The Bruce Crew

700TH SQUADRON (lead)

445th Bomb Group

The Kassel Mission was the 10th mission for William Bruce and most of his crew. They lost their original copilot on an earlier mission. (See that unbelievable story by clicking the button below William Brown's picture on this page.) The Bruce crew was one of the only crews to fly its original aircraft, the Bonnie Vee, named for Bruce's wife, Verlyn. (That story can be read on the pilot's page, accessible by clicking his button, below. Also on that page, you will find William Bruce's account, which is exceptionally compelling. Unfortunately, Bonnie Vee exploded in this battle, and everyone but the pilot and his radio operator were killed. 


B-24H  #42-95128  (Hardstand 51)  "Bonnie Vee"  Call Letter R+

Crashed in Germany - MACR 9397 


High Right Element



Rank     Name                          Position                    outcome

2nd Lt.    Bruce, William S.             Pilot                                  Ob Hospital, transfrd to Luft III 12-27-44

1st Lt       Willet, John P., Jr.            Co-Pilot                            KIA

2nd Lt     Abraham, Daniel A.         Navigator                         KIA

2nd Lt     Appleton, Daniel H.         Bombardier                     KIA

T/Sgt       Pogovich, Peter               Radio Operator               Stalag Luft IV

S/Sgt       Fleming, William J..         Waist Gunner                   KIA 

S/Sgt       Paulus, Fred A.                Waist Gunner                   KIA

T/Sgt       Hess, Calvin F.                 Engineer/Top Turret Gunner KIA

S/Sgt       Shaffer, Glenn H.             Tail Gunner                       KIA

S/Sgt Paulus and S/Sgt Fleming look on while Lt. Bruce points to the damaged stabilizer on Bonnie Vee.

Accounts and Photos

William Bruce - Pilot

William Bruce - Pilot

John F. Willet, Jr. - Copilot

John F. Willet, Jr. - Copilot

William Brown - Crew's Original Copilot

William Brown - Crew's Original Copilot