David L. Knight
456th Bomb Squadron, 323rd Bomb Group
|B-26 Pilot: Captain David L. Knight Active duty 6-9-41 to 11-30-45.
Home of record during active duty: Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
6-9-41 drafted and entered active duty with the USAAF. Was a private in the 54th Purchasing Squadron, Portland Air Base, Oregon.
October 1942 Became an aviation cadet, Squadron 128, Army Flight Cadet Center, San Antonio, Texas.
January 1943 thru August 1943 Flight training at Uvalde, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; Ellington Field, Texas
September 1943 thru March 1944 B26 transition training at Dodge City, Kansas and Lake Charles, Louisiana
4-2-44 to 4-22-44 Piloted a B-26F (42-96291) from the U.S. to England
May 1944 - assigned to the 456th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, Earls Colne.
Some of his more notable Combat Missions:
1st combat mission was as a co-pilot on a B-26B on 5-26-44, target was a bridge at Venon, France
First combat mission as a pilot was mission #4 on 5-29-44, target was a bridge at Meulon
8th combat mission was 6-6-44, B-26C flying invasion support against gun installations at Caen, heavy flak.
17th combat mission was 6-29-44, B-26C, against gun emplacements at Cherbourg
18th combat mission was 7-18-44, B-26B, flying British Troop support east of Caen, heavy flak
20th combat mission - 7-30-44 with a new co-pilot (V.D. Salisbury) against ground troop supplies near St. Martin.
23rd mission - 8-1-44, log book shows "railroad bridge so. of Chartres, window ship, flak at coast".
30th mission - 9-16-44 - flying B-26B against the Metz Fortress
34th mission - 10-6-44 - flying a B-26B against a communications center at Hengelo, Holland
36th mission - 11-9-44 - B-26B - log book shows "barracks area north east of Nancy Dieuze Road Block, 3 runs, plane shot up by flak".
37th mission - 11-19-44 - B-26B - log book shows "Merzig, Germany, bombed town - supply depot, 3runs, heavy flak".38th mission - also on 11-19-44 - B-26B - log book shows "Landow, Germany - ammo dump, abortive, 10/10 clouds, no right blower".
40th mission - 12-1-44 - log book shows "Saarlautern, Marshalling yards, support for General Patton".
44th Mission - 12-26-44 - B-26G - target was troops and supplies 9 miles NNE Bastogne (Houffalize).
47th mission - 1-5-45 - log book shows "railroad bridge, lead window, Ahreiler, Germany, heavies dropped thru our formation'.
51st mission - 2-10-45 - B-26G - log book shows "left engine hit, heavy damage, Rothe (engineer) wounded by heavy flak".
54th mission - 2-24-45 - B-26C - log book shows "Mayen RR bridge, two runs, came back alone".
61st mission - 3-16-45 - it's difficult to determine from the log book whether this mission was against Siegen marshalling yards or a Marsburg RR bridge and the log book further states "Parker killed, Searle bailed out". (Unfortunately, my Dad did not tell us about this mission when he told us his war stories when we were young and I didn't know about this log book until my mother sent it to me after he died, so I have no idea whether Parker and Searle were on his own crew or were on another B-26 in his flight. Information of record indicates my Dad was a Flight Commander by this time. )
65th and last mission was on 3-20-45 when he piloted a B-26B against marshalling yards 8 miles east of Dortman.
Left to Right: Pilot Lt. David L. Knight: Co-Pilot James O. Lox; Bombardier-Navigator Lt. Clarence C. Cafferty; Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. Lawrence A. Rothe; Radioman-Gunner S/Sgt. Aaron Hammel; Gunner Sgt. Robert J. Ferguson
My Dad returned to the States on 4-26-45 and finished out his active duty as an Assistant Hospital Liaison Officer at Percy Jones General Hospital, Battle Creek, Michigan. After his active duty, he continued to fly small aircraft out of local towns in Wisconsin and Minnesota, qualified as a glider instructor and was with the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol for several years prior to his death on 8-3-70
I have seen the list of 456th B.S. B-26's showing names of planes, fuselage lettering and tail numbers. I remember - and have seen his old photos - showing that three of the planes my Dad flew were "Ole33, The Gal", "Hades Lady" and "Classie Lassie". The first two are shown on the list as named aircraft in the 456th, but the name "Classie Lassie" is not shown. I have a copy of an old wartime newsletter that reports that the Classie Lassie had been assigned to my Dad who flew it three times, but another pilot who had flown it on many of its 96 missions (becoming 99 with the three my Dad flew) wanted the plane for his own 80th mission and the plane's 100th mission. His wish was granted. The flight was to go knock out German coastal guns that were pounding troops trying to take Cherbourg. They had a ceiling of 1500 feet, so it was a low level mission. The Classie Lassie took a direct flak hit and went down in flames. The report has no details as to the name of the more senior pilot that went down with the plane. With all this, I'm surprised the name "Classie Lassie" is not on the web site list.