Bombs on Lokeren

the true story about thursday 11 May 1944

De Munck André - 2009

Simulation of the bombardment

BOMBS ON LOKEREN, BELGIUM
Foreword

The true story about Thursday 11 May 1944

In May 2004 the walking exhibition and brochure(1) “A Deadly Mistake” by Alain Debbaut and Björn Rzoska appeared concerning the bombardment on Lokeren in 1944. The exhibition left but one question unanswered: “why?” Some people have called the bombing a mistake, the railway of Dendermonde being the target, but being confused with Lokeren. Others are convinced that the factories in Lokeren were the target. This proposition gained extra strength after reading a letter of Remi Van Nieuwenborgh, addressed to the Historical Society of Lokeren in 2007 (to see further). Fact remains though that the bombing could still have been an unfortunate mistake. Surely after sixty-five years it was time to get to the truth? With the current resources of the internet and the fact that more and more files have become publicly accessible, the moment seemed opportune to find the correct answers to the questions still present concerning that 11th May 1944. That search started half-way 2007 and would lead to this publication. It was not the intention to place any blame or to find a "guilty party", but to reconstruct the historical facts of that day. To conclude this publication we also look at the suffering and the destruction which the bombardment brought to the city of Lokeren. The personal accounts are however restricted to people related to or being part of the De Munck family. With special thanks to Marc BENSON, USA De Munck André Heilige Geestmolenstraat 165 9160 Lokeren, Belgium andre.demunck@fulladsl.be andre.demunck@ua.ac.be
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Research showed that the 8th American Air Force had planned their 351th operation on 11 May 1944(4). home of the Rougham airbase. The allies wanted the Germans to believe an inva. These were the earlier-mentioned 94th BG and the 385th BG. I continued my research. which were stationed further away from the coast. At this base he had seen the name Lokeren on a list of bombing targets. stationed on Great Ashfield at Suffolk. who wrote a letter to the regional society of geography and history “De Souvereinen” of Lokeren. In the spring of 1944 mainly marshalling yards and railroad junctions in Belgium and northern France had been the targets of the allied air forces. about 14km of New Market in Suffolk (GB). Edmunds. to be stopped for as long as possible. A range of responses to my questions produced two Bombing Groups as possible participants to the raid of 11 May 1944.Introduction By means of army documents retrieved from American archives. we have tried to reconstruct May 11 from the point of view of the soldiers who were involved in the air raid. This would allow German reinforcements and reserve troops. With his help and knowledge of bombardment flights. His discription lead us to Burry St. A first clue was found in the deposition of Remi Van Nieuwenborgh(2). 1944. These bombings had been carried out in preparation of the landing in Normandy (D-Day) on June 6. He told of a visit to an American base. describing he had been a RAF (Royal Air Force) volunteer in training in the United Kingdom during the second world war. By means of a forum(3) of the 8th American Air Force (8th AAF) I made contact with Marc Benson. The fact that Belgium was also bombed was part of a plan to deceive the Germans.63 - 8th AAF 94th BG 385th BG . whose father had been a pilot at 94th around that time. where in 1944 the 94th Heavy Bombing Group (BG) was stationed. The goal was sever the link between the interior territory and the beaches during the first days of the invasion.

49 Brussels Midi M/Y. 19 3rd Bombing Division: Brussels M/Y (Schaerbeek). Twelve Combat Wings carried out an operation against eleven marshalling yards and a railroad junction in Belgium. When we compared the mission reports of the different bomb groups to each other. 31 [63 . of which 547 reached their target. 53 Trier . used B-17 planes above target: 58 Luxemburg M/Y. with a total of 274 B-17’s of the 3rd BD went to Belgium: two wings went to Liège and four to Brussels. These were carried out by 1st and the 3rd Bombing Division (BD). By means of the NARA(8) in Washington we could obtain the mission reports for these bomb groups on that day. the 94th and the 385th flew close to Lokeren on their bomb run. The 385th ‘B’ Bombing Group formed the lead group of 4th ‘B’ Combat Wing and was also made up of 21 planes. we made the observation that the mission on Brussels M/Y needed further research. The targets were the following: 1st Bombing Division: Saarbrucken M/Y(5).64 - . south-west Germany and Luxembourg in the late afternoon. low squadron and . Every formation was made up of three squadrons: lead squadron. 12 Bettenbourg M/Y.(8 + 4) = 49] Six Combat Wings.sion would be carried out at Pas de Calais. 55 Liège M/Y. 55 Volklingen M/Y. 20 TO(7). 16 Thionville M/Y. These reports allowed us to get an accurate picture of the activities of the various bombing groups on that day. The 94th ‘A’ Bombing Group formed the lead group of the 4th ‘A’ Combat Wing with twenty-one planes and was on its 131st mission that day. 119 Malines RR/J(6). 609 bombers were used that day.Konz .2 . 60 Trier . The 4th ‘B’ Wing Bombing Group was carrying out its 106th mission that day. The twelve planes of the 385th ‘A’ Composite Group and nine planes of the 94th ‘B’ Bombing Group also belonged to this 4th ‘B’ Wing Bombing Group. According to the target coordinates.Karthaus M/Y.Ehrang M/Y. the shortest route between England and the continent.

while keeping the bomb pattern as compact as possible. each three plane element was slightly lower and displaced to the left of the three B-17's ahead.high squadron. Schematically this looked as follows: The official diagrams show the relative positions of the aircraft on a flat piece of paper. No plane was directly behind another.65 - . . but in the air. This formation minimized turbulence from other aircrafts.

