This final submission to Argunners covers the period after the crew of the “Lady Jeannette” & “226″ returns to England to when the men return to the USA. With additional information of what happened until today. It consists of the story, documents and photographs that provide re-researchable proof the two Medal Of Honor Awards in question were falsified in order to cover-up the illegal actions of the Chain of Command. From the Commander of the 729th Bombardment Squadron all the way up through the Department of the Army, all to protect General Eisenhower’s career and the careers of that Chain of Command! Throughout the article you will find documents, photographs and charts that prove the Medal Of Honor was misused and when done, I believe, you will realize that American Military personnel in Europe did hide American Military Dead following a direct order of General Eisenhower!
It is also important for you to understand the two pilots of the “Lady Jeannette” did deserve the awards for their final actions in their lives that day. The real truth of their deaths and the two men who died with them, deserved to be told! However, a person with great power forced the truth to be hidden and replaced with a false description of their death in their Citations.
Lady Jeannette – Time to lay it to rest
Since 1994, we have had constant contacts from historians(?) informing us that we have the wrong name, because numerous books have the name of the dual Medal Of Honor B-17G as “Lady Janet.” As a historian, I am willing to change anything I have found. However, there is one requirement, the questioning historian must send me copies of the research he is using to dispute what I have found so I can re-research his research and if, I am wrong, I will change all future inclusions of that information.
In the summer of 1994, I was presented with the copies of newspaper articles of the time, May/June, 1944, when the General Order 38, 16 May, 1945, awarded the Medal Of Honor to the pilots of the “Lady Jeannette” by the surviving waist gunner.
As the research blossomed that summer, the complaints of having the wrong name grew and each time, it was based on the bibliography in one or more books that they have read. While, I have traveled all over the United States and Europe over the past twenty-five years of research, few of them moved beyond reading a group of books and then, rewriting what they wanted, all based on books based on other books, with none verifying the train of bibliographies to their original foundation in an original book.
Upon tracing each and every book’s bibliography down the tree to the root, I found that all of them had begun with the “The Mighty Eighth” book by Roger Freeman. He had included the information on the dual Medal Of Honor B-17G, Sn: 42-97904 and he used the name, “Lady Janet.” As a historian who will change anything that I have found, if I can prove it is wrong, either by continued research or someone claiming I was wrong, I sent Mr. Freeman the following articles, along with other information I had found. Suggesting, that Mr. Freeman change the name of the B-17G in his book from “Lady Janet” to “Lady Jeannette” in future publications of the book, including a statement about new information being available.
Mr. Freeman replied that he was given the name by the mother of a flight engineer in the 452nd, who did not return. The man had written his mother and told her, he had flown with 1st Lt. Gott, as his flight engineer, aboard the “Lady Janet.” Mr. Freeman added, that he would not change the name of the bomber in his book, as people would begin to doubt his research if he admitted such a mistake. He did, however, also include the name of the letter writer.
I have a micro-film reader and at that time, one had to depend on micro-film rolls to research such units so I had obtained the 452nd Bombardment Group (H) World War Two micro-film records from the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell, Air Force Base.
Mr. Freeman book does have the correct date of the loss of the “Lady Jeannette, 9 November, 1944. However, the correct name of their bomber, the “Lady Jeannette” was used in the newspaper articles of the day documenting the award of the medal and the correct bomber name. During basic research, before accepting such information as validated I have to verify the new information by two and hopefully, more sources. The micro-film records proved, the man had been a Flight Engineer assigned to the 452nd BG, and yes, he had been “Killed in Action”. However, there was a major problem in the supporting documentation, in that the letter writer had not reported to the 452nd BG until the 11th of November, 1944. Thus, it was impossible for him to have flown with Lt. Gott as written, thus the name of the bomber provided by him was also proven wrong. There had been a “Lady Jeannette” assigned to the 452nd BG, but it had been destroyed in May, 1944.
When I supplied Mr. Freeman with the new information, I wrote that I fully understood how hard it was when he was researching the dual award in the 1960’s and such a letter would have been a great find, but it was obvious to me, he had not verified the information. So, he now had three sources of hard data that proved his original name for the bomber was wrong and he should change the name in his next edition and use the correct name in any new reference he might use. It was important he do so as his books were used as a reference by many armchair historians and then, used again in their books and so on. Until, the overall weight of those book references were making it very hard to use the correct name. As I had to constantly prove to others, all their previous references were wrong. Again, he refused, so after having similar input from the November articles, I have decided to “lay it to rest!” I realize, Mr. Freeman is not here now to defend against this. However, we do have copies of his letters and will furnish a copy to anyone who wishes to question this, at a reasonable cost for labor and mailing.
Note: The date on the article about S/Sgt. Robbins. It was printed on the 8th of January, 1945, and it supports the proof, that the Medal Of Honor Citations description of the mode of death and death of his fellow crewmen are wrong. It also proves, along with the MACR copy that S/Sgt. Robbins had been given, there was no “Fog Of War!” Proving the misinformation was provided to the application writer with the full intent to hide the truth of what had been done. How can anyone ever find out what we have done, when we have put so many walls in place to prevent that happening? Included in this submission, are the tools that not only broken down those walls, they prove illegal intent on behalf of the highest American Commander in Europe, General Eisenhower. At the same time, following everything that was known at the time and what was done with the dead at both crash sites, the top secret B-24J and the “Lady Jeannette,” realizing that General Patton knew about the original situation, then found about the two falsified Medals Of Honor one can easily understand that he did have possession of information, that would “…destroy those who were attempting to destroy him!”
The above articles and many more were in the newspapers when General Patton visited the United States on a Victory tour in 1944. He knew all about the B-17 and the “Friendly Fire” shoot down of the second aircraft. Both the “Lady Jeannette” and the “Friendly Fire” shoot down of the super top secret B-24J had happened in his area of command and he had even agreed with what was done.
However, General Patton was extremely disturbed to realize that General Eisenhower had debauched the greatest military medal of the United States, by using it to cover-up what had been done to the dead of both aircraft. It continued to eat at him, until the 8th of December, 1945, when he told his
Staff that he was going home, quit the Army and use what he knew, to destroy those trying to destroy him. The next day he was injured in a real accident that Patton in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is this author’s opinion, that General Patton would not have survived the suddenly set up pheasant hunt in a field in German.
Missing Aircraft/Aircrew Report – MACR
The “Lady Jeannette” was lost inside Liberated France, so no MACR was issued!
Actually S/Sgt Robbins was given a copy of the Group’s MACR, containing information Sgt. Robbins had furnished upon his return to the Group on 12 November, 1944
Note: By the 12th, the true information was available to the Squadron, Group, 3rd Air Division and the 8th USAAF knew the truth of the general location of the crash, near Verdun, and the certain low level crash. Within days the crash was now from high altitude and disintegrated even after the survivors were returning. It is obvious from this MACR that the commanders of the Squadron, Group, 3rd Air Division and the 8th USAAF joined in illegal hiding of military dead!
The number 188 appears to be a Group reference. MACR “Lady Jeannette” – Lost in Liberated France, no MACR was issued?
Another official document that proves, the two Medal Of Honor applications were based on a false description of the crash and death of the two men awarded the Medal Of Honor on GO 38‐16May45, with no “Fog Of War” involved as the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency claims!
Beginning and End of Original Cover‐Up
This article consists of the closing story, documentation and other supporting information for the articles about the “Lady Jeannette” the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor B-17G, of the 731st Bombardment Squadron (H), 452nd Bombardment Group (H), shot down on 9 November, 1944. And, the top secret B-24J, “226”, of the 36th Bombardment Squadron (RCM – Radar Counter Measures) assigned to the top secret 100th Group of the RAF. “226” was shot down by the “friendly fire” of an American Black Widow P-61 night fighter early in the morning of 10 November, 1944, while on a top secret night mission over Europe.
To refresh the memories of those who read the first articles, I have begun with a review of the articles published in early November, 2015, about the crashes of the dual MEDAL Of HONOR B-17G, the “Lady Jeannette” and “226”
In the combat report of the 452nd Bombardment Group for 9 November, 1944, the loss of the “Lady Jeannette” was reported. She was last seen, out of control in a spiral that would certainly lead to her crash near Saarbrucken, Germany. Within a day, the group learned she had crashed at 11:00 however she had crashed over a hundred miles from where she was last officially sighted. In addition, she had flown for about an hour before crossing back into Liberated France and crashing with the loss of four crewmen.
Fourteen and half hours after the crash of the “Lady Jeannette,” in the night sky over the border area of Luxembourg and France, just as she was beginning her super top secret “spoofing mission” to jam German radars, radios and telephones, “226” was attacked by an American P-61 Night Fighter, leading to her crash about 90 miles to the west, a half hour later.
That night’s mission by the top secret aircraft of the 36th Bombardment Squadron (RCM), led to the receipt of a Letter of Commendation for its success in getting German night fighters in the air to intercept a British bombing mission that did not take place.
Later, it was realized, that “226” had been blown about twenty-five miles to the east of where they were supposed to be by something that was a mystery then, the Jet Stream. This had placed her just inside the front line free fire zone, where any aircraft not previously identified was considered to be an enemy. On nights when flight was possible, the American night fighters took off and flew to selected locations where they would orbit, waiting for radar vectors from ground units leading them to Unknown or Enemy targets. As the mission of “226” was so top secret, not even the Americans and British air force front line units were informed of the missions taking place. They were always supposed to be twenty-five miles to the west of the Free Fire Zone.
That night, an unknown weather factor was going to change the future of the men aboard “226” and the men, both living and dead who were aboard the “Lady Jeannette.”
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At 10:04 in the morning of 9 November, 1944, while on a mission to bomb their Secondary Target of Stuttgart, Germany, the B-17G “Lady Jeannette,” Sn: 42-97904, 731st Bombardment Squadron (H), 452nd Bombardment Group (H), 8th USAAF, Deopham Green, England, was stuck by two FLAK bursts about four miles north of their bomb release point.
The first shell burst blew their number four engine off the wing, taking the cowling and engine mount with it, leaving a gaping hole in the leading edge of their right wing. The second shell exploded between and below the engines on their left wing, killing the number one, outboard engine with its propeller blades fixed in the flight position, creating a great drag. At the same time, fragments flew into the number two, inboard left wing engine, blowing one or more cylinder heads off the engine, allowing it to run with reduced power and leaving a large stream of black oil smoke flowing behind the B17.
