Date: 1943 Dec 22/22 A/C Type: B-24 D  Liberator SN: 42-63969 Code: A/C Nickname:
 File: 149 Airforce: USAAF Sqn/Unit: 93 BG - 409 BS Mission/Raid: Osnabrück
1 Pilot 1Lt. Grady G. Hunt     washed ashore buried Makkum 9 RWG S/Sgt Roy Cook      w.a. buried Workum
2 Co-pilot 2Lt. Joseph P. Congelli    MIA, buried Middenmeer 10 TG S/Sgt James W. Bennet    Middenmeer
3 Nav. 2Lt. Thomas R. Curry                      MIA 11    
4 B 2Lt. Leslie C. Matthews                  MIA 12    
5 E T/Sgt Ruben R. Galindo                  MIA 13    
6 RO T/Sgt George B. Murry                   MIA 14    
7 BTG         not carried 15    
8 LWG S/Sgt Theo A. Blanchard                MIA 16                    

Return from Osnabrück was on high altitude, above a thick deck of clouds. Formation ran into intense Flak and fighter attacks on position 52°38'N-06°20'E. This is in the Netherlands, east of Staphorst. The bomber formation was scattered. Damaged aircraft lost speed and sank beneath the clouds, often again attacked by fighters. 22 bombers were lost from Osnabrück to the British coast.

This aircraft came down in the northern part of Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea). Four men washed ashore and were buried. Five men MIA. Investigation and search for this aircraft and missing crew is one of the reasons this website was build. The wreck will someday be found.

Pilot Grady G. Hunt washed ashore exact half year after the crash, just south of Makkum. He was buried there on 23 June 1944 in grave 34. In grave 33 (to the left of Hunt) also an American was buried and to the right of Hunt in grave 35 was buried an unknown gunner without rank, buried on 26 June 1944. All three washed ashore here against the foot of the dyke. After the war an American Quartermaster Grave Recovery team examined the three, but only took the airmen in grave 33 and 34 (Hunt) to the US Identification Centre in Neuville-en-Condroz (Belgium). the gunner (without rank) in grave 35 still rests in Makkum because he was considered English and received a RAF grave stone. The two empty graves to the left of the unknown RAF gunner are well visible today. In 1949 Lt. Hunt was reburied in the USA.

S/Sgt. Ray or Roy Cook washed ashore after 5 months at the Buitenpolder-dyke at Workum. Already nine washed ashore Allied airmen were buried there side by side and S/Sgt. Cook was buried as last in grave 10. Post war, his remains were exhumed and reburied in US centralization War Cemetery "Netherlands" in Margraten and rest there today.

On the other side, the western shore of the Lake two airmen of this crew were also recovered. Certain is that tail gunner S/Sgt. James W. Bennet washed ashore or brought in half year later on the Wieringermeer-dyke at harbor Oude Zeug. He was buried in grave 713 in the General Cemetery of the administrative center of the Wieringermeerpolder, which is in the small village Middenmeer.

In files of same community is also a man that washed ashore or was brought by boat 15 November 1944 with name described as 'L. JP. SONGELLI'. No doubt this was co-pilot Lt. Joseph P. Congelli. However, his burial location is unclear today. He is listed MIA. Lt. Congelli's recovery date 15 Nov. 1944 (after 11 months) is too long for washing ashore after a Lake crash. We learned that 9 months is the maximum. Possibly fishermen or Germans recovered part of the wreck and landed it in Oude Zeug harbor, remains or personal belongings of Congelli then discovered. On the uninhabited 'Work-port' (Utility-port) Oude Zeug is known that it had a yard with aircraft wrecks recovered from the Lake until 1960. In 1946 Lt. Congelli was exhumed from Middenmeer by a US Grave Recovery Team, but in a control just before his burial in US War Cemetery "Ardennes" the coffin only contained a femur which was not what was exhumed of him in Middenmeer. The coffin was buried as unknown soldier "Known but to God" and the status of Lt. Congelli turned back into MIA. His remains (in another coffin) were not found back.      


- All MACR on the 22 December 1943 raid
- Research on the war burials in above mentioned cemeteries.
   View cemetery files in SEARCH MENU - Search on: Cemeteries, Lake Area Cemeteries, Lake Casualty Cemetery - Makkum, Middenmeer and Workum.

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