66 - . 1. a copilot. A/C nr. a navigator. These were a pilot. a bombardier. a radio operator and four gunners (left waist. Evacuation of the B-17 94th ‘A’ BG – lead group of 4th ‘A’ CW Lead squadron: Pos. right waist. Samer- dyke. Sweetey Betty #2 42-102584 Bottled in Bond #3 42-39775 Frenesi #4 42-102574 Florencia #5 42-5881 House of Lords #6 42-37829 The Better Half High squadron #1 42-97153 #2 42-38125 #3 42-30301 #4 42-97268 #5 42-31653 #6 42-31599 #7 42-97358 #8 42-97333 #9 42-97248 Daring Doris Puddin Idiot’s Delight Million Dollar Baby Eire Ferry Boots and her Buddies Ordnance Express Duchess Tough Teddy 2.Crew and planes The crew of a B-17 bomber existed in principle of 12 crewmen. Nose art . an engineer and upper turret gunner. O’Conner and 1st Lt. bail turret and tail). name or pilot #1 42-3252 Col.

Coleman. The Golden Goose #3 42-31171 Lt. Patches 385th ‘A’ Composite BG – low group of 4th ‘B’ CW Lead squadron #1 42-102481 Capt. Calderwood. Wells. Jones Lt. Barbara-B . Junior Lt. Worster Lt. Sleepytime Gal Lt. Nan B Lt. Li'l Audrey #5 42-31864 Lt. Swerdlin. Powerful Katrina High squadron #1 42-31833 #2 42-31778 #3 42-3355 #4 42-38199 #5 42-97211 #6 42-31325 #7 42-31413 #8 42-102486 #9 42-31787 Low squadron #1 42-102636 #2 42-102431 #3 42-107226 #4 42-31762 #5 42-102465 #6 42-37952 Capt. Wee Willie Wilber Lt. Honkey Tonk Sal Lt. Remember Us #6 42-31928 Lt. Slick Chick Lt. Sherrel. Riva #2 42-38049 Lt.67 - . Mc Creary. Faix. Wells Cargo Lt. Baumann. Gray #4 42-32008 Lt. Niemann. Alexander. Mickey II Lt. Lancaster and Maj. Seehof. Richard Kentucky Winner #2 42-32078 Lt. Gunn Lt. Percival. Engel.Low squadron #1 42-97082 #2 42-39896 #3 42-97378 #4 42-102530 #5 42-107180 #6 42-30439 Mission Mistress no name on list Miss Gloria II no name on list The Eagle’s Wrath Donna Lou II 385th ‘B’ BG – lead group of 4th ‘B’ CW Lead squadron #1 42-39951 Col. White. King Lt. HughesHairs Breath Lt. Shock Lt.

Swinging Door Lt.68 - . Spencer. Dahlberg. no name on list #2 42-37922 Skinny #3 42-31540 Miss Donna Mae II #4 42-102380 Renovation #5 42-102456 Shady Lady #6 42-102577 Bouncin’Annie #7 42-97316 Tommy #8 42-30382 Lt. Reid. Turner Lt. Stork Club Lt. Big Gas Bird Lt. Vat 69 High squadron (94th ‘B’) #1 42-31906 Lt. Homesick Angel . Roundtrip Ticket III Lt. Joker Lt. Mc Neeley. Mc Sweeney.#3 #4 #5 #6 42-107031 42-107109 42-73966 42-107054 Lt. Robbins. Horrible Hank’s #9 42-31704 Rebel Queen Low squadron #1 42-38135 #2 42-5912 #3 42-31742 #4 42-31638 #5 42-30827 #6 42-107135 Lt. Dear Mom Lt. Purnell. Thunder Bird Lt. Rosener. Leonard. Dittmer. La Penna.

Lancaster 4. La Penna 5. Dittmer . Crew of Lt.69 - . Crew of Lt.3. Crew of Capt.

The group then climbed in formation up to 17. . this group took off first between 15. the home base of the 385th BG.385th group The 94th.15. 94th ‘B’ group .05h.Take off and formation 94th ‘A’ group Flying as the leader in the 4th ‘A’ Combat Wing.000ft (5. whereas the low squadron were still coming into formation.00h .000ft (6.500ft (457m). The 94th BG took its place as high squadron at an altitude of 2. 385th ‘A’ and 385th ‘B’ No exact information is available on the take-off of this bomb group.180m). The formation formed in the surroundings of the base Burry St. There were twenty-one planes in the formation at that moment. Edmunds) at an altitude of 1.500ft (762m). There is a note at the side of a form stating take-off occurred at 15.096m).30h at an altitude of 20.20h and 15. The English coast was left at Ordfordness at 17.500ft (457m). that was part of the composed group.70 - . When the formation had been formed they flew to Great Ashfield.096m). Weather above England was fair but misty. Edmunds on an altitude of 1. Group formation happened in the surroundings of the base (Burry St.54h.15h. The temperature at altitude was -24°C and there was a windspeed of 46mph. Upon arrival there the lead squadron had been already formed.000ft (6. They formed the high squadron in the 385th ‘A’ Composite Group. took off with nine planes between 15. Ordordness was left at an altitude of 20. This formation had to fly low squadron in 4th ‘B’ Combat Wing.

