Staff Sergeant James M. “Jim” Crumley, US Army Air Forces, was assigned to the 330th Bomber Squadron, 93rd Bomber Group Heavy, The Traveling Circus, flying a B-24. He was the son of William G. and Jewell L. Miller Crumley. He was born in September 1917, in Johnson City, Tennessee.
He enlisted the 28th of January 1941 and arrived in England on 27th of May 1943. He was assigned to the 330th Bomber Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group (Heavy), 201st Bomber Wing, 8th Air Force. He was a waist gunner on B-24D-75 AC# 42-40609 Jersey Bounce, flying out of USAAF Station 104 Hardwick, near Norfolk, England.
On August 1, 1943, the squadron flew to Benghazi, Libya to participate in Operation Tidal Wave, the low-level bombing of the Polesti Oil Fields, Romania. The plane piloted by Lt Worthy Long was in the right wing position of the second element. As they were approaching the target Romanian fighters attacked from the rear killing the tail gunner SSgt Leycester Havens, the first casualty of the raid. Besides the damage to the tail there was damage to the nose, and wind whistled through the fuselage. Then number 4 engine was knocked out, and a shell blew up the control pedestal. Two flak towers laced each side as she raced between them and the number 1 engine caught fire. Somehow the pilots managed to coax her down into an open field where she slid into a berm and the nose broke away and rolled with Lt Norman Adams, the bombardier, inside. He was unable to hear for three days after the crash. The pilots escaped through the broken nose but suffered burns that required hospitalization. The crew was taken prisoner before the last bomber had flown over. Lt Lipton, the navigator, was struck in the chest, and was burned while trying to exit the plane. He would die of his wounds. SSgt Crumley was killed by flak before the crash. Of the crew of ten, six were killed in action and four became prisoners of war.
S/Sgt Crumley is interred at Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupré, Belgium, located at C,12,22.
B-24D-75 AC#42-40609 Jersey Bounce
Pilot Lt Worthy A. Long POW
Co-Pilot 2Lt John O. Lockhart POW
Navigator Lt David Lipten KIA
Bombardier Lt Norman Adams POW
Waist Gunner S/Sgt James M. “Jim” Crumley KIA
Waist Gunner S/Sgt Ignatius J Deicidue POW
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Leycester D. “Dee” Havens KIA
Engineer Top Turret T/Sgt Maurice J. Peterson KIA
Radio T/Sgt Frederick E. Fagan, Jr. KIA
Gunner S/Sgt Marion J.Szaras KIA
- Rank: Staff Sergeant
- Date of death: 1 August 1943
- County: Washington
- Hometown: Johnson City
- Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
- Division/Assignment: 330th Bomber Squadron, 93rd Bomber Group Heavy
- Theater: Europe
- Conflict: World War II
- Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart
- Burial/Memorial Location: Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupré (Neuville-en-Condroz), Belgium
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XIX, Middle Panel
- Sponsored by: John B. Romeiser
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