P-47D Thunderbolt

42-22491

495th FTG

Crashed 14:07:1944

 

 

0822255               2nd Lieutenant                 Donald M Pfaff    USAAF        Pilot           (Killed)                   Aged 22

 

 

 

2/Lt. Pfaff was flying in the #3 position of a battle formation of 4 P-47s led by 1/ Lt.  Andrew M Barba.

They had taken off from Atcham (USAAF Station 342) at 17:30.  At around 18:20, the flight was "bounced" by two other, unidentified P-47s. The flight leader called to his formation to "break left".   Pfaff's aircraft was seen to be in a violent spin, and as the P-47 entered cloud, the flight leader called to him to bail out.

 

The other aircraft followed the spinning P-47 down through the cloud, and observed a column of smoke rising from a building.  The wrecked tail of a P-47 was visible among the debris.  There was no sign of a parachute.

 

2/Lt. Pfaff had been involved in a mid-air collision a few days prior to this accident; both aircraft making successful crash-landings.

Following this earlier accident, he was asked why he had not bailed-out.  He replied that he was "afraid to do so", having learned of the serious injuries suffered by two of his comrades after they had parachuted following another mid-air collision.

 

At the time of the crash, there were two persons in the house, 13-month-old Ivan Wood and his grandfather, Ambrose Hill.

Both were rescued unharmed by a local man, Arthur John (Jack) Simcox.

Ivan Wood received slight bruising to his face; his survival being due to his cot overturning, shielding him from the falling debris.

G-OBME Crash Site

2nd Lieutenant Donald Martin Pfaff.

To read more about him, click on his picture.

 

Image copyright: Mrs Audrey M Ferris (via Jeffrey Gibson, Tean Royal British Legion)

The cottages on Riverside Road.  Photo taken 18:10:2009.

The rebuilt brickwork is clearly visible (lighter colour).

The white-painted lintel below and to the left of the Stars & Stripes is visible on a USAAF photo taken at the time of the crash.

 

The dwellings were once the middle two of a block of four; the right-hand house was demolished in recent years after being damaged by an errant goods vehicle in the 1970s.  According to a local resident, it had been damaged no less than three times by lorries.

On October 18th 2009, a memorial plaque commemorating 2/Lt. Pfaff was unveiled at the crash site.

The service and dedication was organised by the Tean branch of the Royal British Legion.  The plaque was unveiled by the pilot's sister, Mrs Audrey M Ferris.

Close-up of Memorial Plaque.

2Lt. Donald Martin Pfaff 42-22491 01 42-22491 02