Back Row (viewer's left to right):

  1. Rank Man A
  2. Rank Man B
  3. Rank Man C
  4. Rank Man D
  5. Rank Man E

Front Row (viewer's left to right):

  1. Chaplain James Duvall
  2. Rank Man 2, playing portable music instrument


  1. In April 1944, the 398th began flying their B-17s from Rapid City to Nuthampstead at the rate of about 10 per day. However, in order to get key Group and Squadron Officers without crews there early and quickly, generally one regular crew member per B-17 crews was bumped and their places taken by the various key officers. The bumped aircraft crewmen along with ground support personnel then traveled by train to the East Coast, boarded the USS Wakefield and then sailed to England. Once there, the bumped crew members were reunited with their crews.
  2. It is believed this was the only time the USS Wakefield brought our guys over, but there were other troop ships which brought some of our replacement crews over after the Wakefield's run [LB]. 
  3. In The History of the 398th Bombardment Group (H) at about page 16 there is a page with a chapter heading: "January to April 1944".  At the end of the second to the last paragraph on that page is the following:

    "The Ground Echelon boarded the USS Wakefield (ex-luxury liner Manhattan) at Boston on 12 April and sailed 13 April.  The USS Wakefield docked at Liverpool on the afternoon of 21 April and the complete Ground Echelon arrived at Nuthampstead, Herts, England, the home base of the 398th Bombardment Group (H) on 22 April 1944." 
    When you turn that page, there is another photo, different angle, of that same prayer service scene on deck as the above Harold Brown's photo. However, no date is mentioned [LB].

Notes (continued):

  1. Some details of the trip over can be found in the Getting There: April 12 to April 23, 1944 the entry in the S/Sgt. Chilton Jorgenson, Ball Gunner, 601st diary.
  2. It is likely there were men other than the 398th onboard the ship, but possibly those gathered around Chaplain Duvall are 398th. Some of the men in the backrow above may be recognizable to their 398th colleagues.


  1. Photo Date: The USS Wakefield left Boston on 13 April and arrived at Liverpool on 21 April 1944. If services were on Sunday, the above photo was taken 16 April 1944.
  2. Photo Location: USS Wakefield en route to England
  3. Photo Reference No. Brown01
  4. Information compiled by UK Friends of the 398th with thanks to Harold Brown and Lee Anne Bradley.
  5. If you would like to add information about this photograph, please contact our Crew Photos Coordinator. Please mention the title and photograph date.