He did not who this was or if it was true. When he and Beckwith were liberated, they found a box of flier’s clothing, including the Mackinaw and winter flying boots that Gwaltney was wearing. Both bore Gwalney’s name plate, which probably indicates the enemy may have found and disposed of his body. Other items was the back parachute that belonged to Sgt Roth as he found Roth’s record card in the same box. The parachute had been opened and had considerable blood on it. He thought it had been used to cover a body.

The next-of-kin list was:

                                   Krueger                       Mrs Patricia V Krueger, W, Rte 4, Box 262, Kanosha, Wisc.

                                                                       Mr Charles E Krueger, F, Rte 3, Monroe, Wisc.

                                   Colby                           Mr Asa P Colby, F, Rumney Depot, Grafton, NH

                                   O’Donnell                   Mrs Julia O’Donnell, M, 99 Beech St, Westwood, NJ

                                   Cleland                        Mrs Martha “Mattie” C Johnson, M, 112 Randolph Ave, Topeka, KS

                                   Kremer                        Mrs Julia S Kremer, M, 237 N. Central Ave, Glendale, AZ

                                   Beckwith                     Mrs Grace E Beckwith, W, 148 Sawyer St. South, Portland, Maine

                                   Gwaltney                     Mrs Alma F Gwaltney, W, 38 Pasonage St, Newville, PA

                                   Zavala                         Mrs Rose V Zavala, M, Box 69A, RR # 1, Dawson, NM

                                   Roth                            Mrs Hilda F Roth, M, 1911 Potomac Drv, Toledo, OH

                                   Huss                            Mr Floyd E Huss, F, 1617 Garrison St, Fremont, OH

                                   Ruddy                          Miss Margaret Theresa Ruddy, S, 87 Wyckoff St, Brooklyn, NY

COLBY, AURELIUS MERLE, First Lieutenant, # 0-684282, USAAF

 

Aurelius M. Colby was born on 10 March 1920 in Rumney, Frafton Co., New Hampshire, to Asa Paul Colby (1895-1973) and Velma Vivian (Hanks) Colby (1896-1986). A brother was Cyril Charles Colby (1929-1982). He graduated from Plymouth H.S. in 1937.

 

He enlisted in the USAAF in Manchester, New Hampshire, on 30 April 1942. He began flight training in Kansas and completed advanced flight training in New Mexico and Texas and earned his commission and pilot wings on 26 June 1943 at Ellington Field, Texas. He was selected for the B-29 Superfortress. He and his crew departed for China in August 1944. On 7 December 1944, B-29, # 42-6299, “Humpin’ Honey,” of 20th Air Force, Pardoba India, 462nd Bomb Group, 770th Bomb Squadro, departed the airfield at Kuinglai, China, on a bombing mission to Mukden, Manchuria. Over the target, at 0122 Zulu, an enemy aircraft crashed head-long into the B-29, killing all but two of the crew on board (MACR 10125). SSgt Beckwith reported that the first unusual condition that was noticed in the B-29 was the disappearance of about 20 feet of the left wing. The B-29 seemed to fly straight and level for a while then started to spin to the left. SSgt Huss, Sgt Ruddy and Beckwith prepared to leave the gunners compartment to bail out. During this, Beckwith called on the interphone to the pilot to inform him of the damage to the left wing. There was no acknowledgment or answer. After the spin began, the alarm bell started to ring. Before he was able to completely fasten his parachute, he passed out from lack of oxygen. Before, he passed out, Sgt Ruddy entered the radar compartment. When Beckwith regained consciousness, he was out of the B-29 in a free fall at about 4,000 feet altitude. Only his arms were through the parachute straps, not his legs.