Small fragments of the shell burst into the ball turret gunner’s position, striking and becoming embedded in his head. He was badly shook up and his blood loss was so little, when he was helped from the turret by the waist gunner, the three survivors in the waist and tail did not realize he was wounded at the time.
A fairly large fragment broke into the radio compartment, striking the radio operator in the left thigh and continued through the radio man’s table and tore through his lower right arm of the radio operator. The FLAK fragment nearly cut his right hand and wrist off, slicing through his lower right arm just above the wrist, leaving his hand and wrist hanging by the remaining flesh and muscle.
Another fragment entered into the forward bomb bay, destroying the controls of the bomb bay doors and into an electrical control panel killing the intercom and starting an electrical short that would soon set on fire, the emergency flares stored on wall behind the pilot.
As the flight engineer tried to get out of his top turret gunner’s position and placed his weight on his right foot, a FLAK fragment came through the side of the B-17 and up through the deck of the cockpit, then it cut through the flight engineer’s right leg. As the fragment cut through his leg, just above the right ankle, it took an inch and a half of bone with it. The fragment then broke into the hydraulic oil storage tank with hydraulic fluid falling onto the flight engineer’s parachute that was stored under the tank, soaking it to a point where it might not function.
”Lady Jeannette” – Drawn by the author’s wife, Carol Cole. It was signed by the surviving crew members who became friends with both. The rear tail has S/Sgt. Krimminger hanging under the tail with his parachute flowing over the tail both are held in place by the wrapped shroud lines. Fross, was unable so sign his name, however he and the author spent the afternoon one day at his home talking about what happened to him. T/Sgt. Gustafson was there, but Fross did not want to talk to him all that much, however, as the author approached the interview as if it was taking place the day the crash happened, Fross described what happened to him from the day of the crash until he got on the boat on Christmas Day, 1944, seventy-one years ago. Not only does this drawing show the damage the “Lady Jeannette” suffered, the signatures prove to any unbiased reader, that the story told in the books is true and the falsified Medal Of Honor Citations were approved by the Chain of Command, when there is extensive evidence that the “fog of war” was not involved and the only possible reason to falsely move the true crash site of the “Lady Jeannette” and provide a false description of the crash of their B-17 and their method of death, was to cover-up the truth of what General Eisenhower had ordered to happen, the hiding of two-thirds of the remains of the three men truly Killed In Action during the crash of “226″ and the hiding of the three complete bodies found at the true “Lady Jeannette” crash site and to substitute the divided remains of the torn-apart body of the tail gunner, S/Sgt. Krimminger, into four portions and sending to the nearby temporary American at Limey, four Official Burial Packages which contained only pieces of the tail gunner’s body. Between the documents in this writing, most would have to agree, the official documents prove something is wrong at the “Lady Jeannette”crash site should, if nothing else, to assure the American public and the three men’s families that their complete bodies that were hidden at the crash site, are no longer there. Instead the Department Of The Army, based on decisions made by personnel in the current Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency refused, claiming the “fog of war” prevents their search.
Other fragments pepper the B-17G, one tearing through the parachute of the Navigator, in the nose, damaging it to where it might not work. As all this was going on, the bomber went into an out of control dive. The tail gunner, immediately after the first burst, saw a flare of fire streaking out behind the plane’s right wing flowing back past his position. He released his safety belt to bail out of the small escape hatch located near his position. He had just started to go to the hatch, when the second FLAK burst hit, the pilots could not hold her and the tail shook back and forth until they did regain control. During this time, the tail gunner was beat back and forth and up and down and as the plane came under control, then he climbed back into the waist to be with the waist gunner and ball turret gunner.
The waist gunner was the only man in the rear who had not been beaten around during the out of control dive and he realized he had not seen the radio operator. When the waist gunner opened the door to the radio room he found the radio operator passing out on the deck with his blood spread around the radio room as he had flailed his badly wounded arm around before passing out.
In the Group formation, that had continued toward their Bomb Release Point, every one of the returning crewmen thought the Lady Jeannette had to have crashed. And, due to their own problems, they had lost sight of the bomber as the Group’s pilots were beginning to regain control of their bomber.
The “Lady Jeannette” was last “officially sighted” in a situation where she should have crashed immediately, yet, she flew for another hour. At the author’s request, Boeing Engineers who helped design the B-17 bomber studied the situation for some time. They finally agreed on what they thought had happened, allowing the pilots to regain and hold some control for that hour. They all agreed, it was due to the various damaged parts of the bomber. The bomb bay doors that could not be closed helped maintain nearly straight flight as they cut through the air. The only engine supplying full power was the number three engine on the inboard right wing and by running it at or near full emergency power the pilots were able to stay airborne. They had to trade off their remaining altitude to keep their forward airspeed above their stall speed. In the end, the Boeing Engineers were all convinced, the only real thing that kept the “Lady Jeannette” in the air after the pilot’s had regained control, was both pilots were excellent pilots and they worked together to balance it all out, allowing the “Lady Jeannette” to fly over one hundred miles before they ran out of altitude.
At 11:00 in the morning, in the area around the Woods of Hattonville, Hattonville, Department of the Meuse, France, hundreds watched in amazement as a “Fortress” approached from the east, crossed over the Moselle River and continued to the west. It was badly damaged, there was fire streaking past the tail from the right wing and smoke followed into the distance from the left wing. It was very low, when suddenly it began two steep climbs, followed by steep dives after which it leveled out and continued to the west. At the top of each the climbs, a man fell out of the “Fortress” and a parachute opened above them.
On a hillside, three and a half miles south of the flight path, American medics watched from their hospital as the bomber climbed, dove, climbed and dove again. They watched the B-17 level out again, only to fly toward a high ridge to the west which was so high they either had to turn or to crash into the hillside.
One of the hospital personnel remembered fifty years later, “…he had never felt so helpless, then when he was watching that bomber. He knew men were going to die and there was nothing he could do, except watch what happened!”
Shortly, after the bomber leveled out three more men bailed out, one after the other, then the bomber began to turn over the village of Hattonville. It cleared the church steeple by a couple of hundred feet and instead of going to the north the “Fortress” continued its turn until the “Fortress” was flying east, back toward Germany.
Thousands of French citizens and American military, men and women, watched the bomber as it came into sight and finally, as it got lower and lower, until it started to make another turn. While in this turn, it disappeared into the Woods of Hattonville. As the bomber lowered into the woods, the “Fortress” would leave a 600 foot debris trail from where the first relics were later located by the author to where the two wings tore off, the tail broke loose and fell to earth and the remaining forward fuselage hit the ground, slid for over 20 feet toward the south and then it pivoted to the west and came to a rest. Immediately, a flash fire from the atomized fuel took place, lasting a few seconds in a great whooshing explosion.
We have never met a French person or American (except for three) who saw the B-17 that day, who did not tell us they could still see it in their minds. And all told us how helpless they felt when they knew it was going to crash and all they could do, was watch!
Bois (Woods) de (of) Hattonville – “Lady Jeannette” crash site
9 November, 1944, 11:05 – Both pilots are dead in their seats, with their skulls crushed
by the limbs breaking through their windshield, the radio operator’ body was found
in the flash fire zone between the broken tail and forward fuselage.
Four men died during the crash. Two Frenchmen were the first to reach the crash site where they found the bodies of both pilots sitting in their seats. They had been killed by the branches of trees breaking into the cockpit. Then, just as the first Americans who were stationed in Hattonville, began to arrive, they located a third body lying between the broken tail and the forward fuselage. As more Americans and French people arrived, the two first Frenchmen helped the American medics recover and carry the two complete bodies from their seats in the cockpit and the third complete body they had found, to a collection point located near a fire the Americans had started. Soon after they had helped the Americans, the Americans made all the French people leave the crash site, while threatening them with being shot if they tried to come to the crash site before the American guards were removed.
What the French did not know, until 1998, there was a fourth man killed in the crash. The tail gunner had accidently opened his parachute inside the B-17 and he was pulled out of the escape hatch by the billowing parachute. His parachute flew over the right tail plane and he fell under the tail. He still was hanging under the tail when the bomber lowered into the woods and he was torn apart by the tree limbs, with his remains scattered among the broken limbs, leaves and bomber relics along the debris trail. None of the French had been allowed to follow the debris trail and even the Americans had been unaware of his death, until the bombardier approached the crash site along the debris trail.
Of the five survivors, one was unhurt and was on his way to Paris the same afternoon, the other four were either wounded or hurt by their parachutes when they opened were taken to the American 109th Evacuation Hospital located on a hillside to the south of the their final flight path.
The previous articles left these men, still in France on their way back to England to be relocated in hospitals or released back to their unit.
The unit flag of the 109th Evacuation Hospital, the Mash unit of World War Two.
When attending the reunions of the unit, the author talked to many of the Veterans and some returned for the memorial dedication in 2000.
So many actually saw the bomber in the air before it crashed and some watched as it disappeared into the woods and the burst of fire within seconds and they knew, men had to have died there.
November 9, 1998, the Author’s 2nd Visit to Bois de Hattonville, brush is cleared, exposing the impressions left by the “Lady Jeannette” during the two years she laid in the woods before the Hattonville villagers tore her apart to sell for scrap metal. Having a Pepsi Max in the first crater where the right wing came to rest leaning against the tree to the right. Lt. Harms walked around the wing and tree to meet the two French men and had his breakdown when he saw the ripped parachute on the tail lying south and to east of the wing.
Over the past seventeen years, the author and his wife has visited the site almost ever year and on some years, made as many as three visits. Each time we clear the woods of brush and try to keep the land leveled enough for older people to tour the site. The site is visited by French metal detectors and most do not bother to refill their holes
The goal is, in due time, improve the path to the crash site, replace the current farm type fence with a wrought iron fence, mark the impressions with signs and placing a main memorial on the site.
