Written by his son, Marc Harris
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
Thursday, April 4
Dear Mr. Lundy:
Thank you very much for your letter. It provided me with some valuable information. I hope that we can keep in touch. Who knows, maybe I can help you. I've finally located the six surviving members of my Dad's crew. I've enclosed their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
James DeBoer did not fly on that final mission because he was accidentally shot in the leg a week before. Frank Stoltz still lives in Miles City. My Mom talked to his wife this past week. Please let me know when the 44th BG Casualty Memorial is completed. I want to buy a copy.
It was quite a coincidence that you sent me that picture of my Dad's plane. You see, I discovered the same picture less than a week before. I had purchased the book "Liberators over Europe," A History of the 44th Bomb Group. (the same book you mention in your letter. As I looked through the book, I discovered a picture of a B-24 in flight dropping its bomb load. Underneath was the caption "Bombs Away." As I studied the picture closer, I noticed the markings NB on the rear fuselage and the letter E on the tail fin. Then I saw the serial number 42-100411. I was shocked! Your letter confirmed my finding. I thought that I must have been mistaken.
I have the dates of all 16 of my Dad's combat missions. They begin May 24 and end June 21. Yes, he did fly on D-Day. Would these dates help you in detailing his missions? I have a copy of Roger A. Freeman's book, "The Mighty Eighth War Diary." From this book, I've been able to pinpoint the primary targets of his 16 missions. I would love a more detailed account of each mission. Is this possible? Please thank your friend from Switzerland for me. I can use all the help I can get. Well this is all for now. Please write back when you have the time.
Thanks again. I really do appreciate it.
300 Mildren Ave., Apt. 8
Weirton, WV 26062
16 Mission Record of David Harris as provided by his son, Marc.
May 14, 1944 Air Fields at Orly and Melun (216)
May 27, 1944 Marshaling yards at Neunkirchen and Kons/Karthus 217-218
May 27, 1944 Coastal batteries at St. Valery (218)
May 28, 1944 Oil targets at Merseburg/Leuna Zeitz-Troglitz
May 31, 1944 France and Belgium rail targets (219)
June 2, 1944 V-weapon sites at Pas de Calais (222)
June 3, 1944 Coastal defenses at Pas de Calais (222)
June 6, 1944 Assault on beaches (223-224)
June 7, 1944 Tactical targets at Argentan (224-225) Laigle, Lisieux
June 8, 1944 Rail targets and air fields at Pontaubault, Angers, LeMans/Arnage Nantes, Cinq Mars Bridge (225)
June 10, 1944 Air fields at Dreux, Evreux/Fauville, Chateaudun, Orleans/Bricy (225)
June 14, 1944 Air fields at Chateaudun, Orleans Bricy, Eindhoven, Coxyde (226)
June 15, 1944 Air fields and rail targets in NW France (226-227)
June 18, 1944 Oil refineries at Bremen and Luftwaffe control centers at Fassberg, Stade (227)
June 20, 1944 Oil and industrial targets at Politz, Ostermoor (228)
June 21, 1944 Targets in Berlin area - Genshagen Marienfelde, Niederschonweide (228-229)
Surviving Members of Crew 149-10
Francis E. Termin
P. O. Box 13
Glen Hope, PA 16645
Henry D. Faller
1115 Kingston St.
Flint, MI 48507
William L. McConnaughhay
104 St. Joseph St.
Sulphur, LA 70663
James De Boer
Royal York Apts.
110 W. Butterfield Rd.
Elmhurst, ILL 60126
Robert D. Smith
702 Shuffleton St.
Sigourney, IA 52591
2709 Pleasant St.
Miles City, MT 59301
Thursday, April 25
I'm enclosing a detailed account of the June 21st mission to Berlin. You may have this already. If you do, please mail it back, but if you don't you can keep it. I acquired this by writing to USAF Historical Research Center, Research Division (RI), Maxwell AFB, AL - 36112-6678.
I've also found the address of Norman E. Howe's wife, Marian. She lives at Box 553, Freeland, WA 98248. I intend to write her soon.
I'm also going to try and find relatives of Franklin Binkley and Gordon Henderson. You know, I saw a story on the evening news the other night that gave me a great deal of hope. It seems this teacher in Iowa had been reading a story to her sixth grade class. The story dealt with a military plane crash in the Pacific during World War II. The nine survivors of the crash lived on a raft for a long time before they were rescued. One of the survivors happened to be World War I hero Eddie Rickenbacker! The students realized that these weren't make believe characters, but real people. They dug and researched and found all of the living survivors and brought them together for the first time in 43 years. I'd love to do the same with my Dad's crew.
