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Remembering Today 6/6/44 B 26 mid air collisions near Battle.

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by KevinBattle, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    In the gloom of the early dawn light on 6th June 1944 American B 26 bomber formations had two mid air collisions.
    Two crashed over Gillingham Kent and a few minutes later on the outskirts of Battle, two more collided.

    42-96050 of the 587th Bomb Squadron collided with 42-96263 also 587th Bomb Squadron over Gillingham, Kent. ‘050 crashed into a house in Gillingham killing all of the crew. ‘263 crashed into an orchard at East Court Farm, Gillingham, killing the entire crew.

    42-96050 crew: 1st Lt's Witcher T Burger and Warren D Rodgers; S/Sgt's Edward H Monaghan and George S Knight; Sgt Alfred M Zussa and Cpl Forrest W Paffenberg

    42-96263 crew: 2nd Lts Claude W Kline, Jr and Emil F Ostrowsky; S/Sgt's Raymond F Sablatura and Joseph Amato; Sgt's Boris R Selinsky and James F Bechtler.

    In a separate collision, 42-107592 of the 584th Bomb Squadron (“Stinky” Squadron Codes K5*T) collided with 42-96249 587th Bomb Squadron (Codes 5W*?) over Battle, Sussex, both crashing in the same vicinity (Whatlington and Ashburnham).

    42-107592 crew: 1st Lt's Tommie J Potts Jr, and Christian Burger; 2nd Lt Leroy A Dyer; S/Sgt's James M Long, George K Kyle and George W Williams. Only the pilot (Potts) survived.

    42-96249 crew: 2nd Lt's Thomas S Jenkins and Walter S Winter; S/Sgt's William C Hoeb and Ralph D Parker; Sgt's George S Rogers and Edward F Bailey, killing the entire crew.

    I had the privilege to meet relatives of Thomas Jenkins the other day, when they visited Battle, and was able to pass on to them research conducted by the then Chairman of what was Battle Royal British Legion (Motto: Still on Active Service - We go into Battle every day!".

    Turns out they had rented a cottage which, unknown to them when booking, is actually the closest building to where 2nd Lt Jenkins Marauder crashed - and to find one of the few people in battle who could relate (second hand) an eye witness account of the crash and aftermath.

    These men are Not Forgotten - if they had baled out, the bomb load would have still been armed and could have devastated a large part of Battle with considerable ground casualties. They stayed and did their Duty, regardless of the consequences to themselves.

    We DO Remember Them - and all their comrades who never came back, Army, Navy, Air Force or whatever.
    canuck likes this.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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