Ogilvie crew, 547th BS, Dueces Wild
1LT Donald P. Ogilvie crew (547th BS)
Original crew assigned to B-17F 42-5848, "Patches." Shot down on October 14, 1943 mission to Schweinfurt, Germany by German fighters, aboard B-17G 42-31059. 1 KIA, 3 POW's, 6 EVD's.
BACK ROW L-R: 2LT Robert B. Kilmer (CP) POW, 1LT William H. Wilson (B) KIA, 1LT Barkley (N, in the hospital on Oct. 14), 1LT Donald P. Ogilvie (P) POW.
FRONT ROW L-R: SSGT Francis R. Sylvia (WG) EVD, TSGT James Murray (RO) EVD, SSGT William E. Martin (WG) EVD, SSGT James W. McKeon (BT) EVD, TSGT Emmett A. Hood (TT) EVD, SSGT Louis L. Ratkiewicz (TG) EVD.
On October 14, 2LT Everett L. Childs (544th BS, not pictured) substituted as Bombardier and became a POW.
BACK L-R: 2LT Robert B. Kilmer (CP), 1LT William H. Wilson (B), 1LT Barkley (N), 1LT Donald P. Ogilvie (P).
FRONT L-R: SGT Francis R. Sylvia (WG), TSGT James Murray (RO), SSGT William E. Martin (WG), SSGT James W. McKeon (BT), TSGT Emmett A. Hood (TT), SSGT Louis L. Ratkiewicz (TG).
The downing of the Ogilvie crew
The following account was edited from testimony of French eye-witnesses by Russell Cole.
On a lovely sunny afternoon accompanied by a fierce northeast wind, a wave of some thirty "Flying Fortresses" were returning from a bombing mission over Chlemfour, Czechoslovakia. They came under attack at an altitude of five to seven thousand meters overhead the towns of Rambluzin and Heippes by German fighter aircraft based at Saint-Dizier. Two aircraft were hit.
Overhead the village of Bulainville, a streak of red followed by black smoke suddenly appeared as one aircraft detached from the group and commenced losing altitude. Suddenly, eight or nine crewmembers parachuted out. Several minutes later the aircraft blew up in flight, scattering debris over several square kilometers.
The fuselage and a segment of one wing on which was still attached two engines and propellers crashed in the locality of Griffigny in the area of the village of Nubecourt.
The other portion of the aircraft crashed about 200 meters away and completely burned to ashes. The Germans did not come until late in the evening to determine the location of the American crash site, and whether there were survivors. Items of all sorts had already been scavenged by the villagers including oil, various objects and material, ie., candy, screws, metal, four shoes belonging to the same foot, etc.
The tailgunner (editor's note: this was actually the bombardier, Lt William H. Wilson), killed in the attack and then burned in the crash, was placed in a shroud by madame Marie-Louise Borgniet and Messieur Mabile, constable, after they had replaced the lost contents of his broken skull.
He was buried in the following days in the cemetery of Nubecourt after a religious ceremony in the presence of local civilians and representatives of the German army who arrived with a vehicle and side car equipped motorcycle. In 1946 his ashes were transferred to a military cemetery in Luxembourg.
The parachutists landed near Evres-Pretz en Argonne. Immediately after having touched ground, they were relieved of their garments (leather jackets and boots which were lined with a sort of wire meant to provide warmth). This was done to avoid identification. Some of these items of clothing were recovered by the villagers.
The pilot, Donald Pierre Ogilvie, 29 years of age, got as far as the shrine of the Virgin of Pretz (300 meters away from the point of impact) and was received by Monsieur Jean Remond of Pretz. An additional member of the crew stayed in the forest for two days and was supplied with food by an inhabitant of Nubecourt.
Gathered together by Monsieur Charles Martinet of Vaubecourt, the surviving aviators were entrusted to the network of Dr. Jacquin of Laheycourt. They were repatriated by means of a Spanish route.
A fuel tank fell and exploded some fifty meters from Mademoiselle Henriette Borgniet as she harvested her sugar beets in the company of Gisele (8 years) and Roger (7 years) Lenfant, two little Parisian refugees. The fragments of burning metal formed a flaming arc above their heads. Mlle. Borgniet's hair was burned and she was was found in a state of shock.
One of the engines of the aircraft fell in a parcel of land called the "Gallows", a parcel of two hectares belonging to Monsieur Louis Stephany who was occupied as well with six other people harvesting sugar beets. The oil having escaped from the motor soaked halfway into the ground creating a circle some two meters in diameter which would not support crops for some twelve years.
The remains of the aircraft were hauled away by the Germans who returned six days after the crash with trucks.
A third machine of that assault wave was knocked down in the vicinity of Givry-en-Argonne.
The Americans announced on Radio London they had sustained heavy losses in the course of the day's raid.
Photo courtesy Jim Murray
Original Site Crew Photos