447th Bomb Group Association
Photos and details courtesy of Ms. Amy Baker
|Standing, L-R: John M.
Flynn, ENG; Anthony R. Demarco,
Charles R. Agnatovich, ROG; Douglas Aldrich, WG; BTG; John W. Lafferty, Jr. WG; Ralph B. Corning, TG
Kneeling, L-R: Charles O. Norris, CP; Raymond H. Buthe, P; Marvin L. Brawer, N; Curtis G. Chapman, B
The Buthe crew was shot down on its third combat mission.
Excerpt from MACR 11149:
Aircraft 43-38725 was hit by flak at instant of bombs away. A large hole was observed between #3 and #4 engine. Entire right wing burst into flames and aircraft peeled off to right and lost altitude rapidly. Aircraft was not out of control and some crews report 1-2 chutes, though the majority saw no chutes. Incident was at 27,800 feet at 1318 hours over the target. Hevy contrails prevented further observation of this aircraft or its crew.
The following information was shared by John Flynn, engineer. Interviews were conducted from October to December, 2002 by Amy Baker.
John remembers that his plane was hit right before bombs away. He was in the top turret and saw flak hit the tail and explode. He thinks it tore the tail off. John was knocked out of the top turret and landed below the pilot and co-pilot. The plane turned almost completely upside down and started to spin downward. He looked up and saw the pilot and co-pilot struggling to get out of their seats, but since the plane was in a spin, the force made it almost impossible to move. John was able to clip his chute on and throw himself out the open bomb bay doors. He looked up and saw the plane explode. After a while he looked up and noticed two chutes and knew only two of his crew probably survived.
On the ground, John was picked up by Germans and reunited with John Lafferty and Curtis Chapman. John Lafferty, the waist gunner, was able to jump out the waist window before the plane exploded. Curtis Chapman, bombardier, was still in the nose of the plane and was blown out in the explosion. He was knocked unconscious but came to in time to pull his ripcord and float to earth.
|Pilot Lt. Raymond H. Buthe KIA 11/30/44|
|Co-Pilot Lt. Charles O. Norris KIA 11/30/44|
|Navigator Lt. Marvin L. Brawer KIA 11/30/44|
|Bombardier Lt. Curtis G. Chapman POW: Stalag Luft I|
|Engineer Sgt. John M. Flynn POW: Stalag Luft IV|
|Radio Operator Sgt. Anthony R. Demarco KIA 11/30/44|
|Waist Gunner Sgt. Douglas Aldrich Reassigned to another crew|
|Waist Gunner Sgt. John W. Lafferty, Jr. POW: Stalag Luft III|
|Ball Turret Gunner Sgt. Charles R. Agnatovich KIA 11/30/44|
|Tail Gunner Sgt. Ralph B. Corning KIA 11/30/44|