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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.

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8th Air Force
19.07.1944 850th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-51187 1st Lt. David A. Michelson

Operation: Carpetbagger

Date: 19th July 1944 (Monday)

Unit No: 801st/492nd Bombardment Group (H), 850th Bombardment Squadron (H), 8th Air Force

Type: B-24H

Serial No: 42-51187

Code: :R

Location: Mazignien (Nièvre), France

Base: Harrington (Station #179), Northamptonshire, England

Pilot: 1st Lt. David Anthony Michelson O-807758 AAF Age 26. KiA

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. John Portz Shaw Jr. O-661161 AAF Age 25. KiA

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Donald Clark Boyde O-703598 AAF Age 27. KiA

Bombardier: 1st Lt. Melvin Weiss O-695572 AAF Age? KiA

Radio/Op: S/Sgt. William Joseph Hovanec 35533579 AAF Age 21. KiA

Engineer: T/Sgt. Duncan Locklin Patterson 12072733 AAF Age 21.KiA

Tail: S/Sgt. Enoch Kalsie Wooten Jr. 34604500 AAF Age 21. KiA

Dispatcher: S/Sgt. Arnold Marinoff 32787037 AAF Age? KiA

Crew Photograph believed to have been taken at Mountain Home AAF, Idaho in the spring of 1944. (Credit: American Air Museum). (Not in this order)

Standing: 1st Lt. Michelson, 2nd Lt. Shaw Jr., 2nd Lt. Boyde, 1st Lt. Weiss; Front: S/Sgt. Havanec, T/Sgt. Patterson (2nd. from left), S/Sgt. Wooten Jr., S/Sgt. Jack K. Jones, S/Sgt. Marinoff. (Air Gunner: 19124817 S/Sgt. Jack K. Jones, was not detailed on this mission)

The B-24 normally had 10 crew positions. However, for the Carpetbagger aircraft, the ball turret and nose guns were removed along with any equipment unnecessary for the mission, such as oxygen equipment, to provide more space and to increase the aircraft’s air speed. The aircraft were also painted black.

Carpetbagger: The US Army Air Force (AAF) Carpetbagger mission was to transport agents and supplies to resistance groups operating in the enemy occupied western European nations. Operations commenced in late 1943, flying firstly from Tempsford in Bedfordshire, then Alconbury in Cambridgeshire and finally out of Station #179, Harrington which was west of Kettering in Northamptonshire. Initially two Squadrons (Sqns) were formed and in late March 1944, just before the move to Harrington, were given provisional status as the 801st Bombardment Group (BG). In May of 1944 two more Sqns were added to the BG and in August 1944 the group was redesignated as the 492nd BG (Ref. 1).


42-51187 took off from Harrington at 23:03 hrs on the night of the 19th July 1944 to drop supplies to the resistance fighters of the Maquis Camille at Peinture. This was one of two parachute drops expected in the area, the second being by Halifax II LL364, from 138 (RAF) Squadron, for the Special Air Service (SAS) operating in the area.

42-51187 turned over a nearby village to line up its run to drop zone (DZ) Dick 28A. Halifax II LL364 turned towards the Eureka beacon and crossed over the route for DZ Dick 89. The two aircraft collided in mid-air at about 01:00 hrs near Marigny-l’Eglise, France, some 9 miles south of Avallon in eastern France.

Rebecca/Eureka was a short-range navigation system used to accurately locate a position to insert airborne forces and supplies. The system comprises two parts, the Rebecca transceiver aboard the aircraft and the Eureka ground based transponder.

The Rev. Fraser McLuskey, the first Chaplin of the 1st SAS, was operating with one of the SAS Squadrons behind German lines near Mazignien (Nièvre), when the two aircraft collided and fell to earth in the vicinity of his camp. The burial of 1st.Lt. Michelson and his crew was organised by Rev. McLuskey. However, the wreckage of Halifax II LL364 crashed near to a main road and its crew were buried by the Germans in a local cemetery.

The memorial dedicated to the aircrew at Marigny-l’Eglise (Credit: Bill Sheret - FindAGrave)


Glory and Recognition

To our friends the English and American Airmen and the valiant Russian soldier who fell gloriously on the ground of the commune of Marigny l’Eglise on July 19, 1944 for our deliverance.

* The Russian soldier who was buried alongside the crew is unknown and died in unknown circumstances.

Burial Details:

Their initial burial location is not recorded, however, seven of the crew, excluding 2nd Lt. Shaw Jr. were later interred at the US Military cemetery in Varois near Dijon before being transferred to the Ardennes American cemetery.

Above: (Credit: Dwight ‘Andy’ Anderson)

1st Lt. David A. Michelson. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 180. Reinterred at the Epinal American cemetery, Plot B, Row 20, Grave 62. Born on the 6th July 1918. Son to William K. Agnes Julia (née Prendergast) Michelson and Husband to Mary F. Michelson of Hermosa Beach, California, USA.

Above: (Credit: of the Courier Post, dated Friday August 4th, 1944 and Dominique Potier)

2nd Lt. John Portz Shaw Jr. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Transferred to the Ardennes American cemetery, Plot LL, Row 1, Grave 1. Relocated to Plot B, Row 34, Grave 57. Born in 1918. Son to Mary E. Shaw of North Wildwood, New Jersey, USA.

Above: (Credit of Paul Stroud: Rob and Debi Felten - FindAGrave)

2nd Lt. Donald Clark Boyde. Air Medal. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois. Repatriated at interred at the Beaver Cemetery and Mausoleum, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Born In 1917. Son to Ada D. Boyde of Beaver, Pennsylvania, USA.

Above Grave markers for 1st.Lt. Weiss and S/Sgt. Hovanec, (Credit: Dwight ‘Andy’ Anderson)

1st Lt. Melvin Weiss. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 179. Reinterred at the Epinal American cemetery, Plot B, Row 21, Grave 62. Son to Samuel Weiss of New York City, New York, USA.

S/Sgt. William Joseph Hovanec. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 177. Reinterred at the Epinal American cemetery, Plot B, Row12, Grave 4. Born on the 1st February 1921. Son to William and Mary Katherine (née Pollock) Hovanec of Youngstown, Ohio, USA.

Above: (Credit of Paul Stroud: Dwight ‘Andy’ Anderson)

T/Sgt. Duncan Locklin Patterson. Air Medal, Purple Heart. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 178. Born in 1922. Reinterred at the Epinal American cemetery, Plot B, Row 2, Grave 24. Son of Vernon Jones Patterson & Lois Locklin Patterson of Lima, New York, USA.

S/Sgt. Enoch Kalsie Wooten Jr. Air Medal. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 176. Repatriated and buried at the New Hope Baptist Church cemetery, Houstonville, Iredell, County, North Carolina. Born on the 28th December 1922. Son to Enoch Kelsey and Daisy Luvada (née Campbell) Wooten of Yadkin, North Carolina, USA.

S/Sgt. Arnold Marinoff. Air Medal. Transferred to the US Military cemetery, Varois, Plot A, Row 8, Grave 175. Repatriated and buried at the Montefiore cemetery, Springfield Gardens, Queens County, New York. Son to Arnold and Sophie Marinoff of Queens County, New York. USA.

Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew (Oct 2019). Addition of memorial by Aircrew Remembered (Oct 2019). Thanks to Paul Stroud, a cousin of Flt Sgt. Stroud (Halifax II LL364), for the crew photographs (Jan 2021).

1. History of WW2 infiltrations into France - Pierre Tillet
2. The Carpetbagger Photographic Archives & Historical Research Center - 801st/492nd BG - the late Thomas L. Ensminger

RS 30.01.2021 - Addition of crew images

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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.
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