Last Known Activity
Addison E. Hart was supposedly born in Syracuse, New York, although no supporting documents have been found. He enlisted in the military in late 1943 and was trained as a Radio Operator.
Sent to England as part of a combat crew, he was assigned to the 491st Bomb Group. None of his flying or combat history from that assignment is known. The crew he was part of was assigned on Detached Service as a replacement crew to the 755th Bomb Squadron on May 15, 1944. Records show this crew flew at least 19 missions with the 755th Bomb Squadron, in a number of different aircraft.
On August 6, 1944, the crew was part of a raid on Hamburg, and would be flying as lead crew. Therefore; there were extra personnel on board. The flight to target was relatively uneventful, but just before the bomb run, intensive flak was encountered. The aircraft took a direct hit, and burst into flames. The wings fell off, and the remainder of the aircraft exploded. Observers in other aircraft reported "chutes out." In one case, the report was one; in the other case, it was two.
One of only 2 survivors, the command pilot aboard stated later that the aircraft seemed to stop in mid-air, there was no control, there was fire in the interior, and the wings just fell off. The pilot normally assigned helped the command pilot out the top hatch, then managed to follow him. All other crew members perished. The two survivors were captured and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.
Evidently, some of the bodies were recovered, as records indicate that TSgt Hart is buried in Ardennes American National Cemetery outside Neupre, Belgium. He lies in Plot B, Row 14, Grave 11.
NOTE: In the air crew photo, Tsgt Hart is 4th from the left, standing.
The aircraft here was B-24H (J, in one account) #42-100433, nicknamed "Big Dick Hard To Hit."
Nose art was a pair of dice showing two "5s", with exploding firework bursts around them. The words "Big Dick" were vertical before the insignia and the words "Hard To Hit" were behind. In the game of craps, the expression of "Big Dick" was used to indicate a roll of 10, usually double fives.
This aircraft was normally assigned to Captain Royce Glenn and his crew who had flown 27 missions in it. However, it was assigned to the command pilot Captain Chamberlain and the Hancock crew for the August 6 mission.
At least 2 other B-24s have been found that used the same name and a variation of the artwork. One was from the 825th Bomb Squadron and the other was from the 480th Bomb Group.
Missing Air Crew Report 7891 applies, and gives the crew as:
Cpt John E. Chamberlain cmd pilot
1 Lt Thomas E. Hancock pilot
2 Lt Leon B. Lent, Jr. co-pilot
2 Lt Robert A. Craig plotting navigator
2 Lt James O. Marburger navigator
2 Lt Edward O. Centola bombardier
TSgt Addison E. Hart radio operator
TSgt Glenn E. Newcombe engineer/top turett gunner
SSgt Lorinzo D. Charles ball turret gunner
SSgt Alfred L. Bracksieck right waist gunner
SSgt Charlie W. Carter left waist gunner
SSgt Charles Vlahos tail gunner
Captain Chamberlain and Lt. Hancock were the two survivors.
Mission records of 755th Bomb Squadron
Casualty Lists from 458th Bomb Group records