Once again, thanks for the trade and I'll be writing again soon.
DAVID MILTON HARRIS
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
300 Mildren Avenue, No. 8
Weirton, WV 26062
17 February 1985
Dear Mr. Henry:
My name is Marc Harris. I was referred to you by the people at Maxwell Air Force Base, Historical Division. I've been trying to research my father's war experiences. He passed away on 22 December 1983 just two days after his 62nd birthday. I was hoping that you can help me. Here are some facts that I know:
Name: David Milton Harris, 2nd Lt., Serial Number 0-709365
Navigator - B-24 and stationed at Shipdham, Norfolk
2nd Bombardment Division
14th combat bombardment wing
44th Bombardment Group
506th Bombardment Squadron
16 combat missions during May-June 1944
Shot down 21 June 1944.
He was shot down on Wednesday, June 21, 1944 during a raid on Berlin. The plane was B-24H, serial number 42-100411. This is the only plane from the 44th BG shot down on this day. He was captured and placed in Stalag Luft III in Saigon until January 1945 when, at that time, they were moved to Stalag VII-A at Mooseberg where he was liberated on April 29, 1945.
My father's address before the war was 802 North Fourth Street, Steubenville, Ohio.
Other members of his crew were:
2nd Lt. Norman E. Howe No. 0101878
2nd Lt. Gordon W. Henderson No. 0817211
2nd Lt. Franklin W. Binkley No. 0700097
S/Sgt. James DeBoer, Engineer No. 36630686 ?
S/Sgt. Henry D. Faller No. 39854563
Sgt. William L. McConnaughay No. 17020809
Sgt. Francis E. Termin, Tail Gunner No. 13084734 LaJose, PA
Sgt. Frank Stoltz, Miles City, Mont. No. 37558907 Miles, City, Montana
Sgt. Robert E. Smith, Nose Gunner No. 34623289 Indianapolis, Ind.
1. Could you find the name of my father's plane?
2. Do you know the whereabouts of the rest of my father's crew?
3. Will there be a reunion of the 44th "Flying Eightballs"?
4. Can I have my address included on any mailing list that you send out?
5. Any information that you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
I have as many questions that I wish I could ask my father. He was a great guy who never talked about that part of his life. Please help me.
Thank you very much,
11 March 1985
Thanks for your speedy response and the valuable help. I wrote to both of the men from Dad's crew. As a matter of fact, we called Mr. Faller in Flint. He was thrilled. He must have talked for 30 minutes. I could hardly get a word in. He told me that Howe, the pilot, died from cancer a couple of years ago. Henderson, the copilot, was shot while parachuting after they were shot down; Binley, the bombardier, died from a heart attack last year. This means the four officers have passed away. This was very sad news.
He also told me that the plane had no nickname that the could remember. As a matter of fact, they weren't even flying their regular plane. They had borrowed one while theirs was being serviced. He also said that he had been trying to track down his crewmembers but without much luck. We are going to keep in touch.
Mr. McConnaughhay wrote me a long letter including an eight-page description of their last mission (21 June 1944). He had tried to sell it to Reader's Digest but with no luck. It was very interesting. He said that he got a tear in his eye when he opened my letter. He had put his crew picture away but after he read my letter, he hung it back on the wall. This makes me feel real good.
I sent my money to Evelyn and am now a member of the group. I'm very happy to be a part of this organization. I'm seriously considering attending the reunion in September. My mother would like to go too.
I'm still trying to track down the remaining four members of my Dad's crew. Here, again, are their names, rank, serial number and their hometowns. (see above)
Mr. DeBoer had accidentally shot himself in the leg one week before that final mission. He, therefore, did not make that last mission. They were a nine-man crew that day.
My next goal will be to find my father's roommates at Stalag Luft III. This will be really hard. At least with the bombing crew, I had a picture with the names. I guess I would need a list of all the men in the Center Compound at Stalag Luft III barrack by barrack. It's a tough task but I'm determined. If you have any ideas that might help me, let me know.
Again, thanks a million for all the help.
P.S. Also sent another letter to Faller and McConnaughhay