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 heavy Bomber (serial: 41-24544 - nickname “Pennsylvania Polka”) of 91 Bomb Group. The plane crashed into the North Sea on the 3th of February 1943. The B-17 came back from a bombing mission on the marshalling yards in the German city of Hamm. But when they flown above the North Sea the group of were attacked by German fighters. Another B-17 of the group where shot the Pennsylvania Polka stay with him to help the crippled plain. But when the crippled plane make a crash-landing on the Dutch Island Terschelling the Polka was alone in the big sky en a easy target for the German fighter. The Gunners in The Polka fight hard but don’t could prevent that the B-17 was shot out of the air. Sadly all the 10 crewmembers lost their live when the plane smashed in the North Sea. Nothing was ever found back of the plane. The names of the Brave American young man who lost their live are in the Wall of the Missing situated on the American War Cemetery at Margraten, the Netherlands.
The 2nd pilot on this plain was 1st Lt John J. Sanders. He was born on the 26 November 1918 at Evanston, Vanderburgh, Indiana. The family lives in the 1940 on 1010 Ocean Dr. te Corpus Christi, Nueces county, Texas. His parents where Thomas Hubbard Sanders (1892 –1953) & Myrtle Elizabeth Miller (1895 – 1980).
At the moment I research this crash en hope to found some ancestors/relatives or someone who could tell me more about John his family, his live before he get in service en his service life.
My goal with the information I put together 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 email: firstname.lastname@example.org