04°00’ E (I. This was the most critical phase of the flight and took approximately eight minutes. a city close to Lokeren. The bulk of the planes seems to fly over Dendermonde.Courses of flight 385th ‘B’ Lead Group 51°45’ N ..P.P.P.15h: The siren sound to signal the end of the bomb alarm. In his diary. Walcher Island) 51°07’ N .P. the bombardier took over the aircraft.(9). onwards.04°05’ E (Dirksland. 18. There were many flights in the surroundings of Lokeren that day.20h: 108 clearly distinguishable bombers fly over in five groups of approximately twenty each in the direction of Brussels. Lokeren) 50°53’ N .71 - . all other controls were in the hands of the bombardier. so that they were not mentioned or noticed by the tower guard (in the church-tower. Lokeren) 385th ‘A’ Composite 94th ‘A’ Lead Group 51°44’ N . The pilot only controlled the speed and altitude of the plane on the bomb run.04°25’ E (R. On that moment there is a lot of activity of heavy bombers very high in blue sky.P. these must correspond to the 94th BG and the 385th BG. Other aircraft fly over from all directions continuously.03°57’ E (Brouwershaven.03°52’ E (Scharendijke.. Walcher Island) 51°07’ N . Walcher Island) 51°14’ N . The other formations of the 3rd and 4th Combat Wing must have flown further away from Lokeren. center of town) .55h: Some hard to distinguish bomber formations pass at very high altitudes.P.04°00’ E (I. The I. (Initial Point) is situated above Lokeren. It was the rendezvous point where the various formations met before flying in a straight line towards the bombing target (the bomb run). Frans De Koninck(10) writes among other things: 17.04°24’ E (Brussels) 50°47’ N . Brussels South) We make notice of the fact that for these three formations the I. From the I. 18.04°00’ E (I.P. of a bombardment flight was the point where the bomb doors opened and the actual bombing run began.04°28’ E (Brussels) 51°44’ N .30h: A range of bomb explosions is clearly audible and the bombers continue to circulate above our head. in the district "Kopkapel". Lokeren) 50°47’ N . 18.03°48’ E (Sas van Gent.. Zeeland) 51°07’ N . As only three formations were identified above Lokeren by the tower guard of the “Passive Air-raid Precautions”(11). . A typical bomb run was approximately 20 miles (32km) long.

alarm with siren: 17.15h . Flight shedule of the 385th BG on 11 May 1944 .bomb explotions: 18.alarm with siren: 24.72 - .00h 6. Flight shedule of the 94th BG on 11 May 1944 7.The reports(12) for 11th May: .40h .

Flight lines to target and return .8.73 - .

Samerdyke Sweaty Betty 31252 #1 12x500 Frenesi Bottled in Bond 39775 102584 #3 #2 12x500 12x500 Florencia 102574 #4 12x500 The Better Half House of Lords 37829 5881 #6 #5 12x500 12x500 c-flight low squadron b-flight high squadron Mission Mistress 97082 #1 12x500 no name listed Miss Gloria II 97378 39896 #3 #2 12x500 12x500 no name listed 102530 #4 Donna Lou II 12x500 The Eagle’s Wrath 30439 107180 #6 #5 12x500 12x500 Daring Doris 97153 #1 12x500 Idiots’s Delight Puddin 30301 38125 #2 #3 12x500 12x500 Million Dollar Baby 97268 #4 Boots and her Buddies. 94th ‘A’ Bomb Group – 4th ‘A’ Combat Wing a-flight lead squadron 20.096m).P.000ft Col..7kg).000ft (6.Composition of the formations Going on the noted time at the I.74 - . 18.13h. . six in the low squadron and nine in the high squadron. Samerdyke and flew at an altitude of 20. The first formation was composed of twenty-one planes. O’ Connor and 1st Lt. followed by the 385th Composite Group. O’ Connor / 1Lt. Gloria 12x500 Eine Ferry 31599 31653 #6 #5 12x500 12x500 Ordnance Express 97358 #7 12x500 Duchess Tough Teddy 97248 97333 #8 #9 12x500 12x500 All planes had been charged with 12 x 500 lb bombs (226. This formation of bombers was led by Col. Second was the 385th ‘B’ Lead Group. six in the lead squadron. the 94th ‘A’ Lead Group must have been the first formation that flew over Lokeren.

