My name is René Bosma en I live in the little Dutch town of Oosterwolde. Since 4 years I have been investigating the Air war over the Northern part of the Netherlands. It is my main objective to gather as much information as possible about the aircraft and the airmen which came down over the province of Friesland during the Second World War. We consider it very important to keep the memory of the Air war alive, especially the many flyers paid with their lives for our Freedom.
One of the aircraft I research is a American B-24 heavy Bomber of 44 Bomb Group/68 Bomb Squadron. The B-24 (serial: 41-23690) crashed on the 27 January 1943 into the Waddensea. The sea is situated in the northern part of the Netherlands. The B-24’s came back from a bombing mission on the harbour of the little Dutch town of Lemmer. After the attack on the harbour installation the group of bombers came in a fight with 4 German Focke Wolf fighters. The battle was hard en 1 German fighter was shot down quick after the battle start. When the bombers came over the Waddensea also another German fighter was shot. The German pilot of the plane was killed instead. When the fighter tumbled to earth he smashed through the tail of the B-24 41-23690. So the big bomber with the 10 man crew also go down en smashed into the water of the sea. This was the first American heavy bomber who came down during the 2nd world war on Dutch soil. Ten brave American airman lost their live at this accident. This was a hard loss for the 44 Bomb Group. Also because nothing is ever found back of the 7 of the 10 man. 3 body’s could be salvaged trough a Dutch lifeboat from the island of Terschelling. The names of the 7 man or standing with pride on the Wall of the Missing at the American War Cemetery at Margraten, the Netherlands. The 3 who could be salvaged are still buried at the American War Cemetery at Margraten en 1 is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium.
The Gunner en radio operator assistant of the 41-23690 crew was Staff Sergeant Verne C. Stewart. He was born in 1912 at North Loup, Valley County, NE. Sadly id don’t know his specific birth date. His parents were Noble Boyd Stewart (1890-1951) & Bernice E. Clements Stewart (1892-1980). Verne has 2 brothers en 1 sister Denzel Boyd Stewart (1914-1982), James E. Stewart (1919) en Ruby E. Stewart (1916-2007). In 1940 his morther was remarried after a divorce en lived with her new man John Burrows at North Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado. Verne lived with his brother-in-law William F. Paddock at Montrose, Montrose County, Colorado. Verne worked as a truckdrive at a woodmill.
After the crash his body was recoverd en buried at First on the Dutch island of Terschelling. After the liberation of the Netherlands in May 1945 his body was reburied at the Ardennes American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium. His body is still resting here.
At the moment I research this crash en I was hoping that there is someone could en will help me with some additional information about Verne:
• his military career
• his family
• his life before he sight in for service
I also hope that someone knows some ancestors or relatives of Verne en will help me to get in contact with them.
My goal with the information I try to collect is to make a as precise as possible reconstruction about the crew en their mission on that day. So the story of the brave man who gave their live for our freedom never will be forgotten.
Thank you in advance en hope someone could en will help me.
René Bosma, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands
My emailaddress: firstname.lastname@example.org