Unveiling memorial Lt. Hendrickson crew


April 30th 2017, 3.00 pm


Town of Great Rollright, garden next to the Village Hall


On December 23rd 1944, as the folk of Great Rollright village Oxfordshire prepared for Christmas, a tragedy occurred.


At 6.15pm, that day the peace was shattered by the sound, of an American Boeing B-17 Bomber crashing near the village.


Earlier that day the aircraft, a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress serial number 43-38812 (‘812’) of the 749th Bomb Squadron, 457th Bomb Group, had taken off from RAF Portreath in Cornwall and was heading for its home base at RAF Glatton, near Peterborough.


The bomber had, on December 19th, been diverted to Portreath after a bombing mission to Germany.


After taking off for home on at approx 4.30pm on December 23rd, ‘812’ seemingly got lost on the way and eventually crashed into the trees near the Triangle at Great Rollright village at 6.15pm, killing the following crewmembers:


Lt. Hendrickson – Pilot

Lt. Graves – Co-Pilot 

F/O Williams – Bombardier/Gunner

F/O Kilmer – Navigator

T/Sgt. Riedel – Radio Operator

T/Sgt. Bruer – Flight Engineer/Gunner

Sgt. Hawley – Waist Gunner

S/Sgt. Fitzgerald – Ball gunner

There would be only one survivor of the crash, the Tail Gunner Sgt Clifford A. Heinrich.


The people behind this project are inviting you to come to the unveiling!


Tony King, Chairman of the North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Military Vehicle Trust


Roz Wiley, Chairperson of the Rollright Parish Council


James Tobin, local historian


457th Bomb Group Association 2017 Reunion

October 11-15, 2017 at the Hilton Phoenix Mesa

The main activities will be visits to the Pima Air and Space Museum in particular the two WWII hangers, the 390th Bomb Group Memorial Museum and a tram tour of the airplane boneyard.  Then a visit to the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum where the B-17 Sentimental Journey (with the triangle U on its tail) will be. Because this B-17 still flies, it might be possible to buy a flight during the time we are there.  The only thing that would prevent that is if the plane needs maintenance and there’s no way to predict that at this time.  The cost of a flight ranges from $425-$825 depending on where in the plane you want to be.  The most expensive is the bombardier position in the nose of the plane. 


Bill Siler was my friend. Our friendship resulted because both of us were involved in a common cause more than 70 years ago. We were both assigned to the same military unit, same squadron and our service with that organization overlapped; however, it was nearly 50 years later at a meeting of the Old Timers that we met and our friendship blossomed.

Bill was a little senior in age to many of us and in the early 1940’s, as the war clouds began to loom, decided to go north and enlist his service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. To my knowledge he is the only person assigned to the 457th that served in the RCAF. After our entry in the conflict Bill came back and ultimately was assigned to the 457th.

After he finished his tour he volunteered to fly with a reconnaissance group and stayed in England flying reconnaissance missions. His service did not end with the conclusion of WWII. He saw service in the Korean conflict and later in Vietnam and in between flew the Berlin Air Lift. Unknown to many was his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bill held a top security clearance and at the height of the crisis was holed up in a windowless room at a undisclosed military installation

From and after our first meeting we maintained an ongoing contact. Bill continued at an energetic pace almost to the end. My son, David and I had Sunday Dinner with Bill in August and he was upbeat as usual. I asked him if he planned to go to England next year. His answer was “If I feel as good then as I do now”.

After he returned to Morro Bay I had a final email from him which indicated he had just about finished his tour.

Happy Trails and Blue Skies Bill!


“Legion of Honor” medal

This is a chance for all living veterans to apply for the French “Legion of Honor” medal!

“The Government of France bestowed the National Order of The Legion of Honor in the rank of Chevalier on ten World War II US Army veterans at the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial Center, on July 26th 2016. The award is the highest honor France bestows on its citizens and foreign nationals.”

On July 26th 2016 Horace Seyster (749th Bomb Squadron) of California was one of 10 WWII veterans to receive this “Legion of Honor” medal: http://www.consulfrance-losangeles.org/spip.php?article3261


Mister Horace Seyster has been kind enough to offer application information to veterans of the 457th!

All inquiries should be directed to: Nancy J. Toombs Vice President. 8th Air Force Historical Society

Her contact information is: Phone: 501.681.3126 Email: chase221@swbell.net Or by mail; 5213 north cedar street North little rock Arkansas 72116

Nancy invites all veterans to make application for the “Legion of Honor” medal through her office.

Best Regards to all,

Will Fluman Jr
President  of the 457 Bomb Group Association

The Fireball Newsletter – April, 2016

Fireball Newsletter April 2016

Can’t open the newsletter?   You may have to download  the Free Adobe Reader



Retired Coral Gables Police Officer Plans to Walk Across The Pyrenees Like His Father Did Escaping From Nazi Occupied Europe in 1944.

