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LT  Ralph W. BAYER

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: NAV

 Lt Ralph W. Bayer    NAV KIA 10/1/45 COLOGNE  flying with crew of J.J. Dodrill) Aberdeen/Weatherwax HS (Aberdeen, WA) , 1937 photo courtesy of Terry Hirsch. 

SERIAL #: O-719845 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 11744 CR: 11744

Comments1: 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE (CAMBRIDGE WALL OF MISSING)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
          BROWN'S CLOWNS

  Lt Gerald Brown           P CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
  Lt Arthur L. Jacobson CP POW 3/2/45 BERLIN         (With crew of  J..P. Ernst) SEE BELOW
  Lt Ralph W. Bayer    NAV KIA 10/1/45 COLOGNE     (With crew of J.J. Dodrill)   SEE BELOW
  Lt Joseph J. Dye     BOM CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND  (With crew of T. Hughes)  SEE BELOW
 Sgt Gifford D. Vieth  ROG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Sgt Walter R. Peters TTE CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Cpl Roland L. Douglas BTG POW 31/12/44HAMBURG (With crew of C.M. Williams) SEE BELOW
 Cpl Wayne E. Page     WG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND
 Cpl Clarence S. Kellogg TG CPT 10/3/45 DORTMUND

351st Sqdn.  Crew appears on Crew Roster of 4/8/44 as above.  See S.O.C. 
P. 95.  Crew joined 100th Group on 25/7/44.     

Lt Ralph Bayer is memorialized on the WALL OF THE MISSING at Cambridge. 
Letter from G. Brown (30/4/84) Jacobsen died of cancer 1981 Seattle.  
Ralph Bayer left the crew in late 1944..  Went to J.J. Dodrill crew. He was replaced on the Crew by  LT KIMBALL from Lt D.L. Thompson Crew 
Joe Dye left the crew Sept/Oct 1944 and finished his tour with Lt Tom Hughes Crew.  
Dye replaced by William Titley, from the crew of O.C. Everltt, who CPT 29/1/45. 
Gifford Vieth now (1984) a prominent attorney in Washington, D.C. 
Roland Douglas left crew in Aug 1944 when it became a lead crew and no longer had a BTG position. 

A Cpl. George Vogiatzis was a WG on crew when it arrived at 100th.  He was removed to 
make a 9 man crew and went to the 9th Air Force as a B 26 gunner.  Was 
KIA after a few missions. "Originally a member of Gerald Brown's Crew. Cpl Vogiatzis Transferred to a B-26 unit 
upon arrival in England after Crews were reduced from 10 to 9 men. He was assigned to
 the 554th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group (M). He died 16 Sep 1944 and is buried
 in the Cambridge American Cemetery (Plot D, Row 6, Grave 56)"  

Lt. Erwin A. Lentz assigned to crew as Mickey Operator and CT.

MISSIONS FLOWN by "BROWN'S CLOWNS"

8/4/44 Hamburg
8/8/44 St.Silvain
8/11/44 Villa Coublay
8/13/44 Nantes-Gassicourt 
9/5/44 Stuttgart   
10/2/44 Kassel
10/15/44 Cologne
10/18/44 Kassel
10/22/44 Munster
10/30/44 Merseburg
11/5/44 Ludwigshaven
11/26/44 Hamm
12/2/44 Koblentz
12/4/44 Friedburg
12/5/44 Berlin
12/ 18/44 Mainz
12/24/44 Biblis
12/27/44 Fulda
12/29/44 Frankfurt
12/30/44 Kassel
1/3/45     Fulda
1/7/45    Cologne
1/21/45  Mannheim
1/28/45  Duisburg
1/29/45 Kassel
2/17/45  Frankfurt
2/21/45  Nurnburg
2/23/45  Treuchtlingen
3/3/45    Brunswick
3/10/45  Dortmund 


**************************************************************************************************************
LT JACOBS:

