Date: 1945 Mar 31/31 A/C Type: B-24 L  Liberator SN: 44-49972 Code: A/C Nickname: Rum Collins
 File: 338 Airforce: USAAF Sqn/Unit: 354 BG - 733 BS Mission/Raid: Brunswick (Braunschweig)
1 Pilot 2Lt. Owens L. Hopper      10 crew POW 9 Nose turret T/Sgt. Doyle E. Keefer
2 Co-pilot 2Lt. John D. McCleod 10 H2X radar 2Lt. Walter E. Patschneider 
3 Nav. 2Lt.  Harry E. Anderson 11 P-Nav Lt. Harold E. Prout
4 TTG S/Sgt. Earl R. Thornsen       evd. 12 TG S/Sgt. John R. Sipp
5 B 2Lt. Robert M. Hughes 13    
6 RO "HX2" S/Sgt. William J. Pflum 14    
7 BTG S/Sgt. Thomas E. Setser       evd. 15    
8 LWG S/Sgt. Frank W. Barry 16                    

On entry Dutch coast engine on fire and crew had to jump. Crashed Lutjewinkel.

Radar equiped B-24 with extra operators in crew (crew of 12). S/Sgt. Earl Thornsen: "We were test firing our guns over the Dutch coast. The Martin Top Turret short-circuited and the guns, out of control, shot into no. 1 engine and set it on fire. The plane caught fire. Crew was ordered to bail out".

The aircraft went down over the northwestern tip of Noord-Holland. Eight crew POW, two were helped and could evade. They landed in Nieuwe Niedorp and then handed over to the Schipper family in Spanbroek.

Rudimentary map of bail-out location in MACR. This was on high altitude.

S/Sgt. Thornsen came down at village Nieuwe Niedorp. A farmer 1km NE of Nieuwe Niedorp hid Thornsen succesfully while the Germans searched the farm. Then he brought Thornsen to the Monastery at the edge of Nieuwe Niedorp, they handled 'the pilot' further.  

Photo Monastery:

Via Aartswoud, Spanbroek, Wormerveer and back at Spanbroek, the famous Schipper resistance family arranged motorboat transport for Thornson over Lake IJsselmeer (Old Zuyder Sea) from Andijk to Stavoren. This eastern side of the Netherlands was already liberated by the Canadian army. On the 29 of April Sgt. Thornsen was in Stavoren and on the 1st of May 1945 he was back under military control. Also Sgt. Sester was back in Allied hands on the 2nd of May.   

© ZZairwar (Zuyder Zee Air War)