Hendricks' Crew

Top row L-R: Unknown, Fred A. Hendricks (P), Frank P. Zalinski (N), Unknown, Unknown. Bottom L-R: Unknown, Unknown, William B. Miller (G), Eugene E. Watkins (G), Paul L. Nance (FE). (photo courtesy of Chad Williams, grandson of Paul).


On the morning of Saturday May 20th, 1944, LT Hendricks was making an instrument take-off on runway 07. The visibility was 80 yds due to a heavy fog. The co-pilot, LT Wolff, warned the pilot of the loss of one engine and was going to feather it. LT Hendricks turned up full turbo power to the remaining three, but take-off was doubtful.

LT Hendricks gained altitude but hit some trees at the end of the runway knocking out a second engine and tearing a hole in the nose and damaging the left rudder. He managed to climb to 300 feet, just above stalling speed. LT Hendricks called for an emergency landing as the A/C started down. The Flight engineer, S/SGT Nance left the flight deck to go aft and sprained his ankle on impact.

The A/C landed in a field completely surrounded by trees and ditches, except for one section  large enough for the plane to clear. The A/C slid a short distance before the left wing dug in spinning the aircraft around.

The crash ripped off the bomb bay doors and a fire had started in the bomb bay. LT Wolff was exiting through the top escape hatch when he was killed by exploding 0.50 caliber ammunition. One crewman was in the nose passage and was crushed. Another crewman was in the bomb bay and died. The pilot managed to escape with severe burns to his face. The Navigator and bombardier exited through a hole created by the crash.

S/SGT Nance left his spot on the flight deck when it became apparent that the ship was lost. His chute was at his gunnery station in the waist where he went to ride out the crash. S/SGT Nance has little recollection of the events following the crash, but learned he carried SGT Shanks clear of the wreckage as fire raged, and ammo exploded all around.

LT Wolff is buried at Cambridge. Hendricks was too young to join the Army Air Corps so he went to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.  He had been fighting in China when the Army Air Corps recruited him to the Army Air Corps (he wore 2 sets of wings).  After the crew returned from Europe, Hendricks continued his service and went on to train/fly B-29 aircraft and was even called up for the Korean War.

Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
Fred A. Hendricks 2nd LT Pilot 05/08/44 10/15/44 WIA/Severe burns
Robert L. Wolff, Jr. 2nd LT Co-pilot 05/08/44 05/20/44 KIA
Frank P. Zalinski LT Navigator 05/08/44 12/26/44 WIA/Major injuries
Wilbur N. Foster LT Bombardier 05/08/44 10/18/44 No injuries
Paul L. Nance S/SGT FE/Top 05/08/44 06/14/44 WIA/Major injury
Leonard K. Shanks SGT Radio 05/08/44 10/15/44 WIA/Major in jury
Eugene E. Watkins SGT Gunner 05/08/44 10/15/44 No injuries
Thomas B. Newbold SGT Gunner 05/08/44 05/20/44 KIA
William B. Miller SGT Gunner 05/08/44 08/30/44 No injuries
Dallas B. O'Neall S/SGT Nose Gunner 05/08/44 05/20/44 KIA
Charles E. Welch   Crew Chief      
001 05/07/44 California's Golden Bare TK 42-52691 B24H
002 05/08/44 California's Golden Bare TK 42-52691 B24H
004 05/11/44 California's Golden Bare TK 42-52691 B24H
005 05/20/44 California's Golden Bare TK 42-52691 B24H
022 06/14/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
023 06/15/44 Gunga Din ND 41-29505 B24H
024 06/16/44 Funny Face TG 42-52664 B24H
025 06/17/44 Lady From Hell PH 42-52681 B24H
026 06/20/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
027 06/20/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
032 06/27/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
033 06/28/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
034 06/29/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
039 07/05/44 Classy Chassis TP 42-50291 B24H
047 07/19/44 Gremlin's Roost DS 41-29601 B17G
050 08/01/44   TC 43-37910 B17G
053 08/04/44   TC 43-37910 B17G
067 08/26/44   PB 44-8025 B17G
068 08/27/44   PB 44-8025 B17G
069 08/30/44   PD 44-8021 B17G
070 09/01/44   PB 44-8025 B17G
073 09/09/44   PT 42-98019 B17G
077 09/13/44   PV 4x-xx121 B17G
078 09/17/44   PE 42-98007 B17G
080 09/21/44   PV 4x-xx121 B17G
081 09/25/44   PD 44-8021 B17G
083 09/27/44   PP 44-8180 B17G
085 10/02/44   PE 42-98007 B17G
086 10/03/44   PV 4x-xx121 B17G
088 10/06/44   PH 44-8039 B17G
092 10/15/44   PA 44-8002 B17G

Completed 31 Missions

Created 04/10/99 Modified 12/23/16

Copyright © 1998-2016 486th Bomb Group Association.