CREW, FEB 3, 1945: TARGET-BERLIN

Maj Robert Rosenthal           Command Pilot     Landed in Russian Lines
Capt John Ernst                       P                  POW
1st Lt Arthur L.Jacobseon       CP                   POW  (from Crew of Lt. G. Brown)
1st Lt Stewart J. Gillison      Command NAV     EVA   (from Crew of Lt W. Terminello)
1st Lt Louis C. Chappel           NAV                KIA     (from Crew of Lt W.J. Wilson)
1st Lt Robert H. Stropp       Radar NAV          Landed in Russian Lines
1st Lt Eugene E. Lockhart     BOM                 KIA   (from the Crew of Lt Oren Hopkins)
T/Sgt Charles H. Webber     ROG                Landed in Russian Lines 
T/Sgt Dugger C. West        TTE                 POW
S/Sgt Warren Winters         WG                  POW
S/Sgt G.A. Windisch            TG                  Landed in Russian Lines
Ernst's leg amputated  in German Hospital night of 3/2/45 & he was soon exchanged.

See "CONTRAILS" p.131 & S.O.C. p.95. Also p.219/223 of "FLYING FORTRESS" by E.Jablonski.

EYEWITNESS REPORT from MACR #  "A/C #44 8379 was hit by flak,reported to be a ground 
rocket a few seconds before bombs away. A/C continued on run and dropped bombs.  Fire and 
dense white smoke was seen in the fuselage and bomb bay, including the cockpit.  Bomb bay 
doors closed and then reopened.  Pilot opened his window and peeled gently off to the 
right,  directing deputy leader to take over on VHF.   A/C headed NE and flew level for a few 
moments while six members bailed out (3 appeared to come from waist or tail and 3 from 
bomb bay..There was a small explosion in #3 engine nacelle and thd A/C headed down, burning 
and beginning to spin when last seen at 15/000 feet.  Observers believe entire crew had an 
excellent chance to bail out."
****************************************************************************************************************
LT BAYER:

CREW:
MACR # 11744, Microfiche # 4313   A/C #42-37939   "THE ALL AMERICAN GIRL"

2ND LT JOHN J. DODRILL         P KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
2ND LT DAVID S. WILLIAMS   CP KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
F/O JOHN D. GROSS           NAV POW 10 JAN 45  COLOGNE
2ND LT MELVIN D. SNYDER BOM NOC
CPL GEORGE R. BENNETT    ROG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL HARRY E. MITCHELL      TTE KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL MYRON E. WARNER      BTG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL GARLAND L. JOSEPH     WG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE
CPL ROY E. TOLL                 TG KIA 10 JAN 45 COLOGNE

351ST SQDN..   CREW AS ABOVE JOINED THE 100TH ON 28 OCT 1944

ON 10 JAN 45, LT RANDOLPH W. BAYER, FROM THE CREW OF GERALD BROWN, WAS FLYING AS NAVIGATOR AND WAS KIA.  SGT DAVID W. PITMAN WAS FLYING AS NOSE GUNNER AND WAS KIA.
 
EYEWITNESS: "A/C #42-37936 was last seen at 1228 headed toward Belgium with bomb bay doors open. The doors had been open since the target.  All engines were operating and the aircraft did not appear to be having difficulties."

  Story of the Century  Page 95 states: "….. All American Girl (named by Seymour Eichen, who flew it's first 35 missions) was flown on it's 99th , Jan 10, 1945, by John Dodrill of Puente, Cal.  One engine out, he was in control when he left the formation and flew down through the clouds, but no one knows the mysterious fate that overcame  the "All American Girl."  Afterwards a rumor spread she was on the a German Airfield."   (This was unfounded….pw)All nine of her crew are memorialized on the WALL OF THE MISSING  at Cambridge.

************************************************************************************************************
LT DYE:

CREW:

2ND LT THOMAS C. HUGHES             P CPT 21 MAR 45 PLAUEN           sn# 0-802858
2ND LT  ROBERT W. CRITTENDEN      CP CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND     sn# 0-2058726
2NS LT JOSEPH R. CALISTRO        NAV CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND
2ND LT FARRIS A. TURNER, JR      BOM NOC                                         sn# T-3860
CPL WILBUR R. GOCKMAN             ROG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 16139074
CPL JOHN A. WOLOS                    TTE CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 32888588
CPL WILLIAM R. LUBY                   BTG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 36475228
CPL GLENN R. DAVIS                     WG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND      sn# 33632343 
CPL JOHN G. ISARIS                      WG NOC                                         sn# 32979919
CPL RUDOLPH H. DUNKER               TG CPT 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND       sn# 36449523

351ST SQDN..  CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 23 SEP 1944.  CREW FLEW A/C 337815 "YOU CAN'T LOSE"

F.A. TURNER FLEW EIGHT MISSIONS WITH THE HUGHES CREW; TRANSFERRED TO RADAR SCHOOL(MICKEY).  ASSIGNED TO THE LEAD CREW OF R.C. ELLIS AND CPT WITH ELLIS.  HE WAS REPLACED ON THE CREW BY LT JOSEPH DYE WHO COMPLETED HIS TOUR WITH ME (26 MISSIONS).  CPL JOHN ISARIS DROPPED FROM CREW UPON ARRIVAL AT THORPE ABBOTTS DUE TO REDUCTION OF CREWS TO 9 MEN. 

Missions of Lt Thomas C. Hughes (mpf 2002) 

1. 07/10/44 BOHLEN
2. 09/10/44 MAINZ
3. 12/10/44 BREMEN
4. 15/10/44 COLOGNE 
5. 17/10/44 COLOGNE
6. 18/10/44 KASSEL
7. 22/10/44 MUNSTER
8. 30/10/44 MERSEBURG (RECALLED)
9. 05/11/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN
10. 06/11/44 NEUMUNSTER
11. 09/11/44 SAARBRUCKEN
12. 16/11/44 AACHEN
13. 21/11/44 MERSEBURG
14. 26/11/44 HAMM
15. 30/11/44 MERSEBURG
16. 12/12/44 DARMSTADT
17. 24/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN
18. 25/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN
19. 27/12/44 FULDA
20. 28/12/44 KOBLENZ
21. 30/12/44 KASSEL
22. 31/12/44 HAMBURG
23. 05/01/45 FRANKFURT
24. 07/01/45 COLOGNE
25. 20/01/45 HIELBRONN
26. 21/01/45 MANNHEIM
27. 28/01/45 DUISBURG
28. 29/01/45 KASSEL
29. 03/02/45 BERLIN
30. O9/02/45 WEIMAR
31. 15/02/45 COTTBUS
32. 17/02/45 GIESSEN
33. 19/02/45 OSNABRUCK
34. 08/03/45 GIESSEN
35. 10/03/45 DORMUND
*************************************************************************************************************  
S/SGT R.L. DOUGLAS

Crew:
Lt Clifton M.Williams                            P   KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
Lt Kenneth W.Newkirk                         CP  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
Lt Richard F.Williams                        NAV  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG                              A/C #43 38124
Lt Lawrence W.Ward                      BOM  POW  31/12/44 HAMBURG                             MACR #11363,Fiche #4182
T/S/Sgt Charles J.McGinley                 ROG  KIA    31/12/44 HAMBURG
T/Sgt .Alvin H.Petteys                      TTE  KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
S/Sgt Lee F.Carpenter                      BTG  KIA   31/12/44 HAMBURG
S/Sgt  James H.Murphy                       WG  POW 31/12/44 HAMBURG  TAPS: 1973
  Cpl  Gordon R.Sinclair                       TG   CPT        15/3/45 ORANIENBURG /WITH THE S. JOHNSON CREW AS NAV (see note)

351st Sqdn. Sqdn Diary of Sept.1944 notes this crew as joining the 100th Group in Sept. A Cpl.Harvey J.Lehman was 
on the crew at that time but no further record of him has turned up.

On 31/12/44, S/Sgt Roland L.Douglas,from the crew of Gerald Brown,was flying in place of Gordon Sinclair and was 
made a POW.

