A Tribute to S/Sgt. William Logan
Togglier, Enlisted, Bombardier, 602nd Squadron
A Special Story from 398th Archives
By Joseph D. (Dave) Bancroft
Tail Gunner, 603rd Squadron
There are many stories of 398th history still locked up in bits of paper in various 398th membership files and records. When I find one so significant as the one I relate below, I decide it must be published for 398th history. A bit of background, the story of the tragic mid-air collision of 602nd and 603rd Squadron B-17s during a 398th combat mission has been told on Page 76 of Remembrances by 398th Flak News editor, Allen Ostrom. The 398th mission was to Berlin and its date was February 3, 1945. The collision involved eighteen 398th B-17 crewmen. There were three survivors. Two of the three survivors met for the first time after that ordeal during the 398th return to Station 131 reunion in June of 1986. These two were the pilot of the 602nd plane, John McCormack and the other, David Bancroft, the tail gunner on the 603rd Perry Powell crew. Soon after that meeting, David wrote the story of the third survivor of the collision. I have transcribed Daves story from his original typewritten piece of paper that had been saved since 1986 by Allen Ostrom. The text of Daves story is as how he wrote it.
398th Bomb Group Memorial Association
A Tribute to the Memory of
S/Sgt. William G. Logan
After all the facts were gathered together concerning the above incident, it became apparent that all eighteen crewmembers did not perish as a result of the mid-air collision. Times passing and events to follow would reveal that the number of flyers surviving the ordeal would be reduces to three crew members. Two from the 602nd Squadron and one from the 603rd, just a total of three men. And yet, the surviving number was still to be diminished further, and this is the reason for this special report.
The flyer in question was to enjoy the reality of being one of the spared three for only a little while longer. His fate was sealed, but he wanted another chance at living after a near death experience in the skies over a deadly enemy, Hitlers Germany, during World War # 2. This story is written by one of the two surviving crewmembers. I am Joseph D. (Dave) Bancroft, the sole survivor of the 603rd Squadron plane.
The special person I am writing about here, who survived the terrible disaster in the air, only to lose his life while on a forced march as a POW, was Bill Logan, or William G. Logan, togglier, enlisted, bombardier. He was a crew member of the 602nd aircraft piloted by 1st Lt. John R. McCormick, (who was) the third crew member to survive the horrendous mid-air confrontation of two giant combat bombers, destined to destroy lives within seconds of the thunderous rendezvous with death and eternity. This even, and the memory of it, will linger in the thoughts and minds of all those left behind until time fades away. With every reminder, I bow my head today.
To recall the last days of S/Sgt Logan, I must go back to the Luneburg hospital, Luneburg, Germany, where Logan and Bancroft were taken after becoming prisoners of war by being captured by the German military home guards. It was in this hospital that Logan was treated for extreme shock, while at the same time; Bancroft remained in a coma as a result of a fracture, together with a concussion to the head, for three days.
When well enough to travel, all three survivors were taken to a regular German POW camp, but not for long, since the war was winding down, (they) were moved from one camp to the next camp away from the enemy (Allied) lines. And while on the moves, called to be forced marched our long columns of POWs would be mistaken for German troops and bombed and strafed constantly. The reason we were on the open road was, we had been moving in box cars but were bombed killing many of our group of marchers, so consequently it would become inevitable that with constant strafing, day in and day out, a POW near you would be blown away, instantly during just such a bombing and strafing attack.
This was the day S/Sgt William G. Logan was finally called home. I know, I was walking just a step next to him when the fighter planes came down upon us, causing complete hysteria amongst the POWs and the German guards, as was the scene many times before the day. The last day of S/Sgt William G. Logans young life.
For this to happen to Logan, a flyer rescued from certain death with other aircrew members of the mid-air crash, then to fall victim after enduring so many bombings and strafing while on the forced march in Nazi Germany, is too difficult and unreal for our limited human understanding. Especially for all of us who knew him and how he would help the weaker POWs keep up with the group, so as not to be shot by the guards at the rear of the column. Logan would be there to give of himself, and in the end, thats exactly what he did - all the way.
Written by Joseph D. (Dave) Bancroft, Tail Gunner of the Perry Powell crew, 603rd Squadron.
Dave Bancroft died in 1992. He never recovered good health from his combat related wounds.
Transcribed compiled and submitted by Wally Blackwell, Pilot 601st Squadron
Personal History Information
- Veteran: S/Sgt William G. Logan
- Togglier, Enlisted, Bombardier, 602nd Squadron
- Date of Personal History: Late 1986
- Author: Joseph D. (Dave) Bancroft, Tail Gunner, 603rd Squadron
- Submitted to 398th Web Pages by: Wally Blackwell, Pilot 601st