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Crew 131 "the Clayton Crew"

October 31,1943

"Crew 131" at Dalhart Army Air Base, Dalhart, Texas.
In England, this group of men was known as the "Clayton crew".
Photo shows the crew just about to board the train for the port of embarkation (New York City). Upon arrival in New York City, they boarded the Queen Mary and crossed the Atlantic, arriving in England in November, 1943. The Clayton crew, along with six other crews, joined the 544th Squadron, 384th Bomb Group on November 17, 1943. This crew was to suffer 40% casualties in just 5 and 1/2 months of combat - 1 killed, 1 missing, and 2 wounded.

BACK ROW, left to right: S/Sgt. Thomas N. Lewandowski (Waist Gunner), S/Sgt. Elmer D. Boydston (Tail Turret Gunner), T/Sgt. Jerome (Jerry) F. Watenpool, (Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner), Sgt. Miles F. Lisenby, S/Sgt. Clyde A. Koscheski (Waist Gunner), and S/Sgt. Francis (Frank) R. Cameron (Ball Turret Gunner).

FRONT ROW, left to right: 2nd Lt. Joseph K. (Murphy) Uniszkiewicz (Navigator, KIA 05/8/44), 2nd Lt. John E. Clayton (Pilot), 2nd Lt. Winthrop A. Jackson Jr (Co-pilot, WIA 05/8/44), 2nd Lt. Richard M. (Dick) Dolf (Bombardier, WIA 01/30/44).


2ND LT. RICHARD M. (Dick) DOLF: On the January 30th, 1944 mission to Brunswick, Germany, 2nd Lt. Richard M. Dolf was wounded in action (WIA) while serving as bombardier for the Clayton crew. He was hospitalized near Grafton Underwood. On February 9th, he was "transferred to the Detachment of Patients of the 303rd Station Hosp., Thrapaton, for further treatment." (Source - 544th Squadron Records)

2ND LT. JOSEPH K. (Murphy) UNISZKIEWICZ: On the May 8th, 1944 mission to Sottevast, France, 2nd Lt. Joseph K. Uniszkiewicz served as navigator for 1st Lt. James E. Foster's crew. It was supposed to be Murphy's last mission before returning home to the USA. Sadly, he would not make it. Lt. Uniszkiewicz was listed as "killed in action" (KIA) when Foster's B-17G-20-BO, Ser. No. 42-31495, named "Wabbit Twacks" was hit by flak over the target and crashed. There were no survivors from this crash.

2ND LT. WINTHROP A. JACKSON, Jr: On this same mission (May 8th, 1944 to Sottevast, France), 2nd Lt. Winthrop A. Jackson Jr was flying as pilot of Crew 40 on B-17G-15-VE, Ser. No. 42-97510, (BK+A), named "Satan's Playmate". He was "wounded in action"(WIA), and number 4 engine was shut down due to flak damage. Nevertheless, WAJ Jr managed to return to England, landing at RAF Ford, Winchester, England on the South coast. This was his 23rd (and last) combat mission.

Yet another tragedy occurred on this same mission when Capt. Randolph Jacobs was killed in a B-17 shot down over target. On December 30, 1943 (WAJ Jr's second mission), Jacobs was the pilot and WAJ Jr the co-pilot of a B-17G named "Sea Hag". This B-17 was ditched in the English Channel on that mission. For more information on the ditching, see Ditching Story.

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