MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #05212 AIRCRAFT: #42-95136 (NO NICKNAME) "A" 7th Mission
AIRCREW: TYLER * 576th Squadron 392nd Bomb
CREW POSITIONS AND STATUS:
P 1/LT Tyler, Ace W. KIA
CP 2/LT Ricci, Joseph A.
N l/LT Bassett, Earl F. POW
NG S/SGT Podolski, Paul D. KIA
R/O T/SGT Metz, William (NMI)
A/RO S/SGT Blaida, John M. KIA
EnG T/SGT MacDonald, George E. Jr. KIA
WG S/SGT Brown, Gilbert
WG S/SGT Troutman, Edward A. KIA
TG SGT Powell, Marvin L. KIA
MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: A returning eye-witness reported, "ship turned over with two engines out, altitude
21,700", and no further details were related on this aircraft loss. A German Report KU #2086, Air Base Hqs at Greifewald reported
that this plane had crashed near a village named Gueltz, and the railroad Demmin-Altentreptow, about 1145 hours, 29 May. The
crew had been shot down by a fighter, and was 99% destroyed from an air explosion and fire engulfing unexploded bombs at the
crash site. Nine (9) crew members were found dead and identified at the site above. One, the Navigator Lt. Bassett, who had
bailed out successfully, was taken prisoner immediately in the area. It was reported that the prisoner was transferred the
next day, 30 May, from the Commanding Officer at Tutow (Berlin area) to Oberursel (Dulag Luft). Local burial of the casualties
was carried out.
INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES/BURIAL RECORDS: Lt. Bassett, the only survivor, gave a brief account
on a casualty interrogation (U.S.) form dated 27 July 1945. He stated that the plane had been attacked by enemy fighters and
the nose section had been set afire; that he bailed out but saw no more parachutes coming down, although he was in a position
to see them had others gotten out. That was the extent Df his report (in this MACR file record).
German report of 1 June 44, message AF 965/64, Air Base Hqs Griefewald, 2/Ill gave account of the burials
of the crew casualties: all were buried at the village of Gueltz, (800) meters from the Gueltz Estate, as recorded: Metz (Grave
1); MacDonald (Grave 3); Powell (Grave 4); Tyler (Grave 5); Troutman (Grave 6); Podolski (Grave 7); Blaida (Grave 8); Brown
(Grave 9); and Ricci (Grave number not given). The Germans identified one of the deceased as Sgt Corbett X. Miller after they
found his Soldier's Individual Pay Record. Although Miller was originally a member of 1/Lt Tyler's crew, he had been seriously
wounded on the Hamm mission (April 22, 1944) and hospitalized. He was eventually returned home. Why his Pay Record was at
the crash site is a mystery. U.S. National Cemetery records account for the following re-interments for certain members of
this crew. These members were re-buried at the ARDENNES Cemetery, near Liege, Belgium: Podolski (Grave B-27-7); Metz (Grave
D- 7-50); Blaida (Grave D-7-49) and Powell (Grave D-7-47). Podolski was awarded the Air Medal with (2) Oak Leaf Clusters and
Purple Heart; Metz and Blaida both an Air Medal with (1) Oak Leaf Cluster with Blaida’s being also a posthumous Purple
Heart, but the latter award not in the case of Metz; and Powell is noted to have an award of the Purple Heart, posthumously
as well. No other record connected with the MACR exists as to the subsequent reburials of the other crew men.
INTERESTING STORY ABOUT WW II
Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British airmen found themselves as
the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape.
Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was,
but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on- the-lam could go for food and shelter.
Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them,
they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
Someone in MI-5 (similar to America 's OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It
is durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever. At that
time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was
John Waddington, Ltd.
When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort..
By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened,
'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages', dispatched by the International
Red Cross, to prisoners of war. Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the
grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany
or Italy where Allied POW camps were located (Red Cross packages were delivered to prisoners in accordance with that same
regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly
playing piece. As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
1. A playing token,
containing a small magnetic compass
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
3. Useful amounts
of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!
British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to
identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set -- by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch,
located in the corner of the Free Parking square.
Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their
flight by the rigged Monopoly sets. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might
want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war. The story wasn't de-classified until 2007, when the
surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
Anyway, it's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.