search of food in November 1943. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

During a famine in Bihar in 1873-74, the local government led by Sir Richard Temple responded swiftly by importing food and enacting welfare programmes to assist the poor to purchase food.

Almost nobody died, but Temple was severely criticised by British authorities for spending so much money on the response. In response, he reduced the scale of subsequent famine responses in south and western India and mortality rates soared.

Though India’s population has vastly increased since the British colonial era, the country has largely eliminated famine deaths owing to more efficient irrigation practices, improvements in seed yields, a stronger food distribution and welfare system and better transport links, which allow emergency food stocks to be moved quickly to deprived areas.

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