Last Known Activity
According to census data, Marion Lyle Canfield was born in 1924 to William Ray and Laura Lorraine Dunn Canfield. The US Census 1930 shows the family in Avilla,Kansas, while the US Census 1940 has them living in Little, Oklahoma.
Canfield was inducted into the military on September 20, 1943, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His NARA enlistment papers state he was born in New Mexico in 1924, had completed 3 years of high school, and was single.
He was trained as an aerial gunner and assigned to a B-17 combat crew in training. He deployed to England with this crew in January, 1945. He flew only three credited missions, all with this crew.
On February 9, 1945, Canfield and the crew took part in a raid on the synthetic oil plants at Lutzkendorf, Germany. As the aircraft departed the IP for the bomb run, it hit another aircraft. Although still under control, it dropped from formation and tried to follow. It could not keep up with the formation so the pilot elected to try for the Russian lines, the closest Allied forces.
After a 45-minute flight, the Russian lines were crossed, and the "bail-out" was given. All of the crew did not jump, deeming the altitude to be too low.
Russian troops and survivors retrieved five bodies from the area, either in the wreckage or in the area, dead with unopened parachutes. All were buried with honors in a Russian military cemetery.
After the war, Allied forces recovered the bodies. Sgt Canfield was moved to the American (Ardennes) Cemetery in Belgium, where he lies in Plot B, Row 27, Grave 21.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Sgt Marion L. Canfield was the assigned ball turret gunner on B-17G # 42-31060, named "Pogue Ma Hone," assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 12245 details the loss of this aircraft/crew. Mission loading lists state the crew was:
1 Lt Alfred K. Nemer p
2 Lt Odus C. Litzelfelner c-p
2 Lt Harry W. Schulz nav
TSgt Howard H. Ganson tog
Sgt Floyd S. Bohrer eng/tt gun
Sgt Peter M. Volpini r/o
Sgt Marion L. Canfield btg
Sgt Paul L. Kerr waist gun
Sgt Floyd C. Doherty tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Note: Mission loading list has "2 Lt." for Litzelfelner. All other sources indicate "Flight Officer."
In the crew photo, Canfield is in the back row, center.