Pilots/crews: G.H Aiken; J.A Knost;  M.M. Smith

By: Jean Dawkins
On: 01/10/2004
I have been told that the pilots LT. G. H. Aiken, LT. J. A. Knost, and LT. M. M. Smith and their crews flew the B17 Heavenly Body serial #42-37828.  Do any of you from the flight crews or anyone from ground crews remember my Dad, Willis Vern Dawkins?  He was master sergeant on the ground crew of the Heavenly Body that was lost on the mission to Berlin March 8, 1944.  The plane was lost because of enemy action.  The pilot survived, and returned to Deenthorpe several weeks/months later.  After debriefing the first person he hunted up was Vern to tell him that the plane was a casualty of war and not of mechanical trouble.

Some of the men on Vern's crew were Paul Fahs, Wallie H. Matthews, Ruddy Beharka, Walter Glowik, Jim Ward, and possibly Bill E. Bennett.

Vern's second plane (in which he flew back to the States after helping get POWS out of Austria) we think was either the Duchess of Idaho or the Channel Express.  From his service records we know that he was in the 612 Bomb Squad.  

Sure hope that someone can remember him....I would love to hear from any who knew him or knew of him.  Thank you for your help.    Jean

Re: Pilots/crews: G.H Aiken; J.A Knost;  M.M. Smith

By: Donald Byers
On: 01/11/2004
Mission Report for 8 March 1944.  Note the only plane lost that day was Shade Ruff 42-31488.

The 401st provided the High Box of the 94th Combat Wing. As clear weather made a visual attack on the ball bearing works possible, the Group placed its bombs squarely on the target. The Luftwaffe and flak batteries defending the Berlin area mounted fierce resistance, knocking down 36 8th Air Force bombers and damaging 231 others. The 401st lost one aircraft and crew, No. 42-31488, piloted by Lt. Dale A. Peterson.

Re: Pilots/crews: G.H Aiken; J.A Knost;  M.M. Smith

By: Arthur R. Seder, Jr.
On: 01/14/2004
If you go to the History page of this web site and click on Aircraft, you will find Heavenly Body, Serial Number 43-37628. Click on that number and you will find all of the missions flown by that ship. According to our records, it was not shot down but was returned to the United States in June, 1945.
    You are correct that the plane was piloted by Lts. C. H. Aiken and Max M. Smith. Lt. Aiken is deceased, but his widow is a member of the 401st Bomb Group Association. Max Smith is a member of the Association, as is the son of one of the ground crew members you mention, Wallie Matthews. I will send you the addresses of these individuals by e-mail.  

Re: Pilots/crews: G.H Aiken; J.A Knost;  M.M. Smith

By: Andy Bennett
On: 07/29/2004
Who was Bill E Bennett?

Plus are there any more aircrew with the Surname of Bennett with the 401 BG.

Re: Pilots/crews: G.H Aiken; J.A Knost;  M.M. Smith

By: Tony Crawford
On: 09/24/2005
Photographs of the B-17G 42-37828 are for sale on e-bay with the closing in a couple of hours.  Per my information she was assigned to the 544th squadron of the 384th bomb group, and salvaged on 1-3-44.
Tony Crawford