John Austin LUTTRELL


luttrell john
AGE32  yo
RANKStaff Sergeant
JOB BEFORE ENLISTEMENTSemiskilled occupations in manufacture of furniture CA
DATE of ENLISTEMENT 2 september 1942 Los  Angeles CALIFORNIA 
 SQUADRON412th Bomb Squadron
 GROUP95th Bomb Group
ARMY8th US Air Force
DATE OF DEATH10 July 1943LUTTRELL John A tombe
PLACE OF DEATHSaint Didier des Bois
See crash map

B 17 Fortress - Type F-85 BO s/n 42-30105 QW-R Carré B
"Slightly Dangerous"


Macr: 4902

Mission: Le Bourget (93)

Take off  6h00 station 119 Horham, Suffolk UK

Shot by the hunt at 08:15 - Engines 3 and 4 on fire

Partially evacuated plane - explodes in flight and falls on the village


Map of Normandy American Cemetery


Purple Heart

World War II Victory Medal

Photo FDLM

victory medal

usaf 8air force 95bg 412bs

It all starts as a feastday since it is prize giving day for the pupils in Miss Gabrielle Caron's grade, teacher in Saint Didier des Bois. All of a sudden, in an infernal hummin, a fleet of 27 B17 F (Flying Fortresses) belonging to the 95th BomberGroup get closer and then fly over our village.

This fleet was initially scheduled to bomb warehouses in Le Bourget as well as its airport, in the Paris area. Because of low clouds, which would have made this mission too hazardous, the fleet U-turned and got back to its base in England, following the line of secondary airports from Evreux to Rouen.

Getting close to Saint Didier des Bois the planes come under Anti Aircraft fire, a Flak bttery is based in Montaure.


The formation flies at an altitude of 23000 feet with the B17 #230705 named « Slightly Dangerous as a leader, when it is attacked by Luftwaffe fighters.
At that time, flying without any escort, the B17 formations, which carried heavy defensive weapons aboard, always expected such surprise attacks.

The co-pilot Mac Cowen, aboard the leading plane, sees seven to eight Messerschmitt ME109 fighters (also known as Bf109) shooting at his plane.


Two of its engines are hit, they go on fire. The plane is immediately into trouble, it loses altitude and speed. It becomes obvious it will crash since it is desintegrating due to the vibrations and then the explosions. Some inhabitants of La Haye-Malherbe see some parachutes open while others candle.

Incandescent materials fall onto our village while a huge piece of the fuselage falls not far from the war memorial. In the plane's fall, a big-calibermachine gun got loose from the cabin and fall through the roof of a house rue de la Baronnerie.

Dreadfully disfigured bodies were found here and there. Inside the plane's tail a 18 year-old gunner lost his life, as did 5 out of the 10 men who composed this bomber crew.

One of them fell from the plane and crashed in M. Meslin's garden ; as for the pilot, he is found burned to death piloting the B17 of which a big part fell in the small valey behind the rue de la Baronnerie.

Miraculously, the bombs carried inside the aircraft did not blow up. This plane, just like the other bombers of this mission, went on to an objective with several ns of it. An explosion of its cargo would have provoked an absolute carnage.

Everybody in Saint Didier des Bois witnessed the tragedy, however, very few saw the parachutes open while the aircraft fell. Theses survivirs are Mr. Hardink and Mr. Ruskaas well as two other crew members.

The first one will be taken care of by Adonat Mercier and Fernand Prévost, garage-owner in Saint Didier. The second, recovered at the foot of a burning apple tree down the Chemin d'Ageronne, by Germaine Diénis and her sister Andrée with the help of Albert Bécherel.Germaine will get rid of the parachute by throwing it into the flames, which will make the Germans think its owner was burned to death, since they found only fragments.

The other two survivors will quickly be recovered by German soldiers, since the population was unable to hide them. Hardink was successful in joining Spain thanks to a Resistance network.

Paul Ruska, who was the radio operator, will live in the Diénis' home but, denouncd 6 months later, hez will be forced to flee. He will come back soon in Saint Didier des Bois where he will be hidden by Mrs Mouchard. A young Resistance fighter will be responsible for his repatriation in England.

The attempt will fail and Paul Ruska will be arrested. Accused of spying, Germaine Diénis will save his life, once again, since she will unearth his airman's clothes she had hidden, proving his identity. Through this action, Paul Ruska will gain a Prisoner of War status which prevent him from being sent to a concentration camp and certainly dying.

A commemorative plaque was already fixed at the corner of the rue du 11 novembre on a house's wall, right on the spot where the biggest part of the rear fuselage fell.


Equipage du B17

Crew of B-17 Fortress - type F-85-BO - s/n 42-30105 QW*R

"Slightly Dangerous"

1st Lieutenant James R  SARCHET Pilot Dead Cim Am Colleville-sur-Mer O-735671 - PH - Cambridge, OHIO
2nd Lieutenant Robert M McCOWEN CoPilot Escaped - Escape by Pyrenees / Spain / Gibraltar - Back UK 13/01/1944 O-743055 - Né le 12/10/1918 - Waterloo, IOWA
2nd Lieutenant Donald S McMULLEN Navigator Dead Jefferson Mem Park. Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania O-796564 - Glassport, PENNSYLVANIA
2nd Lieutenant Arthur F  PRICE Bomber Dead Cim Am Colleville-sur-Mer O-734737 - PH - Portland, OREGON
T/Sergeant Paul J RUSKA Mechanic Prisoner - Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf
35380985 - Farmdale, OHIO
S/Sergeant Donald E HARDING



Escaped Escape via the Bourgogne network via Pyrenees / Spain / Gibraltar - Back UK 05/10/1943
19077011 - Né le 30/11/1921 - Eureka, KANSAS
/Sergeant Leonard A  BUDNIK Gunner Dead Cim Am Colleville-sur-Mer 36257844 - PH - Milwaukee, WISCONSIN
S/Sergeant John A  LUTTRELL Gunner Dead Cim Am Colleville-sur-Mer 19126937 - PH - Boyce, LOUISIANA
T/Sergeant Jennings L LILLER Gunner Prisoner 13103680 - Baltimore, MARYLAND
S/Sergeant Edwin M HARMON Gunner Dead Columbia Cem. Adair Co, Kentucky 22 ans - Columbia, KENTUCKY
 b 17
PROGRAMMERClive, Frédéric & Renaud
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