Air War in WWII - Europe
1939 - 1945

Lost men of B-26 Marauder Bomb Groups
research project

394th BG - German photos of prisoners


9. Kirby Francis M, 1 Lt, 394th BG/595th BS
Serial number O&668011, Florida
was POW in Stalag 7A, Moosburg Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich), Germany,
returned 1945

Details about Lt. Kirby`s crash:

Narrative Description of the Last Mission of B-26-B-55 Marauder 42-96117 of the Ninth Air Force's 394th Bombardment Group 595th Squadron

Lt. Kirby's plane was on a mission with 36 other planes on June 12, 1944. Their target was the Eiffel railroad bridge in Conflans St. Honorine. Lt. Kirby's plane was shot down just before the formation reached the Initial Point.

At approximately 8:55 A.M., on the morning of Monday, June 12, 1944, a Martin B-26-B-55 “Marauder” medium altitude bomber, bearing U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) Serial No. 2-96117, [1] was shot down just outside Paris, France by German anti-aircraft guns. According to the USAAF’s official Missing Air Crew Report No. 6050, the plane went down at approximately 49 degrees 14 minutes North/ 2 degrees 23 minutes East near the French town of Creil. The plane had departed earlier that morning from USAAF Airbase No. 161 in Boreham, England and was apparently on a mission to bomb a railroad bridge (Eiffel Bridge) over the Oise River in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France when it was shot down. [2]

At the time that the plane was hit by antiaircraft fire, it was being piloted by 1st Lt. Francis M. Kirby
(0-668011). Counting Lt. Kirby, the Marauder carried a crew of seven (7), including First Officer and Co-pilot, Sol Hershkowitz, 2d Lt. and Navigator, Patrick J. Healy, 1 Lt. and Bombardier, James D. Jones, Staff Sgt. and Engineer/Gunner, Dana L. Baker, Staff Sgt. and Radio Operator, John J. McConville, and Staff Sgt. and Aerial Gunner, Lloyd E. Sjolander. Statements taken from two eyewitnesses [3] on June 13, 1944 indicated that Lt. Kirby’s plane had taken a direct and extremely violent hit from the German gunners. One of the witnesses [T.Sgt. Hagedorn] stated that the plane:

“… came past my right waist window. I could see it didn’t have any cockpit on it. It was blown off at the bulkhead between the navigator’s compartment and the cockpit. It fell about 2000 feet, and then a fire spread slowly over the wings. I watched it go down, and saw two (2) chutes come out. It went behind a cloud out of sight at about 2000 feet. I didn’t see it crash, but saw it burning on the ground after we had finished our bomb run.”

Another eyewitness [S.Sgt. Bainter] stated that he:

“… saw Lt. Kirby’s ship fall out of formation. The nose section was blown off from the leading edge of the wing on the under side of the fuselage; on the top of the fuselage, it was blown off back to the generator panel. Both engines were missing. The ship dropped approximately 300 or 400 feet when two (2) parachutes were seen to open. The ship then dropped through the clouds and I lost sight of it.”

The wreckage of the plane apparently went down near German “Field Ammunition Camp 10/XI St. Leu.” An English language version of a German report indicates that Lt. Kirby’s plane was shot down en route to its intended target. Five members of the seven (7) man crew were killed. Lt. Kirby and First Officer Hershkowitz miraculously were able to parachute out of the plane before it crashed. [4] First Officer Hershkowitz was captured at Chantilly at approximately 9:30 A.M., while Lt. Kirby was captured about ten minutes later by the “General Headquarters II Fighter Corps” “[o]n road from Vineul to Chantilly.” The German military appears to have retrieved the remains of five (5) crewmen, “a flight map,” and a number radio receivers and transmitters from the wreckage of the downed plane.

[1] 2-96117 (actually 42-96117) was part of USAAF Ninth Air Force’s 394th Bombardment Group 595th Squadron. According to USAAF records [possibly based on a translation of German military records], 42-96117 was shot down “near Villersous-St. Leu, 6 km south west of Creil.” [Other entries indicate the plane was shot down “7 km south west of Creil” at “10.30”] The plane, which reportedly bore the markings of the 394th/595th and three white stripes on its wings with its serial number painted in yellow, may have been shot down by German Antiaircraft Section 880/V Cormeillas. 42-96117 was one of 36 B-26s that were dispatched on the mission that June morning 1944.

[2] According to the book “Bridge Busters,” by J. Guy Ziegler, the 394th Bombardment Group had two missions on June 12, 1944. Lt. Kirby’s mission was to bomb a “railroad bridge at Conflans, France.” Based on independent research, this bridge is believec to have been the Eiffel Bridge, a railroad bridge over the Oise. The second mission was reportedly to bomb the railroad bridge at Monte Glasscourt.

