I thought about starting separate threads for both My Medical and 8th Air force collections but after seeing some of the other members threads I think I'd like everything to stay together. So my plan is to update this when time allows with other items in my collection. From individual items to full groupings.
I've decided to start with this uniform group that I've had in my collection for nearly 10 years. It was one of the first 8th Air force uniforms I obtained.
2nd LT James O FULKS. 360th Squadron 303rd Bomb Group Molesworth England.
Pictured above is Fulks and his crew he is standing third from the left next to the crews pilot James Hahn.
Fulks taken Stateside.
James Fulks was a co Pilot in the 360th squadron of the 303rd and was part of the James T Hahn Crew. Fulks started his combat tour with the squadron and Hahn of the 6th of July 1944 on a mission to Beaumetz France. He went on to complete 28 missions in total. 3 of these as a lead crew on a PFF ship which had a Radar dome in place of the Ball Turret.
Fulks final mission took place on the 28th of September 1944 when flying A/C 42-97805 he and his crew were dispatched to bomb the Krupps works in Madeburg Germany. It was whilst on route to their target near Brunswick that Fulks and his crew came under heavy Fighter attack by FW190s.
With no immediately available fighter escort German fighters shot out the controls of their ship and shot a large hole in the right wing. With a full bomb load still on board Fulks and Hahn attempted to regain control of their ship but this proved futile. Lt Hahn then gave the order to bail out.
The crews Engineer T/SGT P Klasky was the first to bail out followed by Fulks. It is believed that 3 of the crew Dabrowski (Ball Turret Gunner) Howald (Tail Gunner) and Benford (Bombardier) were unable to bail out before the aircraft exploded approximately 5 minutes after they were attacked by FW190s. The replacement Navigator 2nd LT Olson was blown from the aircraft as it exploded and was captured on the ground along with T/Sgt Klasky and 2nd Lt Fulks
It is known that The pilot LT Hahn. The crews Radio Operator T/SGT Conkling and S/SGT Proctor Waist gunner all made it out of the aircraft but they were not as lucky. As James Fulks was being held by the Germans he was shown two Parachutes riddled with bullet holes and covered in blood and the dog tags of Proctor and Conkling. It remains unclear if these two men were murdered on the ground or if their chutes were damaged by 20mm Flak rounds in the aircraft before they bailed out.
It is clear however that the ships pilot Lt James Hahn was murdered by the Germans after bailing out of the aircraft. On the ground he and another unidentified airman were captured by a German civilian Police Sergeant by the name of Wilhelm Bock. Bock took Hahn and the other airman to a gravel pit near a local airfield and Shot both men in the chest killing the unknown airman and seriously wounding James Hahn who was later found by an Italian Labourer who carried him to a nearby town where he was made comfortable by a local red cross nurse and the towns Mayor. It was then that Wilhelm Bock found hahn being treated. He ordered the Nurse and everyone else to leave and in the presence of the town mayor who refused to leave shot James Hahn in the head. He and the other unknown airman were buried with four others from the raid in a common grave on the outskirts of town. Bock was tried for war crimes after the war and sentenced to death by hanging. the scentence was carried out on the 3rd of April 1947.
Out of 12 aircraft in the 360th formation that day only 2 returned to Molesworth. James fulks spent the remainder of the war in Stalag Luft 1. He was reunited with Klasky and Olson in Camp Lucky strike where they were interrogated for the MACR where most of this information comes from.
Fulks's jacket is pictured below. It is cut down from a standard officers service jacket probably by an English tailor before he was shot down. The 8th SSI is a beautiful bullion example and the jacket has a combat crew patch. The medal bars are also British made.
I'm very proud to own this Jacket not only to preserve the memory of James Fulks but all of his crew 6 of whom were lost on the 28th of September 1944.
Edited by Nine O Nine, 13 June 2014 - 05:35 PM.