Frederick Crew – Assigned 755th Squadron – July 31, 1944
Crashed on training mission September 9, 1944 (Acc Rpt 45-9-9-509)
|William R Frederick
|Cambridge American Cemetery
|Lawrence L Doelling
|Cambridge American Cemetery
|Glenn C Allen
|Trsfr to 70RD for return to ZI
|Jack R Hibbs
|Trsfr to 752nd Sqdn - Perry Crew
|Jack B Zonker
|Cambridge American Cemetery
|Ulysses G Seymour
|Steuben Cty, NY
|William F Casey
|Robert L Leake
|Cambridge American Cemetery
|William D Nobles
|Wheeler Cty, GA
|Raymond A McCarthy
|Transferred to 755th Sqdn
2Lt William Ransom Frederick’s crew managed to fly five combat missions prior to their loss on a night training flight on September 9, 1944. All of these occurred in August, one to France and four to Germany (see mission list below).
It is not known exactly what type of training the crew was undertaking on September 9th, records stating only that they were “participating in a night cross-country flight.” The cause of the crash is unknown, but from statements by the navigator and bombardier who managed to bail out, it is possible that the plane either flew through the prop wash of another aircraft or encountered a downdraft that put the ship out of control at too low an altitude from which the pilots could recover.
Sgt Daniel Peller, tail gunner, was not aboard the aircraft on September 9th. Records show that he was transferred to the 754th Squadron in October 1944 most likely as a gunner on 1Lt James J. Boyle, Jr’s. crew. 2Lt Glen C. Allen was assigned to the crew of 1Lt Charles E. Mitchell as their navigator. He completed his tour with that lead crew in the 755th Squadron on April 10, 1945. 2Lt Jack R. Hibbs was assigned to the 752nd Squadron as 2Lt Harry H. Perry, Jr’s. bombardier. While no further mention of him is made in the squadron records, Lt Perry completed his tour of missions on March 31, 1945 and it is possible that Lt. Hibbs finished his combat tour around this time as well.
Accident Report AR45-09-09-509
On September 9 1944, at 2130 hours A/C B-24J 43-50907 [sic] took off from AAF 123 for a night cross-country flight. At approximately 2330 this A/C crashed about five miles north of Peterborough, killing seven (7) of the nine (9) members. The bombardier and navigator parachuted successfully. A/C was completely wrecked.
|LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY
|ABORT #2 ENG
|HOOKEM COW / BETTY
|CREDIT IN NOV
|Night Training Mission
|Crash Hyde's Farm
May 5, 1944 – “Combat Crew of the Week” – Caspar, Wyoming
B-24 LIBERATORS. Shown above are members of Crew 4618, Section I, who were honored on last Wednesday night’s radio program as the Combat Crew of he Week. The crew was chosen by a board of officers for its outstanding performance and efficiency. They are, standing, left to right: Pfc. Daniel Peller, tail turret gunner; Cpl. William F. Casey, top turret gunner; Pfc. William D. Nobles, nose turret gunner; Cpl. Jack B. Zonker, radio operator and waist gunner; Pfc. Robert Leake, ball turret gunner; Pvt. Ulysses G. Seymour, aerial engineer and waist gunner. Kneeling, left to right: Lt. Lawrence L. Doelling, co-pilot; Lt. William R. Frederick, airplane commander; Lt Jack R. Hibbs, bombardier. (Official Air Force Photo)
Aviation Cadet William “Ransome” Frederick
Tuesday November 9, 1943
GREENSBORO AIR CADET WINS HONORS
Honored as most military among cadets of Class 44-A at Garden City Army Air Field, Kansas, Aviation Cadet William R. Frederick, 519 Simpson street. holds trophy awarded him as he is congratulated by Wilbur D. Hostetler, commandant of cadets. Cadet Frederick has been ordered to an advanced flying school, upon successful completion of which he will be awarded the silver wings of pilot.
