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Sgt William F Welch

Sgt William F Welch

Birth
Massachusetts, USA
Death 26 Feb 1943 (aged 25)
Germany
Burial Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA
Memorial ID 129671931 · View Source
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William served as a Sergeant and Gunner on B-24 "Maisie" (#41-23777), 66th Bomber Squadron, 44th Bomber Group, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

He resided in Merrimack County, New Hampshire prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on January 15, 1941, prior to the war, in Concord, New Hampshire. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being Single, without dependents.

William was "Killed In Action" during the war and was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

Service # 11015413

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Crew report supplied by John Dowdy)

USAAF WORLD WAR II
Gunner S/Sgt. William F. Welsh KIA
Hometown: Loudon New Hampshire
Squadron: 66th 44th Bomb Group
Service#
Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
Pilot Captain Howard F. Adams

MACR#16067
Target: Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Mission Date: 26-Feb-43
Serial Number: #41-23777
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter:
Aircraft Name: MAISIE
Location: Germany
Cause: Fighters Crew 11 9KIA 2 POW

MAISIE Crew:

Adams, Howard F., Captain, Pilot, Vermont
Bowie, Donald, S/Sgt, Gunner, New Hampshire
Brewer, Scott E., S/Sgt, Gunner, Idaho
Gotke, Wayne G., 2nd/Lt, Navigator, POW
Hannan, William J., 2nd/Lt, Bombardier, New York
Jones, Linwood F., S/Sgt, Radio Op.
McLeod, Stanley W., 1st/Lt, Co-Pilot, Kansas
Mifflin, James W., S/Sgt, Gunner, POW
Vogt, Robert K. T/Sgt, Engineer, Pennsylvania
Welsh, William F., Sgt, Gunner, New Hampshire

Post, Robert Perkins, Civilian New York Times war correspondent, New York

Report:

Two 66th Squadron aircraft were lost on this mission. They both went down in the vicinity of Oldenburg, Germany as the formation turned from the primary target, Bremen (which was obscured by clouds), to attack the secondary target at Wilhelmshaven

2nd Lt. Wayne G. Gotke, navigator, gave this account:

"The only person I can be positive on detail during the flight was Bill Hannan the bombardier who was riding in the nose of the ship with me. I'm completely at a loss to understand his fate after the ship blew up. He was standing by me when (I believe) the ship blew up and was not injured at the time. He had passed out twice from lack of oxygen and I had replaced his mask and brought him back to normal. "Our ship was under constant fighter attack from the time that we reached the Island of Texel until we were shot down. We had fought off the planes with very minor damage until we were almost to Oldenburg, then all hell broke loose.

I spent most of this time with position reports trying to get short cuts filled into the flight to allow us to gain and catch the rest of the formation. However, I am reasonably sure no one was injured up to this point except for Sgt. Welsh, the belly gunner, who had passed out from lack of oxygen, and as far as I know never regained his senses.

When we were almost to Oldenburg fighters hit us from all sides. Sgt. Vogt the engineer and top turret operator shot the first fighter down, and I shot down the next down however not until he had sent 20-mms. into the nose and cockpit. Sgt. Mifflin shot down the third from his waist gun position. At this point my left gun jammed and I know at least two planes made direct hits on nose and flight deck. Some one I'm sure was hurt on the flight deck and I was hit twice in the nose of the ship operating a jammed gun. "Engines #3 and #4 had been hit and were on fire. I believe fire spread to the wing tank and caused the ship to explode. I was working on my guns when all at once it seemed someone pushed me from behind and all went black. I woke up falling through space and I pulled my ripcord and no results so I reached back and tore the back of my chute out. My last look at the altimeter showed 26,000 ft. and the Germans claim they saw my chute open at 5,000 ft. They picked me up after I had sat between two trees about 20 ft. in the air for about 25 minutes and took me to a first aid station for treatment of cuts around the head and 20-mm. wounds.

"It was here I saw Sgt. J. Mifflin. The co-pilot of the other ship shot down at the same time as us [Lt. Wockenfuss] said he saw Capt. Adam's leather jacket and it appeared the man had been killed. The ship's loading list was removed by the Germans from the jacket. The Germans asked me about your son [Robert P. Post, the New York Times War Correspondent] as they could not identify him from the loading list. I gave them no information whatsoever as my orders were to say nothing in hopes that if men were at large their chances of getting home would be better. The
Germans asked questions about Bowie and Hannan, and from that I believe those two men could not be identified...I'm under the impression that all bodies were not found, or if found, could not be identified."

from a letter that Wayne Gotke wrote to Robert Post's father after the war. Post was part of a group of journalists called "The Writing 69th" whose members included Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney. See Jim Hamilton's book "The Writing 69th" for more details. Also, German pilot Heinz Knoke describes shooting down this B-24 in his book "I Flew for the Fuehrer."

Gravesite Details "Flat Granite Marker" - Entered the service from New Hampshire

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  • Created by: Russ Pickett
  • Added: 12 May 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 129671931
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt William F Welch (15 Nov 1917–26 Feb 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 129671931, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, USA ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .