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Diederich Crew—Lost on 15 July 1944 near Yap, MACR #6924
13th Air Force, 372nd Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Group
Information and pictures on this page have been reprinted with permission.

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Diederich Crew: Back Row (left to right): Kenneth W. Seiler, Robert F. Jocobs, William E. Crowley, Charles F. Reynolds, John O. Dunbar, and Clint D. Hundley. Front Row(left to right): Anthony F. Diederich, Robert W. Pomeroy, Andrew Sekanics, and Eugene W. Garrett. Not pictured: William E. Moores

Yap Island Trip: Sharon Crowley Connor accompanied Pat Ranfranz and his wife in 2006 on a search trip to Yap Island to try and find his uncle's plane. Sharon held a memorial service out in the ocean in a place nearby where her dad's plane went down. READ SHARON'S TRIP BLOG

Excerpt about the Diederich Crew crash from book "The Long Rangers" by Sam Britt:

The real tragedy of the mission was the collision of two Liberators. There were several versions of the accident. George Krum, the ball turret gunner on Lt. Gage's (370th) crew had a good view since he was in the turret at the time. As he saw it, the Zero's crowded the formation in front of the 370th formation forcing them closer and closer together until one of the planes apparently got caught in the slip stream of the plane in front and both were pulled together like giant buzz saws, slashing each other until the two wings locked together and fell into the water. George saw seven to ten parachutes open. The Japanese pilots went down and strafed the parachutes and any survivors they could find in the water.

The 372nd version states that three minutes after the break away, the pilot flying the B-2 position was attacked by a Zeke pilot who apparently scored some damaging hits that caused the plane to swerve to the left and crash into plane #555 (Lt. Sylor, 370th) flying in the 370th formation. The two planes locked and burst into flames. Plane #555 broke in two at the forward end and bodies were seen to be hurled from the wreckage. Three chutes opened and drifted to the water, and this time the attacking fighter pilots did not strafe the parachutes. There were eleven crew members in the plane. Plane #555 was flying above and slightly overlapping Lt. Anthony Diedrich (372nd). The two planes hit the water about five to eight miles apart.

The collision as witnessed by Lt. Dooley (371st) and Lt. Blair (371st) and their crews present a slightly different version. They stated that the solver B-24 and a painted one side-slipped approximately five hundred feet under Lt. Blair's plane and that they were very close together. It was believed that prop wash caused the painted B-24, which was flying on the left wing of the silver one, suddenly to loose control. Its right wing struck the silver plane amidship and on the top of the fuselage. The wing crumpled and both planes exploded. No parachutes were seen to open. The 370th report stated that Lt. Sylor's (370th) plane was hit by another plane flying the B-3 position about ten minutes after bombs away. The waist and tail of Lt. Sylor's plane were chopped off; the planes locked wings and both crashed off the southwest end of Yap Island. Five parachutes were seen to open. It was not determined whether another plane, which was flying outside of B-3, crowded into B-1's prop wash or whether turbulence caused the planes to collide. The air was extremely turbulent.

Diederich Crew Documents:
MACR 6924
(pdf file 7 MB)

307th Bomb Group Mission Report 307-303, 15 July 1944
(pdf file 1.4 MB)

July 1945 document listing the missing in action over Yap Island since 15 July 1944
(pdf file 2.8 MB)

February 1946 document from the IDPF file of William E. Crowley
(pdf file 2.1 MB)

April 1947 document from the Western Carolines Sub Area to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet about the recovery of isolated burials on Yap.
(pdf file 723 KB)

Japanese Interviews about flyers lost over Yap
(pdf file 4.2 MB)

Douglas Busath Report on Diederich Crew loss
(pdf file 1.2 MB)

Frank Klien Report on Diederich Crew loss
(pdf file 551 KB)

Lewis Smith Report on Diederich Crew loss
(pdf file 597 KB)

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Information submitted by 307th Vets regarding the loss of the Diederich Crew:

Douglas Busath Report 1of3

Douglas Busath Report 2of3

Douglas Busath Report 3of3

Frank Klein Report 1of2

Frank Klein Report 2of2

Lewis Smith - CovLtr re Life in the AAC

Lewis Smith - first letter 7-2003
   

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Sgt. William Edward Crowley Documents:

The following documents were supplied by Sharon Crowley Connor, thye daughter of Sgt. William Edward Crowley of the Diederich Crew.

SGT William Edward Crowley

Diederich Crew

Sgt. William Edward Crowley Newspaper clipping from the Chicago Tribune

Sharon Crowley with her mother and grandmother

SGT William Edward Crowley and buddy

SGT William Edward Crowley Marker at FT. Rosecrans Nat'l Cemetery in San Diego

William Edward Crowley-Individual Flight Record

William Edward Crowley and other 307th BG members were on Hamilton Field before leaving for the Pacific. Picture of the Hamilton Field Tower

William Edward Crowley and his sister Marcella on July 31, 1929

More information can be found at the following links:



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