September 9, 1944
While participating on a night cross-country flight this date, B-24-J aircraft #907 “D”. 755th Squadron, piloted by Lt. Fredericks [sic], was reported by flying control Wittering to have crashed on Hydes Farm, Crowland, approximately 5 miles east of Stamford, at approximately 2301 hours. Two of the crew safely bailed out before the aircraft crashed and burned. Cause of crash unknown.
Weather: W at 3 M.P.H. – 7 miles viz.
[Left] Frederick and crew were flying this aircraft, B-24J-5-FO 42-50907 J3 D Lily Marlene on a night training mission.
2D Lieutenant GLEN C. ALLEN, 0-718953, AC 755th Bomb Sq (H), 458th Bomb Gp (H), AAF 123, APO 558. Navigator on A/C 43-20907 [sic]
We were flying along at 3800 feet in a course of approximate 270 degrees. Headed for Shrewsbury. The plane shuddered as if in prop wash just as we passed over the occult flashing U. We started to lose altitude. We were losing altitude slowly at first, but the descent became more violent. About 2310 the bail out bell sounded. The last time I looked at the altimeter it indicated 3100 feet. The bombardier, LT HIBBS, got his parachute on first and opened the nose wheel door and bailed out. I had trouble getting my parachute on, and I could tell we were in a spin for I was thrown from side to side, I opened the nose turret door next. When I got my parachute on I tried to go out the door, but was thrown back into the nose compartment. I dived at the door and succeeded in getting out. The next thing I knew I was hanging in my parachute. I noticed I was swinging from side to side and I was just about to try and stop this when I hit the ground. I took off my chute and harness and started walking toward the fire which was about a mile away. I got to the fire and met a man, and told him we had no bombs aboard. About this time the rescue squads and ambulance arrived. The plane was burning in a haystack. I was put in an ambulance and in a few minutes Lieutenant HIBBS was put in the same ambulance.
Glenn C. Allen
2d Lt, Air Corps
2D Lieutenant JACK R. HIBBS, 0-706313, AC, 755th Bomb Sq (H), 458th Bomb Gp (H), AAF 123, APO 558. Bombardier on A/C 43-50907 [sic]
Our plane took off, at 2138 were over the field headed for Shrewsbury at 2234. We were near Petersborough which was near our course when the ship made a violent maneuver similar to that when hitting prop-wash. The ship fell off to the right and started down in a spin. We received orders (the bell bail out signal) just after the ship started down. This all took place at approximately 2300, our altitude was approximately 3,000 feet, indicated air speed was around 165 indicated [sic]. We were using C1 [Auto]Pilot, and had been using it about five minutes before the accident. The ship was not on fire when I left it and all four engines seemed to be working.
Jack R. Hibbs,
2d Lt, Air Corps
Crash site – Hyde’s Farm, Crowland
2nd Air Division Memorial Library: “Our Dog Tag Enquiry”
This “case” involved an engraved metal dog tag, which was brought to us in late summer 2012 by a local lady, Mrs. Parker, who grew up near the USAAF base at Horsham St. Faith. Her story led Lesley and Kate on quite a search!
Mrs. Parker was a young child during World War II when her family’s dog Trixie (a wire-haired terrier) went missing for some time during this period. Trixie later returned home again, pregnant and wearing a lovely little engraved metal tag on her collar reading “PLEASE RETURN TO/ PHO. 8893/ W.R. FREDERICK/ ROXBORO, N.C./ MAY, 1940”:
Sadly, all the puppies subsequently died.
Mrs. Parker’s family held onto the tag and cherished it, never knowing for certain how it had ended up on Trixie’s collar.
Curious to solve the mystery, and assuming that the Mr. Frederick in question had been an airman based in the vicinity of Mrs. Parker’s childhood home, we searched for information about a W. R. Frederick from North Carolina.
We found Lt. W. R. Frederick referenced in the 458th Bomb Group Unit History Liberators over Norwich. He was a pilot of the plane ‘Lily Marlene’ and was killed along with other crew members on 9 September 1944 (there were two survivors).