consisting of six planes and led by Col.700ft (6.300ft (6. 7726 of Lt.700ft b-flight high squadron 20. Seehof Lt. had left the mission with due to technical problems and had returned to the base. 1235 of Lt.300ft Lt. . Calderwood Lt.000ft (6. Jones 787 2486 #9 #8 10x500 12x500 Fifteen planes had been charged with 10 x 500 lb bombs. but two planes. Wells 355 1778 #3 #2 12x500 10x500 Lt. Sherrel 762 #4 10x500 Lt. six planes had 12 x 500 lb bombs on board.75 - . Gunn 1335 #6 10x500 7211 #5 10x500 not bombarded returned bombs or dropped off in sea back to basis Lt. Engel Lt. Shock Lt. Mc Creary 431 7226 #3 #2 10x500 10x500 Lt.096m). Swerdlin 636 #1 12x500 Lt. Worster Lt. no. flew at 20. White 008 #4 Lt. Above target the low squadron still consisted of five planes and flew at an altitude of 19. Hughes 8199 #4 10x500 Lt. Calderwood. Faix 1928 864 #6 #5 10x500 12x500 c-flight low squadron 19. Riva 951 #1 10x500 Lt. The high squadron had been composed above target of eight bombers and had an altitude of 20.000ft Col. Alexander 833 #1 12x500 Lt. Shock and no. Percival 952 465 #6 #5 10x500 10x500 Capt. Niemann 049 1171 #3 #2 12x500 10x500 Lt.005m).The second formation had been initially also been composed of twenty-one planes.187m). Riva. The lead squa-dron. Gray Lt. 385th ‘B’ Bomb Group – 4th ‘B’ Combat Wing a-flight lead squadron 20. King 1413 #7 10x500 Lt. Coleman 10x500 Lt.

Dittmer 638 #4 12x500 Lt.000ft Lt. Robbins 054 3966 #6 #5 12x500 12x500 c-flight low squadron 18.700ft b-flight high squadron 94th B 20. The lead squadron flew at an altitude of 19. The twenty one planes were subdivided into six lead planes.000ft Capt. Richard.096m).000ft (6. Leonard 109 #4 12x500 Lt.000ft (5. La Penna Lt. 385th ‘A’ Bomb Group – 4th ‘B’ Combat Wing a-flight lead squadron 19.76 - . Mc Sweeney Lt. Baumann 7031 078 #3 #2 12x500 12x500 Lt. Lancaster / Maj. Purnell 31906 #1 12x500 Skinny Miss Donna Mae II 31540 37922 #3 #2 12x500 12x500 Reno-Vation 102380 #4 12x500 Bouncin’ Annie Shady Lady 102577 102456 #5 #6 12x500 12x500 Tommy 97316 #7 Rebel Queen 12x500 Horrible Hank’s No name listed 31704 #9 12x500 30382 #8 12x500 not bombarded returned bombs or dropped off in sea This formation had been charged with 12 x 500 lb (19x) and 10 x 500 lb (2x). Spencer 8135 #1 12x500 Lt. and for Lokeren fatal formation was the composed group with planes of the 385th BG and the 94th BG (nine planes). .700m) and the high squadron at 20. six planes in the low squadron and nine in the high squadron. Richard 481 #1 12x500 Lt.The third. Rosener 7135 827 #6 #5 12x500 12x500 Lt. Lancaster and Maj.792m) under the lead of Capt.700ft (5. Turner Lt. Dahlberg 742 912 #2 #3 10x500 10x500 Lt. Mc Neeley Lt. The low squadron flew at 18.

The bombs were painted olive green and had a one inch (25.70m. It could be charged with bombs of 100. a wing span of 31.200 horsepower engines (895kW). going up from two to twenty bombs depending on the weight of the loaded bombs. This plane had a length of 22.5cm). that took up approximately 51% of the weight. was between 51 and 59. It was equipped with four 1.000kg when charged. 9.4mm) yellow link. Bomb bay . The bombs were generally filled with TNT or amatol. The total length of the bomb. 300.000 or 2.4mm) broad yellow line around the nose and the back. a height of 5. The centre of mass was marked by a ¼ inch (6. 500 lb type AN-64 . 1. buildings and light ships.77 - 11.500 lb".000 lb. the so-called flying fortress. 500. Bomb loading in a B-17 The bombs that fell in Lokeren were of the type "AN-M64 . including the tail. railways.65m. 10. This bomb was American produced and was used against ammunition dumps.Type of planes and equipments The mission on Brussels M/Y on 11th May 1944 was carried out with bombers of the type B-17.16 inch (129150cm) and a diameter of 14 inch (35.80m and weighed approximately 26.

78 - . Open bomb bay . B-17 in flight 14.12. Loading of the a B-17 13.

