1LT Harold W Bellard

1LT Harold W Bellard

New Jersey, USA
Death 6 Apr 1944 (aged 26)
Burial Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Plot A, 0, 211E
Military 1ST LT, US ARMY
Memorial ID 351748 · View Source
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Harold served as a 1st Lt., 44th Bomber Group, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

He resided in Essex County, New Jersey prior to the war.

He enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard on January 6, 1941, prior to the war, in Newark, New Jersey. He was noted as being Single, without dependents.

Harold was "Killed In Action" during the war and was awarded the Purple Heart.
Navigator 1st/Lt. Harold W. Bellard KIA
Hometown: Woodlawn Maryland
Squadron: 68th 44th Bomb Group
Service# 0-675984
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Pilot Fl/Of. later 2nd/Lt. William B. Altemus KIA

MACR #3854
Target: Airdrome, Langenhagen, Germany
Mission Date: 8-Apr-44
Serial Number: #42-110020
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter:Z
Aircraft Name:
Cause: enemy aircraft
Crew of 10 4KIA 2MIA/KIA 4POW
The month of April cost more plane losses and casualties of the entire war so far as the 44th Bomb Group was concerned! More so than the August 1943 disasters of Ploesti and a later mission to Foggia, Italy. The 8th of April was the worst single day. For the first time in the war, the 44th BG was led by 389th BG aircraft equipped with PFF
(Pathfinder equipment). With them as Command Pilots were Col. Gibson, Group C.O., and Captain Robert Lehnhausen, 68th Squadron C.O. They flew with 389th Bomb Group personnel and airplanes. It was not a successful endeavor. The primary target, Brunswick, as well as the secondary were obscured by a successful smoke screen, so a target of opportunity, Langenhagen Airdrome, was bombed instead. Enemy aircraft attacks were numerous and severe, with our gunners claiming 12 destroyed, 6 probables and I damaged. But the 44th Bomb Group’s formation was subjected to concentrated attacks and lost a total of eleven aircraft! This, compared to the nineteen other B-24s lost by all other Groups. This was the worst loss of the war for one mission by the “Flying Eightballs”.

2nd Lt. William B. Altemus was the pilot of #020. The MACR includes this explanation, “At 1344 hour near Salzwedel this aircraft was attacked by enemy aircraft. It broke into flames and blew up. No parachutes were seen.” Again, it appears that the wording on this MACR is not quite correct as I have been advised by the engineer, Lanning C. Baker that, “We were flying a new plane so it had no name. It was a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. I remember feeling quite secure because there were so many bombers in the air, well escorted by P-51s. “We were hit by fighters which came out of the sun from above and in front. Our plane was hit so hard it seemed to momentarily stop in the air. Fire immediately erupted from the bomb bay and flashed onto the flight deck. I got out of the top turret, losing my oxygen mask in the process, and opened the top hatch door. This allowed the fire to go over us and out that hatch between the pilots. I then passed out from lack of oxygen. “When I came to, I was lying on the flight deck floor right next to my parachute pack. I noticed that the right front bomb bay door was open or had been blown off. The other three were still closed. So I snapped on my chute and got out as quickly as I could. The bombs were still in place. “By this time, the plane could not have been too high because I hit the ground in no more than 3 or 4 minutes. I remember looking up after my chute opened and the plane was still flying, but there was a lot of fire. “What happened to the others on board? Hock and Feeney were in prison camp with me. I saw Lt. Phelan at Camp Lucky Strike in France after the war was over. He said Lt. Altemus told him to jump and he would follow. He also said he saw me lying on the deck and thought I was dead. But when I got out of the plane, I saw no one! Altemus could still have been in his seat as the smoke and fire made poor visibility. As hard as we were hit in the front, I’m sure all in that area were killed or badly wounded. “The big question of the day was, how did the single bomb bay door get open? I discussed it with Lt. Phelan when we met in France. He thought I had opened it and I, in turn, thought that he did it. I have now concluded that for some reason the Almighty decided to keep a couple of us guys around a little longer.”

Lt. Altemus Crew
2nd/Lt. William B. Altemus Pilot KIA
2nd/Lt. Eugene A. Phelan Co Pilot POW
Harold W. Bellard Navigator KIA
Roy J. Steadham Bombardier MIA/KIA
Roy J. Steadham Bombardier MIA/KIA
T/Sgt. Lanning C. Baker Engineer POW
T/Sgt. Victor A. Lopez Radio Op. MIA/KIA
S/Sgt. James D. Mickey Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. John E. Feeney Gunner POW
S/Sgt. William J. Gaffney Gunner MIA/KIA
S/Sgt. Robert N. Gilbert Gunner KIA
S/Sgt. Frank Hock Gunner POW

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  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 351748
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 1LT Harold W Bellard (24 Nov 1917–6 Apr 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 351748, citing Baltimore National Cemetery, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .