|Birth: ||Feb. 19, 1918|
|Death: ||Feb. 24, 1944|
Bomber Navigator from Central City Nebraska went missing from a raid over Germany February 1944
Navigator 2nd/Lt. Dewain J. Henderson KIA
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Squadron: 576th BS 392th Bomb Group
Pilot 1st/Lt. Mervyn T. Johns POW
Missing Air Crew Report Details
USAAF MACR#: 02948
Date Lost: 24-Feb-44
Serial Number: #42-7527
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Name: "BLACK WIDOW" 12th Mission
Location According to German Report KU #1008, aircraft 42-7527 crashed at Schnepfental-Roedichen, 12 km southwest of Gotha.
Cause: surmised that massive enemy fighter attack Crew of 10 5KIA 5POW
The 392d Bombardment Group (H) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy on 24 February 1944.
This mission was to go down in the annals of bombardment aerial warfare history as one of the most vital strikes ever made in World War II against Germany. The 392nd was to play the most important role in leading (6) of the 2nd Bomb Division B-24 Groups to the correct target when the leading Combat Wing of (3) Liberator Groups made a critical navigational error and turned to an incorrect attack heading thus, turning a near-disastrous mission for the Division into one of the most successful ever executed. The 392nd losses would be extremely heavy this day from some of the most fierce and relentless enemy fighter attacks ever encountered for such a long period of time over 21/2 hours into and from the target area. The following summaries taken from the Group's tactical mission records relates in small measure the history of that raid the ‘Battle of Gotha'.
MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: The scanty report regarding the fate of this aircrew and plane was made later after the war by the Pilot, Lt. Patterson. He noted very briefly that their plane had left the formation shortly after the Initial Point (IP), starting the bomb run. There were no eye-witness accounts by returning crews to give any further information about this missing crew's plight. It is surmised that this plane had also undergone fierce enemy fighter attacks leading up to the bomb run.
INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: The after-liberation report given by the Pilot was general in nature and did not cover the knowledge of loss on any crewmembers in his completing a Casualty Questionnaire for higher authorities. He noted that he knew (4) members had bailed out without problems, but that he had received this information later after his liberation. He further stated that his aircraft crashed about (25) miles west of Gotha. (Note: The bomb run was begun from an IP slightly southwest of the Gotha target). There were no German ground reports about this aircrew or any individual members in this MACR.
BURIAL RECORDS: 1/Lt Shelten and T/Sgt Peterson were initially buried in Cemetery V, Plot III T, Field 11b, Graves 44 and 46 in Gotha, Germany. The two men are now interred at Ft. McPherson National Cemetery, Section F Site 1226A.
Thank you to Shano (#47009366) at Find a Grave for the above Information.
Mount Olivet Cemetery and Mausoleum
Created by: Loren Bender
Record added: Sep 20, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 97441544