1LT Clarence R. "Chris" Christman Crew (544th BS)
Back row L-R: 1LT C. R. Christman (P) KIA, 2LT R.S. Carroll (CP) POW, 2LT V. B. Bennett (B) KIA, 2LT William Sears (N) POW

Front row L-R: TSGT J. J. Gillis (RO) KIA, SSGT Jerome J. Goubeaux (TG) KIA, SSGT Carl V. Hill (WG) POW, TSGT Albert W. Detrick (TT) POW, SSGT Robert A. Leonard (BT) KIA.

not pictured: SSGT S. G. Stephenson (WG)

The Christman crew was shot down during the 25 July 1943 raid on Hamburg, Germany. This was the first in a weeklong series of raids that the 8th Air Force directed at the German industrial heartland. The British RAF bombed Hamburg by night, which created the devastating firestorm that burned out the heart of the city, killing over 40,000 people. The US's attack only added fuel to the fire. It was, however, the costliest mission to the 384th BG for 1943, losing 6 aircraft.

The Christman crew arrived at Grafton-Underwood on 4 July 1943, and flew their first mission on the 14 July 1943 mission to Villacoublay, France, but he had to abort due to a #1 engine failure. The B-17 they flew that day was 42-30129 "Snuffy." Their first official mission would unfortunately be their last, on July 25.

The aircraft they were flying on their final mission was B-17F 42-3088, named "Sugar Puss" with the squadron code SU*G. Christman was apparently killed when he struck part of the aircraft while bailing out.

LT Clarence "Chris" Christman

photo courtesy of Pam Keener