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303rd BG Original Crew
427th Stockton Crew
Donald E. Stockton, Pilot
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B-17F Joe Btfsplk II #41-24610 (GN-T)
(original crew assigned 427BS: 01 May 1942)

(Back L-R) Capt Donald E. Stockton (P), 2nd Lt Fort W. Lipe (CP) ,
2nd Lt Lawrence H. Grant (N), 2nd Lt Lloyd A. Shirley (B),
1st Lt Quentin W. Hargrove (Squadron Engineering Officer)

(Front not in order) M/Sgt Henry C. Parker (Squadron Line Chief)(far left),
S/Sgt Roy Q. Smith (Eng), Sgt Carson Bryant (Asst Eng),
S/Sgt Lee H. Amos (R), Sgt Dean M. Packer (Asst Rad),
Sgt Marines H. Meyer (Gunner)

Twenty-Seven dispatched (24 credited) missions flown by Capt Donald E. Stockton:
1(AS) (17 Nov 42), 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13(A), 15(AS), 16, 17A, 18, 19, 20, 21(A), 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 34 & 35 (14 May 43)
(A) Non-credited abortive mission (AS) --- Credited abortive sortie - no bombs dropped
For mission dates and targets see the missions list.

Tail of B-17F 41-24610 Joe Btfsplk II after it was chewed up by an FW-190 on Mission 16, 16 February 1943, to St. Nazaire, France. Pilot Don Stockton (left) and Navigator Herbert Miller examine the damage.
Crew Notes:

  • Capt Donald E. Stockton (P)(KIA) - Mission 2 flown as CoPilot with 427th CO Maj. Charles C. Sheridan as Pilot. Other missions flown as 1st Pilot. Promoted to Captain prior to mission 25 on 22 March 1943.

  • 1Lt Fort W. Lipe (CP) - Dispatched on seventeen Stockton crew missions (1, 3 thru 21 and 24). Was upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot and flew thirteen missions as a 1st Pilot. Completed combat tour on 4 July 1943.

  • Lt Lawrence H. Grant (N) - Flew on all of the Stockton crew missions except #2. Also flew on missions 11 and 38 with other Pilots. Combat tour completed on 19 May 1943.

  • Lt Lloyd A. Shirley (B) - Flew on all Stockton crew missions except #2. Also flew on missions 32 and 38 with other Pilots. Completed combat tour on 19 May 1943.

  • T/Sgt Roy Q. Smith (E) - Flew on all of the Stockton crew missions. Also flew on mission 38. Completed combat tour on 21 May 1943.

  • T/Sgt Lee H. Amos (R) - Flew on all of the Stockton crew mission except #2. Also flew on missions 22, 38 & 40 with other Pilots. Completed combat tour on 29 May 1943.
Sgt Dean M. Packer
  • Sgt Dean M. Packer (BTG) - Flew on missions 1 and 6 with Capt Stockton. He was then temporarily released from active duty due to eye problems and was replaced on the crew by S/Sgt Robert R. Jenkins.

    Packer's local newspaper reported, "Sergeant Packer suffered injuries to his eyes from the sun and has been released temporarily from active duty in the European theatre. He explained that enemy planes take advantage of the blinding sun in swooping down on Allied planes and pointed out that strain on his eyes in watching for the enemy ultimately resulted in temporary injury to his eyes. Enlisted In 1941, Parker enlisted in the Army Air Corps December 16, 1941, and first received training at Scott Field, Ill, a radio training center. He attended gunnery school at Panama City. Fla, from where he was assigned to a squadron at Alamogordo, N. M. Training was completed at Battle Creek, Mich. After his recovery, he was reassigned back to Scott Field, Illinois as a radio instructor.

  • S/Sgt Robert R. Jenkins flew on 23 missions with Capt Stockton (1, 3 and 8 thru 35) Also flew on three missions 2, 38 & 40 with other Pilots. Completed his combat tour on 29 June 1943.

  • S/Sgt Carson Bryant (RWG) - Flew on eighteen mission with Capt Stockton (3 thru 12, 15 thru 23 and 31, 34 & 35). Flew on twelve other missions with seven different Pilots. Completed combat tour on 29 June 1943. Substitute WGs used on eight missions.

  • Sgt Marines H. Meyer (TG) - Flew on three missions (3, 6, 7) with Capt Stockton and one mission (11) with another Pilot. Was replaced by S/Sgt Paul D. Ferguson who flew on three missions with Captain Stockton (8, 9, 10). Died on mission #10, 13 Jan 1944, from a lack of Oxygen. Was replaced by S/Sgt Vernon E. Koch who flew on eighteen missions with Capt Stockton (13 thru 35) and eleven missions with other Pilots. He completed his combat tour on 28 June 1943.

  • Left Waist Gunners - The Stockton crew never had a regularly assigned Left waist Gunner. Flew with sixteen LWGs including ten missions with S/Sgt Clarence S. Coomes (9, 20, 21, 25 thru 29 and 34 & 35).
Stockton Crew incident:
Mission # 16, 16 February 1943, to St. Nazaire France in B-17F 41-24610 Joe Btfsplk II. Lt Stockton flew his favorite B-17 back to Molesworth with a hole in the tail assembly "as big as a household door."

Favorite B-17:
B-17F 41-24610 Joe Btfsplk II (427th BS) GN-T. The Stockton Crew named this B-17. They flew it from the USA to Molesworth in October 1942, and on twelve combat missions.

Last mission of Capt Donald E. Stockton:
Mission #35, 14 May 1943 to Kiel, Germany, in B-17F 41-24619 S-for-Sugar (427BS) GN-S. Capt Stockton was hit in the right side by German fighter 20 mm shells. He fell over his pilot controls and died. The B-17 went into a steep dive. CoPilot 2Lt John C. Barker and Engineer T/Sgt Roy Q. Smith gained control of the fortress and brought it back into formation. A very sad crew brought Capt Stockton's body back to Molesworth. He is buried in the Cambridge England American Cemetery. The loss of Capt Stockton was the inspiration for Walter Cronkite's article "Nine Crying Boys." We have been unable to obtain a copy of that article.

[photos courtesy of Quentin W. Hargrove - Newspaper Clipping courtesy of Julie Sukman of Mr. Cronkite's Staff]
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]