AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via Helpdesk
8th Air Force
28.05.1944 703rd Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-50346 ‘Sho-Sho Baby’ 1st Lt. John Wallace Campbell

Operation: Merseburg (Mission #376), Germany

Date: 28th May 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: 445th Bombardment Group (H), 703rd Bombardment Squadron (H), 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-24H Sho-Sho Baby

Serial No: 42-50346

Code: RN:?

Location: 1 km SW of Stößen, 10 km SW of Weißenfels, Germany

Base: Tibenham airfield (Station #124), Norfolk, England

Pilot: 1st Lt. John Wallace Campbell O-742061 AAF Age 20. PoW *

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Roger Thomas Marlin O-811111 AAF Age 24. PoW **

Navigator: 1st Lt. Bernard Edward Wholeben O-748120 AAF Age 25. PoW *

Bombardier: 1st Lt. Daniel Joseph Matheu O-752882 AAF Age 21. PoW **

Radio Op: T/Sgt. William Modie Robinson 18217813 AAF Age 21. PoW ***

Engineer: S/Sgt. Harold Bennett 35686620 AAF Age 22. PoW ***

Ball Turret: S/Sgt. Cophlin Williams 18217813 AAF Age 23. PoW ***

Right Waist: S/Sgt. Royce Eugene Ball AAF 18216066 Age 20. PoW **

Left Waist: Sgt. Roy Millard Wampler 13122404 AAF Age 29. Survived (1)

Tail: S/Sgt. Leo Gerard Vallette 38381202 AAF Age 19. PoW ***

Originally the B-24 had 10 crew positions. Crew complements evolved during the war and generally comprised 9 personnel who were typically, but not always, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier, Navigator, Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, Radio Operator/Waist Gunner, Nose Gunner, Ball Turret Gunner, Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner.

* Stalag Luft 7, Bankau near Kreuzberg, Silesia, Germany. (Now Bąków, Opole Voivodeship, Poland).

** Unknown Camp.

*** Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Tychowo, Poland (Moved from Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug. Moved to Wöbbelin near Ludwigslust and then to Usedom near Swinemünde).


The Sho-Sho Baby took off from Tibenham on the 25th May 1944 as part of the 445th Bombardment Group mission to bomb the Leuna works at Merseburg, Germany. The flak over the target was moderate to intense. The aircraft was hit by flak over the target just after having dropped its bombs and immediately dropped out of formation. Ten parachutes were seen to exit the aircraft.

Aboard the aircraft S/Sgt. Bennett, in his role as engineer, made his way to the bomb bays and reported that there was severe damage with torn fuel lines and tanks. 1st Lt. Campbell ordered the crew to bail out and everyone vacated the aircraft within 5 minutes.

German documents reported that the aircraft crashed at 14:30 hrs 1 km SW of Stößen, 10 km SW of Weißenfels, Germany.

From the various Individual Casualty Questionnaires (ICQ) it appears that S/Sgt. Bennett struck the back of his head and was knocked out as he bailed out of the bomb bay. Although he had no recollection of pulling his parachute’s rip code evidently he did. Upon landing he suffered a dislocated hip, internal and back injuries. He revived when he was in custody of the Germans but had no recollection of anything that had transpired nor anything about the mission.

Nine of the crew were captured near Weißenfels and held together in the same jail in Leipzig. Of the nine, 2nd Lt. Marlin, 1st Lt. Wholeben, S/Sgt. Bennett and S/Sgt. Williams were wounded. The seriousness of the injuries suffered by 2nd Lt. Marlin and Sgt Bennett resulted in them being admitted to the garrison hospital (PoW) previously located at Pittlerstraße 33 in Leipzig-Wahren, Germany.

German documents record that 2nd Lt. Marlin had suffered an injury to his left ankle (sprained ankle) and Sgt Bennett had suffered an injury to the back of his head and an injury to his left hip. The treatment for their injuries was expected to last 4 to 6 weeks. They were transferred to Dulag Luft, Wetzlar on the 16th June 1944.

(1) Those of the crew who saw Sgt. Wampler aboard the aircraft stated that he was not injured and was seen making his way to the waist escape hatch. A number of the crew saw Sgt. Wampler’s body and his flying clothing, however, their recollections of what they saw differ other than he was dead. The recollection that is the most plausible came from S/Sgt. Vallette who reported that he saw Sgt. Wampler’s body in a barn covered in hay and that he was only wearing his woollen underclothing. He also saw that Sgt. Wampler had suffered what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest.

A German document reported that Sgt. Wampler was shot by the Gendarmerie (State rural police) officer Köhler from Unterkaka, which is some 12km south of Weißenfels, allegedly while the airman was attempting to escape.

No documents have been discovered that record if Köhler was ever arrested or brought before a court to answer tor the shooting of Sgt. Wampler.

Sgt. Wampler was initially buried in the Kistritz cemetery, some 11km south of Weißenfels, in grave No. 131.

Burial details:

(Credit: Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph, dated Tuesday July 18th, 1944 and Des Philippet - FindAGrave )

Sgt. Roy Millard Wampler. Air Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart. Recovered and reinterred on the 3rd June 1945 at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Block F, Row 21, Grave 10. Relocated to Block DD, Row 6, Grave 141. Born on the 11th December 1915 in Irwin, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. Son of Samuel Randell and Magdalene M. (née Pfaller) Wampler and husband to Virginia Pearl (née Poe) Wampler from Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive

RS & TV 02.01.2021 - Initial upload

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
Click any image to enlarge it
Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site

wordpress besucherzähler

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© 2012 - 2022 Aircrew Remembered
Last Modified: 19 March 2022, 08:07

If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.