Akin Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – September 9, 1944

Standing: Alex Shanoski- E, Charles Hall – B, William Cheney – CP, Arthur Akin – P, Dale Dunham – N

Kneeling: Herbert Ballou – TG, Paul Fellner – WG, Richard Eggleston – BTG, Chester Kalis – RO, Walter Kray-NTG

(Photo: Richard Clements)

Completed Tour

RankNameSerial #Crew PositionDateStatusComments
2LtArthur C Akin, Jr0710395Pilot24-Nov-44DNBCrash Norwich - Dooley Crew
1LtWilliam B Cheney, Jr0825570Co-pilot09-Mar-45RTDLanding accident - Spotted Ape
1LtDale G Dunham0723241Navigator01-Apr-45UNKLeave 3 Apr 45
1LtCharles W Hall0717055Bombardier19-May-45UNKTransferred to 752nd Sqdn
T/SgtChester E Kalis15324299Radio Operator16-Jan-45UNKLoad List - Magdeburg
T/SgtAlexander E Shanoski36584827Flight Engineer16-Jan-45UNKLoad List - Magdeburg
S/SgtPaul P Fellner33667934Aerial Gunner16-Jan-45UNKLoad List - Magdeburg
S/SgtHerbert D Ballou19136308Aerial Gunner16-Jan-45UNKLoad List - Magdeburg
S/SgtRichard C Eggleston12136968Armorer-Gunner16-Jan-45UNKLoad List - Magdeburg
SgtWalter Kray36730501Aerial Gunner02-Oct-44RTDLanding accident - practice msn

2Lt Arthur Akin and crew were assigned to the group on a busy day.  Two of its combat crews (one on Detached Service to Scotland) were lost on operational missions, and one crew crashed during a training flight.  Akin had arrived just in time to partake in the Truckin’ Missions during September, flying four of these gas hauls to Lille, France.  At the beginning of October the group went back on operational status. 

On October 2, 1944, the 458th flew a practice mission on which Akin and crew participated. It did not begin well, but at the and of the day the crew was all safe. The crew took off in one of the Azon ships named Bad Girl.  Shortly after becoming airborne an engine caught fire and they were forced to make an emergency landing.  The plane was a write-off, but all of the crew were apparently uninjured.

The crew flew seven missions during the rest of October, although they were forced to abort their flight on the 14th, because of a medical issue.  The crew flew three missions in November with Akin as their pilot.

On November 24, 1944, due to bad weather, the group was stood down from operations, but a practice mission was scheduled.  Akin’s crew was not participating on this mission, so he volunteered to fly as co-pilot on the crew of 2Lt Ralph J. Dooley.  Akin and Dooley had known each other during training in the States, and both of their crew’s had been assigned to the 753rd on the same day.  When the flying was complete, most of the crews had difficulty trying to get their ships down safely.  Dooley and crew, flying B-24H-25-FO 42-95133 J4 K named Lady Jane, may have had additional difficulties, as several witnesses on the ground who saw their aircraft prior to the crash noted that one of their, “engines had stopped, and the propeller was stationary….”  The right wing of their aircraft struck the St Philip’s Church tower, and crashed further on in a railroad spur off of Heigham Street.  All nine men aboard were killed.

Akin’s crew, now without their first pilot, still had many missions to go before their tour was done.  Records do not show who became their new pilot, but one loading list from January 16, 1945 shows that 2Lt Robert E. Eidelsberg took them on the mission to Magdeburg.  It is assumed that all of the crew completed their required number of combat missions.

On March 9, 1945, William Cheney was assigned to fly the group’s assembly ship. Spotted Ape on the morning mission.  Their duties complete, they headed back to base where mechanical difficulties on landing forced them off the runway, and rendering their ship Category-E for salvage.


DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
25-Sep-44HSF to LILLETR08-2--42-100404S+445BGT3THE GRIM REAPER2ND FLIGHT
30-Sep-44HSF to LILLETR13--807T2NOT 458TH SHIP 41-28807?ON LOAN TRUCKIN'
02-Oct-44Training Mission--ACC44-40288SJ4 --Bad GirlLanding Acc Sta 123 
22-Oct-44HAMM137541-28980VJ47UNKNOWN 009
30-Oct-44HARBURG139641-28980VJ48UNKNOWN 008
04-Nov-44MISBURG141744-40273TJ431HOWLING BANSHEE
06-Nov-44MINDEN143844-40285HJ441TABLE STUFF
16-Nov-44ESCHWEILER147944-40285HJ442TABLE STUFF

October 2, 1944

2Lt Arthur C. Akin
“The takeoff runway was 23, with a formation taking off on a practice mission.  I pulled to the right side of the runway to avoid filling the runway with prop wash from my engines.  On the green light I advanced the throttles and began rolling down the runway.  Number one engine suddenly revved up and pulled one wheel just of the runway but was straightened out without difficulty.  I was soon off the ground and making my turn to Splasher 5 when I noticed a great pressure on the right rudder.  At about the same time my engineer tells me that number 1 engine is on fire.  The co-pilot and I had checked for number 1 being out and proceeded to cut the engine and try to feather it, but the oil tank exploded, blowing a hole in the top of the cowling, and there was no oil pressure.  We made a turn back to the field and called the tower for landing instructions and were told to use runway 05.

“Our altitude was too low to allow the crew to bail out safely and I didn’t believe there was any danger of the empty auxiliary tank exploding so I advised the crew to jump if they liked, but I thought their chances were better with the ship.

“I dropped 10 degrees of flaps to gain altitude and was pulling 42 inches of manifold pressure, 2450 RPM.  When I turned on the approach I had reached 800 feet.  I let down onto the field making a high approach, cut off all power by the throttles and [illegible] out the rudder trim.  The landing was with a slight crosswind from the left, so when I landed, I thought the wind was pulling me to the left and I applied full right rudder, but it continued its merry way to the edge of the runway.  I applied power to number 2 engine, but it went off the runway, hit a pile of sand and washed out the landing gear, nose wheel collapsing at the sand pile and the left main gear immediately afterward.

“On looking at the tire, I found a hole burned through the rubber, and my [illegible] gunner heard it blow out when the wheels first touched the ground.  A portion of the rim of the wheel was found just off the runway.  One crew member received a few bruises, the others were unhurt.”

B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40288 J4 S  Bad Girl, an AZON ship, bellied in at Horsham after an engine caught fire on takeoff.

March 9, 1945

“I returned to the field in the assembly ship on 9th March 1945 and entered a normal traffic pattern at 1400 feet, airspeed 150.  Turned on approach and started descent.  Touched down near end of runway and ballooned slightly.  Last airspeed that I heard engineer call out was 125.  When the plane settled to the ground there was about 5 degrees crab to the left.  The plane was edging near the side of the R/W.  I tried to kick out crab with rudder without success.  I applied right brake and the brake pedal snapped off.  My right foot slipped up and over the pedal.  I yelled to Lt. Gilbert to get on the brake because mine was broken.  At first he did not understand what was wrong.  By the time he applied brakes we were well off the R/W headed about 10 degrees from R/W 05.  Marks in the dirt show that right brake was applied about 100 feet before the left brake.  Marks showed that both wheels were locked and sliding on damp grass.  The track of the nose wheel was in the center of the [main] wheels when the plane left R/W, but as the plane moved on the nose wheel track came closer to left wheel track.  The course of the plane was in a straight line from the R/W to an old dispersal area 150 feet from where the airplane came to rest.  When the plane’s left wheel hit the pavement of the dispersal area the course of the plane was altered due to the increased friction on the left side.  The plane turned sideways and both main gear snapped off. “

Full Accident Report
(Photo: Richard Clements)

A landing accident on March 9, 1945 marks the end of the group’s 2nd Assembly Ship.

A2 Jacket of 1Lt Dale G. Dunham – Navigator

Courtesy: Brendan Wood