“226” – B-24J #42-51226 -Also thanks to: Jack W. Charlton
“I Walk Alone” – “546” – In flight over the Wash
Fourteen hours later, a top secret American B-24J, “226” was shot down by the “Friendly Fire” of a P-61, Black Widow Night Fighter, 422nd Night Fighter Squadron, which was under the direct control of the 566th SAW (Signals Aircraft Warning) Battalion, radar controller, with support from the 563rd SAW Battalion, located at Hattonville. A half hour after being struck by the fire from the “Friendly Night Fighter,” “226” crashed about a quarter mile to the north of the small village of Tincourt-Boucly, Department of the Somme, France. She had been on a top secret night mission, while attached to the top secret 100th Group Royal Air Force. Her mission was to carry on a “spoofing” of the German radars to force them to place their night fighters on alert and then to send them to attack an RAF bomber stream on its way to Germany. A false English bomber stream which only existed due to the transmission of electronic signals directed toward the German radars from “226” and other aircraft from her squadron. The jamming was created by these attached American bombers, loaded with over 8,000 pounds of the extremely top secret radar, radio and telephone jamming equipment which sent out electronic signals that confused the German air defenses.
After a half hour of fighting “226” to keep her airborne and with no idea of where they were and worried they may go out over the Channel, the pilot gave the order to bail out, which had to be passed man to man as they left “226.” Unknown to the pilots and most of the crew, the nose turret gunner was stuck in his turret and could not get out of his turret to bail out. The navigator and the tail gunner, stayed with “226” to the end, in a failed attempt to save the nose turret gunner. There is a reasonable chance, that the Navigator, 2nd Lt. Grey, had been ordered not to be captured alive and as he was unable to get a fix, for all he knew, they could be over German held territory so he rode her down! His commander would have known that and Grey should have been put up for a citation. However, that would bring outside attention to what they were doing. Compared to the bomb dropping units, the author has noticed how slowly these men were promoted, while risking their lives night after night.
Six of the crew managed to bail out and they landed within Liberated France, in an area in the Somme, known to have many German spies. At the end, “226” dove from 4,000 feet, exploded once while in the air, struck the earth again and disintegrated, as did the bodies of the three crewmen still on board.
The following is what happened to the survivors of both bombers after their crashes
The survivors of the “226” crash were taken to the nearby Peronne Air Base of the 397th Bombardment Group (L), flying B-26 bombers. The “226” crew survivors were kept separated from the others on the base and strictly instructed to not discuss what had happened, even among themselves. They were held in secure locations in France for five days, before being allowed to return to their unit, the very top secret 36th Bombardment Squadron (RCM – Radar Counter Measures), attached to the very top secret, 100th Group RAF, on 15 November, 2015.
When the author first contacted Stephen Hutton, who had researched the 36th Bomb Squadron (RCM-Radar Counter Measures), he was surprised to find that Hutton who had written a definitive book about the squadron, “Squadron Of Deception – The 36th Bomb Squadron in World War Two,” ISBN: 0-7643-0796-7, had no idea of where “226” had crashed in France. Hutton reported, he and the survivors had searched for years, but could never pin point were their crash had taken place as they searched for a village named Boucly, not knowing it was part of a hyphenated name, Tincourt-Boucly.
Thanks to Hutton, the author was able to talk to several of the survivors and each told the same story. They had been kept by themselves and told to stay out of sight as they were in an area where German snipers were still killing Americans. They were moved several times and then four days after their crash, they were told to be ready to leave in the morning. They were told, they were being taken to a nearby airfield that was still under sniper fire and there, they would get out of their guarded, covered truck and as fast as they could they were to get into the C-47 that was going to take them back to their base. Each of them under scored the fact, that they had been deeply informed during their training and missions that they were to never talk to each other about what they were doing and even after the crash, other than learning three fellow crew members had died, that was all they knew.
In fact, they were kept in very safe areas, away from all other Americans and the base they flew out of was only a short distance from where they had crashed and there had been no Germans in the area for a month and a half.
Upon their return the crew reported to their headquarters, where the Commander met with them and informed them, that what had happened was top secret and they were not to talk to anyone about what happened and that as soon as an aircraft became available they would be flying missions. Basically, each of them were to forget what had happened and if they ever talked to anyone about what had happened, they could find themselves in jail for a long time. The threats worked, each of the men the author interviewed told him, they had never talked to anyone, even their fellow survivors about their crash, nor the deaths of their fellow crewmen until Hutton contacted them.
The assorted remains, that consisted of the Official Remains of the three Killed In Action men were buried at first in a temporary cemetery in Belgium, then during the “Final Disposition” in 1948, their remains were disinterred, their (?) Identification verified and prepared for the next step. The remains(?) of 2nd Lt. Frederick G. Grey were shipped home to Sioux Rapids, Iowa, for burial in the Lone Tree Cemetery. The remains(?) of Sgt. Raymond G. Mears were shipped home to Hagerstown, Maryland, for burial in the Rest Haven Cemetery, on 9 April, 1949. The remains(?) of Sgt. Frank A. Bartho were interned in the Henri-Chapell American WWII Cemetery and Memorial, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, Row H, Plot 10, Grave 16.
The author and his wife have visited the graves of all the men killed in the two crashes, except for 2nd Lt. Grey at Sioux Rapids, Iowa. We were on our way to visit his official grave in the spring of 2015, when sudden snow storm prevented the visit. In 2014, the author met with Lt. Grey’s daughter, her daughter and soon to be son-in-law in France. His daughter was born after he had been killed, so this visit allowed them closure, as we visited the crash site, the memorial and the second grave.
A few days after their return another B-24J, “546,” was assigned to the remaining Hornsby crew, along with three newly assigned crew members to make up for their loss. They continued to fly “Spoofing Missions.” for the rest the war. They did paint the name, “I Walk Alone” on this B-24.
The second American remains recovery team from the 397th Bomb Group were observed hiding the second recovery of remains at the “226” crash site, which consisted of about two-thirds of the total remains recovered on the 10th of November, 1944. One of the Frenchmen, who had helped the Americans recover the remains, saw what they had done and reported it to his village Priest and Elders. They went to the nearby American WWI Cemetery at Bony and asked if they would take the remains and bury them in a grave marked Unknown.
To a Frenchman of that period, that meant they were going to bury the remains in an ossuary, which could consist of hundreds or thousands of Unknown Dead. They decided, these men had died for France and they deserved a grave of their own, not an ossuary burial.
Two weeks after the remains had been hidden, the Priest went to the hidden grave and with the help of several men, he disinterred the remains from the hidden grave and moved them to a grave of their own in the Village Cemetery of Cartigny, Department of the Somme, France, where the grave continues to exist, with a memorial above it that provides any visitor with the information required to duplicate the author’s research.
It was at this grave, on Christmas Eve, 1991, that the author was introduced to the grave by a Frenchman who requested the author identify the person in the grave by the 50th Anniversary of “D Day”, in 1994. Today, the 22nd of December, 2015, all of the mystery has not been solved. Yes, the remains in the grave are identified and the story of their death fully understood. However, there still exists a major mystery at the crash site of the “Lady Jeannette” concerning the remains of the four men who died during the crash of the “Lady Jeannette” in the Woods of Hattonville.
After the Crash
S/Sgt. Robbins, the waist gunner who was the only surviving crewman with no wounds, found himself in Paris that same afternoon and he was put on a plane back to England on the 11th. He arrived back at the 452nd Bomb Group early in the 12th and he immediately went to the room of 2nd Lt. Collins, the normal Gott crew copilot and woke Collins up to tell him what had happened.
They talked for the rest of the night and in the morning Collins went with Robbins to report to the Group and Squadron Commanders. When Robbins was finished, Collins asked to stay and talk to the two commanders. Once Robbins had left, Collins told the commanders, that they should put Gott and Metzger up for the Silver Star, because they should have crashed at once and they died trying to save the life of a wounded crewman. Both men assured Collins, they would look into what had happened. Collins did remember that was the last time he had seen Robbins at the base, so he assumed Robbins had been sent to a rest camp.
2nd Lt. Collins continued to visit the Commanders offices every day, asking if the awards were being considered. Just after the first of December, 1944, he was assured the award was being advanced and he should prepare for orders to go home.
T/Sgt. Gustafson, the flight engineer, was sent to a base hospital in England, where his temporary cast was cut off and a new cast put on. Then he was sent to a second, recovery base hospital where he was told he would be held for a few months until he could be flown back to the states for a full recovery at a hospital close to his home.
Sgt. Fross, the ball turret gunner, was sent to a base hospital in England and kept there, even though his head wounds had quickly healed. Fross stayed at the hospital and never went back to his base even though his head wounds had quickly healed. Fross told the author, he had informed the hospital staff in England that he had helped at the hospital in France with their German POWs and it was decided he would stay at the hospital to work with their POWs.
“Lady Jeannette” Memorial Dedication – 9 November, 2000 – 56th Anniversary of crash
U.S. Air Force Honor Guard from Germany
The grave memorial does not state, that there are official graves for the three men, each contains about 1/3rd of the 1/3rd remains of the original collection at the crash site. The contents of the official graves were recovered in the early morning of 10 November, 1944, which became the official remains. This grave consists of the second recovery of remains by American medics at the crash site of “226.” Then, illegally hidden in an unmarked grave in a freshly plowed field, something no American military person would even consider on their own. This was ordered by someone who had the power to make a crashed top secret B-24J shot down by “friendly fire” disappear by illegally created documents, including the official aircraft record. This person was able to keep the truth from the American public while completing a military career and becoming a President of the United States. The military career officers who helped him, reached a bright future and the OSS men who made it happen, feared all their life, that the truth would destroy them, once their protector had died. The truth has been in the public for over fifteen years, and yet … few appear to care?
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2nd Lt. Harms, woke up, found the large magnum bottle of Cognac, he was checked to see if he could walk and talk okay and he was put on a train to get on a boat to England, where he went to a base hospital, checked and sent back to the 452nd. Upon arrival, the Squadron Commander, told him to report to the Group Commander, where he told his story and was told to get ready to leave for a rest camp visit that would last a couple of weeks, then a decision would be made about his further situation. While at the rest camp, he happy drank all the cognac in that magnum bottle, always wondering why he had it.
2nd Lt. Harland, managed to extend his stay in Paris a couple of extra days, before he had to return to the 452nd, where he too reported to the Squadron Commander, told his story to the Group Commander and was sent to a rest camp.
None of the survivors ever saw any of the other men when they returned to their base after the crash. Except for a chance meeting between Collins and Robbins, only a couple ever communicated with each other. That continued until the author contacted them, forty-nine years, nine months, after their crash in France.
