Last Known Activity
Bobby M. Godwin was born in 1920 in Texas, according to his NARA enlistment documents.
He enlisted in Dallas, Texas on July 14, 1941, as an aviation cadet. His enlistment papers state he had completed 3 years of college, (identified by another source as Texas A&M) was single, and that his occupation lay within the actor/actress field. (Family sources state he was actually married.)
A newspaper article places him as a graduating member of Pilot Training Class 19J1 at Randolph Field, Texas, on February 20, 1942 (Family information.) He later was given transitional training into multi-engined aircraft. He was deployed to England in 1942 with the 301st Bomb Group, given a crew, and began flying missions, mainly over France.
In October, 1942, the 301st Bomb Group transferred a number of aircraft and crews to North Africa for missions there, and later against Sicily and Italy. On April 18, 1943, the aircraft and crew set out to attack the railway marshalling yards at Palermo, Sicily.
About 20 miles from the target area, the formation was attacked by enemy aircraft. Two ME-110 fighters made firing passes at the aircraft, and set the #2 engine on fire. Burning fiercely, the aircraft dove into the sea off Sicily. No parachutes were observed.
No remains were ever recovered, and Lt Godwin is memorialized on the Walls of the Missing in the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage, Tunisia.
NARA Enlistment Records
Corpus Christi (TX) newspaper Caller-Times, issue Dec 10, 1941, page 5
NOTE: THe wreckage of the aircraft was found by an Italian dive team on October 5, 2015. It lies in water approximately 75 feet deep, and 4 miles from Palermo, Sicily. No attempt to retrieve anything from it, as it has been declared a "war grave."
Lt Bobby M. Godwin was the assigned pilot on B-17F # 41-24371, named "Devils from Hell," assigned to the 353rd Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 16508 was issued to cover this loss. Mission loading lists show the crew as:
1 Lt Bobby M. Godwin p
1 Lt John W. Houck c-p
2 Lt John H. Person nav
1 Lt Virgil E. Hope bomb
Sgt Robert B. Imler eng/tt gun
Sgt Robert S. Littrel r/o
Sgt Arthur L. Nilges btg
Sgt Frank Spatafore wg
Sgt William M. Hawkins tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Several sources state Lt Hope was the co-pilot, but all 301st BG records indicate Lt Houck flew this position, and Lt Hope was the bombardier.
Service photo source:
Family (Barry Duckworth, Mar 1, 2016)