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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
11.07.1944 707th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24H 42-94994 ‘Dissipated Duck’, 1st Lt. James E. Dale

Operation: Munich (Mission #466), Germany

Date: 11th July 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: 446th Bombardment Group (H), 707th Bombardment Squadron (H), 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-24H Dissipated Duck

Serial No: 42-94994

Code: JU:J

Location: Denklingen, Germany

Base: Bungay (Station #125), Suffolk, England

Pilot: 1st Lt. James ‘Jimmy’ Edward Dale O-692767 AAF Age 21. Survived (1)

Co Pilot: 2nd Lt. Robert Wallace Hancock O-699366 AAF Age 27. PoW *

Navigator: 2nd Lt. John Anthony Caselli O-708406 AAF Age 26. PoW *

Bombardier/Nose Turret: 2nd Lt. Seymour Mannie Alexander O-698858 AAF Age 23. PoW *

Radio/Op: T/Sgt. Russell Field Burbee 11078766 AAF Age 26. PoW **

Engineer/Left Waist: T/Sgt. Alvin Lavern Donn 17166753 AAF Age 20. PoW **

Top Turret: S/Sgt. Lewis Richard Williams 37517259 AAF Age 21.PoW **

Ball Turret: S/Sgt. Claar William Moody 17055041 AAF Age 32. PoW **

Right Waist: S/Sgt. John David Somers 17175883 AAF Ag 20. PoW **

Tail Turret: S/Sgt. Edward Eugene Heckelbeck 36449323 AAF Age 20. PoW **

* Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

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

REASON FOR LOSS:

The Dissipated Duck took off from Bungay on a mission to bomb the railway marshalling yards in Munich, Germany.

An after mission summary described the circumstances surrounding the missing aircraft and crew.

This aircraft was apparently hit by flak while in the target area of Munich and after proceeding with the formation to the point specified on accompanying map* it turned out of position and headed in the direction of Switzerland. At the target area #4 engine was observed to be on fire but the fire was extinguished and the engine feathered. At all times the plane seemed to be under control and no chutes were seen to come from the ship before it passed from range of vision.

*The position as annotated was about 55km WSW of Munich.

All of the crew successfully bailed out of the aircraft which crashed at 13:00 hrs near Denklingen in Germany.

S/Sgt. Williams was captured at 15:07 hrs near Hohenfurch. Seven others were captured at 14:00 hrs near Dettenschwang, some 9 km west of the Ammersee. S/Sgt. Moody was captured at 09:00 hrs the next day on the 12th July near Issing.

T/Sgt. Burbee witnessed 1st Lt. Dale being shot at by hostile German civilians whilst he was under his parachute and after he had landed. Later he, along with others from the crew, saw 1st Lt. Dale’s riddled clothing and blood stained parachute harness. T/Sgt. Donn witnessed a German civilian shoot and kill 1st Lt. Dale and believed he could positively identify the individual. However, a German document recorded that 1st Lt. Dale was shot whilst attempting to escape.

(1) The circumstance leading to the death of 1st Lt. Dale were determined at a General Military Government Court convened at Dachau, Germany on the 28th April 1947.

Josef Stern, a German national, was charged that he did, at or near Ludenhausen, Germany on or about the 11th July 1944, deliberately and wrongfully encourage, aid, abet and participate in the killing of a member of the United States Army, believed to be 1st Lt. James E. Dale, ASN O-692767, who was then and there unarmed and in the act of surrendering himself to the German Reich.

Ludenhausen is some 9 km ENE of Denklingen, the crash site.

Josef Stern was a member of the Deutsches Heer (German Army) on furlough and on his honeymoon at the time of the incident.

The court heard that at or near Ludenhausen, Germany on or about the 11th July 1944, an American airman, believed to be 1st Lt. James E. Dale, parachuted down into a mountain field, disengaged his parachute and ran toward a forest of young trees where it would have been possible to hide. Karl Stern, the brother of the accused Josef Stern, fired his rifle at the running airman, who fell to the ground.

Josef Stern, in his testimony, stated that his brother shot twice at the airman, who was running at the time, inflicting two wounds one to the back of the head and the other to the back. He himself shot once, not at the airman but into the air, to stop the gathering crowd and when he next saw the airman he was dead.

Examination of the body revealed that the airman had been shot once though the back of the head and had also suffered a wound in the back.

An affidavit from Russell Field Burbee stated that on the 11th July 1944 he bailed out of the aircraft of which Lt. James E. Dale was the pilot and saw a German civilian shoot at Dale while he was still in the air under his parachute.

Witnesses on the ground saw the airman land, disengage his parachute and start to run immediately down the hill on which he had landed before Karl Stern fired the first shot. There was some confusion amongst the witnesses as to which of the brothers fired the second shot.

The court considered that the prosecution failed to offer any testimony to sustain the claim that the airman was in the act of surrendering. In fact the evidence established that the airman was running away at the time that he was shot and killed. The court acquitted Josef Stern as it was deemed that he was not involved in the shooting.

Karl Stern was not before the court because he had committed suicide by shooting himself on the 4th January 1947.

Burial details

1st Lt. Dale was initially buried in the Ludenhausen Communal Cemetery.

Above: Credit of The Ponca City News, dated Friday January 4, 1946.

1st Lt. James ‘Jimmy’ Edward Dale. Recovered on the 3rd June 1946 and reinterred at the American Lorraine Cemetery. Repatriated and buried at Memorial Park cemetery, Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma. Born on the 10th October 1920 in Enid, Oklahoma. Son of Charles Erwin and Effie Agnes (née Burton) Dale from Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma, USA. His father predeceased him in February 1933.

Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’ and for his valued research and advice in compiling this report.

RS & TV 10.05.2021 - Initial upload

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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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