Crew # 555

Crew # 555
Crew # 555 - planes flown: DAMIFINO , DIXIE, LET ER RIP, TIMES A WASTIN

1st. LT. J. William Smith

1st. LT. J. William Smith

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lt. Woodrow Cornelison, 486th. Bomb Group / 833rd. Bomb Squadron.


"We had a uncle, Lt. Woodrow Cornelison, get shot down in his B-17 fall of 1943. I don't know much about it or his aircraft."

                 Erik Cornelison

This statement was made on another sight I frequent....so I went to work to get some details....



Lt. Woodrow Cornelison

Here is some info: .....Pilot in the 486th. Bomb Group / 833rd. Bomb Squadron. The plane they were flying when shot down:

Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress serial # 43-37948

Delivered Cheyenne 8/6/44; Kearney 20/6/44; Dow Fd 7/7/44; Assigned 837BS/487BG Lavenham 9/7/44; transferred 833BS/486BG [2N-T] Sudbury 27/10/44; {7m}
Missing in Action Merseburg 30/11/44 with Woodrow Cornelison, Herman Sigal, Ernie Glass, Bob Volkman, Melvin Adams, Ed Smolinski, George Scott, Bob Burchard (8 Prisoner of War); Billy Spieles (Killed in Action); mech fault, crashed Stolzenbach, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 11153.

Lt. Cornelison was captured by German forces on 11/30/1944, and was eventually interned at Stalag Luft I - North III - Barracks 306 - Room 2. They were liberated on May 1, 1945 by American Forces, Russian Forces arrived May 2, 1945. Did not evacuate the Prison until May 12th. / 13th.

Cornelison's Crew

The aircraft the Cornelison crew flew was shot up by FLAK over the target at Lutzkendorf. Witnesses say the aircraft went down in the North Sea; however, Cornelison was able to set the plane between Borkener Lake and Stolzenbach, Germany. It is not clear if LT Spieles was killed in the crash, or in the air. The remainder of the crew survived and was taken prisoner. LT Spieles was later found in the burnt out wreckage of the aircraft. A volunteer gunner, Edmund Smolinski from the Howard crew, flew on this mission. (MACR 11153)

Buchard flew his last mission on November 25th, perhaps being replaced by Smolinski. Buchard's status is unknown. It is not known if LT Roberts was on this misssion.

Crew Info:
Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status

Woodrow Cornelison 2nd LT Pilot 10/05/44 11/30/44 POW
Billy W. Spieles 2nd LT Copilot 10/09/44 11/30/44 KIA
Herman Sigal 2nd LT Navigator 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW
R. D. Smith (Robert) 2nd LT Bombardier 08/09/44 (?) 11/30/44 (?) UNK
Ernest H. Glass S/SGT Flight Engineer 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW
Robert E. Volkman T/SGT Radio Operator 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW
Melvin T. Adams S/SGT Gunner 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW
George L. Scott S/SGT Gunner 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW
Robert E. Buchard CPL Gunner 10/09/44 11/30/44 POW

MISSION INFO

MISSION DATE NAME ID S/N TYPE
090 10/09/44 "My Prayer" DB 43-38010 B17G
091 10/14/44 TS 43-38140 B17G
093 10/17/44 TG 43-37943 B17G
097 10/25/44 TN 43-38194 B17G
100 11/02/44 "Sleepy Time Gal" ND 42-98007 B17G
103 11/06/44 "Batchelor's Delight"TR 43-38027 B17G
105 11/10/44 TG 43-37927 B17G
106 11/16/44 "My Prayer" DB 43-38010 B17G
107 11/21/44 PD 44-6599 B17G
108 11/25/44 "Vermont Maid" ND 43-38246 B17G
109 11/27/44 NR 44-6599 B17G
110 11/30/44 PT 43-37948 B17G


Below are "Diary entries" (YMCA Log Book Entries) from a fellow Airman,
2nd Lt. John A. Kirkham in the same Prison Camp / Barracks as LT. Cornelison.

30 November 1944
Crash landed in vicinity of Erfurt. Captured at landing by Germans. Taken to Luftwaffe post. Relieved of 1 pound 15 sterling. Transferred same night ot Erfurt. Searched and confined at Erfurt. Injured Back and ankle.

2 December 1944
Left Erfurt for Frankfurt

3 December 1944
Arrived Frankfurt and marched to Oberursel and interrogated.

4 December 1944
Left Oberursel by train for Wetzler

4 December 1944
Arrived Wetzler (Dulag Luft)

10 December 1944
Left Dulag. Feet Frozen (or frost bite) en route

14 December 1944
Arrived Barth (Stalag Luft I)
Barracks 306 - Room 2 6484

9 March 1945
Typhoid Booster

30 April 1945
Dug trenches. Jerrys evacuating and demolishing installations.

1 May 1945
Americans take control of Stalag Luft I

2 May 1945
Russian forces arrive. Orders of Russian and American commands conflice. Preparations made for march to Rostockmade. Fences and guard towers torn down. Jerry warehouses ramsacked. POW's stream into Barth. Uter chaos.

3 May 1945
POW's allowed to stay. Chaos continues. Saw German suicide victims (3 women, 2 children). POW's leaving camp in large numbers against orders. Tents, fireplaces and various odd sights spring up. Reports and rumors of POW's being shot pour in. Flak school and Barth off limits but POW's ignore in some cases.

4 May - 6 May 1945
Chaos subsides gradually. Many are sick from overeating. POW's continue to leave but in smaller numbers. Fish, chickens, sheep, deer, eggs and food of all sorts pouring in. Food supply arrived. Swift evacuation promised.

7 May 1945
Russian show preformed for Kriegies. Singing, music and dancing. All excellent particularly the dancing. Groups consisted of Red Army men and women. Russian, English and American present. English contact made. An English officer promises air evacuation in a few days. Kriegies put on impromptu (First Priorities).

Fireworks display. Reports of and promised visit to concentration camps in area. Collection made for victims of German atrocities. Several fights in camp. Showers started.

8 May 1945
Oder more or less restored, visiting parties to airport started. Fireworks and bonfires WAR ENDS

9 May 1945
Walking trip to Barth, airport and concentration camp. Much filth and disorder. Talked to liberated French. Saw atrocity victims graves being dug.

11 May
First definite info on evacuation

12 May
Evacuation starts

13 May
Evacuated by B-17 (379 Gr) Flew over Rhur, Dusseldorf, Essen, Hamm, Gelesenkerchen, Cologne, etc. Landed at A-77, took truck to Rheims.

14 May
Saw Rheims catherdral from air. Flown to Le Harve by C-47's. Turck to Camp Lucky (RAMP Camp 1 St. Valery) Strike (Vittefleur). Utter confusion in camp.

17 May
Walked to Vittefleur

18 May
Ran into Les Hairson

21 May
Walked to Camp, Hitch-hiked to Le Harve

1 June
Paid 5000 Francs ($100.00)

9 June
Embarked at Le Harve (USS Hermitage)

17 June
Debarked New York - Camp Shanks

18 June
Fort George G. Meade - HOME

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