Last Known Activity
According to the National Archives enlistment records, Lawrence N. Anderson was born in 1920. His parents were Gustav and Olga Anderson. He entered the military service at Boston (Wakefield,) Massachusetts on April 16, 1941. He is listed as single with no dependents, had 4 years of high school, and was employed as a sales clerk when he enlisted as a private for the Army Air Corps. The first mention of actual service is found in the personnel records of the 777th Bomb Squadron of the 464th Bomb Group, operating from Panatella Air Base, Italy.
On August 7, 1944, Anderson's aircraft was scheduled with a formation to bomb the North synthetic oil plants at Blechhammer, Germany. Over the target, the aircraft took a direct hit from a flak shell outside the left outboard engine. The engine exploded and fell from the aircraft. Although appearing to steady itself, the aircraft suddenly flipped into an inverted position and went into a very tight left-hand spin.
Reports from 5 observers aboard other aircraft indicated no parachutes were seen. However, 5 of the crew managed to bail out. The pilot went out the upper hatch, while the co-pilot and navigator dropped from the bomb bays. The nose gunner and bombardier went out the nose wheel hatch. The remaining 5 were either dead or held by centrifugal force and could not jump. The aircraft crashed, caught fire, and all ammunition exploded.
The German soldiers captured the 5 crew members that managed to parachute out. They also recovered 5 bodies from the wreckage and buried them at Zalesic Silesia. The bodies were later recovered from this burial, returned to the U.S., and buried in a common grave at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. Strangely, only 4 names appear on the marker.
TSgt Anderson was last seen, in his upper turret, dead behind his guns, evidently killed by a flak splinter through the head. Ironically, Anderson had requested that the nose gunner give him his flak helmet just before the aircraft was hit.
This aircraft was B-24G # 42-78318, named "All Meat and No Potatoes" after a popular song of the 1940s by jazz musician Fats Waller.
According to mission loading lists and 777th Bomb Squadron records, the crew consisted of:
Capt James R. Tudor p
2 Lt James J. Ryan c-p
2 Lt William H. Hollmann nav
2 Lt Louis V. Valente bomb
TSgt Lawrence N. Anderson eng/tt gun
TSgt Henry C. Patrick asst eng
SSgt Robert E. Hickson lw gun
SSgt Joseph F. Kolzer rw gun
SSgt Kenneth A. Kramer nose gun
SSgt George E. Adams bt gun
Missing Air Crew Report 7534 is applicable.
NOTE: In the crew photo, TSgt Lawrence N. Anderson is 2nd from right, kneeling.
Service photo source: