Andrews, Gilbert F., SSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 611-Aerial Gunner
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 401st Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
Service Years
1942 - 1943
USAAFEnlisted Collar Insignia
Staff Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Andrews, Gilbert F., SSgt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Bassingbourn, England

Casualty Date
Apr 17, 1943
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
World War II
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Ardennes, Belgium
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot B, Row 11, Grave 17

 Official Badges 

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
World War II Fallen
  2014, World War II Fallen

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aerial Gunner Badge

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)Aerial Gunnery School91st Bombardment Group, Heavy401st Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1942-1942, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
  1942-1942, Aerial Gunnery School
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 91st Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1943, AAF MOS 611, 401st Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  
  1943-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Gilbert F. Andrews was born in Virginia in 1923. His mother was Kate B.Andrews (deceased 1987)
According to his NARA enlistment record, Andrews enlisted on June 20, 1942 at Richmond, Virginia as a private in the Army Air Corps. His record also states he had completed 4 years of high school, and that his civilian employment was in the actors and entertainers career field.

After basic training, he was assigned to aerial gunnery school. Upon completion of this course, he was promoted to Sergeant and was sent for further training as a combat crew member. In early 1943, he was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group at Bassingbourn, England. He was then assigned to a crew of the 401st Bomb Squadron.

He flew several combat missions, and was tasked to participate in the bombing raid on the FW-190 aircraft assembly plant at Bremen, Germany. The bomb run was made, and during the turn-off-target, a flak shell exploded under the left wing of the B-17, starting a fire in that wing. At the same time, a head-on firing pass was made by three German fighters. The attack blew a large hole in the nose, and blew out all the Plexiglas. The pilot was shot through the head, the co-pilot was wounded several times, and the bombardier was shot in the leg twice. The navigator was severely wounded, as was the engineer in the top turret.

The engineer dropped from his position and surveyed the situation. A fire had broken out in the radio room, and was being fed by the oxygen supplies. The engineer opened the bomb bay doors and dropped out. Four other wounded crewmen bailed out, but the pilot and gunners were evidently killed. The aircraft broke into two pieces at the radio room, and crashed in flames about 20 miles south of Bremen, near Wuntsdorf.

The five wounded crewmen that bailed out were captured by German troops, treated, and sent to POW camps. Five bodies were recovered from the wreckage of the B-17, and buried in Waldfriedhof Cemetery in Vechta, Germany. After the war, the bodies were removed to the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium, where SSgt Andrews lies in Plot B, Row 11, Grave 17.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
NARA Enlistment records


The aircraft involved in this incident was B-17F # 41-24459, nicknamed "Hellsapoppin'" assigned to the 401st Bomb Squadron.

Missing Air Crew Report 15523 identifies the crew as:

1 Lt John W. Wilson     p
1 Arthur A. Bushnell    c-p
1 Lt Robert C. Barton    nav
1 Lt Harold Romm    bomb
TSgt Norman L. Thompson     eng/tt gun
TSgt Howard A. Earney     r/o
SSgt Robert H. Ade    btg
SSgt Walter Bohaczyk     lwg
SSgt Clifford E. Cadle    rwg
SSgt Gilbert F. Andrews    tail gun

Lts Bushnell, Barton, and Romm, along with TSgs Thompson and Earney were the survivors.

Much confusion exists among accounts as to the correct MACR number. It is given as 5520 (actually for a P-51,) 15520 (a B-17 of the 368th Bomb Squadron,) 15522 (a B-17 of the 401st shot down on the same mission.) The number 15523 is correct, and provides details of crash and crew.

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