Tuesday, June 29, 2010


While I had found some important information about Dad's plane and crew, I was lost in my search for its crash site. I was preparing to set aside time to visit the military archives in St. Louis, but in a last Google frenzy I found the Facebook page of Dominique Taddei as a Corsican author on World War II subjects. With no expectation of a reply, I sent him a message -- and got a response!

I emailed him per his invitation and found that he had more information than I had dared hope would be available:

Joe, as you do in America call me Dominique ,
now about the B-24 in which your Father crashed, Here are the results of my inquiry.
It is thanks to my friend Frank Allegrini that i found out the story of this B-24 assigned to the 458th BG 829th BS.

A few years ago, Frank (Archeologist) warned by some Corsican eyewitnesses and informed by a former American newspaper obituary column went to the beach and found some wreck parts of the plane. He had also been in contact with Judi Korkuc Gniewosz who is the Daughter of David Korkuc who had saved some crew members. But i don't know the names.

As you certainly know, we didn't find any MACR telling the B-24 "42-78127" Tyer's Flyer loss and that's why we do not have the confirmation of the position crash.
We are sure at 99% that she was Lt Vaessen B-24, i also wrote to the French Gendarmerie Archives but there too there is no report.

So we think that the crash site was on the beach of Argentella, Crovani bay nearby the town of Galeria on the west coast of Corsica. (Google Earth)

In reading the obituary newspaper, i saw that Lt Vaessen was from Dixon lee Illinois, so with nerve i wrote to several Dixon Lee admnistrations, city Hall, companies, firms and miraculously one company named IT replied, a Certain Mr McBride told me that he was in contact with a relative of Lt Vaessen and bingo i got a photo of Lt Vaessen given by his nephew Greg Cavanaugh who was a Marines in Vietnam.

About Lt Richard Duer, there too i wrote to the Mayor of Marinette Wisconsin and again bingo i got a photo.

Here is the list of the crew members who were in the plane, in red the KIA in black the survided ones.

• Vaessen H William 1st Lt 0-536855 829th BS 485th BG Pilot KIA

• Sipes R William 2nd Lt 0-705827 829th 485th BG Copilot KIA NC

• Wittenbrink E George S/Sgt 36446168 829th BS 485th BG Radio Opr KIA NC

• Duer N Richard 2nd Lt 0-703456 829th BS 485th BG Bombardier KIA

• Witham L Harris Sgt 35753847 829th BS 485th BG Nose Gunner KIA NC

• McGregor W Jack Sgt 35613832 829th BS 485th BG Ball gunner KIA NC

• Curtis W Carl S/Sgt 15195606 829th BS 485th BG Engineer NC

• Falerics M Wayne 2nd Lt 0-712782 829th BS 485th BG Navigator NC

• Korkuc David S/Sgt 32769227 829th BS 485th BG Tail Gunner vivant

• Kristan J John Sgt 36650977 829th BS 485th BG Top Gunner NC

NC means No contact with the families.

Now you must know that on the beach there is no more evidence of the crash, just the beach, if you dive you'll have a chance to see some wreck parts. (not very deep)
In a camping site you'll see these propellers, and with Frank you'll have a chance to find out a very small piece of metal.

In July 1944 All the men who died had been buried in the American cemetery of Bastia Corsica, but in April 1945 when the USAAC left Corsica for Italy all the WWII American remains have been transferred from the cemetery of Bastia to the American Cemeteries of Nettuno Rome and Firenze Italy.

There are no more American graves in Corsica.

1) Beach of Argentella
2) Crash site
3) B-24 Propellers

That's all i know about your Father airplane, Frank told me that all these airmen were in the 801st Provisional Group list before to be in the 485th BG except for your father, Witham and Falericks

As you imagine i'll appreciate very much if you give me somes photos of your Father.

Thank you


Amazing. Somebody has already done the legwork and is willing to share it. What a stroke of luck, and what generosity!

Next Post: Photos and mapping.

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