Crew of Frank McNichol’s B-17 bomber. 7 of the 10 would not return from the raid on Augsberg in 1944. Source: www.457thbombgroup.org Public Domain

In 1944 Frank McNichol was on active service with the United States Army Air Force (748 Bomb Squadron, 457 Bomb Group) stationed at Glatton Airfield near Huntingdon in East Anglia. Finding the East of England flat, heavily agricultural, and perfectly placed, the US 8th Air Force, ‘The Mighty Eighth’, quickly turned the area into a huge land based aircraft carrier for launching massive daylight raids on targets in Nazi occupied Europe. There were close to 100 USAAF airfields and 100 000 men at the height of the war.

On the morning of the 25th February 1944, McNichol was part of the 10 crew man crew of a B-17 heavy bomber (B17 G 42-31517). It was only his second mission, and he was the navigator charting a course for Augsberg, Gemany. Approaching the target, flying at 20 000 feet, the plane received a direct hit from German anti aircraft fire. One engine caught fire and the plane was unable to stay within the formation of bombers. Isolated and losing altitude the plane was attacked by German fighters. Further damaged, “the ship suddenly made a violent twist, and we prepared to leave.” McNichol’s parachute got caught and he was pushed out of the hatch by John Vollmuth the bomb aimer.  Only three crew managed to exit the plane as it banked steeply: McNichol, Vollmuth and Vito Peragine the engineer/top turret gunner. As they parachuted to the ground they saw the plane, in a spin, crash into the ground on the edge of the village of Mont Saint Martin, near Rheims. The plane exploded on impact killing the remaining crew. (more…)


Today we added more information to the website! We added two new photo sections and photos have been added to the Lest We Forget section and to the Officers and Enlisted Men Portraits section. If you have any photos you want to share with us please contact us!

Also we added a search bar which will make finding information on the website even more easy.

New photo sections added

Lest We Forget This is a memorial for all the 337 457th members who were KIA, MIA or KIS. Some work still needs to be done to get all 337 names in this memorial but 224 names have been added so far. Some photos are in low resolution but we will try to get these in higher quality so they can be viewed properly.
For the Fallen

Duane Zemper collection Duane Zemper was the photo officer at Glatton. He took many beautiful photos during his time with the 457th Bomb Group. Thanks to Eric Zemper we have 540 beautiful photos to show you in the photo section.
Duane Zemper Collection

Savannah Reunion 2015 This June we had a great reunion in Savannah Georgia. It was great meeting each other again and listening to the great stories our veterans shared with us. The visit the the 8th Airforce Museum was great. We saw the newly restored B-17 ‘City of Savannah’ and the saved and restored terrazzo compass rose from Hunter Field’s original operations building. The 2016 reunion will be held in Washington so make sure you write that down in your agenda’s!

Savannah Georgia 2015 reunion

Bill Mach’s collection Bill Mach was one of the photo officers at Glatton. He took many beautiful photos during his time with the 457th Bomb Group. Thanks to Trisha Mach Robertson we have 850+ beautiful photos to show you in the photo section.

Bill Mach’s Wartime Photo Collection

457th Spearheads Restoration Project

At The Mighty 8th Museum

Greetings to Members and Friends of the 457th BG Association:

November 2013 marks the launch of the Fund Drive to restore the “Mosaic Star” of the 8th Air Force.

We are pleased to announce progress is being made.

Now is the time to consider a donation to finish this important work at The Mighty 8th Museum!

Most are unaware that this beautiful 16-foot square Terrazzo Concrete Star was created by WPA Artisans.  The Star was created in the center of the floor of the Operations Building at Hunter Field just prior to World War II.

Many Bomb Groups received training at Hunter Field before going overseas between 1942-1945.  The footsteps of countless young Airmen walked upon this Symbol of the Army Air Corps.

This Star when completely restored will rest in the center of the Columbarium directly behind the “Chapel of the Fallen Eagles.”

Our Goal for this Historic Restoration is $25,000.


All Donations are Tax Deductible!


Donations may be sent to:

Lori Paris Barnett, Treasurer

c/o 457th BG / Chapel Gardens Memorial Fund

304 Old West Point Road

Starkville, MS 39759-2654

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The 457th Bomb Group Association is pleased to announce the online edition of mission Loading Lists.  This volume was the result of the tireless efforts of Joe Toth, Immediate Past President.  This archive will be a valuable research tool for those interested in the History of the 457th Bomb Group.

If you have any additional information please let us know by contacting the webmaster, Erwin DeMooy: webmaster457thbombgroup@outlook.com

Click here for more information …