Date: 1944 Jul 07/07 A/C Type: B-17G  Fortress SN: 42-31189 Code: FR-X A/C Nickname: Paragon
 File: 614 Airforce: USAAF Sqn/Unit: 379 BG - 525 BS Mission/Raid: Bernburg south of Maagdenburg
1 Pilot 1Lt. Robert M. Harrah       evd/POW 9 RWG not carried
2 Co-pilot 2Lt. Robert E. Giles            evd/POW 10 TG S/Sgt. William R. Campbell
3 Nav. 2Lt. Richard M. Tracey 11    
4 B 2Lt. Joseph L. Ashbrook  evd/POW 12    
5 E S/Sgt. John Alexanian 13    
6 RO T/Sgt. Phillip Cimino    shot dead 10 Sept 44 14    
7 BTG S/Sgt. Kenneth E. Mays   evd/POW 15    
8 LWG S/Sgt. Frank E. Garofalo 16                    

Was hit by Flak over target. On return lost three engines and crew had to bail out at 5000 ft over the Northeast Polder 12km north of Urk and SW under Lemmer. They landed in a marsh with high reed fields and were helped out by the resistance and could evade.

Below: the chart of the 7 July 1944 raid on Leipzig. An outdated map was used as basis, dating from year 1928... The Dutch Wieringermeerpolder is not drawn on the map (1930), the dike that closed off the Zuyder Sea (1932) and the Northeast Polder (1939) are not on. As usual the raid-planners choose the strait running southern dike (direction 90°) of the Northeast Polder as waypoint, this time both on the in- and outbound route. In this new polder, B-17 42-31189 came down on the return from Leipzig.

Evasion all nine crew out of the polder.

Construction company Kingma was building in the polder the first farms. The foreman of this company, Mr. Jacob Muller saw the nine parachutes of Harrah's B-17 'Paragon' floating down from the sky. They landed in a wilderness, the mostly unprospected northwestern part of the polder, covered with huge 10 feet high reed fields. After hours of searching, he managed to find and assemble seven airmen and later another two. Under the nose of dozens searching German soldiers, he succeeded in smuggling them out the polder to the main land to safely, in an open truck of the Kingma company that parked at night into their company work shed in Vollenhove (red V on above map). For this and other pilot help in WW2, the brave Jacob Muller received post war the President Eisenhower Certificate. The empty B-17 without pilots made a reasonable good belly landing in the marsh. Germans reported only 40% damage. It lay in 1947 still in position (see aerial photos 1947 in below websites (links).

Read more and photos:  

Crew photos and more on this B-17:
When on this site allow a minute loading, then Crtl + F 'Paragon'.

Escape routes crew.

First: Vollenhove (Kingma, see 'Kingma-list 'below). After Vollenhove: Meppel (Peter van den Hurk), train to Amsterdam, 2 days in Amsterdam, train to Eindhoven, Schijndel, Erp (Harry Otten), Farm Zwarte Plak in little America (Poels Family).

From Farm Zwarte Plak to:

Southwestern route to Antwerpen, Belgium. Caught and POW 22 July 1944: Harrah, Giles, Ashbrook and Mays (kept captive in a Stalag).

Southeastern route. Route to Maastricht-Liège (Luik). However, escape line interrupted. Tracey and Garofalo had to stay in safehouses/farms in Kelpen/Leveroy north of Maastricht near Roermond until liberated by the British 2nd Army 15 Nov. 44. Maps & their photos in file:

Alexanian, Campbell and engineer T/Sgt. Philip Cimino reached Maastricht and Liège. Campbell and Cimino both joined an armed group of Belgian resistance fighters mixed with Allied special forces (Belgian paratroopers) fighting behind German lines at Spa. Got in combat with German troops from 2nd of September 1944 and onwards. T/Sgt. Phillip Cimino was killed in combat by German machinegun fire on September 10. Fieldgrave at Spa in a meadow (later recovered and buried at nearby American War Cemetery in Neuville 'Ardennes', reburied in USA in 1950). Group with Campbell returned to Liège and was liberated there on the 11th of September by the advancing US Army.


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