384th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in World War II

Welcome to the 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy) Photo Gallery. This gallery makes available the photographic and documentary portion of the 384th BG record. All content on this gallery is visible to all visitors. Those wishing to enter a comment or contribute images will need to register and log in (links at left of Home page). Please register for an account when you need access beyond viewing gallery content. For additional information about the 384th BG, visit the 384th Bomb Group website⇗.

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On the Fourth of July, 1943, Lt Gordon B Erickson and crew flew 544th Bomb Squadron B-17F aircraft 41-29960, squadron code SU*J, named "NYMOKYMI" to attack the Gnome et Rhone aircraft engine factory in Le Mans, France. They were shot down by flak and enemy aircraft. Of the ten crewmembers, Francis M Hackley (Navigator) and Don W Irvine (Bombardier) were killed, Clifford C Dartt (Co-pilot) and Paul G Welch (Radio Operator) became POWs, and the remainder evaded with the help of the French Resistance, returning to Grafton Underwood by mid-September.

Here is a description of some events that occurred after the crash, provided by Mme S Sorel, of Belfonds, France. Here, she quotes Jean Louis Cornu, a Frenchman living in Denmark:

"The Belfonds crash was a turning point in the local resistance movement. Until that date, the Germans had assumed the resistance movement in the area was limited and scattered. The crash proved otherwise: when the Germans arrived at the crash site, the surviving crew had 'disappeared into thin air.' Prior to the crash, Gestapo headquarters in the area was in Alençon. After the crash, the Gestapo immediately set up a Gestapo annex in Sees. The aid given to the escapees was proof that the local resistance was much better organized than thought, and that is why the Germans came down so hard on the Belfonds villagers. Some 40 were arrested and 17 were deported)."