England 1944. B-24 Liberator, Crash Landing.




My Waltham Cross and Cheshunt

Some fifteen miles North of London there is two small parishes Waltham Cross and Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, two separate villages but all most linked as one. On the 12 August 1944 just before 0800 hr. a B-24 Liberator 42-95023 (a/c #023) bomber from USAAF Wendling, 392nd B/G, 577th Squadron, Norfolk, appeared from the South, very low just below the 10/10ths  cloud base which was at 4-500 feet, Visibility 2 miles or less, this B-24 Liberator passed over Bullsmoor Lane (Ref Grace Millest), south of Waltham Cross (about two plus miles from where it made a crash landing) travelling North-East the bomber was making a terrible noise the engines appeared to be starting and stopping with black smoke and flames trailing from the exhaust of each engine, and flying in a swooping motion,  people watched this B-24 Liberator Bomber with engines on a rich setting in an attempt to keep them running, the pilot 2/LT J. D. Ellis, co-pilot F/O S.C.Stalsby and T/Sgt Stanley Jankowski, had an malfunction with all four engines none responding to any given change in settings; the Ellis B-24 flew close to the N/E side of the main road though Waltham Cross and on to Cheshunt, "I was in Leven Drive, Waltham Cross at this time no aircraft passed West of me, the Poplar Trees that lined the Cambridge Arterial  Road were visible at 640 yds, so the Liberator must have passed on the East of me" flying North on the East side of the main road though Waltham Cross on to Cheshunt before making a left turn close to Hillside Avenue, Cheshunt (Ref Mrs D P Atkinson) and then crash landing in a field on the west side of the Cambridge Arterial Road, at Maxwells Farm, Lat 51.6961--Long 0.0457, a very clear account came from a Dr Bernard Nau from ( 15 Hillside Avenue) we saw it flying westwards in more or less level flight, perhaps 100-200 feet above the ground, it then came down at Maxwells Farm.

(Google) B-24, 42-7468 and 42-7467.

On Friday 27th August 1943, at 19.00 hrs. a B-24H Liberator number 42-7467, 392nd B/G took off from AAF Burtonwood Air Depot near Warrington on a routine flight test, crashed with similar fault, to Ellis.


Then on the 30th August 1943, a B-24H Liberator 42-7468 departed AAF Burtonwood at 17.00 hrs on a return flight to 392nd B/G, Wendling, and crashed with a similar fault, to Ellis.

A short account of the crash 

This catastrophic event started to take place at 05.28 hrs at Wendling USAAF Airfield Norfolk, 393 BG, 2nd Lt Ellis was the third Liberator to take off that morning, but the weather was a major factor this day, the south-east of England was covered with dense cloud from 500ft to 10.000ft, so assembly  at 17.500ft over base was chaotic with B-24 Liberators unable to form into their correct groups , before heading south on Longitude =-0.0000 this was one of the main flight path for outward bombing missions to Europe, Juvincourt Airfield, N/W of Reims France, was the intended destination for2nd Lt Ellis B-24  (a/c # 023).


Ellis had just cross the A233 (road) one mile S/E of Biggin Hill, suddenly the Liberator had a loss of power (engines) this then caused the aircraft to stall (nose high) peeled off and spiralled downwards into cloud at about 10,000ft this was confirmed by Capt. Muldoon,  he was two miles to the west of Ellis, also 2nd Lt Sewell , 2nd Lt Larson, F/O Pierce, 2nd Lt, Scharf, 2nd Lt Haines left similar reports, some were over six miles behind Ellis at the time, eventually Ellis and co-pilot Stalsby plus engineer Jankowski must have manage to gain some control for 27 miles flying north and coming out of the clouds at 4-500 ft. close to Cheshunt, ending up to crash-land on the west side the Cambridge Arterial Road at Maxwell’s Farm.

My account of that Saturday morning 12 August 1944 at 0800 hr.

A very dreary morning 10/10ths cloud at 4-500 feet. Visibility 2 Miles  at most, the amount of cloud made it seem very quiet, and suppressed any noise, for some reason something made me look up, not sure what but just the other side of Cedars Park to the North-West there was a fire very black smoke, I looked back and it had become  very big,  being a nosey young boy I made my way up Park Lane to the Cambridge Arterial Road, and on my way looking over to the right towards Cheshunt the fire had become intense, we had a Westerly strong breeze the smoke was so dense that some of it was dropping back to the ground just as you would see rain falling from very bad storm clouds, when I got to the top of Park Lane there was at that time some old farm workers cottages with some people standing outside one said don't go down there, but I needed to see what the fire was,  the road was lined with Lombard poplar trees and planted very close together all about 100ft tall, and planted each side of the road, so I had to run down towards the fire to get a better view I reached about 7-800 yds or less from the fire and could see what appeared to be the end of a wing sticking out from the fire, the rest was just one big black fierce fire, crackling like mad, then there was two low explosions, then a poof of air and the whole thing exploded it was very strange, "the explosion" from an intense black smoke it was now a white smoke mixed with Grey smoke lower down all this vitriol black smoke had gone, it must have been well over several hundred feet high  and appeared to have a boiling motion to it, there were large and small pieces of aluminium coming out of the top of this boiling white mass then dropping back in, again and again this continued for some time I can only describe it as looking at a disco silver globe shrouded with white smoke, as quick as it appeared it was going, some small pieces of debris were falling close by so I was off, when I got back to the cottages there was a woman with a small child that was crying she said you silly boy but kept running back home.

