Last Known Activity
Lloyd R. Cole was born in Kentucky on October 18, 1919, the son of Ernest R. and Carolina A. Crandall Cole. The NARA enlistment record for him states he enlisted on November 22, 1940 at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky as an Aviation Cadet. It also records he had completed 4 years of college(unnamed).
The first recorded presence in military records found to date indicate he was assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group as one of the original pilots in the unit. This was on May 1, 1942. The unit trained at various locales, and deployed overseas in October, 1942.
Cole flew a total of 8 credited missions, with 2 abortive sorties. On February 4, 1943, he was selected to fly on a bombing raid on the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, with a secondary target at Osnabruk, Germany. As he reached Holland, the bomber formation was attacked by approximately 25-35 German fighters.
One attacked the aircraft of Cole, and a hail of cannon and machine gun fire blew out the nose panels and severely damaged the cockpit area. Lt McCune, co-pilot, was killed in his seat, and Captain Cole was hit in the hip with a 20 mm shell. He aborted the mission and turned to go to England, but a German fighter piloted by Hauptman Dietrich Wickop of 4/JG 1, attacked and shot him down. Cole managed to ditch the aircraft in the Wadden Sea, a small arm of the Zuider Zee. Two gunners were killed by the impact as the aircraft broke into two pieces.
The surviving crew was rescued by a Dutch fishing boat, transferred to a German Marine boat, and subsequently turned over to German authorities. Captain Cole's leg was amputated, but he died of wounds later in a POW camp hospital. He is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belguim, and lies in Plot C, Row 1, Grave 10.
NARA Enlistment Records
Captain Lloyd R. Cole was pilot of B-17F #41-24569, nicknamed "Memphis Tot," and assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron.
Mission loading lists as well as MACR 15348 lists the crew as:
Capt Lloyd R. Cole p
2 Lt Robert W. McCune c-p
2 Lt Robert P. Driggs nav
2Lt Edward N. Bryant bomb
SSgt Bliss D. Purinton eng/tt gun
TSgt George D. Miller r/o
SSgt Arch Wittle, Jr. btg
SSgt James L. Pennington lwg
Sgt James R. Van Etten rwg
SSgt Phillip J. Callery tail gun
Lt McCune and Sergeants Pennington and Van Etten were the members killed. All others were rescued and made POW.
Captain Cole's leg was amputated by his captors, but he died several months later in a POW camp hospital.
In the crew photo, Captain Cole is in back row, on left