1LT Edwin James “Erwin” Bevins Jr.

1LT Edwin James “Erwin” Bevins Jr.

Birth
Watervliet, Albany County, New York, USA
Death 2 Mar 1985 (aged 64)
Watervliet, Albany County, New York, USA
Burial Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA
Plot Saint Joseph's Shrine, Plot I
Memorial ID 110180448 View Source
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////////////// IF YOU ARE A FAMILY MEMBER
A FRIEND OF THIS FAMILY
OR NEXT OF KIN
*********** PLEASE CONTACT ME*********


EDWIN JAMES BEVINS, 1LT
US Army Air Forces, # 0-807665

Of Watervliet, New York

Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Pilot (co-pilot) of:

B-24~serial #42-7554 , "Tail End Charlie"

**** Longest WW2 allied pilot to evade capture in the Netherlands - 473 day !!!

Was assigned to:

2nd Combat Bombardment Wing
2nd Air Division
8th Air Force
445th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
702nd Bombardment Squadron

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The real & true story of an American Hero!

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Born Erwin James Bevins, later in life he changed his first name to Edwin.

Both names are used here to assist people in locating this honorees record.

On 22 December 1943 @ 0830L, 2LT Bevinfs was the co-pilot on B-24H Liberator bomber Serial Number #42-7554 named "Tail End Charlie" that departed Tibenham Airfield, Norfolk, England for a bombing mission at Osnabruck, Germany. The aircraft had a crew of 10.

On that day the orders were for the 445th Bomber Group (Heavy) was to send in its bombers to targeted areas in Osnabruck & Munster, Germany.

A massive bombing raid was underway consisting of 225 B-17s & 121 B-24s flew to their targets.

Between 1300L-1500L hours they struck their targets.

5 - B-17s & 12 - B-24s are lost.

Reports from the field revealed the following:

6 immediately confirmed KIA (killed in action)
12 WIA (wounded in action)
160 MIA (missing in action), sadly almost all of the MIAs will turn into KIAs

According to 2LT Bevins interrogation report (E & E Escape and Evasion Report) to the USAAF dated 12 APR1945, he stated:

"...the B-24 in which Lt. BEVINS was flying was hit by flak over the target, losing the oxygen supply in the nose. They left the formation and went down to 14,000 feet to give oxygen to the three men in the nose. The plane was then hit by a (German) ME-110 and raked from end to end. The order was given to bail out (by Pilot, 1st Lt. John H. Allen). Lt BEVINS saw one chute in the air as he came down. He landed (parachute) at 1530L, 22 December 1943 at BAKHUIZEN, HOLLAND.

Moments before the end, 4 men bailed out. 3 Survived, 1 landed in Lake Ijsselmeer/Iselmar and drowned.

"Tail End Charlie" then crashed at 14:59L into the cemetery in Mirns, Netherlands.

On that mission, 7 crew members lost their lives.

2LT Bevins was able to bail out before his B-24 plane crashed and, with the help of the Dutch Resistance / Underground, evaded capture for 473 days in Holland.

Per the official Escape & Evasion Report:

"...On 09 April(1945) LT BEVINS, LT TED WEAVER, and 30 Dutch civilians moved to a castle E(ast) of HAARLE with 22 Germans. All were taken (rescued) by the 2nd Canadian Division at this castle on that day."

Two of his fellow crew members 2LT Joseph F. Gill, Jr., and S/Sgt Harry L. Henry were captured and sent to Nazi/German POW camps.

All 3 airmen were repatriated back the U.S. after the war.

Lt Bevins was awarded the following military medals:

Medals, Awards and Badges awarded:

Purple Heart
Air Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army Air Forces Pilot Badge

2Lt Bevins was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant before leaving the USAAF.

Available Publications Regarding the Crash:

Although the story is tragic, families and loved ones are now able to read through some of the most reliable sources of exactly what happened to their service member or loved ones.

Thanks to Mr. Jaap Halma, a reporter & journalist who resides not far from the crash site, conducted an amazing research project into this event in 2014.

70+ decades after this crash, through his lengthy and thorough research, he came upon several eyewitnesses that actually saw "Tail End Charlie" as it crashed into the cemetery in Mirns, Holland.

Mr. Halmas' historical research story of the crash was published in March 2014 in:

Periodical of the Heritage League of the Second Air Division (USAAF), Issue Number 54.

Direct web link to research and story: The story begins on page 15.

http://www.heritageleague.org/brian/54.pdf

Also available and released by the US Government the E & E Report (Escape & Evasion) report of the Co-Pilot, 2LT Erwin J. Bevins.

http://media.nara.gov/nw/305270/EE-2946.pdf

Please recognize and thank another Dutchman, Mr. Alexander Tuinhout. Mr. Tuinhout is an Archivist at Historisch Centrum Leeuwarden, Holland.

Mr. Tuinhout has searched out many families from around the world. He has provided much research & information to many descents/next of kin from this mission and many others that occurred in the Netherlands in the northern province of Friesland.

Mr. Tunihout has been hard at work researching information and spending countless hours corresponding with government agencies for the release of information on WW II events and service membersf historical records for families.

Thank you to the country of Holland, and its Dutch citizens who contributed immensely to the U.S. and its allied war efforts during WW II.

The Dutch Resistance / Underground saved many allied lives by assisting in underground efforts to provide medical aid, food, supplies, hide and repatriate fallen soldiers & airmen.

The Dutch Resistance/Underground saved Lt. Bevins life!

Let us not forget the other crew members that were on that B-24 that crashed 3 days before Christmas, 22 December 1943. They are:

œ Pilot: 1LT John Harold Allen, KIA
œ Navigator: 2LT Joseph F. Gill Jr., POW
œ Bombardier: 2LT Anthony Louis Destro, KIA
œ Engineer/Top Turret Gunner: TSGT John R. Elder, KIA
œ Radio Operator: TSGT Oscar Robbins, Jr., KIA
œ Assistant Engineer: TSGT James Carl Owens, KIA
œ Waist Gunner: SSGT Everett Morrison Odom, KIA
œ Tail Turret Gunner: SSGT Joseph John Pavelko, KIA
œ Assistant Engineer: SSGT Harry Luther Henry, POW


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  • Maintained by: usafdo
  • Originally Created by: Alysia
  • Added: 7 May 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 110180448
  • usafdo
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/110180448/edwin-james-bevins : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT Edwin James “Erwin” Bevins Jr. (1 Aug 1920–2 Mar 1985), Find a Grave Memorial ID 110180448, citing Saint Mary's Cemetery, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA ; Maintained by usafdo (contributor 48612389) .