- Life and Times of the 341st Bomb Group (M) -
"Preserving the memory of their Sacrifices!"

Hendell's Purple Heart
(491st Bomb Squadron)

The following story was highlighted in an email received from, then 2nd Liutenant John Daley, who included the photo images attached to his email. "About these pictures," John wrote, " they are of a mixed crew and one of my last missions, which I believe occured on 5 Jul 45. It was a low level type of mission and Sgt Hendell was operating the other waist gun. It was his first combat flight. We had to make an emergency landing, where and why I don't remember. I do remember that Hendell received the 'Purple Heart' for that mission, as documented on page 116 of 'Diary of a Bomb Squadron.'"

(l - r, standing)
1Lt Albert R. Turbett - pilot, 2Lt Richard D Lyman - copilot, 1Lt Henry J. Fair - nav/bom, T/Sgt John F. Daley - radio/gunner.
(l - r, crouch)
S/Sgt Kurt E. Hemrick - tail gunner, Sgt William E. Hendell - gunner, T/Sgt Michael F. Hassay - engineer/gunner.
(Courtesy of John F. Daley - 491st Bomb Squadron )

( From Mckay Nelson's, "Diary of a Bomb Squadron" pages 115-116:)

"     Capt Henry D. Wagner led eight B-25s off Kunming, China at 10:25 hours on July 5, 1945.   They were briefed to attack any and all shipping in and around the Haiphong area, French Indo China.   The formation of eight aircraft encountered severe rain storms and turbulence just east of Loping, China. The lead element of four aircraft made numerous attempts for over a half-hour to penetrate the storm, but was unable to find a suitable opening.   The aircraft separated, and three aircraft rejoined east of the storm, returning to Kunming, China with all bombs intact.   The forth aircraft lost radio contact but made further attempts to reach the target without success.   It also returned to Kunming.

"     The second element of four aircraft was able to penetrate the storm.   One of the aircraft developed engine trouble north of the target area and returned to Poseh, China.   The vicinity of the target was well flooded with high water, which made it difficult to locate the rivers and canals.   One aircraft, carrying 100-lb. bombs, bombed and strafed many sampans over the entire area and destroyed at leat five 60- to 80-foot sampans, and damaged many more.   A concentration of over 100 sampans located at Ninh Giang, southwest of Haiphong, was strafed and bombed by another.   Explosions were seen among the sampans, but destruction was not observed.   The aircraft returned to Kunming, China

"     The two remaining aircraft, carrying 250-lb. bombs, attacked shipping west of Cat Ba Island.   One 150-foot boat was attacked and recieved a direct hit.   The boat, carrying oil, exploded twice and was burning with heavy black smoke.   The aircraft that made the attack returned to base with the top of a radio mast from the boat draped over its wing.   A large power-driven boat was attacked in the same area and was damged by a near miss.   A 150-foot sampan was also attacked and destroyed.

"     Three double-deck sampans were attacked and damaged, as was a 120-foot steel-grey power launch west of Cat Ba Island.   Many one-sail sampans were strafed and either damaged or destroyed during this attack.   Aircrew members Lt Peter P. Gitto and Sgt William L. Hendell received minor cuts and bruises during this operation, neither required hospitalization. The aircraft was damaged."

The same guys in different order following the mission.
(Courtesy of John F. Daley - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Ed. Note: John Daly, of the 491st Bm Sq, mentions a "mixed crew" in his story.   That meanss they had not arrived at the unit as a "crew", but were simply put together for this mission because they were available.   This was the usual way of creating mission crews, at least during most of the China phase of the 491st's CBI experience.