This "playing" between fighters in and around the formation was also confirmed by an eyewitness in Lokeren(13) who saw it happen just before the attack. Boeing built approximately 12. 15. The two waist gunners were in open doors from both sides during a confrontation. This protection was very much appreciated by the crew of B-17’s.800km after take off without filling up. Its speed limit was 431km/h.50 guns protected the plane and the bomb cargo of approximately 2. At high altitudes the crew needed to use oxygen maskes because there was no cabin pressure.700kg.79 - . During battle the flying fortress was reliable and stern. The reports. like in the aircrafts of today. These fighters joined the bomber formations as soon as they came above hostile territory. but the production would increase rapidly from then on. A B-17 was not a comfortable aircraft. Two fighter groups accompanied the heavy bombers which attacked Brussels.000 à 4.50 guns and also ten 5 inches rockets. In May 1945 production of was stopped.50 guns and ten 5 inches rockets. Thirteen . Some B-17’s were already in use on 7 December 1941. the cruising speed was around 273km/h and it could fly between 3. The P-51 had six . The crew were been dressed in heavy attire insulated with wool. Thunderbird P-47 16. These were formed by the 66th Fighter Wing with thirty-four P-47 planes and the 67th Fighter Wing with thirty P-47 and twenty P-51 planes. It had a of ten person crew. It could continue to reach its base even when heavily damaged. said that P-47 and P-51 sometimes came too close to the bombers and that they carried out "simulated attacks" on the formations. The P-47 was been armed with eight . . as a result of which their noses were aimed at the bombers. made that day. Mustang P-51 The support for the bombers on May 11 came from fighter aircraft of the P-47 (Thunderbird) and P-51 (Mustang) types.The B-17 was the first large bomber in the Second World War and was mainly used in Europe. It was a plane which was not easily taken down. The first prototype was tested in July 1935.700 aircraft of this type.

17.80 - . Formation P-47's .

eight followed the lead aircraft #2. but only a togglier. Later in the war toggliers were used quite often to save on bombardier training. mentioned in his report that there were no clouds.I. Norden Bombsight release the togglier would not know it and go ahead and also hit his salvo switch. The bombardier of the lead aircraft (#1) could not take the target and he gave the lead to aircraft #2 of Lt.) who was trained to “toggle the bombs” and flew in the place of a trained bombardier (an officer). M. R. but would open the bomb bay doors. This group has as I. U. Dittmer 827 (#5) Lt. Baumann 912 (#2) Lt. did not released because the bombardier explained that he was briefed to drop on the lead aircraft #1. which did not bomb.P. which became heavier as they flew further landinwards. That is. In the interrogation form (fig. Bauman who had no bombardier on boards. Plane no. The bombardier could observe his M. or a S/Sgt. From the 385th. If the lead ship made a mistake or had an accidental bomb 18. under command of Lt.(14) when the plane flew exactly above it. The lead navigator. Carmen) hit the salvo switch accidentally. which lay at the north-east of the center of Lokeren.P. 51°07 N . composed from two BG. Donald Bridges of the 94th BG. the 385th Composite Group. A togglier was an enlisted man (usually a Sgt. Baumann also did not have specific navigator on board. The ground haze continued to get worse and it was impossible to observe the target. In the operation report of the 385th ‘A’ Composite Group we read that aircraft 078 (#2) had an accidental bomb release of the leading squadron after turning towards the I. This happened at 18. 1st Lt.81 - . off the district "Kopkapel". Rossener. Later we will see that Lt. From the squadron that was formed of the 94th ‘B’ group.8km). 30382. but that the ground haze was serious and that it was very difficult to find their control points.18h. Dahlberg 638 (#4) Lt. only vertically there was a good visibility. . Three planes of the 385th ‘B’ followed and eight of the 94th ‘B’. A togglier did not use the ‘Norden Bombsight’. All reports that day report state there was a ground haze from the hostile coast. Visibility was limited to approximately 3 miles (4. etc.04°00 E.Bombardment From the three formations there is only one that reports Lokeren in his mission reports. following planes released: 078 (#2) Lt. as it happens. and when the lead aircraft dropped their bombs he would salvo his ships bomb load. Reid.P. 24) we can read that the togglier (S/Sgt.

Part of the bombed area. at the top the Veldstraat and the Bosmanstraat . According to the interviews carried out by the “Passive Air-raid Precautions” after the attack. The heavily destroyed Lindestraat. Sterrestraat and the area Veldstraat. In total then 142 projectiles were dropped on Lokeren. The picture covers mainly the town area where the bombs fell.The four planes of the 385th dropped 46 bombs on Lokeren on on their flight.82 - . destruction is easily visible. released 96 bombs. The area to the Zelebaan falls outside the range of this photograph. perhaps explaining the large destruction of the houses of the area. The eight planes of the 94th. On the aerial photograph from 18th July 1944 of Lokeren. 19. Beneath the site of Sterrestraat and Lindestraat. Bosmanstraat are clearly recognizable on this picture. which also bombarded on plane #2. 129 bomb craters were counted and ten non exploded devices were stored (of which one in 1984). This leaves three entities more than dropped on the ground than the screens had counted.

83 - .20. Part of the bombed area (photo from 18/07/1944) .