The crash sites – “226” and the “Lady Jeannette”
“226” – Tincourt-Boucly, the Department of the Somme, France
About 08:00, on 10 November, 1944, a Colonel arrived at the 397th Bombardment Group, reporting main hospital in Saint Quentin, France. Within a half hour, the hospital Commander, had released three Official Burial Packages, consisting of the remains recovered very early that morning by the first recovery team to recovery remains at the crash site of “226.” The Colonel, a member of Eisenhower’s HQ near Rheims, driven by a driver belonging to the same unit, then delivered the three remains packages to a light plane which flew the three remains packages to a temporary American cemetery in Belgium. Where, the illegally ordered burials took place. To protect themselves, the cemetery staff noted on the documents, that the remains had been recovered in France, at a general location and signed by a Dr. Judson.
Many vital Army Graves Registration violations at the command of this Colonel took place for this Colonel not to be completely familiar with what took place at a conference in England. Held in 1943, this conference resulted in many strict Grave Registration regulations being put in place. One was the exact location where American dead were to be buried. In order to keep the number of Unknown dead down and help properly identify the dead, everyone who died in France, was to be buried in France. The same was to happen in Belgium and The Netherlands. To insure this took place, a line to the east was put in place based on the north border of France. The same happed at the north Belgium border. All three zones extended into Germany and further to the east, as far as the American military might advance. The Colonel knew so much about the Graves Registration Regulations, the author believes he attended that conference on Ike’s behalf.
Thus, when ordered to bury men killed in France in their cemetery in Belgium, the Graves Registration men there covered what they had been ordered to do, by placing notes on the Burial Records. Another good research break for the author occurred when he located those documents.
On the morning of the 11th of November, 1944, two events were taking place at Tincourt-Boucly, the first was the Anniversary Services for the Armistice of World War One. The second was all the people talking about the “Fortress” crash that occurred the day before, as some Americans had arrived from the nearby air base. One was the Commander, who told the mayor and owner of the field, that they wanted to make everything right with the village. Accompanying the Commander was a young American Colonel, who observed what was going on, but spoke very little. The villagers remembered one thing about him. He could speak perfect French and could interpret extremely fast from one to the other language.
Just before the base Commander arrived, a bull dozer from the base had arrived and it was beginning to push all the pieces of the crashed bomber into the large crater that had made and the Commander assured them, when it was done the field would be as smooth as before the crash. In addition, several Americans were walking behind the bulldozer, picking up any remaining pieces and putting them in a trailer pulled by a jeep.
The Commander told the Mayor and field owner, the American Army Air Force was willing to pay for any damages to the land. In turn, they were told neither, the village of the farmer would accept any money as the plane had crashed and the men had died while attempting to obtain the full Liberty of France.
Among the arriving Americans were several jeeps, pulling trailers, occupied by Americans in American uniforms with no marking of any kind. Before the Commander and the Colonel left, it was agreed the men in the jeeps would be staying in the village hall/school for some time as they helped with the investigation into the crash of the “B-17” the day before.
This group of Americans stayed for over a week, each day they went from village to village, house to house, asking the people if they had visited the crash site and if they had, did they have any souvenirs of the crash? If, they said they did, the Americans asked to see the souvenir and often they told the people that they had to keep the souvenir as it was important in their investigation of the crash of the B-17. When they visited a house, they always referred to the crash of the B-17 and gave every house a carton of cigarettes. If they took a souvenir, they gave extra cigarettes for the B-17 souvenir.
During their stay, they spent their off time in a village pub, where they gave the owner food to cook for them and where they talked every night to everyone who came in, about the crash of the B-17, while occasionally buying a round of drinks for everyone. All the older people of the village, over time as the author made many trips there, told the author about the souvenirs they turned over to the Americans and how they were all impressed by the ability of all men to speak perfect French, when so few Americans could even begin to speak French.
Nine or ten days after the crash, the Americans spent their last night at the village and left the next morning for the air base. Where, a B-24 had arrived to pick them up. Just like the B-24 that had delivered them to the airbase early in the morning of the 11th of November, this one just arrived, took the men on board and left. The difference, when they had arrived at the base, the base Commander had met them and arranged for jeeps, trailers and rations during their stay. This time, they got out of the jeeps and got in the B-24 that had arrived from no recorded location and left the 396th BG (M) base for no recorded location.
While researching all this, the author met many WWII OSS men and learned a lot about what they had done during World War Two. In addition, he had been contacted by a woman who was hunting for the crash site of her father’s B-24. The author found the site, located a researcher there and in due time, Marilyn Walton, visited her father’s crash site and helped create the POW march organization, “Former Prisoners Of War Stalag Luf III,” involving the POWs who had been marched out of their camps before the Russians arrived and spent many days and nights on the march before the Germans left one day and they were soon met by oncoming forces.
Marilyn met the man who was responsible for recording all the flights of the secret B-24 Bomber Squadron that flew the secret mission delivering the OSS and other such missions into occupied Europe. This man, when the secrecy listing was dropped, had gotten a copy of the records he had kept. When first contacted, he told the author he would check what he had recorded and get back to him.
A few days later, when talking to the author, he admitted something had to be wrong. He knew, he had filled in the destination of every flight the squadron had made, that was not a circle flight, taking off and landing at the base without landing elsewhere. The official record that he knew he had filled out, showed a flight with an unknown load of personnel had left their base at 21:00 hours (9:00pm) on the night of 10 November, 1944, which returned some hours later and there was only an open block where he was certain, he would have listed a destination. He agreed, it appeared that someone had erased the destination sometime after he had filled it in. What amazed both was the fact that what he had recorded listed destinations for agent drops and such, where the agents were to kill people, blow up stuff and all sorts of dirty war missions. Yet, here was one mission that was so secret the destination had been erased by someone. At the author’s request, he discussed the times involved and the locations where the author knew Americans in unmarked uniforms had arrived with some of the pilots he knew and all agreed, the time matched perfectly for a flight and landing at the Peronne air base and then a continuation to the Tours air in eastern France, located about 20 miles from Hattonville.
Again, as normally happened during this research, the proof is not in what was recorded in documents, but in what was not recorded in official documents that legally required such information to be listed.
“226” Memorial – Located at the southern edge of the Bois de Buire on land donated by an excellent friend, Claude Obert, who saved the original memorial plaques when the intersection to the north of Tincourt-Boucly, was to be rebuilt and the village decided to destroy the memorial dedicated near the true crash site on 9 November, 2000. To insure the Memorial could not be treated in such a manner again, Claude dedicated some of his land to the French Government. An excellent friend and supporter of America and American research during both wars, our friend Claude Obert completed his final transfer in 2014.
Note: All the four memorials we have helped put in place in France contain enough information for any historian who might wish to verify our research to do so.
Note: The official HEADQUARTERS No. 100 Group Duty Officers Report Night 9th-10th. Nov., 1944 (Royal Air Force)
This report was obtained at the USAAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB during a research visit. It was obtained from Declassified English RAF documents. This is as official as one can get, in proving a document that surely went to the Eisenhower Staff officer who worked as Liaison with the RAF 100 Group concerning the attachment of the top secret American 36th BS verifies that 226 crashed in France and was never turned over to the RAF as stated on 226’s Official AC Record.
It also proves that our current Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) use of the “Fog of War” as an excuse to fail to conduct the required and promised “Full Search and Recovery” of the true crash site of the “Lady Jeannette” is only being used because they are well aware of what they will find during such an official search, which would force them to reveal the falsified MOH awards and “Ordered by Ike” hidden remains.
“Lady Jeannette” – The true crash site in the Woods of Hattonville
11 November, 1944, the medics of the 563rd SAW Battalion Headquarters, stationed in Hattonville, Department of the Meuse, arrived back at the crash site of the “Lady Jeannette” to finish the grisly task of the recovery of the rest of the man’s body that had been torn apart during the crash and spread out along the debris trail left by the crashing bomber. There were three enlisted medics conducting the search when the Battalion Doctor arrived, accompanied by a young Colonel.
The Colonel and a driver had arrived just after midnight with the motor pool men being told to service and clean their vehicle. The enlisted driver was fed and bunked, while the Colonel was taken to the Mayor’s home where the Battalion Commander, Executive Officer and Doctor were staying.
They had a breakfast prepared to take with them and left fairly earlier for the crash site. They stayed there for some time then the Commander went back to his HQ.
At the site, the Colonel listened as the XO and Doctor told the enlisted men what was to be done. The amount of information on what they were going to do was very limited. It is obvious, that during the night when the Colonel first met with the three 563rd officers, he convinced them to do something that was not only morally wrong, but illegal by Army Regulation and the laws of the United States. Certainly, at every location where the Colonel visited, people did things that should and would have led to a court martial if what they were doing become public knowledge.
In the process, the Colonel had to have told the officers at their quarters and later in the woods, the enlisted men were to be told that what they were being ordered to do must be kept secret and they would never tell anyone what they had done. It had to be done with such a threat, that none of the men the author found during his research would admit doing what the official Burial Packages of the Gott crew dead proves was done.
The only person who could possibly have the power to scare the men so badly that they did what they did was General Eisenhower, with the Colonel acting on his behalf. It was all done via verbal orders with no written documentation of what was being done. However, not only are there obvious omissions in documents where what was done, should have been recorded, there are existing documents that contain evidence that the people who made this happen were at the units in question.
Over the years, the author was told, but has no hard supporting foundation, that the men were told they were helping hide the dead of a captured B-17 that the Germans was trying to use to fly behind the front lines and spy on the rear of Patton’s new drive. The bodies had to be hidden because the other survivors, all German spies, had been captured and it was important that the Germans did not find out their captured B-17 had crashed and there were surviving POWs. This never sounded true to the author until another research project led to the crash site of a unaccounted for B-17G on the mountain side to the south of Luvigny, Department of the Vosges. The French people all insist, it was a captured B-17F that was shot down on 3 March, 1945. When all other documents show that particular B-17F was shot down when it returned to its base by a night fighter near Stuttgart, Germany. In May, 2015, the author’s wife recovered a very identifiable relic at that crash site and it proves the B-17 that crashed there is a model “G.” There is only one possible captured model “G” and all German documents claims it was lost some months earlier. Still, the local French historians claim, it was a captured B-17 flown by members of the KG 200 Group. Same argument, 80 miles apart as the crow flies.
