14.10.1944 789th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-52507 ‘Miss Judy’ 1st.Lt. Donald J. Hudson
Operation: Cologne (Köln) (Mission #119), Germany
Date: 14th October 1944 (Saturday)
Unit: 467th Bombardment Group (H), 789th Bombardment Squadron (H), 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force
Type: B-24H Miss Judy
Serial No: 42-52507
Location: About 42 km SW of Brussels, Belgium
Base: Rackheath (Station #145), Norfolk, England
Pilot: 1st.Lt. Donald Jerome Hudson O-820750 AAF Age 20. Killed
Co-Pilot: 2nd.Lt. Ervin Richard Estes O-827795 AAF Age 21. PoW *
Navigator: 2nd.Lt. Ben A. Bereskin O-712754 AAF Age 22. PoW *
Radio/Op: T/Sgt. Gerald Louis Pucillo 31308683 AAF Age 24. PoW **
Engineer: T/Sgt. Frank Carl Buettner 37519249 AAF Age 23. PoW, Patient No. 3442 ***
Nose Turret: S/Sgt. Lester Eugene Hix 37481465 AAF Age 19. PoW, Patient No. 3440 ***
Ball Turret: S/Sgt. Dominick John Cerrito 33611199 AAF Age 21. PoW **
Right Waist: S/Sgt. John Anthony Potsklan 33291652 AAF Age? PoW, Patient No. 3441 ***
Left Waist: S/Sgt. Elmer Joseph Barndt 13193913 AAF Age 19. PoW **
Tail: Cpl. Ralph Charles Donovan 33667758 AAF Age 19. PoW **
1st.Lt Donald J. Hudson crew (credit: The 467th BG(H) Association)
Rear L to R: T/Sgt. Buetner, S/Sgt. Barndt, T/Sgt. Pucillo, S/Sgt. Potsklan, S/Sgt. Hix, S/Sgt. Cerrito; Front L to R: 1st.Lt. Hudson, 2nd.Lt. Estes, 2nd.Lt. Bereskin, 2nd.Lt. Soltau.
2nd.Lt. Edward H. Soltau was not on this mission. Cpl. Ralph C. Donovan is not depicted in this photograph
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 3 Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria)
** Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Poland (Moved from Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug. Moved to Wöbbelin near Ludwigslust and then to Usedom near Swinemünde)
*** Military hospital (Lazarett) Siegburg, Rheinland, Germany
B24H 42-52507 ‘Miss Judy’ 789th Bomber Sqn.
This photograph was taken on the 6th July 1944 on a mission to target the naval base at Kiel, Germany. In the foreground flying ‘Miss Judy’ is Lt. Gerald Gebauer (Crew#35). Further back and flying the Deputy Lead Sqn position is 42-52546 ‘Southern Clipper’ piloted by Lt. Charles Russell (Crew#36). ‘Southern Clipper’ was subsequently lost on the 18th March 1945 to Berlin (Mission #196). (credit: The 467th BG(H) Association)
B24H 42-52507 ‘Miss Judy’ 789th Bomber Sqn (credit: The 467th BG(H) Association)
B24H 42-52507 ‘Miss Judy’ 789th Bomber Sqn - ground crew unidentified (credit: The 467th BG(H) Association)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Miss Judy took off from Rackheath on the morning of 14th October 1944 as one of 36 aircraft from the Group assigned to bomb the industrial plants and railway marshalling yards at Cologne (Köln) in Germany.
Flak was intense and reasonably accurate, and caused damage to a number of aircraft. There was German fighter activity reported but their attacks were ineffective and all the aircraft turned for home after dropping their bombs.
Miss Judy was last seen at about 14:10 hrs, 42 kms SW of Brussels and about 32 km from the Belgium/French border.
An eyewitness statement by S/Sgt. Daniel Powers, ASN 6860716 recalled:
“After hitting our target at Cologne I saw Lt. Hudson’s aircraft, B-24H 42-52507, fall behind. he remained behind until we got within twenty minutes of the French coast. I then noted that he had lost more altitude and that was the last I saw of him. As far as I could tell Lt. Hudson was in no difficulty. I saw no parachutes leave the aircraft.”
Miss Judy had developed an engine fire and severe vibration whilst flying over western Germany. All of the crew successfully abandoned the aircraft and it was believed that the aircraft crashed near to the Allied front-lines.
S/Sgt. Hix suffered a gunshot wound through his left hand (Thumb, fore and middle fingers) and after a period in hospital he was transferred to Dulag Luft, Oberursel on 24th October 1944.
T/Sgt. Buettner suffered a gunshot though this left hip and after a period in hospital he was transferred to an unknown camp hospital on 6th December 1944. It is possible that this was the hospital at Hohemark which was a section of Dulag Luft, Oberursel.
S/Sgt. Potsklan suffered a gunshot wound through his left shoulder. He was transferred to Stalag 9B on 20th March 1945. PoW No.11087.
It was speculated that the injuries to the crew were sustained when the aircraft was attacked by German fighters. It was also rumoured that 1st.Lt. Hudson was shot and killed while hanging from a tree in his parachute. To date no evidence has been found to determine whether their wounds were inflicted whilst under attack by German fighters or by other hostile forces. Additionally no evidence has been found to confirm or otherwise to support the rumour concerning the death of 1st.Lt. Hudson.
Above: 1st.Lt. Hudson marker (Credit. Des Philippet)
1st.Lt. Donald Jerome Hudson. Air Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart Reinterred on the 10th June 1945 at the Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten. Plot 31, Row 1, Grave 1. Relocated to Plot D, Row 6, Grave 16. Born on the 13th April 1924. Son to Jerome K. Hudson and Violet E. (née Hurl) Hudson of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA.
Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With thanks to Andy Wilkinson the archivist of The 467th BG(H) Association for his assistance and access to images of the aircraft and crew