I am now close to my 80's.

My research began again when I retired in 1998 just to fill in the missing gaps. Having lived with this crash most of my life, I have to put a closure to it, and in 2004 the internet helped me to complete this article.


After my Dad was killed in Feb 1944 during an German air-raid, George Chapman my Uncle used to call in occasionally to see if we were ok, when on his way home from the fire station at Cheshunt, George was a very caring and sincere Uncle nothing was too much trouble for him, that is why all the information contained here is correct.


Sometime during the following week after the crash uncle George called in to see my mum, he was stationed at Gew’s Corner, Cheshunt,  he asked mum if she had heard about the American bomber that had blown up at Cheshunt she said yes, George had a newspaper with him, it had a photo of him  at the crash site (see photo) he then proceeded to tell my mum what had happened, George said when I arrived it was well alight the road had parts of the aeroplane on it, a nurse came running up and said I have seen some of the airman but they are not moving. George told her not go back as it may blow up, he then rolled out the first 30ft canvas hose from the trailer, went back to pick up the next hose when the bomber exploded, it blew him off his feet and under the fire trailer, that he said saved his life, the trailer shielded me from all the flying fragments of the exploding Liberator, my mum asked about the airmen and he replied all blown to pieces,  he then said sometime later two vehicles of American soldiers turned up and carefully collected everything that was left of the air-crew from the remaining wreckage.


About a week later George called in to us not looking to good, it turned out he had a problem with his throat, I never understood this, till in 1953 when I was stationed at RAF North Weald, fighter station, Essex. Two Gloster Meteor F8s collided over East Essex flying from RAF, North Weald, I had to attend this crash site, I then understood the problem Uncle George had with his throat, the smell and fumes were unbearably penetrating.



37 year old George Chapman at the Cheshunt crash site.

Two ambulances were dispatched from AAF Bovingdon Station 112

In response to a telephone message from Stations Operations, a medical team from AAF Bovingdon Station 112. In two ambulances were dispatched to report to the scene of the crash at Cheshunt to recover the crew. This specialised medical team was highly qualified in the expertise of care and evacuation of combat casualties, particular attention given to the administration of plasma and oxygen, splinting of fractures, treatment of shock, control of haemorrhage, and the use of numerous medical appliances. Unfortunately this knowledge and expertise that the team retained in saving downed air crews was not going to be used this day.


When the two ambulances arrived, George checked with the NCO of the recovery team. A Policeman had arrived PC, Brown I think to take charge, and stop civilians entering the crash site. Later that morning when George was leaving he informed the policeman to contact the fire station if there were any problems.

Report filed by USAAF Recovery Team

A report was filed by the recovery team of the crash scene. Fragmented and burned remains of personnel of the aircraft were collected from an area approximately 200 yards in diameter surrounding the crash site of the exploded B-24 Liberator; four separate identification tags were found at this time.


No personal recognition of the bodies was possible because of degree of fragmentation involved. Dental identification forms were not available since the aircraft was from another station. Fingerprinting was not attempted. The remains of approximately eight individuals were collected in shrouds and transported by ambulance directly from scene of crash to the American Military Cemetery, Madingley, Cambridge, where they were turned over to the Officer in charge for identification and appropriate disposition for burial.  "It also stated no identification was accomplished by personnel of this command.

So many versions of this tragic event

It just fell out of the clouds into the ground and blew up, lost its tail etc, all very similar accounts of this crash, even observations from other Liberators crews flying with Ellis reported, Larson (a/c #480) no chutes seen, plane went into clouds at 10,000ft, Pierce (a/c #194) kept going down in a spin, Sewell (a/c #272) B-24 spun in, no chutes, Scharf (a/c #511) Ellis plane went into spin W of London, tail was seen to tear apart, may have iced up, Haines ( a/c #697). Three chutes out of 023 at London, Capt. Muldoon (a/c#548) nose high no chutes.


A woman who lived in Cheshunt wrote to the family of Clare Hultengren that the plane had just missed a school, this was from a Mrs Grace M Kimble, a member of the friends of 392nd BG, why did she write this because it leads you to think that children were in  school, this was not so, the crash was on a Saturday schools are closed on Saturday and Sunday not only were they closed but it was August and we were all on our summer holidays, the only school was a long way to the north and the b24 Bomber was heading west, it had not passed or been near a School, even if it had been on a school day the gates were not unlocked till 08:30 which would have been 30 minutes after the crash, so this was all a bit of hype for no reason.


There is one true fact about this crash and this cannot be challenged, fireman George Chapman had to receive a phone call about the crashed Liberator first, then drive his vehicle and Fire trailer from Gew's Corner, Cheshunt to Maxwell's Farm, well over one mile away, and run out a 30ft hose before the Liberator blew up, this must have taken at-least ten to fifteen minutes or more, so it never fell from the sky crash and explode all at one time as so many people have said.

Fireman George Chapman with fire pump trailer that saved his life.


Mission # 151 Target Juvincourt A/F


Field order 43 for the 12 August 1944

Of the 29 ships bombing, five tacked on to other units and released on other targets. One ship joined the 458th to bomb Mont Melon airfield, three bombed with the 44th at Laon-Couveon airfield and another joined the 93rd Bomb Group to bomb the same target. The 392nd ships released (1557) 100# bombs and those striking the primary achieved fair results with about 65 percent of the weapons impacting within 2000 feet of the MPI.


Six Liberators had to abort due to the contensious weather conditions and return to base.Wendling Ref b-24, Net.

This map shows when it all went downhill for the Ellis crew.

In April 2009 I was ready to publish. At this time a claim was being put forward by a person who was 15 years old at the time of the crash


(An email sent to me from A Tison b-24 net. On April 20 2009 stated)


As for David Parnell, I know he has met several times with Ernie Havens,(this is how it was spelt) who was 15 years old at the time and was the first fire-fighter on the scene; he removed the bodies of nine of the airmen. He also is quoted as saying, "The explosion was so severe, the 10th serviceman, Sgt William McGinley, was found six weeks later, more than 200 yards away together with an unexploded bomb near his side.


(No English person had any contact with the deceased crew on Saturday 12 Aug 1944; Sgt, W McGinley was never identified from any remains collected that day; the torso that was found later was also never identified.)


I sent a reply, this is just a ludicrous account and has no relation to the real crash site at Cheshunt; I received total denial on all my concerns about the details contained in this email, of a fifteen year old boy that had not long left school. I can only conclude that it was better for Tison to go along with the above content, so as not to jeopardise the Memorial that had lost the first funding application!, if the application contained the same wording as this email it should have been rejected as unrealistic, I sensed then that the only Fireman George Chapman present that day, was not relevant and was going to be totally dismissed; one comment by Havis that he was left on his own at the crash site, he was never there, even more confusing are reports that change in every article that is printed in the press from Haves and Parnell.


In the corresponding email Tison attempted to verify information in the above email from Parnell, as it bore no resemblance to the text of my story, ( only to find that mine to be totally correct.)


From; A Tison b-24 net.

At the National Archives, I found the Group Burial File for McGinley, Jankowski, and Holling.  At the top of the "Report of Burial" for each man is typed "Corrected copy, Mass Burial, only recoverable remains." Identical information is given for each man:  the date of death was 12 Aug 1944, time and date of burial was "1500 hrs. 19 Aug 44.  Re-interred 14 Feb 45.  Cambridge Amer. Mil. Cemetery. Grave 24, Row 1.  I cannot tell if Grave 24, Row 1 is where they were buried on 19 Aug 44 or where they were reburied on 14 Feb 45.


For each man, it said Cause of Death:  "Airplane Crash, Multiple compound fractures."  How were remains identified?  "Impossible to identify by personal recognition, effects, DIR [dental charts], fingerprints or clothing marks.  “Known only by loading list.”  It also says, "This grave contains the Only Recoverable Remains" of McGinley, Holling, and Jankowski.


The family and relatives of Fireman 37 year old George Chapman are dismayed at the way he has been treated by the researcher in the US and two in the UK, they have manipulated events that this Fireman had no part in this crash, one changing events of that Saturday morning to his own benefit, to them George Chapman existence did not fit into their planned outcome. (This is a betrayal to all concerned), unfortunately for them George did exist and he was the ONLY Fireman that day to be at this crash site, and putting his own life at risk, in an attempted to save the crew of this burning Liberator Bomber.


George was no stranger to death in September 1940 George spent many weeks in London during the German Blitz fighting firestorms with hundreds of other Firemen, his family dreading the knock on the door to say he had been killed.


Sometime after this, I had an email from a close friend, and it stated that it was possible that in the book about this B-24 Liberator crash that Havis was going to be written in as the 37 year old Fireman George Chapman, how disgusting that is.


Email from Tison, John; I think that unless you contact DP, his book is going to have only Ernie's side of the story, which is quite different from yours and your Uncle George's.  Even if he and Ernie sincerely believe that what Ernie remembers is true, it seems that DP owes it to history to include your family's side of the story as well.  Unless you tell him, your side of the story will be lost.


Annette Tison had constantly asked me to share my research with Mr Parnell this I have always refused. Because when Parnell first met Mr Havis he failed to authenticate his story of that day, if he had done this he would have found it to be a totally fabrication, information given by anybody must never be taken for granted. Even NOW new information given by 2nd Lt Scharf to Parnell in an interview is completely different from his own and the other pilot’s reports submitted on the 12 Aug 1944, you should never state a conversation if it has no relation to known facts.


Tison went with this false information. None of this article is FABRICATED; most in Waltham Cross & Cheshunt knew the dreadful outcome of that Saturday morning.  In this article you will find some of the missing details of that day.


I watched this disaster unfold that morning in 1944 it is all recorded as it took place, But Tison felt she had to deny all the detailed information she had sent me over many years from the National Archives.


Fortunately for me all official documents that I received mirrored my version of events, Remember this crash site was under the jurisdiction of the USAAF. Only the specialised medical team of American personal dispatched from AAF Bovingdon Station 112 had permission to touch and move any body parts from this crash site, even Fireman George Chapman had no permission to touch the remains of the deceased crew, only one id-tag did he move. To make a statement that you did something different is Unethical to the extreme, not the way to treat the memory of these brave young US airmen. History cannot be changed to suit how you want it to be. God will pass judgment on this.

              For More information on Lieutenant Ellis Way. Go to (World War 2 Talk.)


I will attempt to clear up much of the misinformation. After the crash there was a collection made for the families of the crew of this Liberator, part of this collection was set aside for two memorial plaques to be made, for their gallantry in avoiding homes in the two villages of Waltham Cross and Cheshunt, one Plaque is in the Library at Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and the other is on the wall of the administration building at the US National Cemetery, at Madingley Cambridge, so I have always thought there is more to this crash than is known.