After the hit the plane spun heavily which demolished a wing. when their B-17 was hit by a bomb. Reid incident. This happened with a 1000 lb bomb which was used for this attack.The bombardier of the lead aircraft #1 (Capt. 21. U. The lead squadron passed under the high squadron with fateful consequence for the crew of Miss Donna May II. Lancaster. The crew of Lt. M. During the accident Lt. while the high squadron was still bombing. Reid was a part of the lead squadron and this squadron turned 90° left after their bomb release. 481) wanted to carry out a second bomb run. when he heard that most of planes had already released their bombs. Lt.84 - . originating from a higher flying bomber. Reid(15) died on 19 May 1944 above Berlin. The left horizontal tail stabilizer of the plane was torn away. you can see how the aircraft was hitten by a 1000 lb bomb on the left tail stabilizer . Remarkable enough a set of five photographs(16) was made of this misfortune. but the pilot interrupted this second one. Nobody could leave the plane and it crashed.

Bombs were out at 18. due to the ground haze and took one that was right of original. died on 21 June 1944. The mission of 11 May 1944 was certainly no undivided success. They did not use the briefed M. All other B-17’s released their bombs because of that one accidental bomb. O’ Connor who led the 94th ‘A’ on May 11. This plane could no longer aim on time and decided a second run to make.P. when he was shot down. Reid flew that 19 May 1944 with Miss Donna May II. It is assumed that he was assassinated on the ground by raging citizens.26h.I. made a left turn and opened their bomb doors. The tail gunner reported however that the other bombers had already released their bombs. When we crossed the Enemy Coast. The 94th ‘A’ Lead Group reached the I. the mission was a dud. 31540. but for the 94th. There were reported target hits on oil storages.24h and 18. also aircraft 1171 (#3) did not drop its bombs. Besides the lead aircraft 951 (#1) and the second leader 049 (#2). Lt. While preparing the bomb run the plexiglas of the bombardier of the lead aircraft 951 (#1) was frozen over. Reid probably realized that they were not above the bombing target of Brussels. which also took part in the mission on Lokeren. The bombardier of Lt. (Lokeren) at 18. the Germans began firing their flak much too close for comfort. We did not hear where those bombs fell.On 11 May 1944 he saved a number of citizens of Lokeren from their death by not dropping his bomb cargo.85 - . The mission was formed again in the afternoon with new planes and crews. Our target was a railroad round house but we missed it by ten miles because our Group Leader accidentally dropped his bombs immediately after opening his bomb bay doors. It had first been planned in the morning. A fragment from a diary of a pilot of the 94th ‘B’ that made up a part of the Composite Group: “This time we were sent to Brussels. When you were close enough to see the fire in the burst. but after take off the task was cancelled and the planes were called back. or if innocent Belgium civilians were victims”. you were too close. The crew of Lt.13h. The bombs fell at south-west of the target of Brussels M/Y. It passed on the lead to aircraft 049 (#2). I could see the red flashes as the flak burst. Also the flight of the 385th ‘B’ did not go without flaw.22h. . after he had saved himself with a parachute. plane no. Later research showed one bomb from the bomb load of aircraft 049 (#2) had been released by the flak attack.P. Col. The time was between 18. The Bombardiers in the seventeen other bombers in the Group tripped their bomb release switches upon seeing the Leaders string of bombs falling. They found the target and the results were thought to be good.

everyone tried their best to avoid them.The crew of these flights were mainly late teenagers and young men in their tweties who risked their life in the fight for our freedom every day. Miss Donna Mae II.86 - . Although civilian casualties were unevitable during the war. nr 42-31540 . There were strickt orders to avoid civilian targets in occupied areas. 22.

Report of the 385th Composite Group .87 - .23.

88 - .24. Interrogation sheet of the 1ste lead A/C of the 385th Composite Group .

89 - ..

25. Interrogation sheet of the 2de lead A/C of the 385th Composite Group .90 - .

.91 - .

Report of the 94th Composite Group .92 - .26.

Report of the 385th BG .93 - .27.

28.reconnaissance photo used for briefing .94 - . Target Brussels M/Y (Schaerbeek) .

Due to the flak gunning the 385th ‘B’ had three wounded in action and one killed in action. Of the participants of the 385th 'A' to the Composite Group six crashed. In the Composite Group nine of the twelve bombers had been damaged of the 385th ‘A’. That this is also accompanied by significant human losses need not be declared. The 94th reported "average into intense" flak contact that day. The guns were generally concentrated around large cities.Anti-Aircraft Defence. For the 385th 'B' there were eight crashed. It was little and inaccurate in the surroundings of among Terneuzen. Anti-aircraft guns. Flak four went back to the USA and two stayed in England. eight were shot down or crashed down. whereas the 385th ‘A’ counted one serious victim. The squadron lost two planes here by flak. The biggest danger for the bombers came from the anti-aircraft guns (flak) that were installed in a lot of places. with considerable damage as a consequence. six went back to USA and seven stayed in England. only four reached the end of the war. A study into the further destiny of these participating aircraft we could retrieve that from the twenty-one B-17’s of the 94th ‘A’. Seen from a distance. 385th ‘B’: fourteen damaged on nineteen planes above target. The fighting damage caused by flak to the aircraft was considerable. Intense but generally inaccurate flak was communicated above Brussels. Above the target Brussels it was reported as on average but very precise. 30. For the task of May 11th the assessment for the formations which Lokeren flew over was as follows: 94th ‘A’: fifteen damaged on twenty-one planes above target. Walcher Island and Antwerp.95 - . From the nine participating bombers of the 94th ‘B’ to the Composite Group. the flak in Antwerp was poor. the allied bombardment flights did not encounter much hostility from the German air force. The 385th communicated "precise flak but poor" at Heemstede and Walcher Island on the way there. For the 94th ‘B’ the assessment was seven damaged of nine participating B-17’s. Flak In 1944. . On this mission they had not seen a single hostile fighter.

