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427th Newton Crew
John A. Newton, Pilot
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B-17G Miss Lace #42-102411 GN-P
(crew assigned 427BS: 17 June 1944 - photo: 09 July 1944)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt John F. Hobgood (TG-KIA);
S/Sgt Jim S. Reeves (WG-POW); S/Sgt Albert W. Bricker (BT-KIA);
T/Sgt James A. O'Leary (R-POW); T/Sgt Leonard A. Turner (E-KIA)

(Front L-R) 2Lt William F. Drew (B);
2Lt Frank G. Mowatt (CP-KIA); 1Lt John A. Newton (P-KIA);
1Lt George L. Lange (N-KIA)

Substitute crewman on 09 September 1944 mission: 1Lt C.F. Miller (B) [See 427th BS Elroy C. Lehmann Crew] for 2Lt William F. Drew (B). Lt Drew was killed in action on 09 November 1944 mission #270 to Metz, Germany in B-17G #43-38057 (no name) (427BS) GN-L, 2Lt S.E. Pursel, Pilot. Mid Air collision shortly after take-off near Wenlock, England with 427th BS #43-37666, 1Lt R.W. Davis, Pilot. (17 KIA and 1 survivor)

(KIA-POW) - On 09 September 1944 on mission #238 to Ludwigshafen, Germany in B-17G #43-38323 (no name) (427th BS) GN-P. Received a direct flak hit in the cockpit and another on the #1 engine. The entire nose section, left wing and #1 engine fell off. A burst of flame came out of the nose as it descended out of control. One man was seen coming out of the nose just after the B-17 was hit. Observers followed him down to 12,000 feet where he was lost in the clouds. S/Sgt Jim S. Reeves was in the tail when the B-17 was hit and reported:

We were hit on my 28th mission. It was like hitting a brick wall. I wound up against the tail wheel trying to get out of my flak suit. Luckily, I had seen the flak overtaking us and reached for my parachute an instant before we were hit. S/Sgt Hobgood (TG) was lying on his back very still. I went to him, shook him and asked if he was OK. He nodded his head and I motioned him to follow me. T/Sgt O'Leary (R) had joined us and was checking on S/Sgt Bricker (BT) who was dead. I reached the waist door, pulled the emergency handle and nothing happened. I then hung on the side of the ship and kicked the door until it let go. I then waved O'Leary and Hobgood out and then went out myself. The Germans reported that Hobgood was "Killed in fall". I saw O'Leary in a prison camp in Poland about two months later. He returned home in typical poor prison condition, enjoyed seven weeks of fun and then died of a heart attack.
[Mission story courtesy of Jim S. Reeves before his death on 09 March 1991]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]

[photo from the 303rd BGA Archives]