The authors previous military history has proven very valuable in this research, as the author, was a Radar Operator in the Air Force, from the summer of 1957 to the summer of 1961, then he joined the US Army and was a Nike Missile Fire Control Maintenance Man from November, 1961 to November, 1964. While serving in Morocco in 1957/1958, the author was assigned as the ration driver for several months and he was in charge of documenting the rations received and the rations expended. Whenever a person ate (drew rations) who did not belong to the unit, that person had to sign into the organization and provide evidence that he could legally draw (eat) those rations. Otherwise, if such records were not kept and followed, the unit would be short of enough food to feed their legal troops, let alone walk in people.
The official documents of the 563rd SAW Battalion which should show the arrival and departure of such people, shows no one arriving or departing the unit during the time in question. As the author found with other units in the region where he checked their daily documents, many were apparently and very obviously falsified. One was the 563rd SAW Battalion, where the headquarters documents failed to record people who were there and who (drew rations) ate food at the unit’s mess hall.
In the official mess hall records of the time involved, it shows rations were issued for five people and replacement rations were requested. We know, two were the Colonel and his driver, we also know from interviews with a large number the 80 men assigned to the 563rd Bat HQ, that they remembered another three men who arrived by jeep, early on the 11th and stayed two or three days and then disappeared. They wore American uniforms with no markings and spent their time at the local bars and restaurants sitting around drinking and talking. Though, most of the French who were old enough to be in these places were no longer available, some did remember the three men always listening to what they were saying. Even though, all they ever did was talk in English among themselves.
In late May, 2000, the author, his wife and the Mayor of Hattonville had found an ID tag that was around the neck of 1st Lt. Gott when he died. It and a skull fragment that also proved to be his after a few years, was found about two feet from where a fire had been built at the crash site. Neither the skull fragment, nor the ID tag showed any fire damage. Yet, the Gott ID Tag, as well as the 2nd Lt. Metzger ID tag that had been with their remains when buried showed extensive fire damage.
Some years after that Jeanne Metzger Scholfield, Lt. Metzer’s sister, gave the author one of Lt. Metzger’s ID tags that had been attached to his casket. One side of it showed extensive fire damage and the other side, had been cleaned so his name and ID number would stand out. A year after his death, his family had received an ID bracelet that his sisters, Jeanne Metzger Scholfield and Francis Metzger Fredericks, had given Lt. Metzger the day he left for England. The bracelet had suffered extensive fire damage along with evidence of the force which the limbs breaking into the cockpit had carried. He had worn the bracelet on his right wrist and the damage suggests, he had raised his right arm up to protect his face, when he was struck by limbs breaking into the cockpit.
We know, the fire, as the crash came to an end, was a flash fire of atomized fuel from the broken fuel cells of the left wing. We know, the French men who first arrived at the site, found there was no fire in the cockpit and we know, they then found the radio operator’s body which they stated was lightly singed. Obvious proof that his body did not disintegrate as stated in the two Medal Of Honor Citations is the existence of his “Snorter Bill” also received by his family about a year later. They received his billfold, which smelled smoky and show little damage, and perhaps, what was left of some dried blood staining the leather.
Everything in the radio operator’s wallet was undamaged and verified by the Commander of the cemetery where his “Burial Package” was buried. The author located the commander of the cemetery at the time before Captain James T. Passman completed his final transfer, he verified to the author that the old Sergeant in charge of recording the burials and personal items would have followed every regulation and not shown a lightly damaged wallet unless it was lightly damaged. At the same time, he would have recorded the remains listed on the Burial Packages exactly as presented him. When the author talked to him, then Captain Passman told the author, if his name was on a record, that record was exact. He had stayed in the service for a career and retired as a Colonel from an Airborne Division. He had always planned a military career and he would never have falsified a document concerning a burial, no matter who ordered him to do so. It is rather important to the author to know a Graves Registration officer who would have probably have put his honestly before his career goals.
Especially, if a Colonel from General Eisenhower’s had arrived and put the pressure against him, that appears to have succeed with all the other officers involved, from Lt. to General, they all buckled!
The author, who has deeply studied Graves Registration during World Wars One and Two, knows the efforts these dedicated men made to follow the regulations and insure, that every document was correctly filled out and if there was anything at all that did not seem right, to record it so it could be verified during the final identification process.
This left us with items that were on the men when they died, some had fire damage as if they had been in the crash of the B-24 and not on the men who died when the “Lady Jeannette” crashed. The two pilots, Gott and Metzger were sitting about two feet apart. Yet, one’s ID tag, one that did not make it to the cemetery and a skull fragment from Lt. Gott, which showed none of the damage the other remains in their official graves, were listed to have suffered when inventoried for “Final Disposition.
I know, this did not happened after Graves Registration and I know that none of them had the power to do, what was done at both crash sites. At one, one-third of the remains collected, consisting of three official Burial Packages were illegally buried in Belgium and not at the Limey cemetery where Army Regulations stated they had to be buried. I know, by Army Regulations then in effect, as both “226” and the “Lady Jeannette” crashed in France, there should have been eight official graves, four from each crash site buried at the American temporary Limey Cemetery. We visited the site of this cemetery in May, 2015, and it is actually some distance from the village of Limey. Apparently the name was selected based on where the personnel lived and the turn off from the main highway. All American cemeteries were located near major roads, but far enough away, that American military personnel traveling on the main highway could not see the results of the war.
The Colonel left the Woods of Hattonville about 10:15 and headed toward Etain and a ration draw at the HQ of the XIX Tactical Air Command, 9th AF. Both SAW Battalions and the night fighter squadrons reported to these commands.
In the Woods of Hattonville, the remains of the tail gunner were divided up to create four official Burial Packages. During that process, based on the official documents, some of S/Sgt. Krimminger’s torn-apart remains were burnt to have them match the remains recovered at the “226” crash site. The proof of this in in the official Burial Reports and in the 1948, official Disinterment Directives, which contains an official list of the remains found in each of the four official graves of the Gott crew dead.
During this time, based on a statement by the wife of the Executive Officer, Major Byrnes, on the order of the Colonel from Eisenhower’s staff, they dug a hidden grave at the crash site and placed the three complete bodies of 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, 2nd Lt. William E. Metzer, Jr. and T/Sgt. Robert A. Dunlap in the grave after stripping their remains of all personal identification, including their ID tags, which again, was a major crime under all Army Regulations in place at the time. Then, they covered up the men’s bodies, loaded the four false official Burial Packages into the ambulance and left the crash site. After they left, the outlying guards were removed and the French could visit the crash site.
Zeman later departed Hattonville for the American Limey temporary cemetery to deliver the dead to the cemetery. All went well, until the old Sergeant inspected the filled out Burial Records and found that the Gott remains had only one ID tag with them and regulations required both be accounted for on the record. Zeman thought fast and told the Sergeant, that he had seen both tags at the site and his Battalion Doctor must have kept one of the Gott tags. Note, it is stated Lt. Gott was burned in a plane crash, which means the flesh of the remains turned in on this Report of Burial showed fire damage!
It was the receipt of this copy that allowed the author to track the listed GR officer, 19 TAC to Major Venar, the 563rd SAW Battalion’s doctor. In the summer of 2006, the wife of (then) Major Byrne told the author and his wife, Carol, “I know all about the hidden bodies in the woods…” and what her husband had been forced to do in the Woods of Hattonville and after all this time, no one could be hurt, it was time their bodies were found and returned to their loved ones!
From 9 November, 1944, to the winter of 1946/47, the pieces of the “Fortress” sat on the clay floor of the Woods of Hattonville. Slowly, they pushed aside the clay and sank deeper into the earth. In the winter of 1946, the time had come for the woods to be thinned and when went foresters visited the site they realized something was strange. In the summer of 1946, the Germans had come to the area around Hattonville and they recovered all the debris left from the war. To the north and to the south, the Germans recovered the remains of B-17 bombers that had crashed, as well as burned out tanks, destroyed vehicles of all kinds. When they had left, all the debris of war was gone, however, somehow the Germans failed to retrieve the wreckage in the Woods of Hattonville.
We know now what the foresters and civilians of Hattonville did not know in 1946. The USAAF was responsible for giving the Germans the location of all crashed USAAF aircraft. And, thanks to cover-up of the top secret “226” the 8th USAAF had reported the official location of the crash site of the B-17G, the “Lady Jeannette,” the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor was 138 miles to the northeast of Hattonville. Just to the north of the small village of Tincourt-Boucly, in the Department of the Somme.
One early morning in the late spring of 1946, the villagers of Tincourt-Boucly were surprised to find a large convoy of vehicles arriving. One of the vehicles was a steam driven shovel which was soon digging where the Americans had pushed all the debris from the B-17 that had crashed in November, 1944. We know from an additional excavation in the summer of 1994, when a French historical team dug out the crash site, they found nothing but small bits and pieces of the “Fortress” that had crashed. When they got down to fifteen feet, they found a charred area where an engine had been removed by the Germans and stopped the dig. The Germans did not care what scrap metal they dug up, either a B-24 or a “Fortress” it was all scrap metal that would soon begin to return to the United States as dishware, souvenirs and many other items marked, made in West Germany. When done at the “226”/”Lady Jeannette” crash site, they moved to the Woods of Buire and recovered the B-26 that had crashed on 22 January, 1945, with two men being killed during the crash.
Meanwhile, down in the Woods of Hattonville, the B-17G bomber the German salvage unit reported they recovered at Tincourt-Boucly in 1946, continued to sink into the clay soil of Hattonville.
Times were hard after the war, they were short of men and everything was very expensive, so much so the villagers were searching out everything they could find and selling it for scrap or whatever they could get. They knew from information given out during and after the war that all the crashed airplanes belonged to their country of origin and any human remains found at such crash sites were to be reported immediately. However, it was apparent the Americans had forgotten about this one and they knew, the dead had been recovered, as they had helped recover the dead, so that was not a problem. A meeting of the villager elders was held and the situation was deeply discussed, out there in their woods is something that will make life a lot better. If, they all stuck together and no one ratted them out, they could tear it apart and collect a lot of money selling the scrap. Soon, the families swooped down into the woods and began tearing the carcass apart. Each family picked an area of the woods and then, using axes, hammers, saws and anything needed, the villagers began the total destruction of that carcass. Each family built a fire and used the fire to burn off the insulation off the wire and to melt the plastic fused to various metals. In due time, the carcass disappeared leaving only fragments of the mighty bird that died in the Woods of Hattonvile.