Even in Peter Rooke's Book, Cheshunt At War he found it hard to sift out versions of this crash, and that some people would be disappointed at not being included in his book, and I still find today information some people give to me is not safe, as they were too Young at the time and some lived to far away from the crash,  if you drive to the locations of the information given by some people you find it was not possible to see what was said, taking into account how the lay of the land was in Cheshunt in 1944, but still today articles are printed that are made up and not true,

Crash site, Aerial photo of Maxwell’s Farm

This was taken by a B-17 about a year after the crash, in the highlighted square is the crash site, the dark anomaly is the crater scar to the right of this the Cambridge Arterial Road, lined with Poplar Trees, the four opposite the crash site reduced to skeletons, they never did regenerate to a full tree again.


The memorial is almost a Kilometre away to the south-west from the actual Liberator crash site, with the new river crossing between.


The next day I went down to Theobald's Lane and looked across to the crash site there was a lot of activity going on, a crash recovery team had arrived to collect and remove all the remains of the B-24 Liberator Bomber, the orchard on the east side of the Cambridge Arterial Road had a lot of the bomber hanging in the fruit trees.

For a very long time after the crash, if you had to pass Maxwell's Farm and it had been raining, the crater would fill with water and you could smell the acrid fumes coming from it.


In 1951, I was stationed at RAF Kinloss, Morayshire, 120 Squadron, see photo on Mk 1 Shackleton’s then posted to RAF North Weald, Essex and attended some crash sites "DH Vampire's and Gloster Meteor F8s" a very stressful job

The nurse had said to George that she had seen some of the airmen ("possibly three, but it was never stated") this was most probably a view into the cockpit. Orders state that the Flight Engineer is required to assist the Pilot and Co-Pilot by sitting between then to help in a recovery, Jankowski would have had all the technical knowledge to attempt this recovery.


This nurse that spoke to Uncle George may have been the Army Nurse, Medical Corps, she was billeted in Cromwell Avenue, Cheshunt, and may have been going or returning from work at the Italian POW Camp No1003 in Bullsmoor Lane, this was to the south not far from the crash site, sometime after the crash this nurse wrote to the family of T/Sgt Stanley Jankowski. Uncanny" did she see Jankowski in the cockpit with Ellis and Salsby or was it just a coincidence" we shall never know why she wrote only to the Jankowski’s family, maybe Cleveland USA is the answer, the home of Jankowski and the Army Nurse.


At the time of the crash the Maxwell's dog went missing, some two months later while potatoes were being lifted some distance from the crash site, they found the decomposed body of the dog as they thought, but it turned out to be the torso of one of the crew, this torso was never identified and is now in a Group Burial in Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA.


In Peter Rooks book Cheshunt at War he has it that the land girls had to collect human remains fingers etc before they could start work on threshing the stacks.


If the nurse that conversed with George had a visual of the cockpit and was able to see some of the crew then the bomber was still heading West it had not changed direction from the last sighting, “Hillside Avenue” the fire and smoke was going towards the tail end and across the Cambridge Arterial Road, Ellis had chosen one of only two places where he could land, the only other place was Oyler's Farm some 800 yds to his left, It appears that he was committed to the Maxwell’s field but miss- judged the height of the Poplar trees that lined the Cambridge Arterial Road and that is what took off the tail stabilisers in turn caused a heavy crash landing. The Poplar trees were close to a hundred feet tall.


The last thing that the pilot and co-pilot would have seen in the distance would have been the historic land mark of the Temple Bar Gateway coming up only 1320 yards away from the crash site.

Temple Bar was visited by many US personal and their girlfriends prior to the invasion, some would have left “carved with a pen knife” their initials on the wooden gates, as many of us had done in the past, Temple Bar has now been dismantled restored and moved back to London.

Temple Bar

The speculation of a mid-air crash


The Ellis ship a/c #023, departure Wendling, Norfolk. Station 118. Lat 52.6991. Long-0.8477. This was contentious one due to 10/10 cloud at 4-600 feet to 10 thousand feet, Ellis occupied third slot of nine ships taking off, his take-off time 0528hr all ships to assemble over base, next Bu 5, Shipdham 0640. Next Bu 15, Horsham St Faith. (Now Norwich Airport); next Sheringham Lat 52.9436, Long 1.2095. then south to Brighton, 6 minutes late at Brighton time 0845hr. Capt. J E Muldoon (a/c #548) 578 Sqdn, “observation" 0745 hr. Ship on left wing, nose high, Ellis (a/c #023).last seen going into cloud at 10,000 ft. Near to Biggin Hill.  Kent. Crashed Landing at Cheshunt Hertfordshire at 0800hr.


