My name is René Bosma en I live in the little Dutch town of Oosterwolde. About 5 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, The Netherlands during the Second World War. I 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-17 heavy Bomber (serial: 42-5370) of 91 Bomb Group/324 Bomb Squadron. His B-17 was one of 17 bombers who take off in the morning of the 4th of March 1943 to bomb the Marshalling Yards of Hamm, Germany. When the bombers of 4 Bomb Groups (Incl. 91BG) were flying above the North Sea they saw all was covered in clouds and bombing the target was probably not possible. the lead group turned back to England and two other groups bombed a target of opportunity in the Netherlands. But the 17 bombers of 91 Bomb Group were going on to Hamm. The group was on their own now and a easy target for German fighters. Luckily, on the road to Hamm, dear were some sporadic attacked by German Fighter But no B-17 of 91BG was badly hit.
Flying trough bursts of German anti aircraft fire the bombs were dropped at 10.43 hour. The course for home was plotted for England. Short after they left the target area all different kinds of German Fighter attacked the group. The heavy machineguns into the b-17’s pounding hard But were they head to start. Near Munster one of the 91Bg was shot and went down, but the group try to stay in formation as tight as possible. At 11 o’clock German Messerschmitt fighter take off from Leeuwarden Airfield (it’s in the north of the Netherlands) to make a attack in the fortresses who came back from Germany. Short after the ME-110’s making contact with the 91BG two B-17’s of this group get hit badly and crashed into the Waddensea, The Netherlands. The 2nde of the two was the B-17 42-5370. The 10 man crew were fighting hard to stay in the air. The repulsed more than 30 attacks. It was at 11.37 hour in the morning when a salvo out of a German ME-110 Fighter get fital. Only one parachute was seen. It was the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner who could get out of the plane. He came down on the Island of Texel, The Netherlands and was taken POW. Sadly the other 9 young and brave man lost their lives when the B-17 crashed into the water of the Waddensea, 10 Kilometres east of the Texel Island. six body’s washed ashore on different places. From Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. First they were buried at local cemeteries and after the liberation some of them were repatriated to the United States and some are still buried at American Cemetery’s at Margraten, The Netherlands & Ardennes American Cemetery st. Neuville-en-Condroz, Liege, Belgium. The three man who are still Missing in Action till today were honored on the Walls of the Missing at The American Cemetery at Margraten, the Netherlands. The 10 man are still big war hero’s to us over here in the Netherlands till today.
The Tail Gunner of the 42-5370 was Staff Sergeant Donald Larue Marx . He was born on the 23th of March 1915 at Wabash County, IL. Sadly I don’t know his specific place of birth. His parents where Herbert Marx (1887-1977) & Arzula May Wise (1883-1942). Donald had three siblings Dorothy P. Marx (1908), Betty Marx (1925) & Calvin Marx (1912-1975). The family lived at Mount Carmel, Wabash County, Illinois. Donald was married with Freida A. Marx. She lived on 122 East 9th Street also at Mount Carmel, Wabash, Illinois.
Donald his body was found in the Waddensea by a German Marine vessel and brought over to the Marine Base at Den Helder, The Netherlands. Donald was buried also in Den Helder. After the liberation of the Netherlands he body was reburied at the American war Cemetery at Margraten, The Netherlands. He is still resting here. Every year i go over to Donald his grave to lay down flowers. We will never forget him.
Because I hope to learn more about Donald:
• his military career
• his family
• his live before he sight in for service
I looking for someone who is related to the Marx Family are could help me to get in contact with them.
With the information I try to get together I will make a nice remembering story about William and his fellow crewmembers. This because I feel it like my duty to give this man the honour that they deserve and that never maid be forgotten what this brave young man did so we, over here in the Netherlands, can live in freedom. If you can help please contact me on one of the under need email addresses.
Thank you so much in advance.
René Bosma, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands
My email-address: email@example.com