Last Known Activity
Edward V. Ankli was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1924, but referred to Berrion, Michigan as his home. His parents were Victor C and Anna Ankli. He had one sister, Lorraine. He enlisted on August 31, 1942 at South Bend, Indiana.
He initially received training as a flight engineer, and also qualified in aerial gunnery school. He spent time in an operational training unit, receiving combat crew training. He was assigned to a replacement crew and deployed to England in 1944. Here, the crew was assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron of the 100th Bomb Group, operating from RAF Station 139, Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk, England.
The crew had flown either 3 or 4 missions (accounts vary) when scheduled for a bombing raid on Berlin, Germany. Over the target, the aircraft took a direct hit from flak that landed between the #1 and #2 engine. The wing caught fire, then fell off the aircraft. The aircraft dropped from formation, spinning rapidly, and crashed near Finkenburg, 10 km west of Spandau, Germany. No chutes were observed; however, one crewman managed to bail out. He survived and was captured. The remainder were killed.
The bomb load detonated sometime after the crash and killed a German female who was attempting to assist the crew. Eight bodies were recovered and buried as "Unknowns" in the Communal Cemetery at Falkenser, Germany. (See attached photo.) In August 1947, four of the crew were identified and returned to the U.S. The other four were buried in two grave sites in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium. TSgt Ankli lies in Plot A, Row 8, Grave 14.
TSgt Ankli was the engineer and top turret gunner on B-17G # 43-37882, nicknamed "Happy-Go-Lucky," assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 9509 was issued, and identifies the crew as:
2 Lt Frederick G. Reed p
2 Lt Edward A. Hesse c-p
F/O John T. Carmichael nav
2 Lt Edmund W. Rhode bomb
TSgt Edward V. Ankli eng/tt gun
Cpl Robert H. Bennett r/o
TSgt Robert E. Jackson btg
Cpl Leo A. Southard lwg
SSgt Rosario "Roy" F. Lomanno rwg
Sgt Joseph J. Burghardt tail gun
Sgt Southard was dropped from the crew when crew size was reduced from 10 to 9.
In the crew photo, TSgt Ankli is in front, extreme right.
Service photo source: