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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Killed In Action - WWII - Remembering Staff Sergeant Harry E. Hancock - Richland Township

Meet Staff Sgt. Harry Hancock who was killed in the line of duty in 1944 in a mid-air collision in England.
Reader Karen Largent sent in this story about her Great-Uncle who was born in 1919 and raised on this ten acre farm in Richland Township. Credit for most of the research goes to Harry Edgar Pontius III and Beverly Hancock Pontius.
Here is a present day shot of the old homestead.
His father was a farmer and his mother was from Bedford County. He was the youngest of five children and went to school in the Richland School District.
Harry served as a Staff Sergeant and Flight Engineer/Ball turret Gunner on B-17 "Rikki-Tikki-Tawi-II" #42-29747, 526th Bomber Squadron, 379th Bomber Group, Heavy U.S. Army Air Force furing World War Two. 
Harry was normally a member of the 527th Bomber Group but was assigned to the 526th on 5 January 1944 for this flight.
His B-17 had just taken off from Molesworth/Station 107 in Cambridgeshire, England for a night bombing raid in Germany and was assembling into flight formation when they were involved in a mid-air collision with another B-17. Harry along with 10 other airmen aboard both planes were killed in action. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

A few weeks before he died - he sent the following VMail letter home.
The following sheds more light on the death of Harry.

Madingley Cemetery - England

1 comment:

cherokee5425 said...

An amazing but also very sad story.