Ray E. Cook
home: Marianna, FL
Ball Turret Gunner
8th AF 390th BG 569th BS
B-17 F # 29962 "Green Banana"
Pilot: Lt. Robert M. Buckley
1 KIA, 8 POW
8 AF 390 BG 569 BS
B-17F # 42-29962 "Green Banana"
16.08.1944 AA near Zeitz, Germany
1. Zeitz, August 16, 1944
2. a small village. I do not know the name. Next, Frankfurt then Wetzlar
4. don't remember
5. don't remember
6. not more than 3 or 4 weeks
7. about one thousand. This is only a guess
8. as far as I know only U.S.
9. one story wooden barracks (temporary type). Secured by a fence, patrolled by guards.
10. Stalag Luft IV at Gross Tychow
11. only what I told you about the guard who took me out of the camp at night and helped me steal some potatoes for food.
Sorry, I can't be of more help. After 53 years it seems a bit dim. I believe that the camp was put there to take the overload from Wetzlar when they finished interrogating us. As soon as they had a permanent prison they would move the men out.
390 BG 689 BS
B-17F # 4229962
14.08.1944, 1155 hrs
target oil refinery at Zeitz, Germany
crash site: 12 km south east of Weissenfels.
P Buckley Hobart W. 1Lt RTD
CP Nye Robert E. 2Lt RTD
Nav Stearns John W. 2Lt RTD
Tog Hughes Lewis H. SSgt RTD
ROp McDermott Francis T. TSgt RTD
TT Blackmon Charles W. TSgt RTD
BT Cook Ray E. SSgt RTD
TG Harms Herbert W. SSgt KIA?
WG Combo William White SSgt RTD
Harms' dog tag is part of the KU-file.
At about 1131 hrs at about 21,000 feet, before bombs away near Zeitz AC 962 flying #6 position lead squadron 390 C Group, peeled off to right and out of formation and lost altitude after being hit by flak. Crews reported one to three chutes were seen. One crew reported #1 engine on fire. Other crews reported fire or apparent distress observed. When last seen AC was weaving in left and right but apparently under control at 18,000 feet about 1135 hrs near 51N-1165E, heading 230 deg True.
Interrogation of McDermott:
he met all crew members on the ground except SSgt Harms. No Knowledge whether he bailed out. The plane struck the ground near target in pieces. It blew up in midair.
After reports given by eye-witnesses craft downed burning from very high, but recovered itself near the ground and then exploded at a height of about 220 yards. The crash resulted in a 100 % ____. Out of the wreckage only the stabiliser could be safely identified. Only 2 parachutists were seen by the population and despite a careful research of the plane of the crash no dead were to be found. It is supposed that the missing crew had already jumped and had landed in an eastward direction from the place of crash. it is still remarkable that despite the explosion of the craf 11 bombs, each weighting 90 pounds, had not exploded and were lying around the plane at the crash.