|Birth: ||Dec. 7, 1910|
|Death: ||Jun. 4, 1944, England|
USAAF WORLD WAR II
Sgt. Monroe A. Atchley DIS
Hometown: Anderson, Indiana
2033rd Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon. On loan from the 68th Squadron.
Awards: Purple Heart
Ground Crew Incident, Shipdham, England
Mission Date: 4-June-44
Serial Number: #
Aircraft Model B-24
Location: Shipdham airfield.
This incident that resulted in the deaths of Sgt. Monroe Atchley and Private Ted Bunalski, both members of the 2033rd Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon.
In the late afternoon, a formation of 492nd Bomb Group planes were assembling for a late attack over Europe in the general area south and east of Shipdham airfield. The time was 1720 hours. At an altitude of 17,000 feet, Lt. Frank Haag saw Lt. Sachtleben suddenly make a steep bank to avoid a collision. The other plane, not identified, also made a steep climbing turn. Lt. Sachtleben stalled, fell of on his left wing and went down through the overcast. The aircraft was reported to have made a one or one and a half turn spin, leveling off on its back similar to a pursuit dive. No further observations could be made. This aircraft, 44-40160, crashed into an unoccupied house near Garveston.
Sgt. Atchley and Pvt. Bunalski were off duty and eating supper when they heard men yelling that a plane had crashed. They left their meals, ran out on the road, and jumped on the first fire truck going to the fire. Upon their arrival at the crashed plane, they proceeded to extinguish the flames, disregarding the danger of bombs going off and a gas tank which was burning and full of
gasoline. When one or more of the bombs exploded, both of these men were killed. They both were awarded the Soldier Medal posthumously. Cpl. Anthony Mastradone, 67th Squadron Medic, Capt. Worrall, Doctor, and Cpl. George Houston responded to the emergency, too. Tony reported that he drove the ambulance to the scene, to immediately get instructions to go into the inferno to retrieve the bodies of the two firefighters. Bombs were still exploding, fire very hot. The two of them crawled along in a ditch, dragging a stretcher to get them, had to make two trips. They, too, should have been awarded a medal. James O. Auman wrote the following description: “On the evening in question, it was about dusk, my friend, Harm, and I were riding bikes in what may have been southeast of the A.A.F. Station 115 at Shipdham. The sky was clear and the sun was setting behind us. We were several miles from the airfield and enjoying the quiet, still air of the countryside compared to the extremely loud roaring of engines being run-up at the field. “As we coasted along, we became aware of a heavy bomber formation lumbering for altitude at what must have been 16,000 feet. The intense strain on the four engines was very familiar to me and I knew the aircraft was loaded heavily. “As the B-24 came down, the engines screamed in what must have been a wide open position (that sound is still with me). “I also remember how long it took for the crippled Liberator to hit the ground. My buddy, Krull, was screaming, “Get out....get out,” but no one ever made it. “There were no flames or smoke until the airplane hit upside down on a building that may have been the farmer’s living quarters. The impact was more like a crunch followed by a muffled explosion. “We rode to within about 600 feet of the farmyard and took a position along the roadside. The entire building and airplane were now a solid ball of flames. Firefighters arrived on the scene in very short order, however, the situation was hopeless. “It was still daylight when we saw the rescue squad pulling what we assumed were bodies from the wreckage. There seemed to be several smoldering hulks lined up in the farmyard about 50 feet from the wreckage. The squad was using long poles to fetch out the bodies. “Another four or five firefighters took a position on a thick stone wall about five feet tall with their backs toward us. These firemen did not have enough hoses or water pressure to do any good in putting out the flames.
“Suddenly, there was an explosion and we heard shrapnel ripping through the branches of trees overhead. When we looked back at the fire, we saw two, three, or four firemen laying on their backs on our side of the wall.”
Sam Rufus Atchley (1877 - 1942)
Mattie Bell Cowles Atchley (1878 - 1945)
Monroe A. Atchley (1910 - 1944)
Grace Atchley Bolton (1915 - 2003)*
Note: Sgt Engineers WWII
Boiling Springs Church of Christ Cemetery
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: Mary Coursey
Record added: Feb 25, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13435610
Entered service 9 Jan 1943 in Indianapolis, Indiana from Madison County, Indiana. His name is on the WWII memorial at City Hall, Anderson, Indiana.|
Added: Jun. 10, 2014
Served with the 2033rd Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon of the USAAF. Awarded the Soldier's Medal.|
Added: May. 24, 2009
Added: Feb. 25, 2006