In England, Verne is in London on a pass and makes no entry in his diary. His brother-in-law, Kenneth E. Cline, flies his second mission . . . .1st Lt. Kenneth E. Cline, as pilot of B-24 #42-94898, Terri Ann,1 flew his second combat mission on February 9, 1945. Targeted on the oil refineries north of Magdeburg, weather conditions caused the mission to bomb the secondary target of Parcheim. The details of the mission are as follows:
Between 0445-0600 hours, 30 crews were given general briefings. At 0800, Group bombers began launch with assembly of the formation being orderly. Enroute, however, towering cumulus forced the Group formation to climb to 25,000 feet for bombing which caused the lead ship to overshoot the primary and release with poor results for the squadron on a Target of Opportunity at Parcheim. The other two squadrons released on the secondary of the marshalling yards by H2X with results unobserved. Fighter support was good and no enemy aircraft encounters were experienced. AA fire, however, was moderate and fairly accurate which caused the probable loss of (1) aircrew and the battle damage to (2) other bombers. From the 577th, Lieutenant Wade’s crew in #841 (Z for Zebra) was last seen at position 5240N-0415E around 1356 hours, over the channel and apparently short of fuel. The bomber was seen to turn back toward the coast of the Continent, flying around 14,000 feet.
One B-24, 41-28841, The Philly Folly, piloted by 2nd Lt. Burton L. Wade of Houston, Texas failed to return from the mission. The crew of The Philly Folly, comprised the following: 2nd Lt. Burton L. Wade, pilot; 2nd Lt. Richard H. Zeigler, co-pilot; 2nd Lt.Lewis L. Sanders, Jr., navigator; F/O Walter R. Somerhalder, bombardier; Sgt. Theodore E. Luniewicz, radio operator; Sgt. Bradford E. Pergande, engineer; Sgt. Robert W. Kudej, waist gunner; Sgt. James L. Jamar, Jr., waist gunner; and Sgt. Edward S. Townsend, tail gunner.
It is presumed the aircraft ditched in the North Sea. Two months later, their bodies began washing ashore:
The body of Sgt Kudej washed ashore near the coastal village of Petten, The Netherlands, and was buried on 9 April 1945 at the local cemetery. The body of Sgt Jamar washed ashore onto the beach of Castricum, The Netherlands, and was buried on 25 April 1945 in the local cemetery. After the war, Sgt Jamar was buried in Mt Olivet Cemetery in Ft Worth, TX. The body of Sgt Pergande washed ashore or was brought in by a ship at the harbor of Ijmuiden and he was buried on 26 April 1945 in Havenkade Cemetery. On 25 June 1945, F/O Somerhalder was buried next to Sgt Pergande. F/O Somerhalder was reinterred in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Grave B-17-10, with a posthumous award of the Purple Heart. 2/Lt Wade, 2/Lt Zeigler, 2/Lt Sanders, and Sgt Luniewicz are listed on the Wall of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Sgt Townsend is listed on the Wall of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery. All five men had been awarded the Air Medal and a posthumous Purple Heart.2
For the Missing Air Crew Report filed for The Philly Folly, 1st Lt. Kenneth E. Cline gave a brief account of having last seen the aircraft:
Aircraft 841 was seen to peel off and head back toward the Continent at 1354 hours at 14,000 feet. Ship was probably low on gas. The occurred about 20 miles off the Dutch coast.3
Notes & Commentary
1 “392nd Bomb Group Aircraft Dispositions, #42-94898.” WWW.B24.NET. (http://www.b24.net/aircraft/disposit.htm : accessed 8 February 2015)
2 “Mission #235, Target: Magdeburg.” WWW.B24.NET (http://b24.net/missions/MM020945.htm : accessed 26 January 2015).
3 Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947, digital image, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com/image/46713681/ : accessed 21 January 2015), B-24, Aircraft Serial Number 41-28841, “Missing Air Crew Report #12216”.