Agay's B-24 Liberator, Var, France
Pilot : second lieutenant Robert V. Batz
 
Mission
Date
May 27, 1944, MACR 5413
Base
 
 
Target
Bombardment of Montpellier's airfield
Zone of crash
Sea (-140ft), Agay's bay, Var, France
Plane
Type
B-24G-10-NT
Serial
42-78213 "Ophélia Bump"
Squadron
15th AF, 304th BW, 454th BG, 736th Squadron
Crew
1
Pilot
S/Lt
Robert V. Batz
 
Killed
2
Copilot
S/Lt
Georges E. Erlewine
 
Killed
3
Navigator
S/Lt
Robert T. Bragg
 
Killed
4
Bomber
S/Lt
James H. Logan
 
 
5
Radio
Sgt
Gene Vodopia
 
 
6
Waist gunner
Sgt
Little
 
 
7
Nose turret gunner
Sgt
Robert F. Royer
 
Killed, USA
8
Dorsal turret gunner
Sgt
Ward O. Bowman
 
Killed
9
Ball turret gunner
Sgt
Ramsey
 
Killed
10 Tail turret gunner Sgt Peters    
Saturdays may 27, 1944, the four bombers groups of the 304th Bomber-Wing 15th Air Force, took off from their bases in the south of Italy, to attack Montpellier/Fréjorgues's airfield.

Among them, the 454th Bomber-Goup, formed of 30 planes. A very little time before the crossing of the French coasts, on the level of the cape Roux, located on the coasts of the Estérel's mount, a B-24 is hit in full by Flak.

Among them, the 454th Bomber-Goup, formed of 30 planes. A very little time before the crossing of the French coasts, on the level of the cape Roux, located on the coasts of the Estérel's mount, a B-24 is hit in full by Flak.

4 men will succeed in jumping in parachute, and will be immediately made prisoners. The parachute of a fifth man, the nose turret gunner, will be put unfortunately in torch, while the five last members of crew will be killed, having been for various reasons, in the incapacity to evacuate the plane.

The sea will hide the bomber become now an underwater wreck until the end of august 1984, when during an exploration diving on the Agay's bay, were discovered, by 140 feet depth, its dislocated wrecks.

The team who discovered the wreks (Philippe Bres, Jean-Pierre Joncheray, its son Philippe, Bernard Mariller, Yves Moussou, Claude Pinaut and the author), was very marked by this formless mass which rested on the sandy bottom, and where also lay, an anti-Flak waistcoats, a parachute rolled up around a machine-gun having belonged to the turret of nose, shoes...

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(Photos : J.P. Joncheray)

An incredible chance was going then to play in our favour, because the plane's serial number was always paint on the left side of the fuselage (black painting having miraculously resisted 40 years underwater).

Saturday october 5, 1997, was inaugurated, in the front of Agay's bay, a monument in the memory of this crew. We use this few lines to renew our thanks to the Raphaèloise municipality and also to the veterans's association.

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In spring 2002, by safety measure, Toulon's bomb squad divers, has at our request, explored the site, and destroy the 29 bombs founded.
© Copyright Aéro-Re.L.I.C. / B. Cyvoct 2004. All right reserved.