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1st. Lt. John Glenn Kriegshauser


On February 22, 1944, after a bombing raid on a Luftwaffe base at Aalborg, Denmark, pilot First Lieutenant John G. Kriegshauser (RHS January 1938) was able to nurse his badly damaged B-17 bomber back to England, only to crash into a wooded area in a place called Endcliffe Park in the industrial city of Sheffield. The entire crew perished in the crash and ensuing explosion, but remarkably, there was no collateral damage to the town of Sheffield or to any of its people.
Lt. Kriegshauser was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Purple Heart, which were presented to his parents at Scott Field near Belleville, Illinois on January 24, 1945. The following is the citation for the award.
“Displaying consummate skill, he piloted the aircraft back to England. Although weather conditions were prevalent Lt. Kriegshauser attempted to locate a field in which to land. Engines became inoperative over a heavily built up area and he was forced to crash land. An English home was directly in the path of the bomber, but Lt. Kriegshauser, exhibiting an exemplary devotion to duty, manoeuvred the crippled airplane over the dwelling. It crashed approximately 100 yards away. The courage, coolness and skill displayed by Lt. Kriegshauser, reflect the highest credit on himself and the armed forces of the United States of America.”
Lt. Kriegshauser’s fifteenth mission was a highly dangerous daylight bombing raid over German territory, and part of an offensive known as the Big Week campaign, aimed at smashing the Nazi Luftwaffe to gain air supremacy in advance of the invasion of Europe the Allies were planning.
Eight days before takeoff John wrote a letter to his parents to be mailed only if he was killed in action. The letter ended, ”My final word is that I’m glad to have been able to lay down my life for a cause which I believe was just and right.”
The people of Sheffield, England have placed a memorial near the crash site to commemorate the day that an eighteen-ton missile in the form of a B-17 Flying Fortress with four engines and a wingspan of 104 feet was prevented from crashing into a densely populated area in a city of half a million people, where no one knows how much death and destruction might have occurred.
In a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the crash, the bishop of Sheffield, in his sermon, quoted the last line of Kriegshauser’s letter and added a line from scripture, stating that ‘If you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.” God certainly must have approved of John Kriegshauser.

DOB: Jul 02, 1920 St. Louis, MO DOD: Feb 22, 1944 Sheffield, England Age 23

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