Lieut James M. Beatty


Lieut James M. Beatty

Death 9 Jul 1998 (aged 76)
Burial Wartburg, Morgan County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 105473249 View Source
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WW II Army/Air Force Veteran
Pilot 2nd/Lt. James H. Beatty POW
Hometown: Clinton, Tennessee
Squadron: 577th BS 392th Bomb Group
Service #
Awards: Purple Heart.

Target: HAMBURG Germany
Date Lost: 6-Aug-44
Serial Number: #42-50604
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter: "B-Plus"
Aircraft Name: (NO NICKNAME) 5th Mission
Location: (20) miles west of Hamburg,
Cause: flak Crew of 9 1KIA 8POW

The oil refineries and storage tank depot were aiming points for this mission and at 0430-0530, (28) aircrews were given general briefings. The 578th Squadron was assigned lead with Lieutenant Bennett as Lead Bombardier. A total of (26) ships went over the target dropping (312) 500# GPs with very good results. Again no fighters were encountered but flak was moderate and accurate. One aircraft was lost with the crew MIA. From the 577th in ship #604, Lieutenant J. H. Beatty's crew was seen in the target area with one engine smoking and apparently not badly damaged otherwise. The ship was under control and it was later noticed about 4000 feet below the Group formation on the return leg when the crew asked for and received recovery weather information about 1341 hours. Shortly thereafter, the ship was seen to have two engines smoking, however, no chutes were seen to emerge.

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: A returning eye-witness account (Lt. Barber, Co-Pilot flying with the Holmes crew, 577th) reported that this aircraft, though reported by another crew to have gone down in the target area, was then seen flying at about 4,000 feet below the Group formation with two engines smoking. Another crew report (which proved to be erroneous later regarding the Beatty crew's situation) had indicated that this aircraft had called for weather information at about 1340 hours, and had finally landed at Woodbridge, England. A German Report #KU914 A, headquarters identified town as Stade and code letter ‘unbekennt', dated 6 August, listed the names of (6) men who were taken prisoner and were being transferred on to Dulag-Luft interrogation camp at Oberursel, near Frankfurt: Beatty, Wells, Garbeff, Dowell, Amenta, and Mulder. No mention was made in any other German report included in this MACR pertaining to the capture of Sgts. Zybort and Dunphy, nor the casualty, Sgt. Berquist, who perished in this emergency. It was known, however, from later reports given by crew members that Sgt. Zybort had been badly injured, and was taken to a hospital by the Germans, time and place not given. Sgt. Dowell had also been injured.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: Several later reports from individual survivors after their liberation did cast some light on their ordeal this day. The Pilot, Lt. Beatty, reported the plane having to leave the formation right over the target (due to flak damage) and about (20) miles west of Hamburg, and the bail out order had to be given. Upon reaching 13,000 feet, he stated the following happened: "...Garbeff (Navigator) left ship via nose hatch approximately twenty miles west of the target. Approximately the same time Mulder (Nose Gunner) left via the bomb bays around 11,500 feet; Wells (Co-Pilot) bailed out via the bomb bays at 10,000 feet; Dunphy (Upper Turret) bailed out about 8,000 feet via the bomb bays; and Beatty (Pilot) bailed out (then) through the bomb bays about (30) miles west of the target. Men in the waist and tail Zybort (Engineer), Dowell (Tail Gunner), and Amenta (Waist Gunner) left the ship prior to my leaving. No interphone contact was made to these three men but they are accounted for; Zybort and Dowell were wounded, Zybort savagely". Beatty went on to lay out a diagram of the aircraft's path away from the target area, the bail out patterns of each man, and the approximate point where the plane crashed, just south of a small village west of Hamburg. (Note: Probably beyond but near to the German village of Stade). He specifically pin-pointed the bail out point estimation for Sgt. Berquist as some (12) miles west of the target area though this crew member's name was not mentioned in all the bail out sequence details given. In another survivor's account, Sgt. Zybort's, the following Casualty Questionnaire information was given also later: "...l last saw Sgt. Berquist in the waist section of our aircraft at which time he left me to procure a first aid kit to treat my that time, he was well and uninjured....all members of the crew bailed out...(and) all crew members with the exception of Sgt. Earl J. Berquist, Radio Operator, are now safe in the Zone of Interior". A third member's account later, Sgt. Amenta, on the question of the other crew men status in the plane or after bailing out, stated: "... my engineer was in plane with leg partly shot off; my pilot with a wounded ankle; my navigator with a bad ankle; my tail gunner with flak in his leg...and the last three men mentioned I saw on the ground". On the status of Sgt. Berquist, Amenta reported that the last time he saw this crew member was in the bomb bay, and at some moments just before the ship was lost, Sgt. Berquist had asked him to help with their wounded Engineer. He accounted for (5) missions that Sgt. Berquist had flown up until then: Bremen (29 July); Keil (31 July); to France target (1 Aug); to France target (2 Aug); and this 6 August raid.

For a detailed description of this mission, see Sgt. Stanley Zybort's story, "The Last Flight."

The #42-50604 crew
2nd/Lt. James M. Beatty Pilot POW
2nd/Lt. Elting H. Wells < Co Pilot POW
2nd/Lt. Theodore J. Garbeff Navigator POW
S/Sgt. Stanley C. Zybort Engineer POW
Sgt. Earl J. Berquist Radio Op. KIA
Sgt. Robert L. Mulder Gunner POW
Sgt. George S. Amenta Gunner POW
Sgt. James J. Dunphy Gunner POW
Sgt. Armpha E. Dowell Jr. Gunner POW

In the photo not on this mission.
2nd/Lt. William E. Neuman Bombardier
later KIA

Family Members


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  • Created by: John
  • Added: 19 Feb 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 105473249
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut James M. Beatty (8 Oct 1921–9 Jul 1998), Find a Grave Memorial ID 105473249, citing Wartburg Cemetery, Wartburg, Morgan County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by John (contributor 47161441) .