30.96 - . Report of battle damage 94th 'B' Bomb Group .

Lt. For the 385th.34h. Lt.743m).Landing and comment of the crew The 94th ‘A’ leadgroup reached the hostile coast at 18. left the formation when flying over the English coast.791m) then the formation decreased.12h.06h.44h and landing happened between 19. White (385th ‘B’ lead): binoculars provide for the nose and tail in the leading plane. Robbins and Lt. in the reports were no times of return mentioned. From the flight reports of the pilots of the 385th BG we can still extract some remarkable observations: Lt. Lt. Baumann. Lt. only beside they talk of 19. Lt. They were above Orfordness at 19.24h on an altitude of 9. Lt. Percival (385th ‘B’ lead): after landing the camions were at the last three missions to late. where the landing took place between 19.000ft (5. Wells (385th ‘B’ lead): the snack bar open earlier in the evening. Drinking water necessary. Transport after a mission. Around 19.000ft (2.47h and 20.40h and 20. The 94th ‘B’. Gray (385th ‘B’ lead): don’t like gorbohydrate candy. there is still waiting an interrogation of the flight . Several pilots of the 385th ‘A’ and ‘B’ made report of the fact that they had flown without navigator. Lt. Lt.15h flight hours in ten days. Spencer (385th ‘A’ Comp): the gunners complain that they get drill in the afternoon after they has flown a mission in the morning. which were very missed (Lt. La Penna (385th ‘A’ Comp): the crew had wait 35 minutes after landing before she was picked up. The crew had to wait 30 minutes before being picked up. Seehof (385th ‘B’ lead): this crew has made 50.35h they reached Burry St. Faix). Edmunds. Dittmer (385th ‘A’ Comp): drinking water provides in the space for the commencement (drying room) with the mission. 31. The base was reached for 19. Lt.52h on an altitude of 19.97 - . which determined a part of the Composite Group. Mc Sweeney.

there was only material damage to her house. He died in the hospital (fractured skull. - Marcel De Munck (*2/1/1930 Lokeren) son of Leon Franciscus De Munck. living at the Lindestraat 39. - Leon Franciscus De Munck (*6/6/1903 Lokeren – son of Joannes) spouse of Martha Rooms.Emma Dobbelaere. But more terrible was the human suffering: 85 people died. 92 heavy wounded.Consequences for the family De Munck Hundreds of houses were destroyed or were heavily damaged. Other membres of the family died: - Marie Isidoor De Munck (*11/4/1899 Lokeren – daughter of Joannes) spouse of Medard Rombout. The family payer a heavy toll with four deceased and three wounded. widow De Munck . For grandmother.98 - . Different members of the De Munck family lived in the bombed area(17). Wounded. bruised). living at the Kazernestraat 81. Lindestraat: left the Grooten Hof and right the house of Pieters . living at the Lindestraat 43. taken to hospital: - Mathilde De Munck (*19/10/1909 Lokeren) living at the Bosmanstraat 63. living at the Lindestraat 43. - Joannes Baptiste De Munck (*20/10/1867 Lokeren) killed during the bombardment. - Martha Rooms. headwounds. 352 light wounded. 32. - Irène Rombout (*22/4/1939) daughter of Medard Rombout and Marie De Munck.

widow De Munck .99 - . in front of the parental house 34.33. Anna in the Kazernestraat. School St. Kazernestraat. marked the house of grandmother.Emma Dobbelaere .

.100 - .

had in our opinion been added after the bombardment. not knowing if they were even archived after the war. North Sea).18hr). there was no bombardier on board of the second lead aircraft #2.P. . During the bombardment two B-17’s of the 94th ‘B’ (31906 #1 of Lt. other ones about five to six.P. the target was about 20 miles away. Doing so we decided on a result of four aircraft. Unfortunate until now we have not been able to locate them. when it became clear that the planes had bombed Lokeren instead of the marshalling yards in Schaerbeek (Brussels).Conclusions You can suggest that the bombardment on Lokeren was due to an accidental bomb release of the second lead aircraft of the 385th ‘A’ Composite Group.I. The rest of the aircraft either dropped on Brussels or turned back to England with their bombs on board (some of them dropped their bombs in the Channel. In Lokeren they dropped their bombs allmost immediately after turning on the I. After taking the I. Research on the ground tells us that there were no more bombs dropped between Lokeren and Brussels that day. so the bombardier normally had a bomb run of five to ten minutes to take his M. According to the last information of RCAHM(18) a great deal of them are were destroyed after the war. but only a tonglier who was not trained to use the "Norden Bombsight" and who was in practice dependant on the lead bombardier. Also. This is also near to the number of bomb explosions counted on the ground. Purnell and 102577 #6 of Bouncin Annie) took aerial photographs. upon which eleven other bombers of this formation also released their bombs. These SAV negatives (Strike Attack View) were taken simultaneously with the bomb discharge (10 negatives).P. It is not very clear how many aircraft of the 385th ‘A’ dropped their bombs One report spoke about three aircraft. We have based our conclusions upon the time of the bomb release (18. The indication of the firme Hoedhaar as a target on the list which Mr Remi Van Nieuwenborgh saw at the base.101 - .