[3] Robert W. Hagedorn (T.Sgt. 19015664) and Robert H. Bainter (S.Sgt 16018848). T.Sgt. Hagedorn is reported to have one time been a crewman on a B-26 Marauder of the 386 Bombardment Group 554th Squadron called “Ye Olde Crocke” (Serial # 131755 RU-F) flown by 1st Lt. Robert J. McCallum. (In February 1944, personnel from the 386th, 323rd, & 322nd Bombardment Groups were transferred to the 394th).

[4] Although it is not entirely clear, a “Casualty Questionnaire” taken from Co-Pilot Hershkowitz suggests that 42-96177 might have been flying at approximately 12,000 feet when it was struck by antiaircraft fire. The same document states that “Lt. Kirby, Pilot, bailed out simultaneously with me.”

The other of the crew:

FL/O Sol Hershkowitz was POW in Stalag 7A Moosburg Bavaria 48-12
(Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11)
returned 1945
2d Lt Patrick J. Healy was KIA and buried at:
Plot D Row 14 Grave 3, Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France
1 Lt James D. Jones was KIA and buried at:
Plot A Row 8 Grave 14, Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France
S/Sgt Dana L Baker KIA, details unknown
S/Sgt John J. Mc Conville KIA, details unknown
S/Sgt Lloyd E. Sjolander was KIA and Buried at:
Plot C Row 16 Grave 17 Normandy American Cemetery St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France



Lt. Kirby in the back row on the far left. Five of the crewmen shown I believe were the men killed on
June 12, 1944. I also believe, but I am not sure, that First Officer Sol Hershkowitz is to Lt.Kirby's left.

If know someone more about this men on this photo write me please a mail.

Many thanks to Edward J Garcia, Florida who send the details/photo about this crash.



6. Mee Frank E, Capt, 394th BG/585th BS
Serial number O&727245, New York
was POW in Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser), Germany,
returned 1945



Capt. Frank E Mee

Details about Capt. Mee`s crash:

Mee was shot down April 20, 1944 during the 394th's Mission No. 12, a 36 plane bombing mission to destroy a gun position
at Estaples, France. His B-26B-55 Marauder (bearing Serial 42-96029) carried a crew of six (6), including Mee, 1st Lt. Robert West, 2d Lt. Mark Pink, S/Sgt. John Monahan, S/Sgt. Dana Hastie, and S/Sgt. Edward Hunter. Six members of the crew, including Captain Mee, survived and were taken prisoner. S/Sgt. Hunter was listed as missing in action but was also POW at April 20, 1944.

S/Sgt Hunter was POW in Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems Austria 48-15,
returned 1945.
1st Lt Robert West was POW in Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria
(Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11,
returned 1945
2d Lt Mark Pink was POW in Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria
(Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11,
returned 1945
S/Sgt John Monahan was POW in Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems Austria 48-15,
returned 1945
S/Sgt Dana Hastie was POW in Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf near Krems Austria 48-15,
returned 1945




The second 394th crash at 20 April 1944:

On April 20, 1944, another B-26B-55 of the 394th Bomb Group 586th Squadron was shot down during the 394th's Mission No. 13, a 36 plane mission to destroy construction works at Bois de Esquerdes, France. This plane's crew consisted of Captain Elmer Gedeon (a well known, professional baseball player with the then Washington Senators), 2d. Lt. James Taaffee, 2d Lt. Jack March, S/Sgt. Joseph Kobret, Sgt. John Felker, Sgt. Ira E Thomas, and Pvt. Charles Atkinson. Lt. Taaffe survived and was taken prisoner. All other members of the crew, including Captain Gedeon, were killed.



2d Lt. James Taaffe


2d. Lt. James Taaffe was POW in Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria
(Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11
returned 1945
Capt Elmer Gedeon was KIA and buried in:
Arlington National Cementry, Section 34 Site 3047
Pvt. Charles Atkinson was KIA and buried in:
Jefferson Barracks National Cementry, Section 84 Site 387-391
2d Lt Jack March was KIA and buried in:
Jefferson Barracks National Cementry, Section 84 Site 387-391

S/Sgt. Joseph Kobret was KIA and buried in:
Jefferson Barracks National Cementry, Section 84 Site 387-391
Sgt. John Felker was KIA and buried in:
Jefferson Barracks National Cementry, Section 84 Site 387-391
Sgt. Ira E Thomas was KIA and buried in:
Jefferson Barracks National Cementry, Section 84 Site 387-391


Many thanks to Edward J Garcia, Florida who send the details about this crash.


On which missions was the men lost, where crashed the planes?
Know someone the other aircrewmen?



When you fond any mistake(s) on the page contact me for corrections please!
Nobody is perfect

Have you more informations about this men contact me!
Thank you!


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