Last Known Activity
Lonnie Jayson Albin was born in Texas in 1923. His parents were Ollie B. and Bertha North O'Dell Albin. The US Census 1930 lists the family as living in Dallas, although Lonnie is listed as Jayson Lonnie Albin. The US Census 1940 also shows them in Dallas, but Lonnie is shown as Lonnie J.
Albin enlisted in Dallas in 1942 as a private in the US Army Air Forces. He was selected for flight duty, trained as an aerial gunner, and assigned to a unit for crew training. The crew deployed to England in 1944, arriving at Thorpe-Abbots on March 10. The crew flew 5 training missions.
On March 18, 1944, the crew was assigned their first combat mission - the bombing of the industrial facilities at Berlin, Germany. As the formation crossed the coast of France, flak batteries opened up. The formation dispersed, and while trying to re-assemble, two of the aircraft collided. Albin's plane broke in two, allowing the ball turret gunner to parachute out.
He made a successful landing, and with the help of French patriots, evaded until returning to England some months later. German records show the dead were recovered from the wreckage and buried in a cemetery at Poix de la Somme. Later, these bodies were retrieved by Allied forces and moved to other cemeteries. SSgt Albin presently lies in the Normandy American Cemetery in France (just off Omaha Beach) in Plot I, Row 24, Grave 32.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
SSgt Lonnie J. Albin was the left waist gunner on B-17G # 42-39830, named "Berlin Play Boy," assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 3234 applies to this loss. Crew listings show the crew was composed of:
2 Lt Paul A. Martin p
1 Lt Thomas Cryan c-p
2 Lt Tom F. Hughes nav
2 Lt Albert F. Racz bomb
TSgt Levi O. Tonn eng/tt gun
TSgt Russell E. Longdon r/o
SSgt Richard H. Faulkner btg
SSgt Veryl A. Lund rwg
SSgt Lonnie J. Albin lwg
SSgt John E. Howley tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Lt Cryan was a replacement for Lt Paul Mitchell (original crew.)
Although official reports state that SSgt Faulkner was the only survivor, German POW and US POW reports state that Lt Hughes was captured, and died in a prison camp.
In the crew photo, SSgt Albin is in the back row, 5th from left.
Service photo source: