My name is René Bosma en I live in the little Dutch town of Oosterwolde. Since 4 years I have been investigating the Air war over the Northern part of the Netherlands. It is my main objective to gather as much information as possible about the aircraft and the airmen which came down over the province of Friesland during the Second World War. We consider it very important to keep the memory of the Air war alive, especially the many flyers paid with their lives for our Freedom.
One of the aircraft I research is a American B-17 with the Nickname “What's Cookin Doc?”. The heavy bomber served with the 305 Bomb Group/442 Bomb Squadron. The B-17 (serial: 42-5060) crashed on the 4th of February 1943 into the North Sea between England en The mainland of the Netherlands. The bomber came back from a bombing mission to the marshalling yards at the German city of Hamm. After the attack on the yards the group of bombers came in a fight with German Focke Wolf 109 fighters. The battle was hard en 1 German fighter was shot down. In a steep dive the fighter going down to earth. But in this dive de wing of the fighter smashed through the right wing of the B-17 42-5060. The wing of the fighter broke of entirely en the wing of the B-17 broke in half. The bomber came in a spin. because the G forces whore very high the plane broke in half en not much later he exploded in mid air. It’s a short but very sad story. The crew of 10 brave young Americans was lost en nothing was found back of them. They are still missing in action till today. The names of name standing with pride on the Wall of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Coton, Cambridgeshire, England.
The Waist Gunner of the 42-5060 crew was Staff Sergeant Robert L. McKnight. He was born in 1917. Sadly I don’t know his specific birth place en birth date. His parents were Clay A. McKnight (18883-1955) & Mary Belle McKnight (1890-1966). He has 3 siblings Verne (????-????), James (????-????) en Lois (????-????). In 1940 the family lived on Oak Creek Road te Plymouth, Benton County, Oregon.
Sadly nothing is ever found back of Robert. He is still Missing in Action. His name standing with pride on the Wall of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Coton, Cambridgeshire, England.
At the moment I research this crash en I was hoping that there is someone could en will help me with some additional information about Robert:
• his military career
• his time in service
• his family
• his life before he sight in for service
I also hope that someone knows some ancestors or relatives of Robert en will help me to get in contact with them.
My goal with the information I try to collect is to make a as precise as possible reconstruction about the crew en their mission on that day. So the story of the brave man who gave their live for our freedom never will be forgotten.
Thank you in advance en hope someone could en will help me.
René Bosma, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands
My emailaddress: firstname.lastname@example.org