Larned Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – May 26, 1944

Standing: John Larned – P, Lester Patterson – N, Hugh Cramer – CP, George Legh-Page – B

If you can identify the other crew members, please contact me.

(Photo: FOLD3)

Transferred to 388th Bomb Group

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt John I B Larned 0693287 Pilot 01-Jul-44 TRSF Transferred to 560BS 388BG
2Lt Hugh W Cramer 0760792 Co-pilot 01-Jul-44 TRSF Transferred to 560BS 388BG
2Lt George D Legh-Page 0702058 Bombardier 01-Jul-44 TRSF Transferred to 560BS 388BG
2Lt Lester F Patterson 0701276 Navigator 01-Jul-44 TRSF Transferred to 560BS 388BG 
S/Sgt Richard F Elberfeld 16080249 Radio/Radar Crewman  06-May-45 CT Rest Home Leave AAF 524
S/Sgt George Makar, Jr 32806535 Flight Engineer 04-Jul-44 TRSF  Transferred to 560BS 388BG
S/Sgt Charles E Moss 36814474 Armorer-Gunner Jan-45 CT Transferred to 70RD
S/Sgt Edward N Valenzuela  39282764 Aerial Gunner 01-Aug-44 UNK Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Samuel J Simpson, Jr 34736450 Aerial Gunner 01-Aug-44 UNK Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Max F Johnson 36455975 Aerial Gunner Jan-45 CT Transferred to 70RD

John Larned and crew were one of ten specially trained AZON crews who were assigned to the 458th in the spring of 1944.  Originally intended for duty in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, their orders were changed enroute and they flew to England instead.

The four officers, flight engineer and radio operator that had trained together arrived in England in May 1944, along with Corporal Elmer M. Roundtree, an Electronics Technician assigned to keep the AZON equipment in good working order.   The four gunners, not onboard the AZON aircraft en route to the combat zone, continued on to the CBI, being replaced by four different gunners once the crew arrived in England.

Their tenure in the 458th was short.  Two AZON crews along with members of a third, were transferred to the 388th Bombardment Group (H) at Knettishall in July 1944.  While they may have participated in the Aphrodite Project, the combat records and status of the crew with this group is unknown.  Three gunners of Larned’s crew, Sgt’s Valenzuela, Simpson, and Johnson, remained with the 753rd Squadron. S/Sgt Max Johnson successfully completed his combat tour in December 1944 and was rotated back to the States in January 1945.  No records exist to show that Sgt’s Valenzuela and Simpson completed their tours, but it is most likely that they also flew a full complement of combat missions.

The status of S/Sgt Richard F. Eberfeld, radio operator is unknown, although it is most likely that he completed a combat tour. His MOS changed to that of a Radar Crewman and he is last shown in the records as being sent on Rest Home Leave in May 1945.

Going to the 388th along with the officers and flight engineer of Larned’s crew were four gunners from Captain Maurice E. Speer’s AZON crew: Sgt Daniel A. Depasquale, Sgt Oliver F. Kirkendall, Sgt Bernard Maleski, and Sgt Cataldo Scatmacchia.

Larned’s crew was credited with five combat sorties while with the 458th, all AZON missions, and all flown in the B-24 named A Dog’s Life which the crew flew over from the States.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
31-May-44 5 BRIDGES AZ01 1 44-40281 Q J4 1 A DOG'S LIFE  
14-Jun-44 5 TARGETS AZ06 3 44-40281 Q J4 3 A DOG'S LIFE  
15-Jun-44 3 RAILWAY BRIDGES AZ07 4 44-40281 Q J4 4 A DOG'S LIFE   
22-Jun-44 Saumer/Tours - Bridges AZ09 5 44-40281 Q J4 5 A DOG'S LIFE

B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40277 J4 P Miss Used

Standing: Unknown, George Legh-Page, John Larned, Lester Patterson, Hugh Cramer

If you can identify the other crew members, please contact me.

(Photo: John Legh-Page)

B-24JAZ-155-CO  44-40281  J4 Q  A Dog’s Life

(Photos & A/C Profile: Mike Bailey)

Larned Crew Officers

Capt. Jack Larned – 388BG


Unidentified, Hugh Cramer, George Legh-Page

(Photo: George LeghPage)