After discussing the matter with local 458th historian and co-author of the unit history, Mike Bailey, we agreed that there was good reason to assume that this was the same Lt. Frederick as named on the tag. We know that it was common for US airmen to adopt stray animals that wandered onto base. The tag is marked with the year 1940, years before Lt. Frederick was stationed in Norfolk, but we wondered if perhaps he brought the tag with him to England as a memento from home, and then bestowed it upon the dog who then found her way back to Mrs. Parker’s family.
Lesley noticed that a “Rick Frederick” was cited on certain photographs published on the 458th Bomb Group website which were associated with Lt. Frederick and contacted Darin Scorza, American co-author of the unit history, for a way to get in touch with Rick. Although Darin didn’t have an up-to-date email address for Rick, he confirmed that Rick was indeed Richmond Stanfield Frederick, Jr., nephew of William Ransom Frederick, who was killed in action on 9 September 1944. Darin said that he and Rick had corresponded in the past regarding Lt. Frederick’s crew photos.
Kate Anderson conducted a series of internet searches in an attempt to find Rick Frederick’s current contact information, or that of any other living relative of Lt. Frederick. While doing so, she learned much about Lt. Frederick’s military service.
One day in August, she discovered Rick’s email address on the website of the Caswell County heritage organization (with which he works actively), and wrote to him. He responded a few days later:
Thank you for sharing this interesting story. You have indeed found the family of William Ransom Frederick, and I forwarded your message to relatives. I am not familiar with “PHO 8893.” In 1940, Ransom and his wife were living on Academy Street in Roxboro, North Carolina. Hopefully, others will have more information, including whether he had a pet before entering the war.
We have placed online much of the information we have found on Ransom and his military service…*
He is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery in Madingley (just outside Cambridge). I lived in England for six years in the early 1980s and visited the grave…He had no children. After Ransom’s death, the family lost touch with his widow, Violet Lillian Hayes Frederick. She was a nurse, is believed to have moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, to work with polio patients, and to have remarried. I have searched for her for many years, but without success…
Rick attached photographs of Lt. William Ransom Frederick in uniform and his airplane, the “Lily Marlene.” Rick’s first cousin (also a nephew of Lt. Frederick) and he were able to “fly” the “Lily Marlene” using a Flight Simulator program.
We were thrilled to have made contact finally with Lt. Frederick’s family, and Kate responded to ask if it would it be all right to give Mrs. Parker (the local lady who grew up at the air base) his contact details and if we could share this story with our visitors in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. After all, much of what we do involves safekeeping and sharing stories like this, which so nicely enrich people’s understanding of the local history of the War.
Rick was very happy to let us share the story as we liked, and added that he’d learned from family members that Lt. Frederick was indeed a dog lover. He sent us a photograph of William as a young boy with dogs and one of Lt. Frederick’s wife, Violet Lillian Hayes, posing with dogs.
Although we will never know exactly what happened to Trixie whilst she was missing from home, we do think it is very likely that she was adopted by William Ransom Frederick when he was at Horsham. We also think it is very likely that the tag had originally belonged to a beloved dog he had back in the USA. It seems probable that Trixie decided to find her way home again once William Ransom Frederick, her adopted master, failed to show up at the base after the tragic crash.
To read more about Lt. Frederick, click here.
Article courtesy: 2nd Air Division Memorial Library
Lilly Marlene Display
Hello Mr Frederick,
Thank you for your enquiry to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre about B-24 42-50907, which was passed to me by Andrew at LAHC as I am secretary to the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group who have displays at the LAHC. At first I was mystified by your enquiry because you stated the crash location as near Stamford. In fact 50907 came down at Crowland, near Peterborough, several miles away. It was back in 2000 that the group investigated and recovered parts of the aircraft. Though the aircraft did not penetrate the ground deeply there was a level of burnt wreckage about 2-3ft down. I have attached a few photos of the dig and display at LAHC. If you have any copies of photos of your uncle it would be much appreciated so that they could be included with the display.
Please feel free to contact me again if I/we can help further.