Henry, Maurice Victor

Individual Personnel Data
Name Henry, Maurice Victor, "Red"   
Rank Technical Sergeant
Serial Number 37205337   
Unit Assignments Assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #129 dated 27 October 1943, effective 27 October 1943.
Duty Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
MOS748 - Army Airplane Mechanic / Gunner, Flight Engineer
Last Duty Date 26 November 1943
Results Missing In Action
Final Resting Place or Memorial: Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England: Tablets of the Missing
DecorationsAwarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his valorous actions on his final mission on 26 November 1943.
Citation For
Higher Decoration
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS (posthumous) MAURICE V. HENRY, 37205337, Technical Sergeant, Army Air Forces, United States Army. For valor above and beyond the call of duty while participating in an operational mission over Germany on 26 November 1943. T/Sgt. Henry's display of courage, coolness, skill and self-negation in the presence of great hazard and uncertainty, with utter disregard of his own personal safety, made possible the rescue of seven members of his crew although by his actions he is missing and presumed to have perished. Approaching the target on its bombing run, T/Sgt. Henry's aircraft suffered an engine failure in two outboard engines and began to fall behind the formation. The crew jettisoned the bombs to lighten the load, and intercept the formation, but one fully armed bomb hung up in the racks. Despite intense attacks by enemy aircraft, evasive action, and the extreme cold, T/Sgt. Henry entered the open bomb bay and released the bomb. About that time the number three engine was set on fire and it was decided to run for a cloud bank some distance away. At this point, T/Sgt. Henry destroyed one enemy aircraft and damaged another from his position in the top turret. Despite violent evasive action, the enemy fighter attacks increased in intensity and many damaging hits were made on the aircraft. The oxygen system was shot out, the pilot's aileron control and both pilot and co-pilot's rudder control were destroyed, and the entire electrical system including instruments and turret control were made inoperative. An incendiary shell struck the left side of the cockpit, slightly wounding the pilot and setting the cockpit afire. T/Sgt. Henry extinguished the fire although ill and vomiting from the acrid smoke. The enemy fighters were evaded in the clouds, but the aircraft was losing altitude and due to the failure of the inter-communications system T/Sgt. Henry made repeated trips through the ship to carry out orders of the pilot and to supervise the jettisoning of equipment to lighten the load. Breaking out of the clouds at 6000 feet directly over the city of Emden, the aircraft was immediately engaged and further damaged by heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire, but by strong evasive action, eacaped to the sea. By this time, the number four engine was completely out and it was impossible to feather the propellor. Number three engine had been started again but was giving only spasmodic power. Shortly thereafter, both number one and number two engines cut out and T/Sgt Henry quickly and with great presence of mind assembled the crew in the radio compartment and prepared them for ditching. All radio equipment had been destroyed and it was impossible to transmit an S.O.S. A small boat was seen in the sea and T/Sgt. Henry immediately produced a flare and Very pistol with which to signal it. With no power, the pilot landed in the general area of the surface vessel, the aircraft breaking in two just aft of the radio compartment. T/Sgt. Henry assisted the other members of the crew to leave the ship and was himself the last to abandon it, renouncing all regard for his own survival. He delayed his exit further by searching for and finding the emergency radio which he took with him into the icy water. Due to the battle damage to the life rafts, the heavy swell of the waves, and the shock of entering the extremely cold water, members of the crew could do nothing to assist each other. T/Sgt. Henry, still grasping the emergency radio which he considered vitally necessary to rescue, and despite his valiant struggle, was washed away and lost.

Citation Source: 'As Briefed...'
Additional Information
Died of exposure following a ditching on 26 November 1943: his body was not recovered. MACR 1579. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his valorous actions on his final mission.
Related Documents Missing Air Crew Report # 1579 (30.215 MB)
'Valor: The Saga of Barrel House Bessie' in Air Force Magazine
Photo Album:Crew Photo Album

Crew Composition When Assigned to the 384th BG
Replacement Combat Crew
2nd Lt. Morrison, Donald SylvesterPilotCT
2nd Lt. DeMille, Robert EversleyCo-pilotTBD
2nd Lt. Childs, Everett LynnNavigatorEV
2nd Lt. Pitelka, Francis JeromeBombardierTR
T/SGT. Striesfeld, Nathan (NMI)Radio Operator / GunnerTR
T/SGT. Henry, Maurice Victor, "Red"Engineer / Top Turret GunnerMIA
S/SGT. Engwer, Donald LeroyBall Turret GunnerCT
S/SGT. Schamber, Albert MartinTail GunnerKIA
S/SGT. Bucher, James FrankFlexible GunnerMIA
S/SGT. Burger, Joseph EarnestFlexible GunnerTBD

Crew History

The ten members of the Morrison Crew arrived at two different times: the officers arrived on 6 October 1943, and the enlisted men arrived on 27 October 1943. Evidence linking them together as a single crew was obtained from a photo taken during their stateside training (the photo does not include Schamber). Navigator Childs flew his first mission with another crew on 14 November 1943 and was shot down, thus not flying any missions with the Morrison Crew. The other members flew at least one mission each with Morrison, but it is clear that the crew identity was lost - at least on combat missions. Morrison, DeMille, Engwer, and Burger were transferred to the 305th BG on 20 March 1944, and all returned to the 384th in April 1944. Bucher (MIA), Henry (MIA), and Schamber (KIA) did not survive their tours; Childs was shot down but evaded capture.

Missions, Aircraft, Crews
This individual was credited with 3 Combat Missions.
Number Date Target Position Aircraft Mission/Sortie Information
-- 30 October 1943 Target: Marshaling Yard
Type: Transportation
Location: Geilenkirchen, Germany
Engineer/Top Turret 42‑3429 Maj. Gilmore
Sortie Report
34 3 November 1943 Target: Port Area
Type: Transportation
Location: Wilhelmshafen, Germany
Engineer/Top Turret 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
36 16 November 1943 Target: Knaben II Molybdenum Mine
Type: Industry
Location: Knaben, Norway
Engineer/Top Turret 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Sortie Report
37 26 November 1943 Target: City Center
Type: Non-Military
Location: Bremen, Germany
Engineer/Top Turret 42‑5051 Combat Mission Credit
Damaged by flak, ditched in the North Sea near the English coast, with most of the crew rescued; MACR 1579; T/Sgt. Maurice Henry awarded posthumous Distinguished Service Cross, Owens p.195; Maj. William Gilmore awarded Silver Star, Owens p. 198.
Sortie Report

Every effort has been expended to ensure all information on this page is complete and accurate.
Please inform webmaster of any discrepancies or omissions by using the button below.