Last Known Activity
Harry J. Ambrosini was born in Fresno, California on January 27, 1920. His NARA enlistment record states he had completed 4 years of high school and was employed as a farm hand when he enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps on October 8, 1941.
After basic training, he was selected to attend mechanics school, and soon underwent the necessary training to become a flight engineer. He also graduated from the aerial gunnery course of instruction. He received intensive training as a combat crew member on the B-24 type aircraft.
In late 1943, the combat crew to which he was assigned was deployed to England as a replacement crew. The crew was assigned to the 448th Bomb Group at Seething RAF Station 146, and later was sent to the 715th Bomb Squadron there.
On April 29, 1944, while on a mission to bomb German war facilities at Berlin, Germany, the B-24 Ambrosini was on received several hits from flak shells on the bomb run. Three engines were knocked out, the nose turret was put out of commission, and the tail assembly badly damaged. The pilot was determined to see if he could make the return trip, but began losing altitude rapidly. The bomb bay doors were cranked open by hand as they were damaged, the pilot alerted the crew for bail out over the Danish island of Bornholm, and all 10 crew members left the aircraft.
Sgt Ambrosini's parachute did not open, and he was killed upon impacting the ground. All others survived the jump. Three were captured by the Germans, but with the assistance of Danes, the other six eventually received false identification which allowed them to escape to Sweden and eventually return to England.
Sgt Ambrosini's body was recovered and buried by the local priest and an honor guard of German troops on May 2, 1944, in the Pedersker Cemetery. Danes were not allowed at the service, but as soon as the Germans departed, the Danes covered the grave with flowers. Later, they erected a headstone. Sgt Ambrosini is still buried there.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
NARA Enlistment records
TSgt Harry J. Ambrosini was filling the crew position of flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-24H 41-29479, nicknamed "Gypsy Queen," assigned to the 715th Bomb Squadron. In various accounts (mostly Danish), this aircraft is referred to as "Gypsy Moth."
This aircraft was originally assigned to the 487th Bomb Group, 838th Bomb Squadron and subsequently transferred to the 715th Bomb Squadron in April 1944. It had been named "Big Bad Wolf," and is referred to by that name in some accounts of its loss. See aircraft photo.
Missing Air Crew Report 4488 was issued, and identifies the crew as:
2 Lt Orland T. Howard p
F/O Thomas J. Verran c-p
2 Lt Robert L. Bobst nav
2 Lt Laurin M. DeRosier bomb
TSgt Harry J. Ambrosini eng/tt gun
TSgt Russell D. Leonard r/o
SSgt Stanley E. Jones nose gun
SSgt William L. Hutchins rwg
SSgt Harold W. Nininger lwg
Sgt Albert L. Heikkila tail gun
F/O Verran and Sgts Jones and Nininger were the captured air crewmen.
In crew photo, Ambrosini is second from left, front row.