                Roland Douglas

       After leaving our crew in August 1944, our ball gunner Roland Douglas was assigned to the Clifton
Williams crew.  The 100th Group flew a mission to Hamburg on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1944, and
suffered some of the worst casualties of the war.  "Of the 3rd Division bombers lost, ten fell to flak and
fourteen to fighters.  Half the Divisional loss was borne by one unit:  the 100th Group."  The Might
Eighth, p. 204. Twelve B-17s of the 100th Group went  down.  The Brown crew luckily did not participate in 
this mission.  But Douglas did, with the Williams crew.
       Recall that the first mission flown by the Brown crew (including Doug) was in "Fools Rush In."  During
the Hamburg raid on December 31, the Williams crew was  flying in formation just below "Fools Rush In."  On the
bomb run, after releasing its bombs, "Fools Rush In" was hit by flak.  The plane nosed down and crashed into the
B-17 being flown by the Williams crew, including Doug. The Williams plane was cut in two, and both it and
"Fools Rush In" went down in flames.  Century Bombers  p. 171.

       As tail gunner, Doug was in the severed rear section of the B-17 as it went down.  He managed to bail
out near the qround and landed safely.  He was captured by the Germans.

Doug and fellow prisoners of war were placed in a boxcar and were being moved by train to a prison camp.
Several days later, on January 3, this boxcar was in the marshalling yards at Fulda, when the 100th Group bombed
those yards (our Mission 21).  The guards would not let the prisoners out of the boxcars, so they dropped to the
floor as bombs landed all over the place.  Fortunately  Doug's boxcar was not hit.  Doug was ultimately freed by
Allied troops in May 1945.

*****************************************************************************************************************

MEMO 2:

Ralph W. Bayer, Jr. was born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1919 to Ralph, Sr. and Grace Bayer. Both US Censuses 1930 and 1940 list the family in Aberdeen. According to records located, he married Sylvia Toyra on June 29, 1940 in Gray Harbor, Washington.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces on June 5, 1942 at McChord Air Field, Washington as a private. His enlistment record states he had completed 1 year of high school. His civilian occupation is listed as "Undefined." He was trained as a navigator, and, upon completion of this course, commissioned, awarded wings, and sent to advanced navigational training in crew training. This crew arrived in England in August, 1944, and flew less than 20 missions.

After several missions with his original crew, Bayer was sent to the crew of John J. Dodrill, where he took the place of F/O John D. Gross. On January 10, 1945, the crew was dispatched to bomb targets in the Cologne, Germany area. Over the target, the aircraft dropped out of formation, on a course for Belgium. One source states one engine was feathered, but this cannot be confirmed independently. The aircraft never returned to its base. Rumors abounded at the fate of this aircraft. Some stories recorded it crashed intact in Gladburg Germany, where the Luftwaffe refurbished it and used it as a decoy. Most stories from family members and other survivors of that day's raid feel it crashed into the North Sea, off the Belgium coast. No remains were ever recovered, and after one year, the government issued a "FOD," (Finding of Death on all aboard.). All crew members are remembered on the Walls of the Missing in the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England.
 	
Lt Ralph W. Bayer, Jr. was performing duty as navigator on B-17G # 42-37936, named "All American Girl, " assigned to the 352st Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 11744 was issued, but only states aircraft failed to return. Crew rosters and personnel files give the crew as:

2 Lt John J. Dodrill  p
2 Lt David S. Williams  c-p
1 Lt Ralph W. Bayer, Jr.  nav
SSgt David W. Pitman  ng/tog
Cpl  Harry E. Mitchell  eng/tt gun
Cpl  George R. Bennett  r/o
Cpl  Myron E. Warner  btg
Cpl  Garland L. Joseph  wg
Cpl  Roy E. Toll  tail gun

Lt Bayer replaced F/O John D. Gross (original crew) . SSgt David W. Pitman was flying as nose gunner and togglier in place of Lt Melvin Snyder.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Cologne DATE: 1945-01-10  
AIRCRAFT: "All American Girl" (42-37936) CAUSE: Unkown  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: Wall/Misng CEMETERY: Cambridge Military Cemetery  

PHOTOS:

Ralph W. Bayer 351st NAV Washington KIA 10 Jan 45 Cologne Gerald Brown Crew

 Gerald Brown crew; (left to right) Wayne Page in aircraft at the waist gun position, Standing; Clarence S. Kellogg, Walter R. Peters, Gifford D. "Bud" Vieth, Gerald Brown and Roland L. Douglas. Kneeling; Joseph J. Dye, Ralph W. Bayer and Arthur L. "Art" Jacobsen. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Lt Gerald Brown Crew aka "BROWNS CLOWNS"  Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 271