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360th Kyle Crew
George A. Kyle, Pilot
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(crew assigned 360BS: 25 Nov 1944 - photo: 28 Nov 1944)

(Back L-R) F/O Fred Holcombe (N),
F/O James H. Hardy (CP), 2Lt George A. Kyle (P),
Sgt Ernest G. Schieferstein (E)

(Front L-R) Sgt Howard F. Delaney (TG),
Sgt Frank R. Turner (Tog), Sgt William R. Kaufmann (WG),
Sgt George P. Smith (BT), Sgt Joel A. Berly, Jr. (R)

(KIA) On 16 December 1944, recalled mission to Ulm, Germany in B-17G #44-6504 (no name) (360'BS) PU-M. The formation was recalled due to bad weather. After the recall the B-17s broke formation on the return route and were ordered to land separately at various bases to avoid collisions. Lt Kyle executed a 180º turn back towards England and began his descent. On several occasions he requested headings only to discover that they were coming from German transmitters. Twice he found himself heading for France. He descended to 3,000 feet and attempted to find a hole in the clouds. He retained his bombs not knowing where they might drop. At 1315 hours, the west hills of the Cheviot, at 2,600 feet one of the highest points in England, suddenly loomed out of the snow. His B-17 struck the mountainsides and skidded across a bog, with the peat absorbing some of the impact, F/O Holcombe (N) and Sgt Turner (Tog) were instantly killed. Fires erupted from the leaking hydraulic and fuel lines but the RDX bombs didn't explode. Lt Kyle (P) was pulled from the aircraft by F/O Hardy (CP). The cockpit crewmen, Kyle, with a broken jaw, Hardy and Schieferstein (E) wandered down the hill, found a farm house, and were taken to an RAF first aid station near Berwick. The four men in the back of the B-17 all suffered minor injuries. Sgt Berly (R) tried to put out the bomb bay fire. His foot became entangled in the plywood floor and a mass of peat. Sgt Kaufmann (WG), who had been knocked unconscious during the crash, regained consciousness in time to pull Sgt Berly free and to assist Sgt Smith (BT) from the B-17. The three then found Sgt Delaney (TG) wandering around in deep snow, bleeding from a severe head wound. They left the aircraft and found shelter in a ditch 100 yards away. After several hours Sgt Smith felt a dog licking his face. The dog's barking brought two shepherds, John Dagg and Frank Moscoup, to the ditch who had been searching in the storm with Dagg's dog Sheila for survivors. Sheila led the group through the blizzard to Dagg's cottage. The B-17 blew up with a window-shattering explosion just as they reached the cottage. Dagg's daughter ran two miles through the storm to summon help by telephone. Later that night the four sergeants were taken to the same RAF hospital that treated the other crewmen.

For sequel events and additional information and photos see:
Molesworth Animals    44-6504 Crash Photo

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]