Fifty-two years later the author spent many hours in the woods, at first he was going to lay out a grid system and determine exactly where each relic was recovered. Then, nothing made any sense. Some distance from where the nose had been, he found a plastic chart that had been attached to side of the bombardier’s positon. After recovering a few hundred relics and locating a number of places were fires had been located, it suddenly sunk in. There was no sense in marking locations, as what was being found was bits and pieces of aircraft that was scattered by the families as they tore the carcass apart.
Over the years, the author, his wife, and other interested people spent over a thousand hours searching the site. When done, only two items had been found, which the author believed had been in the dirt since the original crash. One was the radio direction finder pod that hung under the nose and the second was a heavy square aluminum tube, which was part of the number four motor mount and it had been sticking out of the hole created when the engine and cowling was blown off the bombers wing. The top of the tube was three feet down in the depression left by the right wing leaning against a tree from the day of the crash. The radio direction finder pod was a foot deep and about ten feet to the east of where the tail had landed. Apparently, it had been pushed into the dirt and not found by the villagers, so it is now a treasured relic of the author.
When the author, his wife and a French friend from the Somme went to Hattonville to investigate the bomber that had crashed in the woods, no one would talk about it. One retired forester took us out to the woods and pointed us to where he remembered the crash had been. We searched and searched and found nothing to show any airplane had crashed in the woods. Then, the author began a large grid search and a thousand feet away, he found a ribbon of rubber around a scrub bush. It was obviously something from an airplane and then, as we searched around that location, we found the true crash site of the “Lady Jeannette” in September, 1998. On the 9th of November, 1998, the author was again in the Woods of Hattonville beginning the first clearing of the site in many years.
We soon realized the villagers did not want to talk about what they had done, as they still thought they could be punished for stealing the Property of the United States. That could have happened, until 1961/62 when all the files on crashed aircraft locations were lost in a fire. Then, the United States turned over the ownership of any remaining wreckage to the owner of the property where the plane crashed. So, in effect, the villagers stole something that would have been their own in due time. Once we could explain that to the villagers we began to learn a lot more about the crash and the death of three of the crew.
In early June, 2000, after the author and his wife, had delivered the newly found ID tag that proved beyond any doubt, that 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, MOH, could not have died in the crash described in the medal Citation, they were told by the person in charge of Mortuary Affairs, Europe, that the site would have to be given a full “Search and Recovery” to find the unaccounted for remains. In late 2000, the author was told, a full “S&R” was schedule in February, 2001. The author had tickets to be there, when a week before he was to leave, he was informed, the team had to be sent to an emergency recovery.
It was then, that we realized that Mortuary Affairs, then in the process of becoming a new caring organization was full of liars, who would never allow the truth to be known, if there was any way they could prevent. The emergency crash site was one we had been to in 1999 and we were told by the men who had located the site, they had placed a request over a year earlier for Mortuary Affairs to conduct a full “S&R.” They had found a P-51 buried about 15 feet in the soft dirt of the area, they had found the pilot sitting in his seat and stopped and were waiting and continued to wait for around two years before, it suddenly became an emergency. If anyone wants to check, you can find the newspaper articles stating about their new find and then, you will find it took them some years before the newspaper articles were claiming they had just been able to identify the pilot.
Funny, he was found sitting inside his P-51, with all its serial number and the machine gun serial numbers listed on his MACR, Missing Aircrew/Aircraft Report. In addition, the pilot’s ID tags were found around the neck of the body. All of which provided instant, one hundred percent identification during and after World War Two, until it was realized by the new organizations, fast identification does not build big budgets. Holding the remains for years and conducting extensive mtDNA testing builds large budgets, with new labs and fancy offices and of course, in our government, it is the size of the budget and the people you are in charge of that is the foundation for your base pay. And, the best part is, no one will dare question us, as we take care of our military dead.
Perhaps, it was that way twenty years ago, when the men were mostly retired veterans, however the organizations are now run by civilians who have little or no service, except for civil service and they do know exactly how to build a budget to over a hundred millions dollars, while identifying only 80 or so Unknowns a year.
Since, he was first involved, the Colonel sometimes accompanied by Sgt. Tiff, his driver, made several trips to England and was remembered at the 452nd Bomb Group, 36th Bomb Squadron (RCM) and obviously led the 729th Bomb Squadron and 452nd BG Commanders through the Congressional Medal Of Honor applications.
The best witness to his existence is 2nd Lt. Harms, the required “eye witness officer” for an application to go forth. Lt. Harms had returned from the rest camp, but neither he nor Lt. Collins met during that time. One day in December, Lt. Harms was called to the Group Commanders office and the Group Commander told him, they had been reviewing what had happened to him and his application to be taken off flying status.
The Group Commander asked Lt. Harms to go for a walk with him and while they were walking he told Lt. Harms, the normal thing that happened to men who did not want to fly, was an immediate assignment to front line infantry unit, however, he told Harms as they came to the Group Finance offices, that he knew Lt. Harms was only a quarter short of graduating from college with an accounting degree and if everything went right for Lt. Harms in the next day or two, instead of his being assigned as a front line infantry 2nd Lt., he would be retained at the group as a Finance Officer. The Commander took Harms on a tour of the finance office, introduced him to everyone and reminded him when they left, that the next couple of days were very important and he hoped Lt. Harms did the right thing.
Lt. Collins had been called in and they told him, that he could leave for home, knowing that his actions were responsible for Gott and Metzger being awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor. And, he was given his orders to report to a ship for return to the states. Fifty some years later, T/Sgt Gustafson and the author visited Lt. Collins at his home in Washington, D.C, and Collins told us, that knowing he was responsible for their getting the Congressional Medal Of Honor was the best memory of his life. This visit took place before the author knew the truth and Collins completed his final transfer before the truth was known. Still, Lt. Collins did it for the truth, not to hide the truth of what was done, which was done by General Eisenhower and all those he supported, especially those who read, approved and signed the applications, knowing the information contained within was false.
S/Sgt. Robbin, upon return from the rest camp, was asked to go his Squadron Commander’s office on 22 November, 1944, and interviewed about what happened. When the description of the men’s death was read, he said that was not what happened as they were extremely low when he bailed out and there was no way his B-17 had crashed that way. He was told, if he did not sign the statement the way it was worded, he would be responsible for the two pilots not receiving the Congressional Medal Of Honor. Plus, as soon as he signed it he was to go to his barracks and pack, as he was being assigned to the 70th Repl Depot, par 5 SO#328, Hq 3rd Bomb Division, on the 23rd. He had been put in for a promotion ot T/Sgt., but since he was on orders, it was refused. As Robbins told the author when we visited his at his home, fifty years later, he liked Gott and had no reason that should prevent him getting the award, so he signed the statement. Then, he was given his travel orders to start on his way home to his wife, Shirley, back home in the states. They had been married on the 29th of May and he had left for England on the 8th of June, 1944, and he was ready to get on with his marriage to Shirley.
Lt. Harland had finally returned to the base and immediately sent off to a rest camp where he greatly enjoyed himself. He never met anyone from the group again, though there were some letters after the war, however, he did not maintain the communications. Harland arrived back in the United States, one of the first to arrive back home and was home for Christmas in Chicago where he lived for the rest of his life. Harland had died six weeks before the author found his address, however, his family gave the author full access to all his papers, including copies of the letters. Among the documents, there was a reference of how he helped get the men the Congressional Medal Of Honor and his children told the author, that he carried a newspaper clipping in his wallet all his life and often showed it to them and told them, those two men were really responsible for their lives, if not for them, they would never had been born. For a while Harland did communicate with S/Sgt. Krimminger’s widow. Thanks to Mrs. Ida Krimminger’s efforts to contact all the crew survivors to find out what had happened to her husband, the author was finally able to locate all the families of those who died and all the survivors. She was some gal, she refused the G.I. Insurance payment of $10,000 and insisted S/Sgt. Krimminger’s mother and family receive the insurance money. Ida finished college, became a micro-biologist and married a lawyer from San Francisco and she has a field house in a San Francisco park named after her.
S/Sgt. Fross, never returned to the base, he was happy at the base hospital he had been sent to and he remembered he was visited one time by an officer from the base and he had to sign something important, however, as it was over fifty years later when the author interviewed him, and he was well into Alzheimer’s, he could not remember what it was he signed.
T/Sgt. Gustafson remembered very well the officer who came from the Group to interview him as a witness to the Congressional Medal Of Honor applications. When the officer read the description of the crash and the men’s death, he told the officer there was no way that was true. Then, again the person being interviewed was told, if you do not sign this document exactly as written, you will be responsible for Lts. Gott and Metzter not receiving the Congressional Medal Of Honor. Hell, Sam, Gustafson told me, I believed they deserved the medal even if the description was false, so I signed the damn thing and the officer left. In February, 1944, he was flown back to the states and spent a year in military hospitals until he could walk and was discharged.
Lt. Harms was informed that he was to be present at the Group Commanders office early the next morning. When he arrived, he was told to go into the Commander’s office and there he found two rows of documents lying on the Commander’s desk and standing behind the desk was his Squadron and Group Commander. Standing a short distance behind them was a young Colonel that he did not recognize. His Group Commander told him to look over the documents and that he was to sign the two applications as the required “Eye Witness Officer.” Lt. Harms quickly read the two documents and then he had a problem, he told his Commander that he could not sign the documents as the description of the crash and the death of the men was not true. He had watched his bomber crash into a woods and come to a stop right in front of him. Then, he had visited the crash site and he was positive, the bomber had broken into four large pieces and it had not disintegrated as stated. He added, that both his Squadron and Group Commander has seen his medical record that proved his B-17 had not crashed as described in the two applications!
The Commander looked over his shoulder at the young Colonel, who stepped up between his two Commanders and told him very directly, “Lt. you will sign these documents exactly as written, salute, and march out of this office, or I will not be responsible for what will happen to you.” Fifty years later, Lt. Harms told the author, I was not a damn fool then and I am not a damn fool now, I signed the documents, saluted, turned and marched out of that office. The next day, I became a Group Finance Officer. Sam, I was married and I had a pregnant wife at home, there was no way I was going to the front lines. Then, in February, 1945, he was the only survivor, other than Gustafson to fly home.
Lt. Collins arrived aboard a ship in Boston on Christmas Day, 1944. When leaving the terminal, he ran into S/Sgt. Robbins who was surprised to see him. They talked for a few minutes and Robbins asked to borrow ten dollars as he had lost all his money playing craps on the way back. Collins never expected to see that ten dollars again, but some months later, a card arrived with the ten dollars. Robbins did get home that Christmas night, thanks to Collins, he rejoined his wife, Shirley, whom he had married just before he left. Before Robbins was discharged, he was assigned to be a teacher at a machine gunners school in Texas. He knew Fross lived in McAllen, Texas, and when he called Fross’s home, he found Fross was home on leave, so he got a short leave and Robbins and Fross visited. Before too long, Fross and Robbins lost contact with each other. Both were discharged and Robbins and Shirley moved back home to Massachusetts. Once, Shirley and Robbins found out about the 452nd Bomb Group Association, they attended most of the reunions before Shirley died. Sometime after Shirley died in the mid-2000’s, during a conversation with the author, Robbins told the author he was just waiting to die, so he could join Shirley.
S/Sgt. Fross, stayed at the base hospital in England and finally boarded a ship for home on Christmas Day, 1944. Later, he heard from Robbins, that Gustafson was in a hospital in New Jersey and he sent Gustafson a crate of grapefruit. Gustafson remembered this as he had been given a home leave and he received the package after moving to another hospital. It had taken so long to catch up with him, the grapefruits had rotted. He met Fross one last time when he and the author visited Fross’s home in McAllen, fifty-one years later. Fross had gone into Alzheimer’s and his wife, Mary, had called the author and told him, if you ever want to talk to him, you must come soon. The next week, the author and Gustafson arrived at his home. Due to the author knowing the names of all the men involved and exactly what happened, they carried on a conversation for some time, which greatly surprised Mary, as he had not been talking to anyone. Later, they tried to get him into a Veteran’s Hospital and he was refused, as they did not have any record of the metal in his head. The author supplied the information about the metal in Fross’s head and how it got there. The VA did an x-Ray series and admitted him, where he lived until he completed his final transfer.
In the late 1990’s the author was contacted by an officer who served in the 452nd Bomb Group. He wrote to inform the author that he had written both of the application’s citation and they were approved exactly as he had written them, except for the description of the crash! The Group Commander had given him a sheet of paper with two descriptions of the crash written on it and the Group Commander told the awards officer, that all the rest of the two applications were to be his. However, (basically an order) he was to use the supplied description for both men’s applications exactly as written with no change what so ever!
By the end of December, the applications were making their way up the Chain of Command. Lt. Harms’ medical records, which he did furnish a copy to the author, supports his claim that he was forced to sign the applications under the threat of punishment of being sent to the front lines as an Infantry Second Lieutenant with no training, where such officers had a life expectancy of less than a month. Especially, as both Commanders and the Colonel knew that Lt. Harms had a pregnant wife at home.
One would have to believe, that the Colonel from Eisenhower’s staff who had such power large unit commanders did whatever they were told to do, was using Eisenhower’s name, without General Eisenhower’s knowledge to even believe a little, that General Eisenhower had not approved of all that was done.
General Eisenhower owed his Command in Europe to General Marshall and does any reader think, that General Eisenhower would have sent two falsified Congressional Medal Of Honor applications up the Chain of Command without fully informing all the men involved that what he has requested them to do, involved false statements?
The applications were created and forwarded, when men such as the Commanders of the XIX Tactical Air Command knew the truth of both crash sites. Another man, one who was the overall Commander of the 3rd Army in eastern France, knew of the shoot down of a Top Secret B-24 in his area of Command, by a night fighter under the Command of the 9th USAAF. The Commander of the 9th USAAF was a drinking buddy of the overall Commander and both spent a lot of time together. General George Patton, the Commander of the 3rd Army, the overall Commander of the United States Army in eastern France, had a reputation of knowing everything that happened in his area of command.
The author is certain, that General Patton was aware of the shoot down of the top secret “226” and the crash of the “Lady Jeannette” in the Woods of Hattonville. For one week before the shoot down of both of these bombers and for one week after both had crashed, no other American bomber crashed in France. As the cover up did not begin until nearly a day after the “Lady Jeannette” had crashed, the information of the B-17 crash was already in the daily reports, as was the shoot down of a B-24 by a night fighter.
For General Patton not be aware of both crashes, one would have to believe, he was not being briefed on the daily combat reports of the units under his command. Yes, there no such reports in any existing documents from this period. Expected documents are either missing or have obviously been modified after the date of their origin.
A prime example of this is the most forward USAAF unit on that date. It was a P-51 photo recon unit and its report for the 9th of November, states all the pilots were out on the runway, looking for a P-51 that was overdue. It also states, they had been notified by a forward observer in the front line, that a P-51 had been seen going down inside the German lines. At that exact time, the “Lady Jeannette” had flown almost overhead of that unit at an altitude of no more than 1,500 feet with fire torching back past the tail on one side and smoke leading back into the German lines from the other. The forward observer was assigned to the 563rd SAW Battalion and his report had to have been forwarded by the 563rd to the photo unit headquarters and we know, he also reported the B-17 passing overhead. However, there is no existing document in the photo recon’s records that they ever saw the B-17, which crashed a few miles from their base. One would think, the first thing a 9th USAAF unit would do, would be to send an ambulance to follow the B-17 to its crash site to see if they could aid the bomber crew from the 8th USAAF. And, certainly to help insure other aviation men who might have died, they would have noted the sighting in their daily combat report.
The application moved up the Chain of Command and in due time, would have made it to the office of the President. By that time, Roosevelt may have already died and the author believes, that he would have been informed about the cover-up false Congressional Medal Of Honor applications. As everyone in that Chain of Command now knew, that officially recovered remains at both crash sites had been hidden and all the official records, as required by Army Regulations had been falsified to hide this fact from the families of the men who died at both crash sites! And, all of them knew, the American public would not stand for any military person, from Private to General Eisenhower hiding the remains of American military dead! If, what had been done ever became known to the American public, with all the tens of thousands of dead and Missing In Action personnel, the mothers, the fathers, the siblings, the wives of all those dead, either accounted for or still Missing In Action would demand that everyone involved in any way be brought up on charges and their careers destroyed!
Based on the fact, that President Truman was not told about the atomic bomb research and the fact that one would soon exist for some time after he became President, the author believes, when President Truman approved the award of the Congressional Medal Of Honor on General Order 38, 16 May, 1945, to 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott and 2nd Lt. William E. Metzger, Jr. that he had no idea of what had been done. The author believes, that Truman was a man, who if he had known, he would not approved the applications and he would have corrected the situation of the hidden remains, where possible.
The war had ended before the awards were approved and General Patton had arranged to return to the United States for a Victory Tour. He was honored at many large cities with ticker tape parades and tens of thousands in attendance. In Boston, over 700,000 people turned out to line the streets, more people than lived in Boston. The same occurred in Los Angles and Denver, plus his other stops. While on the tour, the newspapers all had articles in them of two 8th USAAF pilots being awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.
General Patton had to know what had been done, and had gone along with it, as it was so important that the top secrets contained in the top secret B-24 were kept from the Germans. He agreed with Eisenhower, if the Germans had learned what the B-24 was capable of doing and had gotten a relic from the crash, that would allow them to duplicate the top secret equipment and use it against the Allies Air Forces, the war would not be lost, but it could be extended with thousands of possible Allied aircraft losses, of thousands of additional Allied air crew casualties, and it was possible tens of thousands of civilians on both sides would become casualties and so, he agreed with what General Eisenhower had ordered to be done and basically, it had been out of his mind for some time.
Now, he realized that General Eisenhower had used the highest American military medal not to honor the dead pilots, but to hide what General Eisenhower had personally ordered to be done. In fact, ordering American military leaders down to the lowest enlisted man involved, that they would illegally hide the remains of American military dead! It was obvious to General Patton, that General Eisenhower had also personally ordered the falsification of two Congressional Medal Of Honor awards.
It is noted in books concerning General Patton’s return to Europe after the tour, that he was worried about something and in fact, he had told close friends, that he now had information that would destroy the men who were trying to destroy him. However, if he used what he knew, it would cause great problems in the Chain of Command and he did not want to follow through.
Then, General Eisenhower reduced General Patton from being the Commander of the 3rd Army to commander of the 15th Army, a paper army that had less than 2,000 personnel assigned to it. It is recorded in October, 1945, he was known to be extremely troubled and drove around Germany and Europe and when he returned, he again stated, he was not ready to destroy the Chain of Command of the Army he loved.
Then, on Saturday night, 8 December, 1945, General Paton held a staff dinner and he told the assembled men, that he had made up his mind. He could not continue as he had, he was leaving for England on Monday, to board the Navy cruiser, the USS Augusta. The Captain of the Augusta was a long-time friend of his, he would be home for Christmas with his wife and then, after Christmas, he was going to quit the Army. He was not going to retire, because, if he retired they could still control him. Then, in the New Year, after he was no longer in the Army, he was going to tell the American public, the truth as he knew it.
It is recorded, that General Gay, assigned to him by General Eisenhower, was immediately upset and after some time, he told General Patton that they should go pheasant hunting tomorrow, as he knew fields where no German had hunted since the war began and they would find many pheasants for Patton to try out the new shotgun he had been given. General Patton agreed and told General Gay to get it set up and they would enjoy a good day of hunting.
Nearly everyone knows what happened to General Patton the next day. On the way to the hunt, an American 6X6 had pulled in front of Patton’s staff car and he was badly injured in the accident. There are a number of books, based on this being a planned accident that was used to kill General Patton. In the latest joke, to the author, a book based on their version of history, titled “Killing General Patton,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-9668-2 was recently published. The book consists of rehashed information that had been written over the years by many authors, such as laying out why the Russians wanted Patton dead or an OSS man was paid to kill Patton. There was nothing new and neither writer offered any true motive for Patton to not return to the United States.
At the end, they left the readers as uninformed as when they began reading the book. Had either one spent any time interviewing men who fought in Europe both O’Reilly and Dugard would have learned none of the men would have followed Patton one inch in an attack on Russia. The author has talked with hundreds, if not thousands, of Veterans over the years and every one of them stated, they had fought their war and won it. And, no matter what others might say, they were going home and if anyone attempted to stop them, there would have been battles at the ports in Europe.
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, if they had done any true research would have known the author had first published “The Best Kept Secret Of World War Two!” ISBN: 978-0-9662728-1-9 in 2008, in which the author laid out a very understandable motive, supported by the inclosed and more evidence, why General Patton must not return to the United States and carry out, exactly what is recorded, he said he was going to do at that last dinner. He was going to quit the Army and destroy those bastards who had been attempting to destroy him!
As to his death in the hospital, General Patton’s wife had flown to Europe and had discussed with General Gay and her husband’s doctors about his improvement to a point where the doctors had agreed, he could be returned to the states. When suddenly, the next day a massive infection set in and Patton was soon dead. Not autopsy was done, no fluids were preserved and he was quickly buried among the soldiers he had commanded.
During the twenty-four years, come Christmas Eve, 1991, since the author was first introduced to the Grave of the Unknown American in the Cartigny village cemetery the author has met a number of OSS personnel. Among the discussions was how the OSS was disbanded immediately by President Roosevelt when Patton died. During his research and during these discussions, the author became aware of some of the training OSS personnel was given. Some were sent to France to openly kill Frenchmen who were helping the Germans, others died suddenly, overwhelmed by infections. One told the author, it is easy to kill someone in such a manner that most would never realize the person was murdered. All one had to do was place some human waste in a cup, mix some water to turn it into an injectable fluid and inject in a location where no one would notice. In a few hours, a massive infection would develop and soon, that person would be dead. As a historian, the author has to place the following question. Perhaps that is why no autopsy was performed after General Patton’s death?
In 1948, all American dead were disinterred and prepared for their “Final Disposition. Even if the family had requested an “over there” burial, the remains were disinterred, inspected by a licensed Mortician, re-identified and an inventory of the contents of the grave was recorded on the “Disinterment Directive.”
NOTE 1: Krimminger’s official Burial Report showed his cause of death, caught on plane
NOTE 2: Condition of Remains – Advanced state of decomposition; disarticulated; all major bones fractured and/or missing except left radius & pelvic girdle.
We know Krimminger was torn apart by the trees. However, his remains were not in the fire zone and there was nothing to crush bones, other than tree limb strikes. With the time the medics of the 563rd SAW Battalion spent recovering the remains and the fact that no French person who walked the crash site after the site was released ever reported finding any bones in the debris trail, one has to believe all of Krimminger’s recoverable remains were recovered.
Disinterment Directive for 2nd Lt. Metzger, Jr. – Medal Of Honor
2nd Lt. Metzger was sitting in the same cockpit, within two feet of 1st Lt. Gott and it is important to note that his official grave contained no identifiable bones, with the contents being recorded as Disarticulated. Multiple fractures throughout. We know, from interviews with the French over the years, that both pilots had been found, sitting side by side with the only injury to their bodies were their broken skulls from the limbs breaking into the cockpit. We also know from French eyewitnesses at the crash site, that a large number of the French saw three complete bodies at the site, one of which would have been the complete body of 2nd Lt. Metzer, Jr. – MOH. The question has to be, where are his complete physical body remains?
NOTE: The original Burial Record of 2nd Lt. W. E. Metzger, Jr. shows his cause of death was: “Burned airplane crash.” Which indicates the original burned flesh and bone remains stated in his official Burial Report to be his official remains, as turned in by the 563rd SAW Battalion medics had to have been placed in a fire after death.
French eyewitnesses saw his complete body, the only explanation has to be, the remains in that Burial Package consisted of the burned, partial remains of Krimminger.
Disinterment Directive for 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott – MOH
1st Lt. Gott was sitting within two feet of 2nd Lt. Metzger when they died. Yet, the inventory of the remains in his official grave consisted of: Body disarticulated; crushed skull, mandible & maxilla; fractured: lt humerus, radius, pelvis, femur, tibia & fibula, rt scapula, humerus, radius, ulna, pelvis & femur missing. Note: What is missing, when both men bodies were removed from inside their B-17 cockpit as complete bodies with broken skulls. Description by the Frenchmen who helped remove the bodies and reported by many French citizens who saw three complete bodies near a fire at the crash site!
Note, the original Gott Burial Record stated “Lt. Gott’s cause of death was: Burned in a plane crash, which means the flesh of the remains turned at the time of his burial had to show fire damage!”
However, there is no fire damage reported to the existing skeletal remains found in the grave in 1948? WHY?
Dozens of French eyewitnesses saw three complete bodies laying near the fire the Americans was burning. Why are all or almost all of the bones from the complete body of 2nd Lt. Gott, Medal Of Honor, not in his official grave!
Disinterment Directive for T/Sgt. Robert A. Dunlap
NOTE 1: Dunlap’s Burial Record shows only that his cause of death was: airplane crash
NOTE 2: Many of the survivors reported the unconscious body of their radio operator was lying on the deck of the radio compartment when the crash took place. Two Frenchmen found a complete body lying between the broken off tail and the forward fuselage. His body was lightly singed from the flash fire that lasted a very short time. They also helped the medics from the 563rd SAW Bn, carry this body and place it next to the two complete bodies removed from the cockpit. Many French eyewitnesses saw the three bodies lying on a canvas near a fire started by the Americans. Yet, note the inventoried remains reported on the Disinterment Directive by the supervising Mortician. Fractured all major bones, skull, & mandible, distal ends of rt radius & ulna missing. It is also important to note, that the second line consists of a darker ink and is at an angle to the first line, indicating the document was modified after originally created.
NOTE 3: So few bones, when a complete body, with all bones with it at the time was seen by dozens of French eyewitnesses!
NOTE 4: The second line of the Condition of Remains has obviously been added after the original form was filled in. That line consists of a darker ink and it is not level with the older line above, also note that the “;” behind mandible has been added later. They had found out that Dunlap had been wounded, but failed to describe the true wound instead they state the right arm elbow is missing. Yet, we know, that his arm, all of it, had been kept with the rest of his body.
Dunlap’s Burial Record shows his cause of death as: airplane crash
The following chart shows the inventoried remains from all four graves, as if they had been placed on a single table and inventoried. One has to ask, where are the remains of the complete bodies of 1st Lt. Gott, MOH; 2nd Lt. Metzger, Jr, MOH and T/Sgt. Dunlap.
Over the past 15 years, the current U.S. Government Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been supplied with all the information found during the past twenty-four years of research by the author.
They have stated, there is no proof the bodies of all the dead are not fully accounted for and the bodies were cremated by the fire at the crash site.
The author then fact checked by contacting several firms that cremate human remains and was told, even with the extreme heat and time involved, the ball joints of a human remains often survives the cremation, as well as other bones. None of them believed, the flash fire was strong enough to do any damage to the complete bodies. When shown the existing “Dunlap Short Snorter” bill and learning that Dunlap only carried the wallet in his upper left shirt pocket, they all laugh and say the accounting organization personnel are liars.
Another thing to note is in none of the Disinterment Directives is a note stating the inventoried remains showed any fire damage. Which would have had to exist, if the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency excuse for their failure to conduct the required full “Search and Recovery” is to be believed.
The (then) Mayor of Hattonville, Robert LeClerc, the Author, the representative from the (then) Mortuary Affairs Germany Headquarters who had come to Hattonville to tour the site and make a decision if a full “Search and Recovery” should take place at the “Lady Jeannette” crash site.
After the tour, when leaving, he promised that he would report one was required and a follow up communications from that office stated one was being scheduled. In the fall, we were notified by Mr. David Roath, the Director of the Germany Mortuary Affairs Headquarters office that there would be a “S&R” conducted at the site. As you have read, just as the author was ready to leave to be there, it was cancelled for a falsely declared emergency recovery in northeast France.
We hold no grudge with either this man or Mr. Roath, we know that both realized the site required a full l”S&R.” However, they were overrode by the new people in charge in the Washington, D.C. office and as we realize, they had done all they could do, we had to accept what was done then.
NOTE: Fifteen years have passed and the (now) Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has continued in the planned failure to do what they state is their organization’s goal. “We take care of the dead and we leave no man behind.” No one man, but three men were and are still left behind in the Bois de Hattonville, two of whom were awarded the Medal Of Honor! While, what is not honored is their true location of death, or their true method of dead and the honest accounting of the remains of all four men killed in the crash of the “Lady Jeannette.”
You can help, contact your Congressional Representative and ask them to check into this failure!
OR: Contact the author at [email protected] and discuss how you can help!
This is what it is all about. When S/Sgt. Robbins and his wife realized what we were doing, he provided the newspaper articles and this collection of his souvenir of his Army Air Force Life during World War Two.
In most bombers, the crew bombardier normally pulled the pins from the bomb fuses when altitude was reached, before the pin would freeze in the fuse and could not be pulled. There were bombs that were dropped that did not explode, with the fuse still in them. The bombs dropped on target and the mission counted. Robbins, being the souvenir person he was, kept two pins from bombs that dropped on Mersburg, Germany.
Without the relics gifted to the author, we would never have got past the walls put in place on General Eisenhower’s order, to prevent anyone from ever figuring out exactly, what had happened at Tincourt-Boucly and Hattonville. Especially, the fact that American military personnel had illegally on his command, hid the true remains of American military personnel!
What do you think? If General Patton, now out of the Army, told the American public, that he knew many of them still did not know what had truly happened to their loved ones and he has absolute proof some will never know. He is providing this proof to the media, the President, and the Congress of the USA, absolute proof that General Eisenhower had ordered the bodies of American military personnel to be hidden. Then, in order to cover-up what he had done and supported by every Commander in the Chain of Command that approved, signed and forwarded two Medal Of Honor applications with the knowledge the applications contained false descriptions of the men’s crash and their death!
- Willis S. Cole, Jr. “Sam”, Executive Director & Curator of Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum – Found at 13444 124th Ave NE in Kirkland, WA 98034, USA.
- B-17 Lady Jeannette, Part I;
- B-17 Lady Jeannette, Part II.
- B-17 Lady Jeannette, Part III.
- B-17 Lady Jeannette, Part IV.
- Memorial to the “top secret B-24 and nearby B-26 crash site
- Memorial to the “Lady Jeannette.”
- Grave of the B-24 crewmen hidden remains, recovered and properly buried by the French
- Memorial to Lt. Noble and F.O. Dube, RCAF – Pilot of another shot down 452nd BG B-17
All are memorials put in place by author’s organization and French citizens.
- Cole, Willis Samuel: The Last Flight of the Lady Jeannette (Paperback). Btry Cpl W S Cole Military Museum.
- Cole, Willis Samuel: The Best Kept Secret of World War Two! (Paperback). Btry Cpl W S Cole Military Museum.