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359th Jenkins Crew
Harry F. Jenkins, Pilot
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(crew assigned 359BS: 27 June 1944 - photo: USA Training)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt Norton A. Gillespie (E), Sgt Charles G. Allen (WG),
S/Sgt Wesley G. Loosemore (R), Sgt John J. Fydrychowski (BTG),
Sgt Robert M. Francis (WG), Sgt John M. Cregan (TG)

(Front L-R) 2Lt Harry F. Jenkins (P), 2Lt Samuel B. Blanchard (CP),
2Lt Gordon B. Nute (N), 2Lt John W. Protzman (B)

B-17G '8' Ball Mk III #42-97781 (359BS) BN-O
(photo taken 16 July 1944)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Harry F. Jenkins (P), 2Lt Samuel B. Blanchard (CP),
1Lt Gordon B. Nute (N), 2Lt John W. Protzman (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Norton A. Gillespie (E), S/Sgt John M. Cregan (TG),
T/Sgt Wesley G. Loosemore (R), S/Sgt Charles G. Allen (WG), S/Sgt John J. Fydrychowski (BTG)

(Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission.)

Thirty Seven dispatched (35 credited) combat missions of 1Lt Harry F. Jenkins:
As CoPIlot: 196 (5 July 1944) and 253 (7 Oct 1944)
As First Pilot:197 (6 July 1944), 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204(A), 205, 207, 208, 211, 212, 214, 215(A), 216, 217, 218, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 233, 234, 237, 238, 241, 246, 247, 248, 249, 251, 253, 255, 256 (14 Oct 1944). (A)-Non credited aborted missions: #204 - Failure of #4 supercharger; #215 - Loss of electrical system due to voltage regulator failure. For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Sixteen B-17Gs flown by 1Lt Harry D. Jenkins on his 37 dispatched combat missions:

  • 42-102496 (P) Special Delivery (359BS) BN-M - Mission 196
  • 44-6076 (P) Liberty Run (359BS) BN-Y - Missions 197, 198, 217, 238
  • 43-37537 (P) Queen of Hearts (359BS) BN-Q - Missions 199, 203, 248
  • 42-31483 (P) Bonnie-B (359BS) BN-B - Missions 200, 215(A)
  • 42-102960 (No name) (359BS) BN-H - Missions 201, 207, 208
  • 42-38050 (P) Thunderbird (359BS) BN-U - Mission 204(A)
  • 42-107296 Old Black Magic
  • 42-31224 Hell in the Heavens (358BS) VK-F - Mission 211
  • 42-31830 (P) Marie (359BS) BN-N - Missions 212, 214, 216, 218, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 251
  • 42-97781 (P) The '8' Ball Mk III (359BS) BN-O - Missions 233, 255
  • 42-97298 (P) The Floose (358BS) VK-H - Missions 234, 237
  • 42-97944 (P) Daddy's Delight (359BS) BN-Y - Missions 241, 253
  • 43-38258 (P) Forget Me Not Olly (358BS) VK-H - Mission 246
  • 44-6309 (P) Duchess' Granddaughter (359BS) BN-I - Mission 247
  • 43-38672 (No name) (360BS) PU-I - Mission 247
  • 44-6502 (No name) (359BS) BN-G - Mission 256
    (P) See the nose art photos
Crew Notes:
  • 1Lt Harry F. Jenkins (P) - First mission (196) flown as CoPilot with the Capt Lawrence C. Thompson crew. Mission 253 flown as Combat Orientation CoPilot with the 1Lt Jack T. Davis Crew. All other missions flown as First Pilot. Completed 35 mission combat tour on 14 Oct 1944 (Mission 256). Was Editor of the Hell's Angels Newsletter for 12 issues (November 1977 to July 1981). Was assisted by Jim Ferris and his daughter did all of the typing.
  • 2Lt Samuel B. Blanchard (CP) - Flew on all of the 1Lt Jenkins First Pilot missions plus two missions with other Pilots (253, 265). Completed 35 mission combat tour on 1 November 1944 (Mission 265). Became a commercial Pilot following WWII and was killed in an airplane accident on the ground in Houston, Texas in the 1950s.
  • 1Lt Gordon C. Nute (N) - Flew on all of the 1Lt Jenkins First Pilot missions plus two missions with other Pilots (250, 263). Completed 35 mission combat tour on 26 October 1944 (Mission 263).
  • 2Lt John W. Protzman (B) - Flew on 27 of the dispatched First Pilot missions of 1Lt Jenkins (197 through 233 and 241, 246 & 247). Substitute Bombardiers used on eight missions (234, 237, 238, 248, 249, 251, 253, 256). Completed 25 credited combat missions on 27 September 1944 (Mission 247). Was credited with damaging a ME-109 on mission #241, 12 Sept 1944 to Deseau, Germany.
  • T/Sgt Norton A. Gillespie (E) - Flew on 28 credited First Pilot missions of 1Lt Jenkins (197 through 246) plus seven credited missions with other Pilots (258, 287, 293, 303, 316, 320). Completed 35 mission combat tour on 22 February 1944 (Mission 320). Sustained a flak bruise on his right foot on mission #208 (20 July 1944) too Deseau, Germany.
  • T/Sgt Wesley G. Loosemore (R) - Flew on all of the 33 1Lt Jenkins First Pilot Missions plus two missions with other Pilots (258, 261). Completed his 35 mission combat tour on 22 October 1944 (Mission 261).
  • S/Sgt Charles G. Allen (WG), S/Sgt John J. Fydrychowski (BTG) and S/Sgt John M. Cregan (TG). Flew on all of the 33 1Lt Jenkins First Pilot Missions plus two missions with other Pilots (258, 260). Completed their 35 mission combat tours on 19 October 1944 (Mission 260).
Memorable Combat Missions:

27 August 1944 (Mission 233) to Esbjaerg, Denmark
Original target was Berlin, Germany but this and other secondary targets could not be bombed due to high clouds. Esbjaerg was a last resort target of opportunity. The initial bomb run was aborted requiring a second bomb run. Bombing was made through a break in the undercast. The Winfield L. Yarnall crew was lost over the target and the 1Lt Bertrand Hallum, Jr. crew had its B-17 tail blown off killing the Tail Gunner. 1Lt Hallum was able to fly the damaged B-17 back to England where the crew bailed out. The 1Lt Jenkins crew B-17G, The '8' Ball Mk III, received extensive damage.. The #2 and #4 engines were lost in the target area and was the B-17 was unable to keep up with the rest of the Squadron formation. The crew tossed everything loose overboard, including the Norden bombsight, and were able to level off and maintain an 11,000 ft altitude back to England. The Radio Operator, T/Sgt Loosemore, was able to contact the Air Sea Rescue Unit with his command set in preparation for a possible ditching that proved to be unnecessary. The rest of the flight was made without further incident. When the B-17 parked at the hardstand and the two remaining engines were shut off the #3 engine lost the rest of its remaining oil. The oil line had been ruptured by flak. The crew chief was not happy to see his B-17 in a heavily damaged condition. The unmarried crewmen were very happy to be able to attend a "must" dance held at Molesworth that night. (Memories of Harry F. Jenkins, Gordon B. Nute and Wesley Loosemore)

26 September 1944 (Mission 246) to Osnabruck, Germany in 358BS B17G 43-38258 Forget Me Not Olly
The crews ran into heavy flak with six B-17s sustaining heavy damage and 6 minor. One B-17, piloted by 1Lt Paul K. Bennett took a direct hit between the #3 and #4 engines, slid under the formation,. went into a glide and blew up at about 5-6000 feet. The Pilot, Navigator and Ball Turret Gunner were killed from, being shot while still descending in their parachutes.

27 September 1944 (Mission #247) to Cologne, Germany in 359BS B-17G 42-6309 Duchess' Daughter
The crew met no enemy fighter resistance but flak was very intense and accurate in the highly industrialized and fiercely defended Ruhr valley. Twenty-two group B-17 sustained major damage and 13 minor. The 1Lt Jenkins crew B-17 had 25 flak hits, five of which were in the radio room. T/Sgt Loosemore, Radio Operator believed that one of the flak hits had his name on it but he wasn't there, having turned from his radio to dispense chaff.

28 September 1944 (Mission #248) to Magdeburg, Germany in 359BS B-17G 43-37537 Queen of Hearts
Enemy fighters were waiting for the 303rd BG(H). Forty or so FW 190s and ME 109s primarily attacked the low squadron and wiped out 9 of the 12 B-17s on their first pass through the formation. Two other B-17s were also lost. The 1Lt Jenkins crew lost one engine and part of the oxygen system but made it home to Molesworth to put their second B-17 in the hangar in two days. 303rd BG(H) gunners destroyed two German fighters with an additional one as a probable loss and six damaged. (Memories of T/Sgt Wesley G. Loosemore, Radio Operator, on 27 September 2005, the 61st anniversary of missions 246, 247 and 248, who stated, "We were fortunate to make it through, but I think often of the many whose lives were sacrificed and who did not even get to vote in this great country of ours" )

[photos from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]