NARA: National Archives and record Administration. 2.com 4. De Souvereinen. reports Passive Air-raid Precautions. U. parts 1. Reid: The Marion U. 16. 14.Sources and declarations 1. Edinburgh.September 1944.102 - . . SintNiklaas. R. M. M/Y: Marshalling Yard. G. City Archive of Lokeren. Windey.armyairforces. collection 348. no. TO: Target or Opportunity.P. 7. 15. City Archive of Lokeren. Marion Reid were a son of the pastor of the First Baptist Church in that time. Frans De Koninck. 2. p.het bombardement van 11 mei 1944 op Lokeren.. editor municipal corporation of Dendermonde. Eight Air Force Narrative of Operations. 1944. Alain Debbaut en Björn Rzoska. The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives. 8. M. Een dodelijke vergissing . fund Frans De Vos.P. Oudheidkundige Kring. 11. 351th Operation. U. 3.: Mean Point or Impact.: Return Point. Report towering guard of 11 May 1944. 2007. RR/J: Railraod Junction.S. 12.B. 5. bombardments 40-45. Lokeren 2004. 83.I. May 11. Reid Memorial Sunday school. Strike Attack View negatives: SAV-94-515 (1-5) (19/5/1944) 791-7-26500 Berlin Germany. (Passieve Luchtbescherming). 17. 13. After the end of the war Sunday school was started in Lake Worth. One of the buillding was called to Lt. September 1943 . Passive Air-raid Precautions. then the formations flew over (± 200m from the first hit). were himselves in the beginning of the bombardment. Marcel Pieters. 10. Wardiary 1943-1945.gov 9. 6. collection 316. www. http://forum.archives. 18. Florida. here are since 2008 the TARA archives. 38 jg. RCAHMS: Royal Commission on the Acient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Sint-Niklaas: 32a. d.103 - . backside cover. l. j. 29.merkki. 16. Oudheidkundige Kring. 21. Varnedoe Bill: 2f. 5. 3. NARA archive. Halpert Sam: website www. Luftbilddatenbank. 24. 22. 27. Google Earth: 8. 15. Website 303th Bombing Group: 14. i. Website www. 4. “Een dodelijke Vergissing”: 32b. k. e.b17sam. 7. USA: 6. Germany: 20. .com/bombardiers: 18. g. n. 26. 34. Rzoska Björn. Washington. Debbaut Alain. b. Sassone Joseph (303th BG): 30. 33. Estenfeld. Fund Frans De Vos. c. 23. h.Illustrations Alexander Ken: 9. Harrington Aviation Museum: 11. Burris Scott: 10. Benson Marc: 21.com: 31. 28. 25. Robinson Debi: 2a. 17. m.

steunend lid 12 €. 9160 Lokeren. - Bankrekening Centea: 860-0003103-78. 9160 Lokeren. beschermlid 20 € of meer. Tel. - Elke auteur is verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van zijn tekst. De Souvereinen. Tel. 09 348 32 85 - Redactie van het tijdschrift en secretaris: Alex Dierick. Buitenlandse leden in de Eurozone dienen het volgend banknummer te gebruiken: IBAN BE69 8600 0031 0378 BIC SPAABE22 - Voorzitter en contactadres: Marcel Pieters. de Provincie (via Heemkunde Oost-Vlaanderen vzw) en . 9160 Lokeren. .com - Lidmaatschap van de kring: 8 €. - Oude jaargangen zijn nog beschikbaar aan 5 € per jaargang tot en met het jaar 1999.104 - . 09 348 40 43. Beukenlaan 31. Vanaf 2000 aan 8 € per jaargang. Hoogstraat 96. Overname van teksten enkel toegestaan mits nauwkeurige bronvermelding en na de toestemming van de auteur. Bombs on Lokeren. Belgium The true story about Thursday 11 May 1944 61 - E-mailadres: desouvereinen_lokeren@yahoo. Lammeken 55. Na storting op de rekening of tegen contante betaling wordt de bestelling uitgevoerd door Alex Dierick die de reservevoorraad bewaart. - Het tijdschrift "De Souvereinen" wordt uitgegeven met subsidie van de Stad Lokeren (Cultuurraad). - Wegens de hoge verzendingskosten vragen wij aan de buitenlandse leden een bijdrage van 25 € (lidgeld 8 € reeds inbegrepen) over te maken. Adres bij de redactie. 9160 Lokeren. - Een nummer van de huidige jaargang niet ontvangen? Navragen bij de penning- meester Gaston Ketels.Table of Contents André De Munck.

Veldstraat. on the background the factory Hoedhaar .