Lobo Crew – Assigned 755th Squadron – May 11, 1944

Crew Photo Needed

Lost in Mid Air Collision over Cromer – MACR 5631

RankNameSerial #Crew PositionDateStatusComments
2LtHoward J Lobo8155179Pilot27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
2LtStanley G Sasserson820071Co-pilot27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
2LtToivo J Maki711451Navigator27-May-44KIAWayne County, MI
2LtWilliam M Fitzgerald 698879Bombardier27-May-44KIACambridge American Cemetery
S/SgtMike R Pappas39694442Radio Operator27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
S/SgtRobert C Bingaman12092759Flight Engineer27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
SgtEdgar C Nabe38400028Ball Turret Gunner, 2/E 27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
SgtMax S Tripp39911035Aerial Gunner, 2/E27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
SgtLewis W Lunsford35797784Waist Gunner27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing
SgtNorman J Picard34286410Tail Turret Gunner27-May-44KIACambridge Tablets of the Missing

Lt Howard Lobo and crew joined the 458th Bomb Group as one of the early replacement crews to supplement losses sustained in the 755th Squadron during March and April. Unfortunately their time with the group was cut tragically short when, on only their second mission, they collided with another 458th B-24 named Briney Marlin during assembly over the North Sea, about five miles north of Cromer, on May 27, 1944.  This aircraft was flown by Lt Lester Martin and the officers of his crew.  The enlisted men on Briney Marlin were all seasoned veterans from other crews who were put together for this mission. This was Martin’s first mission.  The tail of Lt. Lobo’s aircraft was torn off, and the aircraft went into a spin disappearing into the undercast.  Some crews reported that one man was seen attempting to exit through a waist window prior to the plane being enveloped in the clouds.

The bodies of two men, Toivo Maki and William Fitzgerald were washed ashore, but the eight others were never found.  Two men on Briney Marlin were also lost.  Immediately after the collision, pilot Les Martin on Briney Marlin, rang the bail out bell. The engineer, S/Sgt Chester R. Carlstrum, jettisoned the bomb load from the release handle on the pilot’s pedestal, and followed the bombs out through the bomb bay.  Tail gunner S/Sgt Wilbert Abshire, despite other crewmen in the tail urging him not to jump, bailed out as well.  Possibly due to the lightened load after the bombs had been released, Martin discovered he had some measure of control and rescinded his bail out order.  He was able to make it back to Horsham St Faith and landed the aircraft without further damage or loss to the crew.  The two men that bailed out from Martin’s aircraft were never found.

This is the only time in the group’s history that generated a MACR (in this case, two of them) and an Accident Report for the same incident.


MACR 5631

Accident Report 44-05-27-518


DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
25-May-44MULHOUSE M/Y47142-50320WJ314UNKNOWN 018

Accident Report 44-5-27-518

On 27 May 1944, 0942, at 10,000 feet, 5 miles north of Cromer, B-24H 42-95159, while in formation had an aerial collision with another A/C 42-95183 resulting in its own tail being torn off, it going into a spin, and a total loss of A/C and crew into the sea.

The Pilot, Lt. Lobo, was evidently inattentive and unexpecting the formation to shift from a left turn to a right one. He was, it seems the only A/C in the high right element at the time. He overran the #2 ship of the low trail element #183 which was in position. Nothing is known of the extent of damage to this A/C #159, except various other aircraft crew members verify that its tail was torn off and that it went into a spin. One parachute was seen just before the A/C reached the 3,000 foot undercast. One body was identified after it had been washed ashore as the Navigator, 2D LT TOIVO J. MAKI. Nothing else is known at this station.

RAYMOND F. HEMRICH, 2D LT. 0-750385. AC. 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group (H).  AAF Station 123, APO 558.

I was flying on the right wing of the lower left element.  We were starting to turn to the right and we swung in toward the center of the formation.

I seen two ships hit but only got a glance as I was busy.  It seemed the wing of one ship hit the other on the tail section or that he drug his tail across the wing.  I seen the tail section start to bend to one side and come completely off.  The ship started a slow spiral dive to the left and passed close over the top of our ship.  My men watched the damaged ship until it disappeared thru the clouds and reported seeing no one bail out.

2d Lt, AC.

ROBERT T. CRAIG, 2D LT. 0-712772, AC 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group,  AAF Station 123, APO558. 
Navigator on A/C 183.

At 0941 on a heading of about 60 degrees, I saw a silver B-24H skidding dangerously close to our aircraft.  He had skidded below us off the right and seemed headed right into us so as to hit us abreast.  I immediately hit the nose wheel door release and stood by to bail out as I heard the smack of the collision and felt a slight jar.  I already had my chute on and didn’t immediately jump since the plane still seemed under control and I knew we were over water.

I retained the opinion that the mid-section of the adjacent aircraft sheared off the last 5-6 feet of our right wing and he then went under us to nudge our nose turret with his nose and fall off forward and down.  The collision occurred at 0942 while the plane was engaged in a formation right turn.  The collision occurred 5 miles north of Cromer above Splasher 5.  After the crash I stood by to bail out if any unusual maneuver at all was detected.  I then called the pilot and being unable to make contact tuned Buncher 15 on the radio compass and told him to do a 180 since we were headed out into the North Sea.

After making our way back over the field and talking to the pilot I was convinced that a safe landing could be made and hence proceeded to a station in the waist.

Robert T. Craig
2d Lt. AC.

LESTER C. MARTIN, 2d Lt. AC 0-813927, Pilot, A/C 183, 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group, AAF Station 123, APO 558.

I was flying ship #183 on the right wing of hole(?) element in Section I.  We were forming at 10,000 feet at the time of the collision and had just started a right turn immediately upon completing a left turn.  About thirty seconds after starting the right turn I heard my co-pilot shout and looked up to see a ship skidding into us from the right.  I pulled my right wing up sharply and at about the same instant felt the collision.  My ship started into a spin and I gave the order to bail out, the engineer and tail gunner leaving the ship immediately.  The ship was brought under control within a few seconds after the crash and the rest of the crew was prevented from leaving the ship by my order over the interphone.  After getting the ship under control I went into the waist, leaving the ship with my co-pilot and surveyed the damage.  The only damage visible to me was about six feet of the right wing hanging in space.  I decided then to bring the ship in and gave my men the choice of bailing out or staying with the ship for the landing and they did the latter.  We circled the field, made a very wide pattern and a successful landing with no further damage to the plane or injury to the crew.  The landing was made with half flaps and at an air speed of approximately 170 miles per hour.

2d Lt, AC.

B-24H-25-FO 42-95183 J4 O  Briney Marlin

Briney Marlin after the collision, showing the damaged right wing,
(Photo: Rick Rokicki)

Sgt. Edgar C. Nabe

“Sgt. Edgar C. Nabe, 24, gunner on a bomber based in England, was reported missing in action May 27 following a raid over enemy-occupied Europe, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Nabe, 4264 West Pine Boulevard, have been informed.”

2Lt Stanley G. Sasserson

(Courtesy: Joel Frampton Gilfert)

2Lt Toivo J. Maki

Left: Toivo and Claira Maki, Right: Toivo Maki during training

Left: 2Lt Toivo J .Maki, navigator; Right: Headstone, Rock Cemetery, Maple Ridge Township, Michigan

Sgt Max S. Tripp

Max Tripp and his wife Marie and newspaper photo published upon his death.