Last Known Activity
John J. Barry was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1914. No census data or parentage records have been located.
He enlisted in the Army Air Forces, according to family lore, on August 8, 1942. According to this source, he was a private, had completed 2 years of high school, and was working as a tinsmith.
He was assigned to Aerial Gunnery school, and after the course was completed, went on to advanced crew training with a crew led by Lt Herbert Devore. This crew went to England in October, 1943, and flew their first combat mission on November 3, 1943. They were dispatched on missions 25 times.
On March 15, 1944, the crew was modified to be a Lead crew in an attack on the Waccum Aircraft factory located at Brunswick, Germany. Over the target, the aircraft was hit by flak. A shell exploded in the hatchway under the cockpit. This killed the pilot at station, and did damage to the oxygen storage system. The fuel transfer system was hit, and began blazing
Three of the forward crew bailed out, and made successful landings, but were soon captured by German troops. Seven bodies were recovered from the wreckage at the crash site, and evidently, buried locally. After the war, they were retrieved, and moved to other burial sites. Today, SSgt Barry lies in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium in Plot B, Row 43, Grave 8.
SSgt John J. Barry was acting as right waist gunner on B-17G # 42-39934, named "My Achin' Back," assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 3235 was issued for this loss. Crew changes were made, as this was a Lead aircraft. Records and files indicate the crew was composed of:
Cpt Roland G. Knight COMP
Cpt Herbert G. Devore c-p
1 Lt Burton M. Joseph nav
Cpt Robert Peel bomb
TSgt Harrison L. Longhi eng/tt gun
TSgt Robert E. Longworth r/o
SSgt Nicholas Delcimmuto btg
SSgt John J. Barry rwg
SSgt Darrell R. Dickenson lwg
2 Lt Martin Tashjain (OBS)
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
Cpt Knight was flying as Command Pilot. Cpt Devore stepped down and replaced Lt Felsenstein as co-pilot. Lt Burton was the original crew's navigator, but Cpt Peel replaced Lt Louis Jaebker as bombardier. TSgt Robert E. Longworth replaced TSgt Harry S. Lenk as radio operator. SSgts Barry and Dickenson were originally gunners on the Devore crew. Lt Tashjian was a pilot, with his own crew, but was manning the tail gun, acting as observer for the Command Pilot. (Usual for a Lead crew.) He replaced SSgt Knute Knudesen, the original crew tail gunner.
Cpt Peel, Lt Joseph, and TSgt Longhi survived, but with bad burns, and they were also captured.
In the Devore crew photo (training, 1943) Barry is kneeling, 5th from left.
Service photo source: