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Pilot:                     0-1285625    1st Lt  James L. MONAHAN        POW

Co-pilot:                0-704968      1st Lt  Gordon W. MOREHEAD    POW

Navigator:              0-703416      1st Lt  William G. BAER            POW

Bombardier:                 "                             "

Radio operator:       16115164      T/Sgt   Kenneth HOLCOMB        RTD

Top Turret gunner:   36565502      S/Sgt   Cecil D. SPENCE            RTD

Ball Turret gunner:   35651982      S/Sgt   Dennie E. MEDLEY         RTD

Waist gunner:          37342053      T/Sgt  Cobern V. PETERSON      RTD

Nose gunner:          19094031      S/Sgt  Kenneth S. KENYON       MIA

Tail gunner:             32817431      S/Sgt  Earle C. KNEE                RTD  

 

Contact addresses during wartime:

 

Adreslijst.jpg

 

Missions flown by pilot: (info from 458 BG website)

Date

 Target

458th Msn

Pilot Msn

 Serial

RCL

Sqdn

A/C Msn

 A/C Name

 Comments

28-May-44

ZEITZ

49

1

42-95219

W

7V

7

PATCHIE

 

29-May-44

TUTOW A/F

50

2

42-52457

Q

7V

21

FINAL APPROACH

#4 PROP RUN AWAY 

30-May-44

ZWISCHENAHN

51

3

42-52457

Q

7V

22

FINAL APPROACH

 

06-Jun-44

VILLERS BOCAGE

57

4

42-100311

A

7V

26

YOKUM BOY

MSN #2

07-Jun-44

LISIEUX

59

5

42-95179

X

7V

10

HERE I GO AGAIN

 

08-Jun-44

PONTAUBAULT

60

6

42-52457

Q

7V

23

FINAL APPROACH

 

10-Jun-44

CHATEAUDUN

61

7

42-95117

M

7V

15

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU  

 

12-Jun-44

EVREUX/FAUVILLE 

64

8

42-95117

M

7V

16

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

14-Jun-44

DOMLEGER

65

9

42-95117

M

7V

17

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

15-Jun-44

GUYANCOURT

66

10

42-95117

M

7V

18

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

23-Jun-44

3 NO BALLS

76

11

42-95117

M

7V

22

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

TGT # 6 COUBRONNE

24-Jun-44

CONCHES A/F

77

12

42-95117

M

7V

23

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

MSN #1

25-Jun-44

ST. OMER

80

13

42-51110

P

7V

16

TOP O' THE MARK

 

28-Jun-44

SAARBRUCKEN

81

14

42-95117

M

7V

25

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

29-Jun-44

ASCHERSLEBEN

82

15

42-95117

M

7V

26

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

06-Jul-44

KIEL

85

ABT

41-29352

K

7V

--

WOLVE'S LAIR

#2 SUPER CHG QUIT

07-Jul-44

LUTZKENDORF

86

16

42-95117

M

7V

28

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

11-Jul-44

MUNICH

88

17

42-95117

M

7V

29

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

12-Jul-44

MUNICH

89

ABT

42-100311

A

7V

--

YOKUM BOY

#4 SUPER CHG BLOWN

19-Jul-44

KEMPTEN

94

18

42-95117

M

7V

32

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

 

20-Jul-44

EISENACH

95

19

42-95117

M

7V

33

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

FLAK

Crew after they left aircraft: (info from 458 BG website)

 

Lt James Monahan and crew were assigned to the 752nd Squadron in the first part of May 1944 and began flying combat missions at the end of that month.  The crew flew several different aircraft before seemingly adopting You Can’t Take It with You a natural metal finish (NMF) B-24H that had almost completed a 30-mission tour.

 

The crew’s fourth mission was on June 6, 1944 – D-Day.  The group flew three sorties on this date, and Monahan’s crew participated in the second trip to Villers Bocage, but as the target was obscured by clouds no drop was made and all ten crews returned with their bombs.  June was a busy time for the 458th, and Monahan finished the month with 15 missions completed – half of their tour complete.

 

The crew was forced to abort two missions in July, both of them due to supercharger trouble, and both while flying aircraft other than You Can’t take It With You.  On July 20th, the crew boarded that aircraft for what would turn out to be their final mission to bomb an aircraft factory near Eisenach, Germany.

 

Details are sketchy, but from the crew statements on the Missing Air Crew Report, it seems the general consensus (at least for the crew) was that the, “No. 1 engine exploded”.  One crew member stated that the, “…plane lost flying ability, set on automatic pilot” and they were forced to bail out.  All ten made it out of the plane, but S/Sgt Kenneth Kenyon’s “…parachute either failed to open or he waited too long to open it”.  Two of the crew, pilot Monahan and navigator Gordon Morehead, were captured immediately by the Germans.  Both Holcomb and Spence saw their capture.  Medley, Peterson and Knee evaded successfully and were back in the UK in early September.  Joining them about the same time, but on a much more circuitous route, were Holcomb and Spence.

 

Initially these two men and bombardier William Baer evaded capture for several weeks, until they were betrayed to the Gestapo by infiltrators in the Belgian Underground.  After spending time in St. Gilles prison the men were to be relocated.  William Baer was not among the enlisted men loaded on a train with a number of other Allied airmen and political prisoners.

 

The Gestapo loaded this train in Brussels with prisoners bound for Germany. It never arrived, and the saga of the so-called "Ghost Train" is one of the most incredible, inspiring stories of World War II.

 

The Belgian resistance simply refused to let the train and its cargo of resistance fighters, captured soldiers and political undesirables leave the country. Every time it departed Brussels, it encountered obstacles, from blown-up tracks to a sabotaged water supply to an engineer deliberately injuring himself so he couldn't drive the train. Eventually over 1500 political prisoners and about 50 Allied airmen were released by the Germans in late August 1944 just before the Allies overran the area.