Tomahawk Warrior B-17G-35-DL, A/F 42-107191.398 BG, 600th Squadron. Tomahawk Warrior took off at 0618 from AAF Nuthampstead Lat,51.9925, Long, -0.0666, south of Royston Hertfordshire (this is over sixty miles south of AAF Wendling) and was to head to "Splasher" #6 a radio beacon, but this was  changed just before Mission-76, to “Splasher” #11 radio beacon, this was situated at Haben Farm one mile South of Rogate in Hampshire, but this failed to happen, because at about 0700hr  Tomahawk Warrior was seen at High Wycombe forty-two miles SW from AAF Nuthampstead its home Base, Weather at time of accident 10/10 Cloud at 4-500 feet to 10 thousand feet. Visibility 3 to 4 Miles. With one engine on fire, shortly after a second engine fire was seen, Tomahawk Warrior then crashed at Lude Farm, White Horse Lane, High Wycombe, Lat 51.6184, Long -0.6822, with no survivors, at a time given 0725hr this time may not be correct a more reasonable time would be 0710 hr. but why did Tomahawk Warrior arrived at High Wycombe it was 42 miles West of its base, 2nd Lt Charles J Searl  the pilot must have been searching for AAF Bovingdon Air Field, Station 112 Lat, 51.7260, Long, -0.5450. To make an emergency landing, so we have a crash time between 0710 and 0725 hrs. Ellis B-24 Liberator crashed at 0800 hrs at Cheshunt, some thirty miles away from High Wycombe to the east, with fifty minutes or so difference in time, and no related damage to connect either to the crash.     (0725 hrs, USAAF AC/A Report).


When Searl crashed at Lude Farm he was about 10 miles South-West of Bovingdon Airfield, the wreckage (Engines) appear to show that Searl was heading for Bovingdon Airfield.


Tomahawk Warrior. Crash Site, Lude Farm, White Horse Lane, High Wycombe

Reconnaissance Photo’s taken from a P38

The Reed Crew

In the Reed crew, kneeing are six of the crew that were in the Ellis B-24 (left to right)


T/Sgt Jankowski, T/Sgt Holling, S/Sgt Hultengren S/Sgt McGinley S/Sgt Minick, S/Sgt Shaeffer, they were originally part of 2/Lt John W. Reed IV's crew.


On the 29 April 1944 “four months before the Ellis crash” the Reed B-24 Liberator took off on their third mission at 0727 hrs, from the 392 B/G AAF Wendling. Norfolk.  Sometime before the IP and flying at 24,000 feet, five Me-109s-the first wave in a group of about 50-attacked from 12 o'clock.  As noted in the crew's Interrogation Form and S/Sgt Whitt's Combat Diary, their plane was badly damaged:  the hydraulic system was knocked out, gas tanks punctured, controls shot out, #2 engine shot out, #4 engine bad, right rudder shot off, and they had been hit in the bomb bay, cockpit, and radio compartment   2Lt Reed made a sharp turn to the left, got out of the formation, and headed down toward the clouds, quickly jettisoning his bombs.  A crew check revealed that everyone was okay.  Reed managed to get the plane back to England, but realized he couldn't land the plane safely and ordered the crew to bail out.  At about 1320 hrs , some of the crew jumped out and landed near Beccles, in Suffolk; another crewman jumped out a little later, this was probably the co-pilot] and landed near Ingham, Norfolk.  Reed then set the automatic pilot and bailed out himself.  “Alfred the second flew on for a few more miles before it finally crashed and burned near Walcott, Norfolk, at 1329 hrs the only casualty was 2Lt Reed; the pilot it was believed he hit the plane while exiting and was unable to open his parachute.



Photo from US National Cemetery, at Madingley Cambridge

 Ellis ship B-24H call letter Y (a/c #023), at 0528 hrs Ellis took off from 392nd B/G AAF Wendling, Norfolk, at 0745 hrs he was in a group of seven ( see map ) Liberators that were flying south-east of London over Bromley in Kent all in straggled formation at 14,000ft still climbing when Ellis ( a/c #023) dropped out of this group, seven crews provided information on this, the accounts are all varied but fit together, one account relevant to this crash came from Capt. J E Muldoon (a/c #548) 578 Sqdn, Lat, 51.3000, Long, -0.0019, observation” at 0745hr Ship on left wing, nose high.


Ellis (a/c #023).Lat, 51.3012, Long,-0.0508. (Nose high, stall due to loss of power) Last seen going into cloud at 10,000 ft. near to Biggin Hill, this is twenty-seven miles south of Cheshunt,


Co-ordinates given for each B-24 that gave information at that time, they were all over Bromley in Kent, 2nd Lt Haines (a/c #697) was three miles in front of Sewell, Scharf was just east of Addington four miles behind Capt. J E Muldoon, Muldoon was two miles west of Biggin Hill and Ellis, F/O Pierce (a/c #194) 577 Sqdn he was just south of Blackwall, London, fourteen miles behind this straggled group of Liberator’s.


So it appears that Pilot, 2/LT. Ellis, Co/Pilot. F/O Stalsby, with Engineer T/Sgt Jankowski managed to gain some power control after the stall while going down though 9,000 ft. of cloud to emerge extremely low down at a cloud base of 4-500 ft. North East of London, close to Bulsmoor Lane, south of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, at a time close to 0800 hrs. Fifteen minutes to cover twenty-seven miles does not seen to be unreasonable.


The loss of control in a stall is gradual, with all control losing effectiveness at about the same time. If de-icer boots are in operation, the stall is sharper, (a/c #023 may have de-icer switched on)


Maintaining air speed of plus 160mph to avoiding a stall is drummed into pilot trainees with so much intensity that paranoia sometimes results.


“Airmen” McGinley, – Holling, – Jankowski, were all buried together, as no individual identification could be determined.  All were returned to the USA on the 26 April 1949 for group burial. At a later date part of S/Sgt Shaffer was identified by a dental record, and returned to Pennsylvania.


Pilot, 2nd Lt, Ellis, John D.   Buried, E-1-98, US National Cemetery, Madingley, Cambridge. Born 1915.

Co-Pilot, F/O Stalsby, Samuel C Sammy Buried, Alexandria National Cemetery, Louisiana.  Born 31 March 1923.

Navigator, 2/Lt Cox, Robert R.  Buried, E-6-88, US National Cemetery Madingley, Cambridge. Born 11 Nov 1916.

Engineer, T/Sgt Jankowski, Stanley F.  Group Burial, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Jefferson County, Kentucky. C-25 Site 14268.  Born 9 Nov 1915.

Radio Operator, T/Sgt Holling, John H.   Group Burial, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Jefferson County, Kentucky. C-25 Site 14268.  Born 10 Aug 1923.

Gunner, S/Sgt Hultengren, Clare W.  Buried, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota.  Born 6 June 1922.

Gunner, S/Sgt Minick, Frank Jr.  Buried, E-3-778, US National Cemetery, Madingley, Cambridge.  Born 1923.

Gunner, S/Sgt Cable, Jay V.  Buried, Mt Vernon Cemetery, Buena Vista.  Born 13 Feb 1923.

Gunner, S/Sgt Shaeffer, Jack O.  Buried, Kittaning Cemetery, Kittaning, Pennsylvania.  Born 11 Feb 1924.

Gunner, S/Sgt McGinley, William C.  Group Burial, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Jefferson County, Kentucky. C-25 Site 14268.  Born 1923.



After the crash there were rumours  

That there was one survivor a Gunner, S/Sgt William C McGinley, and records at that time confirmed this, but all this proved to be incorrect, Uncle George also confirmed that there were no survivors. So I made a search for this William, C McGinley, and sure enough he did exist, after some time I made contact with Bill McGinley. I received an email back from his wife Bonnie. "John" received your letter today and Bill my husband wanted me to let you know, that his plane was shot down at Waterloo, Belgium on Jan 29th 1944, he lived with the underground for seven-half months, and the German government reported Bill as being killed. Bonnie said that Bill had heard of this plaque with his name on it, but it was not him.

As I now know this McGinley is from the 579th Bomber Squadron and came from Arkansas, “ Pictured above “and the deceased McGinley from the Ellis ship (a/c #023) 577th Bomber Squadron was from Buffalo, NY.

How strange to have two airmen at the 392nd B/G AAF Wendling with identical names, after I then sent a photo of the plaque to Bill and explained all what had happened, he now understand what it was all about.

Mike Tull, at the controls of a B25 J

Miss Mitchell

1st Lt John Stukas and his crew shot down in Belgium

Top second left is “Bill” William C McGinley

Above is the picture of the 1st Lt, John Stukas and his crew, shot down at Waterloo, Belgium.    Mike Tull. Is an  extremely dedicated and knowledgeable WW2 researcher, if a War bird has more than one seat then Mike has flown or had a ride,  Mike is my link for any news from over the pond, Mike’s Father Carl Louis Tull, is a cousin to S/Sgt William C McGinley from Arkansas.


A Brief account of Bill McGinley’s time in Belgium

Our crew, commanded by Lt. Stukas, had arrived at Wendling on October 15, 1943 as one of the early replacement crews and had completed eight combat missions when, on January 29th, 1944, we were awakened in the very early hours for our ninth and what eventually turned out to be our last mission.  The primary target was Frankfurt, central Germany. misfortune began during the Group's assembly over East Anglia when one of the ships, from the 577th Squadron, had a terrible mid-air collision, in cloud, with one of the 432nd Group's Pathfinder B-24's with one of the original 392nd Group crews on board.  From the two ships, a total of only three men managed to escape from the tumbling wreckage of the Pathfinder B-24 to survive.


Due to those same clouds which extended all along the route, with only a few breaks in this cloud, we lost contact with their Group's formation on route to Frankfurt. 1st Lt, Stukas the pilot decided to turn back when they failed to locate any other B-24's to join up with. Shortly after turning back, their Liberator ship came under attack from a swarm of German fighters, a running battle ensued for the next 20 minutes or so, in and out of the clouds at high altitude, but the B-24 sustained and absorbed so much damage it was forced down to 2,000 feet, and on fire.


The navigator and bombardier had been killed the gunners were completely out of ammunition, with three more German fighters coming in and lining up their gun sights, the survivors had no alternative but to bail out.  Bill scrambled from the tail gun turret, went forward and hauled the ball-gunner up from his Plexiglas turret.  After standing at the open waist exit door for a moment, absolutely terrified looking down at the open countryside passing below, Bill jumped into space, a time he will never forget leaving his burning B-24 Liberator bomber.


Bill landed clumsily in a freshly-ploughed field.  Quickly unbuckling his 'chute harness, and started running across the field, looking for a hiding place, when he saw someone waving frantically at him from the edge of the field to get down and stay down, this was his first contact with the Belgian resistance the time 11.00 hours. Bill stayed as still as possible, face-down and hugging the cold, damp ground while hearing in the distant shouting and yelling from German patrols as they travelled along the surrounding country roads, tracks and woodland, searching for the survivors from the crashed plane.


As it began to get dark a resistance member came for Bill. They hid him, together with two other crew members from there plane, in a small room built with wooden boards and corrugated iron, which had been dug underneath a haystack.  The secret hiding-place was beneath the closest haystack to the road.


When the resistance decided the time was right for the next move, they made all the necessary arrangements for them to be issued with forged documents, civilian clothes and a guide to take them by train into the large, sprawling city of Brussels, (Belgium). My mother, back at home in Mabelvale, near Little Rock, Arkansas, was notified by our War Department that I'd been reported as "Missing in Action" and then, a little later, as "Killed in Action."  But she adamantly refused to accept that Bill had been killed.


One of the key members of the underground in Belgium was British-born Anne Brusleman, a 39-year-old mother of two. Bill first met Anne in a Brussels basement in February 1944. She played a leading part in looking after them and arranging moves to different locations. Helped by another courageous resistance woman Jane, Bill's Daughter is also named Jane. An estimated 130 Allied airmen eventually found their way to freedom because of their efforts.

After months of hiding at various locations, Bill sat in a Belgian café and witnessed the German Army in full retreat it was really something to see.  Thousands of German troops with their equipment (some of the trucks and staff-cars were being hauled by horses due to the lack of gasoline).


Bill was flown back to England in September 1944, and saw, from the air, the thousands of bomb and shell craters that marked the Allied advance from the Normandy beaches and extending back inland as far as the eye could see, then the south coast of England came into view, and he vividly recalled seeing one of the biggest and the most beautiful rainbows ever created.

120 Squadron, 1951, RAF Kinloss

Arthur H Harris, WW1.Killed 23 Feb 1944,

German air raid at Waltham Cross, Herts.

Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.

Waltham Cross my village was a magnet for the US personnel at the weekends they used to flood in by train, we had more pubs to the square mile than any other village in the England, and all very old especially the Four Swans Inn, this is where in 1291 the cortege stopped for the night when returning the body of Queen Eleanor wife of King Edward 1 to Westminster Abby, every pub and inn had a great atmosphere so they all enjoyed their free time with us at Waltham Cross.


1944 was not a happy time for my family, we were still being bombed at night, on the 23 Feb 1944 we had a very bad air raid, as my dad was an Air Raid Warden, when the air raid warning sounded my dad had to go to the Wardens Centre about ten minutes away, during the raid we had a big explosion close to the house, taking out some windows, when the all clear sounded, Mum said I must have a look to see if there is a hole, in case Dad falls into it on his bike on the way home, but she found him at the side of the house all tangled up with his bike, the fragments from the explosion had killed him, he had never left because he had felt it was not safe to ride to the Wardens Centre.


My Dad served in the First World War, “see photo above “ Arthur was in the Artillery, his job was moving Artillery with a team of horses, this he survived, with all this carnage and death only to be killed outside his own house during a German air raid.    My Mum was awarded a widows pension of fifty pounds a year, this went up in Aug 44 to sixty pounds a year


One afternoon in the late autumn of 1942 about 1400hr there was the sound of heavy bombers coming in from the east, Suddenly a line of B-17 bombers flying wingtip to wingtip all staggered appeared over the roof tops flying west, heading for Bovingdon Airfield less than ten minutes away, a sicking site they all had been to hell and back, all were flying at about 1500 ft. I could only see five or six of them as they were all very low, some trailed smoke, many of them had one or more engines stopped all had severe damage large parts missing, but the worst was the one almost above my head the port outer engine was gone and had a lot of damage to this wing especially were it joined the fuselage, a large part of the tail fin was missing, a large hole just aft of the waist gunner's position you could see right through and out the other side, just off the starboard wing of this B-17  flew a P51, it appeared to be almost level with the  Co-pilot’s side window .

I have found online a 10 year boy who lived in Chipperfield Village close to Bovingdon Airfield, one of his accounts must be of the same day; it appears to be the 92nd Bomb Group’s First Mission.


Mum and I used to count the Mitchell Bombers out in the morning, and then back again in the late afternoon, we were less than 20 miles from Bovingdon Airfield, but have no record of Mitchell’s at Bovingdon flown by the R A F or the USAAF.

Early one morning my Mum was hanging out the washing and all of a sudden a fighter plane hopped over some trees from the south-west god she said look at that, as it passed we could see it was German, a black cross on the side, a Bf109, it was so low just above the roof tops of Park Lane the pilot had his hand up to shield the sun from his eyes, but Mum said he was giving her the German salute, she never changed her mind on this, we eventually  found out it had been shot down in the Thames Estuary, close to South End, Essex.


We saw our first V1 Doodlebug in June 1944 it was dark at the time, Mum said that it was a plane on fire the engine stopped and there was a large explosion Mum said it’s crashed, we were unaware at the time to what it was. But in October 44 we got blown apart by one that came down in Ruthven Avenue, if this V1 had a few more seconds of fuel it would have been us gone, it took till Jan 1945 to complete all the repairs to our house, on the very next day a V2 Rocket came down on the Brush Factory and blew us apart again.


Co-Pilot Samuel C Stalsby.  No Citation for Sammy WHY


2/Lt Ellis, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.


2/Lt Cox, Air Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, posthumously.


S/Sgt Minick, Air Medal with Purple Heart.


More credit should have been given to Co-Pilot Stalsby for the partial recovery of this B-24 Liberator. Only 2nd Lt Ellis the Pilot is ever mentioned, the Co Pilot's duties are to check monitor any change with the instruments during a mission, Stalsby would have had an extreme amount of work to perform in the cockpit, also with the Flight Engineer T/Sgt Jankowski while Ellis struggled to gain some control to avoid Waltham Cross and Cheshunt. But Sammy was left with no citation.


