Last Known Activity
According to his NARA enlistment record, Solomon H. Bernstein was born in New Jersey in 1922. His record states that his residence was Dade County, Florida, and that he enlisted at Camp Blanding, Florida on December 10, 1942. It also states he had completed one year of college, (unnamed,) was single, and had previously been employed as an aircraft mechanic.
After basic training, he was assigned to Flight Engineer school. Then, he was sent to aerial gunnery school. Graduating from this course, he was assigned to the newly-activated 457th Bomb Group. Training took place at Rapid City, South Dakota and at Wendover, Utah, prepatory to deployment overseas.
The unit was sent to England in January 1944 and moved to USAAF Station 130, near Glatton, England. Here, he was assigned to the 751st Bomb Squadron and promoted to Staff Sergeant. The crew flew 20 combat mission, beginning in February 1944. On August 6, 1944, the crew was tasked to participate in a raid on an aircraft engine factory at Genshagen, Germany, near Berlin.
While over the target, the aircraft was hit by flak. The #2 engine and the left wing caught fire. The co-pilot evidently dove the aircraft to extinguish the flames, but failed in the attempt. Several of the crew bailed out. One man's chute fouled on the wingtip of another plane in formation, ripping it from him and letting him fall to his death. The aircraft began a spin, and then exploded. The wreckage fell near Brandenburgh, about 10 miles southeast of the city.
Four of the crew were killed, and remains were recovered. The remaining five crew members were captured. Evidently, individual identification could not be made in all cases, and Sgts Bernstein and fellow crew member Charles Bartoszewicz are buried together in Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey. They lie in section D, site 1046F.
USAAC-USAAF Aircraft Inventory Records
NARA Enlistment records
SSgt Solomon Bernstein was acting as flight engineer and top turret gunner on B-17G # 42-97131, nicknamed "Home James,"assigned to the 751st Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 7889 was issued and establishes the crew as:
2 Lt Vincent L. Frost p
2 Lt John B. Folsom, Jr c-p
2 Lt Robert B. Danaher nav
2 Lt Earl N. Peronto bomb
SSgt Solomon H. Bernstein eng/tt gun
SSgt Chester F. Bartoszewicz r/o
Sgt Daniel D. Rice lwg
Sgt Daniel C. Taylor rwg
Sgt Hubert D. Rempp tail
Note no ball turret gunner on crew.
Lt Folsom, along with Sgts Bernstein, Bartoszewicz, and Taylor were killed.
457th Bomb Group records list Bernstein as "Soloman." Enlistment records and grave marker list "Solomon."