Last Known Activity
According to NARA enlistment records, William M. Beddow was born in 1921, in Alabama. His parents were William and Mae London Beddow. The US census 1930 lists the family in Birmingham with Mae listed as "Widowed" and Beddow as "William W." The US Census 1940 shows Beddow living with his uncle in Birmingham.
Beddow enlisted on March 23, 1942 as a private in the Army Air Forces at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His records show he had completed 2 years of college. (In some sources, this has been indicated as Wake Forest, but no confirmation has been located.) His civilian occupation comes from the "actor/actress" group.
He was picked for flight duty, and trained as a pilot. He was then assigned to multi-engine aircraft. Lastly, he was given a crew for crew familiarization training. This crew deployed to England in August, 1943, and were assigned to the 351st Bomb Squadron in September, 1943. They were dispatched on 10 missions.
On October 10, 1943, the crew was part of a raid on Munster, Germany. On the bomb run, flak bursts near the aircraft set the oxygen system on fire. A gas transfer tank in the bomb bay was also ablaze. While attempting to put out the fire, a collision with an attacking BF-109 German fighter further damaged the plane, which erupted in a massive explosion.
Somehow, 4 of the crew managed to parachute down, but were captured. Six bodies were recovered from the crash scene and buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Ostberern, Germany. After 2 years, these remains were recovered and moved to other burial sites. Today, Lt Beddow has no known grave site.
US Census 1930
US Census 1940
NARA Enlistment Records
Lt William M. Beddow was First Pilot on B-17G # 42-30723, named "Sexy Suzy Mother of Ten," (also known as "Holy Terror") assigned to the 351st Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 1027 covers this loss. Crew rosters show the crew consisted of:
2 Lt William M. Beddow p
2 Lt Richard W. Brooks c-p
2 Lt Israel Levine nav
2 Lt Milton E. Harness bomb
SSgt Dan Q. Jones eng/tt gun
TSgt John L. Sullivan r/o
SSgt Walter E. Zoldak btg
SSgt Samuel M. Hicks rwg
SSgt Robert J. Lynch lwg
SSgt Richard R. Munger tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
SSgt Hicks replaced TSgt John P. Ingram upon arrival in England. Ingram was later transferred to 351st Engineering, and never flew. Another (unnamed) crewman was replaced at that time by SSgt Lynch.
Lts. Brooks and Harness, along with Sgts Jones and Munger survived, but were captured.