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391st Bomb Group B-26 43-34337 named Homesick Pappy

Bomb Group B 26 43 34337 The Vertical

 

This B-26 was shot down on 24 February 1945 with the loss of the entire crew.  They were Gwen T McPherson (pilot), Dan W Chaney (copilot,) Earl R LaPan (bombardier / navigator,) Wilbur N Beasley (gunner,) Edward Klacik Flight (engineer / gunner,) and John H Boettcher (gunner.)  This mission was number 237 for the bomb group and the primary target was a railroad bridge in Irlich, Germany. 

 

Robert the owner of the farm sitting on the vertical on the barn roof

 S/Sgt Hayden Harvey flying as tail gunner in the lead aircraft gave this eyewitness account of what happened.  “I saw Capt. McPherson’s aircraft, No 43-34337, receive a direct hit (flak) in the left wing.  The wing was blown off and the aircraft went into a tight spin.  I last saw the aircraft about 5 – 6000 feet from the ground still spinning toward the ground.  I saw no parachutes”.

 

The plane was shot down by a German flak unit located at Kirspenich, Germany.  The plane crashed between Kirspenich and Kirchheim.  The vertical (photo above) was pulled from the crash site by a local who took it to his farm located 1.5 km away where it was mounted on the roof of a barn. (photo left)  It remained on the roof until 2000-2001 when it was removed and the barn was torn down.

 

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Gwen McPherson - Pilot
Gwen McPherson - Pilot

  

 

Earl LaPan the Bombardier / Navigator
Earl LaPan the Bombardier / Navigator
 

 

Edward Klacik Flight Engineer / Gunner
Edward Klacik Flight Engineer / Gunner
 

 

Edward Klacik's nephew Mike Madron of the Lake City, GA  Police Force with the vertical from his uncle's B-26
Edward Klacik's nephew Mike Madron of the Lake City, GA  Police Force with the vertical from his uncle's B-26
 

 

Edward Klacik's wings, flying scarf, hats and a theater made belt buckle brought by his nephew Mike
Edward Klacik's wings, flying scarf, hats and a theater made belt buckle brought by his nephew Mike
 

 

 

 Remains of the flak installation at Kirspenich, Germany as it looks today
Remains of the flak installation at Kirspenich, Germany as it looks today

 

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