SSGT Harry Samuel Raughley

SSGT Harry Samuel Raughley

Birth
Delaware, USA
Death 9 Apr 1944 (aged 20)
Germany
Burial Harrington, Kent County, Delaware, USA
Memorial ID 11535847 · View Source
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Harry, who resided on Commerce Street, Harrington, Delaware, served as a Staff Sergeant and Tail Gunner on B-24 "Bomb Totin' Mama" #41-29295 with Crew 56, 754th Bomb Squadron, 458th Bomb Group, U.S. Army Air Corps based in England during World War II.

He enlisted in the Army on February 19, 1943 in Camden, New Jersey. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being employed as a Farm Hand and also as Single, without dependents.

Harry was "Killed In Action" during a mission (described below) in a mission over Germany.

He had served in the Air Corps for one year and four months at the time of his death and was decorated with a Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.

Service # 32751782

Son of Clarence M. Raughley and Eva Barcus Raughley.

( Bio by: Russ Pickett )

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Airmen who perished on B-24 #41-29295:

Kluck, Allen R. ~ S/Sgt, Ball Turret Gunner, NE
Raughley, Harry S. ~ S/Sgt, Tail Gunner, DE
Stawiarski, Harry ~ 2nd Lt, Navigator, OH

( Crew Report by: Russ Pickett )

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The story of the flight by 1Lt Walt Raiter follows:

On April 9, 1944, Easter Sunday, the 458th Bomb Group was assigned to fly a mission to Tutow, Germany. The group formed well, but met heavy clouds just before reaching the Danish coast. The group at first tried to gain altitude so as to fly above the clouds, but it was soon clear that they would not make it. The pilots were ordered to spread out and maintain a course of 90° and to hold that while flying through the clouds. As soon as the group broke through on the other side some of the B-24's were attacked by German fighters before they could regain formation.

Crew #56 was flying their B-24 BOMB TOTIN' MAMA off of the left wing of Captain Valin R. Woodward who was flying in the second element that day. Soon after the formation reached the Initial Point and the fighter attacks began, Raiter's plane was hit while they were still over Kiel Bay. Woodward saw part of the attacks on Raiter and reported the following upon his return to base, "Raiter is believed to have been hit by attacking E/A over Kiel Bay at 1110. He dropped out of formation with an engine on fire. For a while he flew along about 5000 feet below the formation. In the vicinity of Gedser Head, Denmark...he was seen heading NNE with two enemy fighters following him. The A/C was under control when last sighted."

FW190's had knocked out the number three engine and it was feathered. Number two was also hit, but continued to operate although it was leaking oil. The intercom was also knocked out in the initial attack, but at this point the crew were all uninjured. The decision was made to stay with the formation, but before they reached the German coast number two engine started smoking and had to be feathered. The crew had no choice but to turn west for England. In a statement made after being released from Stalag Luft I, Walt Raiter recalled the attack, "We were attacked at the I.P. ten miles or so out in the Baltic Sea. After being seriously damaged and forced to leave the formation, we were under constant attack until reaching a point approximately fifty miles southeast of Hamburg. At that time we ran out of ammo and the tail gunner was killed and one of the enemy planes lined up on the center row of rivets and did all the damage. I believe, although I have no proof, that all three men were killed in that one pass. We had lost all inter-communications an hour before so most of this I pieced together from my other crew members and what I know."

Raiter sent the radio operator, S/Sgt James A. Goins, back to the waist to tell the men there to be ready to bail out upon a pre-arranged signal. S/Sgt Hulon D. Cornette from High Pointe, North Carolina was the waist gunner and the assistant engineer on BOMB TOTIN' MAMA. He and nose turret gunner S/Sgt Allen R. Kluck of Richland, Nebraska were roommates and best friends. After his release from Stalag 17B in 1945, he wrote to Allen Kluck's wife: "Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944 was the day it all happened. We were on the way to a target in Northern Germany. We ran into fighters out in the Baltic just before turning in over land. They knocked number three engine to pieces and put a hole in an oil line in number two which kept running until we hit the German coast. My pilot then had to feather that engine. That left us going on two engines. We...flew perhaps an hour and a half when the pilot sent the radio operator back to the waist where my gun position was and said we were not going to make it back to England and for us to get ready to bail out when he dipped the plane. The interphone had been shot out and we couldn't talk to each other over it. Everybody knew we were going to bail out within the next few minutes and everyone was all right then. Allen was in the nose turret and I was in the waist so I can't tell you what went on up there. We had put our 'chutes on and opened the hatch to bail out when I saw two fighters coming in on our tail and I started firing at them. The first fighter was shot down, but the second got us bad. The tail gunner [S/Sgt Harold S. Raughley] had taken off his 'chute and gotten back into his turret when he saw me firing at the planes. I do know that he was killed by a direct burst. In the waist fire was everywhere and the right wing was flaming. Lieutenant Koch [the bombardier, who was manning the other waist gun] told me to bail out, so I hit the silk. On the way down I counted six 'chutes. The plane did not immediately go down. It went into a shallow dive so that everybody that was alive has a good chance to get out. I was captured immediately upon hitting the ground. All six of us were caught right away. They were down there waiting on us. When I said I saw six 'chutes, that is right. I didn't know my pilot, Lieutenant Raiter, had gotten out. He stayed in the plane, trying to hold her level and give us a good chance to get out. An explosion in the cockpit blew him out a few thousand feet before the plane hit the ground. I found this out from him after he was captured a few days later in a temporary camp in Germany. None of the crew saw Lieutenant Raiter's 'chute and we were surprised to see him brought into prison. I kept looking to see Allen and Lieutenant Stawiarski brought into camp, but I never did see them."

Walt Raiter evaded capture for several days, but was eventually caputured and sent to Stalag Luft I near Barth.


Family Members

Siblings

Inscription

Delaware, S/Sgt., 754th Bomb Sqd., U.S. Army Air Force, WW II


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  • Created by: Russ Pickett
  • Added: 14 Aug 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11535847
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for SSGT Harry Samuel Raughley (5 May 1923–9 Apr 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11535847, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Harrington, Kent County, Delaware, USA ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .