This story came to me in a round about fashion. A visitor to this site, John Buckel. John was a young man in Belgium during the Second World War. He saw a B-17 come down near his town of Roeselare. He only knew the name, or so he thought, "Ol' Dal". Using some of the resources at my disposal, I looked into the name and couldn't find a match. However, I ran across the name of an aircraft called "Ol' Dad". I figured that Dad could look like Dal. Looking up the history of the aircraft by the A/C number I found out that the aircraft was number 42-3534. I also found that it was on a mission to Pas de Calias on April 24, 1944 the day that John saw Ol' Dal come down and that 42-3534 had been shot down over Ardoye, France. The record showed that it had been assigned to the 349th. BG of the 100th. Bomb Group.

I wrote to John of this news and gave him the information I had recieved. I told him I didn't know how close to him Ardoye was but that this could be his plane. He wrote me back that, indeed, this was the aircraft he had seen because Ardoye was in Belgium, not France, and was only 5K from his town. He sent me pictures of the downed aircraft being "guarded" by Belgium soldiers working with their German occupiers.

Now that I knew this was the correct aircraft, I went in search of more information for John. I found out that one of the crew had evaded capture while the other 9 had been made POWs. Seeing as that all the crew survived the crash I figured that somewhere there would be information on them. Sure enough, on the 100th Bomb Group's web site I found my crew.

The Ol' Dad was an original 100th Bomb Group member. It had come over to England with the 100th in 1943. It was assigned to the 349th. and flown by 1st, Lt. Magee C. Fuller. This was the information I got about the original crew off the 100th's Web Site:

1ST LT MAGEE C. FULLER P POW 20 JUL 44 MERSEBURG
2ND LT WINTON MacCARTER CP POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
2ND LT HAROLD L. WEACHTER NAV POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
2ND LT GEORGE H. ZIEGLER BOM POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
T/SGT JACK C. ROGERS TTE POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT ROBERT W. SANDY ROG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT ALEXANDER F. SAWICKI BTG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT COSIMO A. DeMONICA WG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT RAYMOND J. MANLEY TG POW 10 OCT 43 MUNSTER
S/SGT GEORGE W. EASTERWED WG RFS GROUNDED IN JULY 1943

 

349th Sqdn. Original Crew #7

On 10 Oct 43 (Munster) Winton MacCarter had already became the 1st pilot for the crew and Lt Dan Barna (From Lt Barr Crew took over as CP). MacCarter was flying in 42-30090 XR-B "El P'sstofo" on October 10, 1943. Fuller later became the 418th Commanding Officer. He went down with the F. C. Kincannon crew at Merseburg 20 Jul 44. Magee became the last original 100th airmen to become a POW.

After a few missions Magee Fuller was made Operations Officer of the 349th - Later transferred to the 418th as Commanding Officer of the 418th Sqdn. He went down with crew of F. C. Kincannon on 20/7/44.

This crew listing was from the October 9th Mission to Marienburg. I could find no history on Ol' Dad between October 9th 1943 and April 27th, 1944. The pilot for the new crew was one 1st. Lt. Winans C. Shaddix. While searching for his name on the 100th. Bomb Group's web site, I came across this information:

1ST LT WINANS C. SHADDIX P EVADEE 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
2ND LT GEORGE T. SULLIVAN CP POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
T/SGT RAYMOND C. LESTICO NG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
2ND LT COLE M. BAILEY BOM POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
T/SGT FREDERICK H. ERB ROG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
T/SGT JAMES H. LEE TTE POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
S/SGT JOHN B. CORTELLETTY BTG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
S/SGT WILLIAM F. CORNELIUS RWG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
S/SGT KENNETH V. HALE LWG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)
S/SGT HUGH HAMILTON TG POW 27 Apr 44 Thionville, France (AF)

This crew, except for Lestico, Cortelletty & Hale, had joined the 100th Group on 9/3/44

This crew was shot down on 27 Apr 44 - all except Shaddix were POWs - Shaddix was injured but was nursed back to health by Belgian resistance fighters. After recovering Shaddix joined the Armee Blanche and fought with them in the several engagements with the German Army. Shaddix's story has not received the attention it merits. Harry Cruver was working on this at the time of his death.

EYEWITNESS REPORT:
"A/C #534 was hit by flak as it left the target area at 1939 hours. No. 3 engine began to smoke and the A/C began to lag. It remained with the formation however, until 2010 hours when 10 chutes were seen to come out, and the A/C descended in slow spirals, apparently under AFCE control. '

WITNESSES:
Capt. Van Steenis, Lt. McGuire, Lt. Harris

In a statement by Lt. Shaddix dated 7 (Dec. ?) 1944 he says that the A/C crashed near Ardoye, Belgium and exploded upon impact. It was on fire in air. He and Erb slightly injured. Seven men reported to have been captured by Germans and one man evading. Believed the evadee to be Lt. Sullivan. (Shaddix did not know Sullivan had been captured at a later time. . pw)

Somewhat unusual is that Lt. Shaddix is shown in the records to have rejoined the 100th Group with a new crew on 6/4/45. Unusual in that evadees were usually returned to the U. S. A. and not allowed to fly missions in the ETO for fear that subsequent capture might result in a breach of security endangering the underground operations in Europe.

Letter from W. C. Shaddix of 24/10/84 states: " John Pontziouis, my regular BTG on the crew, came in drunk from an all night carousing & I refused to let him go with us. " The Pontzious record speaks for itself -he was a great one - He had a serious mental problem with guilt after we were lost and was sent home where he was crushed to death (I have heard) in a house moving accident in Michigan. I would give anything if I had just taken him with us. " "The regular navigator, Harry Tennenbaum, was not aboard because "Mickey" operators were not supposed to go on short missions. "

Shaddix, injured when parachuted to ground, was nursed back to health by Belgian resistance people. Later joined the Armee Blanche and fought in the Ardennes forest.

Stayed in service and served in Pacific theater and flew B-47s for 10 years. Retired in 1960.

Additional information concerning W. C. Shaddix:

On 27/4/44 T/Sgt Raymond C. Lestico was aboard as NG;S/Sgt John B. Cortelletty replaced John Pontzious as BTG and S/Sgt KENNETH Y. HALE flew as WG. All three became POWs.

Lt Tennerbaum was flying with J. T. Dyatt on 7/11/44 when Dyatt crashed at Felixstowe but survived.

Most unusual is the fact that Winans Shaddix evaded capture, returned to England and was sent back to the U. S. A. However, he returned to Thorpe Abbotts in April 1945 with a new crew and was assigned to the 351st Sqdn. See below:

SECOND SHADDIX CREW, JOINED THE 100TH ON 6 APR 1945

MAJ WINANS C. SHADDIX P FEH
2ND LT RALPH H. GEER CP FEH
2ND LT EDWARD O. WATTS NAV FEH
T/SGT PAUL L. SPEARS TTE FEH
SGT JOHN B. DONOVAN NG FEH
SGT WILLIAM G. CURTIS ROG FEH
SGT WILLIAM E. BAIN BTG FEH
SGT JOHN R. CARR WG FEH
CPL EDWARD J. D'ARCY TG FEH

351st Sqdn. Crew joined the 100th Group on 6/4/45. NOTE: Shaddix had flown with the 100th in 1944 as Pilot of his crew, was shot down and evaded capture, returned to England thence the U. S. A. and back to the 100th again. According to William Curtis' son, the crew flew in a B-17G named "Shoot Your Fadded" with the 351st Bomb Squadron in late 1945

By Harry Crosby/ Splasher Six---summer 1991:

Years later Winans Cornell Shaddix bound his memories in a book, which makes good reading. In particular he records what we all felt when the going got rough and the losses got heavy. He first met his squadron commander, Summer Reeder, just after Summer's co-pilot had his head blown off. . . . When Reeder was killed stateside, Shaddix concluded, "A sad ending for a real man. "

Part of his experiences were printed in an article in "Prop Wash", the newsletter of the Alabama chapter of the 8AF Historical Society, which is edited by our Red Harper. When he got to Thorpe Abbotts, "Shadrack" drew one of the original 100th planes, badly patched and suffering from battle damage. He was shot down, got involved with the French Maquis, and helped evacuate Mauhausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria.

I forwarded this information to John and thanked him for having the opportunity to assist him with finding out this information in regards to his youth. I figured it would be the end of the story but it wasn't. In a reply to my findings John told me the following:

I was living with members of the Resistance who would rush out to these crashes in an attempt to retrieve crew members before the Germans arrived. Apparently that's how the pilot managed to evade. Do you have any idea where I could obtain a copy of Major Shaddix' experiences?

The memory of those parachutes popping open from the burning B-17's remains with me to this day and I always wondered what happened to those brave young men whom we were cheering for.

Regards,
John

I first was shocked because I didn't figure I'd be talking with someone who had personal experiance with the Belgium resistance. After asking permission from him, I decided to reprint this information here as I'm sure there may be other veteran's out there that can thank the Belgium resistance for keeping them out of a German POW camp. If anyone out there has any information regarding Major Shaddix's book please e-mail me at tlyman99@aol.com.


A photo of Ol' Dad after the crash. The guards are from the Vlaamse Wachten (Flemish Guard), traitors who collaborated with the Germans.

(Photo courtesy of John Buckel)

A close up of Ol' Dad's Tail section. The aircraft was seen to spiral down, possibly flown by autopilot, before it crashed into a field. A local Belgian citizen was killed when debris, possibly a hung bomb, fell on his house.

(Photo courtesy of John Buckel)

 

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