My Uncle, Wayne Laubert, was killed on December 15, 1944 when his plane -"the eager beavers" collided with a 423 group in Greenham Common, England.only two survived. They were in the 423 group:Pilot Wilke and co-pilot Murphy. I have the names of the men from both planes.Any info/ facts/ general interest/comments regarding this would be most appreciated. He was from Vienna, MO -
Deb-- What resource are you looking at for the list of names for the men on both planes?
Your posting contained a mix of information that initially did not make sense.
The 368th BS was a component of the 306th BG (tailcode: Triangle H)8th AF which flew B-17s out of Thurleigh.
Greenham Common was a base for the 9th AF flying C-47 troop carrier transports and gliders.
Your reference to the "423 Group" was confusing as this designation references a Reconnaissance Group disbanded in the US and reconstituted after the war.
Further checking revealed that the 423rd Bomb SQUADRON was also a component of the 306th Bomb GROUP.
There were several mid-air collisions on 15DEC44.One must remember that historically this was two days before the start of the Battle of the Bulge (17DEC) and WEATHER played a critical factor in the German offensive, as well as creating havoc in England for flying opertions--both offensive and resupply--during the week following.
Since the collision occurred at a base not usually used by bombers, it is most probable that the collision occurred as a result of THURLEIGH being fogged in and these aircraft being diverted to Greenham Common as an alternate field.
B-17G 43-37633Pilot: CROOKS, CHARLES A. MID-AIR COLLISION Place: GREENHAM COMMON,UKUnit: 306BG Date:15DEC44
Charles A. Crooks Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces O-767501 368th Bomber Squadron, 306th Bomber Group, Heavy Entered the Service from: Ohio Died: December 15, 1944 Buried at: Plot D Row 1 Grave 38 Cambridge American Cemetery Cambridge, England Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
I would have to infer that Crooks was your uncle's pilot?
Also something to be very careful of is the spelling of the other pilots name.I find it referenced as WILKE and WILKIE (!?) And could not find any information on LORN A. I did find a Loren Wilke--originally from Iowa, b. JAN1913 d. DEC1981 in Howell Co. Missouri.(only a possibility pending clarificataion of the first and last name spelling)
As this event did not directly involve a combat loss it would be classified as an 'accident' despite the loss of life. It is interesting to note that 338019 was involved in another 'accident' at it's home station of THURLEIGH exactly one month earlier.
B-17G 43-38019Pilot: DELAPOER, JOHN B. Place: THURLEIGH,UKUnit: 306BGDate:15NOV44
If you require any assistance decyphering other aspects of this incident please feel free to contact me.