Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Help Identify this B-17 Crew

A while back, the Archive acquired this WWII B-17 crew photo, which came with no other information other than the official caption (which, other than the date of September 30, 1943, I'm not sure how to decifer) and the handwritten name "Elliott Hofkin". So, I'm turning to my readership for any help in identifying all these crew members, as well as which B-17 they're standing in front of.

With the modern power of Google,  the name was sufficient enough of a clue to lead me to the several sources.

One was a forum post at Army Air Forces (link here) that discusses a photo (without showing it) of the Hofkin crew, and lists their names, but I'm not certain that these names also correspond to our photo. For the record the names as listed in the forum post of Hofkin's crew are:
Hofkin, Elliott F. 2nd Lt. Pilot 
Cronin, William R. 2nd Lt. Copilot
King, Leslie M. 2nd Lt. Navigator
Maurstad, Richard I. 2nd Lt. Bombardier
McDonald, Paul R. S/Sgt. AEG
Hagen, Wesley M. S/Sgt. ROG
Thompson, Eldon W. S/Sgt. AAEG
Sarver, Edward K. Sgt. AG
Riedinger, Lawerance D. Sgt. AROG
Guttadauro, Joseph A. Sgt. AAEG 
I was also able to learn that this photo was taken just after the crew arrived in England. According to the forum post, Lofkin's crew completed their 25th mission and their tour of duty in April, 1944.

Another source was the AAIR website which lists Hofkin as the pilot of B-17G 44-6641 (817th BS, 483rd BG, 15th AF) when it suffered a taxiing accident (the code lists it as due to mechanical failure) on October 6, 1945 at Lagens AAFB on the Azores.

According to other records I was able to find, Hofkin was born on March 2, 1922 and passed away at the age of 83 on September 5, 2005, and appears to have last resided in Hatfield, PA.

If you have any information that will help in ID'ing these crewmembers, please comment below!

(Tip o' the hat to Chip for his help!)

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