|Birth: ||Jan. 23, 1918|
|Death: ||Apr. 9, 1944, England|
Co. Pilot 2nd/Lt. Rolland Grisell KIA
Hometown: Portland Oregon
Squadron: 578th 392th Bomb Group
Pilot 2nd/Lt. Hubert F. Morefield RTD
CASUALTIES NOT LISTED IN MACR
Date Lost: 9-Apr-44
Serial Number: #41-29485
Aircraft Model B-24
Location: England between Bintree and Twyford
Cause: MID AIR COLLISION Weather - Fog 8KIA 2RTD
The target, the airfield and air park at Tutow, was a continuation of the assault on the German Air Force, concentrating again major production of FW-190s.
During assembly over England, B-24 #41-29485 with 578th pilot 2/Lt Hubert F. Morefield and B-24 #42-99982, pilot 1/Lt Glen W. Reese from the 389th Bomb Group at Hethel, collided. The collision between [the two planes] occurred during the process of Division Assembly prior to an operational mission ( Tutow ). Aircraft #982 was hit by aircraft #485 at approximately mid-fuselage from an angle of about 90 degrees on the co-pilot side. Aircraft #982 was flying in the #2 position of the high right element of a 12 ship squadron at an approximate altitude of 7,000 feet. The planes collided at 0858. Both planes immediately disintegrated and amongst the falling wreckage I saw four parachutes and one body without parachute descending rapidly to earth. Both waist gunners of aircraft #982 were able to execute successful parachute jumps, but they did not, however, see the other aircraft involved in the collision and therefore cannot help in a statement of the cause. The nine other crew members [in #982] were killed in the ensuing crash. The assembly was done under instrument conditions through a thick overcast. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were reported as follows: Visibility 2500 yards; surface wind South 6 mph; 7/10 low cloud at 5000 feet, 2/10 middle cloud at 12000 feet. It is believed that neither pilot nor any member of crew was able to see the other aircraft because of weather conditions until it was too late to avoid the collision."
Since it was only about two miles from the crash site, RAF Foulsham was the first responder. On 10 Apr 1944, Flying Officer Cyril Alfred Gautier, the Duty Flying Control Officer, submitted this report: At 0850, "After taking over duty I walked out on to the balcony of the Control Tower to watch a formation of Liberators flying in a northerly direction over the airfield. One Liberator was flying through cloud and another flying almost at right angle to it - - the two Liberators collided.
"Both planes immediately disintegrated and amongst the falling wreckage I saw four parachutes and one body without parachute descending rapidly to earth. I immediately despatched two Crash Tenders, Ambulances and Medical Officer to spot where aircraft wreckage came to earth. Also Flying Control van to meet aircrew descending by parachute.
"[At 0918] Our M.T. driver reported one member of aircrew at bomb dump with broken leg and two others uninjured. Medical officer and ambulance immediately sent to bomb dump.
"[At 0930] Chief Marden from Twyford reported 7 dead bodies found between Bintree and Twyford.
"[At 0933] Bintree reported one member of aircrew at Ash Farm near Twyford injured. Ambulance immediately sent out and the Medical officer from Little Snoring sent out.
"[At 0955] Bintree reported above to be Lt. Morefield who was quite O.K. except for a minor cut over one eye and awaiting ambulance to take him to Foulsham."
Wreckage of the 389th Liberator crashed near Guist and the wreckage of the 392nd Liberator came down between Bintree and Twyford.
In a letter to S/Sgt Breithaupt's mother dated May 14, 1944, 1/Lt Morefield wrote, "I can't give all the details but perhaps what I can say will help... Easter Sunday we were on a routine flight over England when instrument weather was encountered and during our climb through the clouds we collided with another aircraft. Our altitude was very low, in the collision we lost our left wing and tail-section and time was too short to escape before crashing. Two of us did escape because we were thrown from the plane but Lt. Kaufman had a leg amputated in the collision. I escaped with only minor injuries but the eight other boys were not able to get out."
Lt. Rolland Grisell was from the Portland Oregon area. His wife Opal was made a widow upon his death in 1944. In 1945 The military presented his air medal two oak leaf clusters and purple heart in a ceremony held at the Portland air base. The air medal was awarded Lt. Grisell for exceptionally meritorious achievement while participating in 15 separate bomber combat missions over enemy-occupied continental Europe.
Crew of 41-29485,
2nd/Lt. 2/Lt. Rolland Grisell Co Pilot KIA
2nd/Lt. Ferdinand F. Kuttner Bombardier KIA
T/Sgt. Robert W. Gerrard Engineer KIA
T/Sgt. Ernest C. Betterley Radio Op. KIA
S/Sgt. Donald S. Coday Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Herman Breithaupt Jr. Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Dominick R. Adago Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. John H. Blekkenk Gunner KIA
2LT, 578 AAF BOMB SQ WORLD WAR II
Lincoln Memorial Park
Plot: section 4, space 238 10th row
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: ShaneO
Record added: Apr 26, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 89184400
2LT, 578 AAF BOMB SQ WORLD WAR II|
Added: Feb. 22, 2013