DG Williams Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – November 18, 1944

Standing: Harold Markle – G, Kenneth DeTroye – G, James Kavanaugh – RO, Alex Jarecki – G, Namon Lovil – E, Edgar McDuff – G
Kneeling: Walter Godsin – N, Ralph Hackey – CP, Dean Williams – P

(Photo: Mary Anne & Peter McDuff)

Completed Tour

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Dean G Williams 0770917 Pilot 25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List
1Lt Ralph R Hackey 0721604 Co-pilot 25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List
2Lt Walter W Godsin T129667 Navigator 30-Apr-45 CT Rest Home Leave
M/Sgt  James P Kavanaugh  20262101 Radio Operator 25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List
T/Sgt Namon W Lovil 39701871 Flight Engineer 25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List
Pvt Kenneth J Detroye 16117651 Aerial Gunner 01-Mar-45  CT Removed from flying status 
Sgt Alex T Jarecki 42011168  Armorer-Gunner  25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List
S/Sgt Edgar A McDuff 37520802 Armorer-Gunner 29-Apr-45 CT Reclassified MOS 612
S/Sgt Harold W Markle   Aerial Gunner 25-Apr-45 CT Mission Load List

2Lt Dean G. Williams and his crew were assigned to the 753rd Bombardment Squadron on November 18, 1944.  On the day before, 2Lt Donald K. Williams and his crew were assigned to the same squadron.  In a branch of the service where a unit (in this case a combat aircrew) was generally known by the pilot’s last name, this must have been all kinds of confusion!!   While the majority of the crew arrived on the 18th, Harold W. Markle, a gunner on the crew, did not arrive until November 21st.

The crew flew their first mission on Christmas Day 1944, a trip to Pronsfeld, Germany.  At some point during this period, the crew’s navigator, F/O Walter Godsin was chosen for lead navigator duties and transferred to the 755th Squadron on January 20, 1945.  Records indicate that he went on to fly lead missions with Capt. George Chimples and crew.  Existing loading lists also show that 2Lt Robert E. Pettibone appears to have taken Godsin’s place as navigator on the crew.  He is shown flying in that position on January 16th and February 22nd.

Pettibone, originally a bombardier on 2Lt Herbert H. Humke’s crew, had arrived in September 1944.  Humke and most of his crew were killed less than a week later when their heavily fuel- laden B-24 crashed on takeoff at the beginning of a Truckin’ Mission.  Bombardiers were not required for these gas hauls, and Pettibone remained on the ground that day.  After this, he flew for a period with 2Lt Arthur Kenyon and crew, and was then apparently assigned to the DG Williams Crew when Kenyon completed his missions in late December 1944.

The crew flew six missions in January and nine in February.  On February 9th, on what would have been the crew’s 10th mission, they took off with the group, but were forced to land less than thirty minutes later when their landing gear could not be raised.  This was the only time that this crew would abort a mission.  Nine more missions would come in March, followed by eleven in April.  At this point in time, Eighth Air Force bomber crews needed to fly 35 missions to complete a combat tour.  Dean Williams’ 35th mission was on April 25, 1945 to hit rail lines near Bad Reichenhall, Germany.  This was also the last strategic bombing mission that the Eighth Air Force would fly in World War II. 

The group historian summed it up as follows: “We will always remember our last mission, 25 April 1945.  A historic date to be retained in our memories forever.  Again the target attacked was on the request of SHAEF.  The RR at Bad Reichenhall in the Salzburg area where the Nazis had been pushed and were making a last stand.  As a fitting tribute to our last mission, no other than our commanding officer, Col. Herzberg led our formation.  Our formation consisted of 3 nine ship squadrons, and it is gratifying that on our last mission the bombing results were excellent.  And so finishes our combat tour in the E.T.O.  It has been a long, hard road to travel, but the 458th more than justified its existence with the excellent record which will go down in history.”

On March 1, 1945 Sgt Kenneth J. DeTroye was reduced to the grade of Private and removed from flying status (RFS). 

In mid-April 1945 2Lt Ralph R. Hackey, co-pilot, evidently was elevated to the left-hand seat, flying four missions as first pilot before the war ended.  The Williams crew flew two of these same missions as Hackey, and it is not known who replaced him as co-pilot.  It is possible that he was acting as Instructor Pilot for new crews on their first mission and was listed as first pilot.

Missions – Dean Williams as Pilot

Date  Target  458th Msn  Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
25-Dec-44 PRONSFELD 158 1 44-40134 R J4 36 UNKNOWN 039  
30-Dec-44  NEUWIED 161 2 44-40118 S J4 24 WE'LL GET BY  
01-Jan-45 KOBLENZ 163 3 42-50555 A J4 10 BABY SHOES  
03-Jan-45 NEUNKIRCHEN 165 4 44-40201 N J4 35 SILVER CHIEF  
07-Jan-45 RASTATT 166 5 44-40285 H J4 52 TABLE STUFF  
13-Jan-45 KAISERLAUTERN 169 6 42-50768 Y J4 22 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
16-Jan-45 MAGDEBURG 171 7 44-40285 H J4 53 TABLE STUFF  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 9 41-28980 V J4 21 UNKNOWN 009  
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 ABT 41-28980 V J4 -- UNKNOWN 009  GEAR DID NOT RETRACT 
11-Feb-45 DULMEN 180 10 41-28980 V J4 22 UNKNOWN 009  
15-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 182 11 44-40287 J J4 38 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 12 42-110141 U J4 40 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 13 42-110141 U J4 41 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 14 42-110141 U J4 43 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 15 42-110163  M J4 59 TIME'S A WASTIN GROUP 200TH MISSION
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 16 44-40285 H J4 67 TABLE STUFF  
01-Mar-45 INGOLSTADT 193 17 44-40285 H J4 69 TABLE STUFF  
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 18 41-29352 K 7V 77 WOLVE'S LAIR  
04-Mar-45 STUTTGART 196 19 44-40285 H J4 71 TABLE STUFF  
05-Mar-45 HARBURG 197 20 44-10602 E J4 34 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 21 44-40285 H J4 75 TABLE STUFF  
17-Mar-45 HANNOVER 205 22 44-10487 R 7V 42 Girl on surfboard (no name)  
21-Mar-45 HESEPE 209 23 44-50539 B J4 3 UNKNOWN 045  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 24 44-50539 B J4 5 UNKNOWN 045  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 25 44-50539 B J4 7 UNKNOWN 045  
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 26 42-50768 Y J4 47 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 27 42-50555 A J4 36 BABY SHOES  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 28 42-50555 A J4 38 BABY SHOES  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 29 44-40287 J J4 63 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 30 41-28980 V J4 37 UNKNOWN 009  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 31 44-10602 E J4 48 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 32 42-110163 M J4 84 TIME'S A WASTIN  
18-Apr-45 PASSAU 228 33 44-40287 J J4 66 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 34 42-50555 A J4 45 BABY SHOES  
25-Apr-45 BAD REICHENHALL 230 35 44-50539 B J4 12 UNKNOWN 045

Missions – Ralph Hackey as Pilot

Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name Comments
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ  223 1 42-50555 A J4 41 BABY SHOES  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 2 44-40273  T J4 51 HOWLING BANSHEE  
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 3 44-40287 J J4 65 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 4 42-50768 Y J4 52 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME 

Horsham St Faith

Enlisted barracks
L-R: James Kavanaugh, Namon Lovil, Unknown, Alex Jarecki, Edgar McDuff

Dean Williams with Col. Isbell’s P-47 Ginny

(Photos: Mary Anne & Peter McDuff)

Sgt Edgar A. McDuff – Gunner

Sgt Edgar McDuff kept a detailed list of his missions, as did many of the combat airmen. Some of the information in his list, such as tail number of the ship flown by his crew, helps to fill in some holes or erroneous data garnered from official records. His list very closely matches that of his pilot which was compiled from 458th formation plans.  It appears that McDuff flew with DG Williams on all but two missions, both in April 1945. The raid on Regensburg, Germany on April 11th, and the mission to Pointe de Grave, France on April 14th do not appear on McDuff’s list, which ends after he had flown his 33rd mission on April 25, 1945.


Click here for Edgar McDuff’s mission list


Courtesy: Mary Anne & Peter McDuff

At the London Pavilion for a little R&R

Edgar McDuff (Left) with an unknown officer

(Photo: Mary Anne & Peter McDuff)

Same area 1949 – Notice Ward’s Irish House sign barely visible at upper corner of bus on the right


(Photo: Kodachrome London by Chalmers Butterfield)