If the Stall and loss of altitude was down power failure between Hydromatic Hamilton Propellers and the Pratt & Whitney, R-1830-65 Engine's, then many sequence's had to be performed to attempt a correction for a recovery, Stalsby and the Flight Engineer Jankowski all had to work together, if the propellers on all 4 engines were all running wild, with no response from the propeller control, all running at different degrees and not responding to cockpit settings, then each engine rpm would climbed out of control, if the feathering button failed and the secondary circuit breaker popped open, over-speed "RPM" might turn the engines to junk “ disintegrate”, or the propeller's might come off and pass though the fuselage or hit another engine, this nightmare situation must have continued until the crash, Ellis had to maintain a degree of flap 5 to10 this is required to fly at low speed also a rich fuel setting all this applied to the Ellis Liberator.


Samuel Stalsby was born Louisiana 31 March 1923, but raised in far Southeast Texas. From around 1936-37, the Stalsby family were active as a professional performers in and around Port Arthur, mostly performing in a country gospel style. For a while in 1938-39, Sammy also performed as part of a trio known as The Rambling Rangers (see photo Harold Whatley, Sammy Stalsby, Oliver Warren, taken in the late 1930's or even later). I have been privileged to listen to six tracks recorded in Dec 1938 by this group, a mix of Country and Gospel and it is very infectious. Not long after, Sam returned to the family group, now consisting of his younger sister Dot and baby brother Jackie. The Stalsby Family also recorded, in April 1940. These six songs can be heard alongside the six tracks by the Rambling Rangers on a CD issued by the British Archive of Country Music on their BACM label, Texas-Oklahoma Duos & Trios, 1935-40


When the war intervened. Sammy entered active service on 5 Dec 1943, as we know lost his life at Cheshunt on the 12 Aug 1944, Sammy's Wife Artie Ellen Stalsby had a son Samuel Keith Stalsby, born June 1944, only two months before that fateful day in August. Sammy's former Rambling Rangers band mate Oliver Warren also died in the service of his country. Warren, born 1921 and originally from Memphis, served on the destroyer U.S.S. Drexler (DD-741). While off the coast of Okinawa in the early morning of 28 May 1945, Drexler was hit by two kamikaze planes. Damage was so severe that within 49 seconds of the second plane hitting, the Drexler was gone. A total of 158 men lost their lives. Tragically Oliver Warren was one of them. The third Rambling Ranger, Harold Whatley (1911-1997also appears to have served in the US forces, but alone among the trio survived the war. My thanks to Kevin Coffey for information on The Rambling Rangers & the Stalsby Family.

Dot, Sammy, Jackie, with Dad and Mum.1936!

Picture of Jet fighter Arado


On the 2nd August 1944, ten days before this mission a prototype jet fighter Arado 234 T9+MH took off from Juvincourt 13 Miles N/W of Reims, France, at 16:32 hr. The pilot Eric Sommer flew high over the artificial harbour at Arromanches Normandy at 11,000 meters. 36,000 ft. and took many photos, returning after a ninety minute flight, is this why Juvincourt was a target for bombing on the 12 August 1944. (Also see field order 431 above)


My research 

This only accounts for a fraction of many years of researching, to tie up with my own visual and family account, with hundreds of pages of facts for the truth of that day; I first contacted Annette Tison B-24 net in 2004, about the Ellis B-24 Liberator crash at Cheshunt. And at that time Annette never let me down on all my research queries. My quest has taken me in many directions, but the search never ends. Since April 2009 I have acquired much more information all relevant, but too much to include at this time. Some facts I deemed not to be important in the 2009 article. I have now had to included, to validate this is the only correct version, of the crash at Cheshunt 12 Aug 1944.


Memorial. Broxbourne, /09/0528/F.  This is not about the memorial it’s about telling the truth. I have also had some input on the memorial, on the 23 Dec 2009 Tison sent me a print of the wording that was to go on the stone or was already on, (what are your comments she asked), for me a vital wording was missing, I replied by return and stated, I feel that it should have included 329 B/G to define the home base; I see this has now been added to the memorial base stone.


At some time Havis and Parnell made contact with the Head Mistress of St Mary’s School Cheshunt, (the memorial is next to the school entrance) and asked for permission to give an educational talk on the events that took place on the 12 Aug 1944, this she bluntly refused, evidently during their conversation she must have realised that what they had to say bore no relevance to what actually happened on that Saturday, I congratulate her on this decision.

I make no apologies for the contents of this article; if you are unable to except the truth, the media have it that only one person is relevant to 12 Aug 1944 not so. Also some relatives of the crew are not happy with the way it has been changed.


We must never forget these brave Young men that came went and never ask why; this is for the Memory of B-24 Liberator (a/c # 023) "42-95023” and its dedicated crew.


                            Pilot                    2nd Lt Ellis, John D

                            Co-Pilot,              F/O Stalsby, S C

                            Navigator             2nd Lt Cox, R R

                            Engineer             T/Sgt Jankowski, SF

                            Radio Operator    T/Sgt Holling, J H

                            Gunner               S/Sgt Hultengren, C W

                            Gunner               S/Sgt Minick, F

                            Gunner               S/Sgt Cable, J V

                            Gunner               S/Sgt Shaeffer, J D

                            Gunner               S/Sgt McGinley, William C


John A W Harris.




                 April 2009.    Updated 2011.2016