Blanchard - #2
Standing L-R: Merrow, Ralph L. (CP); McNaight, Ansel B. (RO); Blanchard, Harold C. (P) [KLOD]
Squatting Rear L-R: Franklin, Andrew D.; Kendle, Kenneth K. (NTG); Fulcher, Yancy L. Jr. [KIA]; Lambartina, Frank N. (E) [KLOD]
Kneeling Front L-R: Jankovsky, Robert L.; Maxfield, William (N) [KLOD]; Strumski, Joseph J. (B)
Standing L-R: Sgt. Frank N. Lamartina (E); Lt. Joseph J. Strumski (B); Lt. William Maxfield (N); Lt. Ralph L. Merrow (CP); Lt. Harold Blanchard (P)
Squatting Rear L-R: Sgt. Ansel B. McNaight (RO); Sgt. Robert L. Jankovsky (TG); Sgt. Kenneth K. Kendle (NG); Sgt. Andrew D. Franklin (BTG); Sgt. Yancey L .Fulcher, Jr. (TTG)
The identification of Janovsky, Kendle and Franklin in the bottom photo was supplied by Sherry Franklin Biggs, daughter of Andrew D. Franklin. Thanks, Sherry.
Four Original Crewmembers 461st BG 764th BS Crew #2
Top-Bottom: Andrew D. Franklin (BTG); Frank Lamartina (E) (KLOD in Ignatz, Feb. 1944); Robert Jankovsky (TG); Kenneth Kendle (NG)
Standing L-R: Harold C. Blanchard (P) – KLOD on Ignatz; Ralph L. Merrow (CP); William Maxfield (N) – KLOD on Ignatz; Joseph L. Strumski (B); Frank N. Lamartina (E) – KLOD on Ignatz
Squatting L-R: Robert L. Jankovsky (TG); Kenneth K. Kendle (NG); Yancy L. Fulcher (TTG) – KIA on 7-25-44 – Linz, Austria; Andrew D. Franklin (BTG); Ansel B. McNaight (RO) – injured on Ignatz – never saw combat
S/Sgt. Kenneth K. Kendle at British Forces camp after they had liberated POWs from Stalag Luft IV. The men were on the "Death March".
Mr. Kendle said all of the liberated POWs with him were issued these types of clothes at the British camp before being taken on to Camp Lucky Strike.
From Ralph L. Merrow -
I joined the 461st Bomb Group in November 1943 being transferred from the 451st Bomb Group in Nebraska. This was due to the crew that I was assigned to was in a mid-air collision with another B-24 at 20,000 ft. causing the death of 18 crew personnel out of the 19 who were flying in a formation training flight. Of course, I was not aboard during that flight - the only person who survived was the co-pilot who filled in for me. This crash occurred on October 22, 1943.
The first time I saw Col. Glantzberg was during a full dress parade prior to the 461st leaving for overseas in January 1944. The other times were during the pre-flight mission instructions about the target that we were scheduled to bomb. Another crash decimated the crew #2 - 764th Squadron that I was assigned to. That crash killed Capt. Witte, Squadron CO, Lt. Blanchard, pilot, Lt. Maxfield, navigator, Sgt. Lamartina, 1st engineer and Sgt. McNaight, radio operator who survived, injured severely and was sent home following no missions.
Col. Glantzberg and Col. Hawes used to challenge us during the group assembly flight prior to actually leaving on the mission. If we weren't in proper formation, they would challenge you by flying between your plane and the one you were suppose to be in formation with.
Due to the loss of some 11 crew members who I had become quite attached, I asked for a transfer to the P-38 fighter-bomber group that was just north of Foggia. The CO there accepted me, but Col. Glantzberg turned down my request because the 461st needed 4-engine pilots.
The Crew #2 was rebuilt with replacement fellows with who I flew my 31 missions from April 2, 1944 through July 8, 1944. That first raid was to Bihac, Yugoslavia and the last one was to Vienna, Austria. Crew #2 was shot down on July 25, 1944 on a mission to Linz, Austria - a real major calamity to say the least.