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The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor is one of the most remarkable documents of World War II. It was produced by Will Lundy, a ground crewman for the 44th Bomb Group. He took on the task of identifying what happened to every 44th Bomb Group man who died during the war. He expanded this admirable goal with another hefty task: identifying all of those wounded or taken prisoner. Here is how Lundy (in the Foreword to The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor) describes it:
As a ground crewman in the 67th Squadron for most of the time the 44th Bomb Group was at war in England, I watched most of the 44th Bomb Group planes, heavily laden with bombs, ammunition, fuel, and crewmen take off, headed for action against the enemy. I was there, too, when the formations returned, too often learning that not all of them came back. The emotions were always present; at times elated with a successful attack, but upset when one aborted and very depressed when we had losses.
If I had worked on a plane that was missing, I, along with my crew buddies, felt a personal responsibility for the loss. There was always that nagging doubt inside us that I seldom ever voiced that asked, “Could I have been responsible for this loss? Could I, or should I, have done something that would have brought this plane and crew back? Are these crewmen now dead because I failed them?” Several of these brave men were close and personal buddies making the situation worse. But those questions were never answered during the war. The Germans didn’t say, of course, and our men that survived to become prisoners, could not say. Evadees did return occasionally, but I saw only a very few. When that terrible war in Europe finally ended, the Group was quickly ordered back to the U.S. to prepare for the final assault on Japan. But once in the U.S. the 44th BG was demobilized, we were split up, and reassigned. Nothing was available to me and I assume most of us, so those burning questions were never answered. Instead, they were pushed back deep inside, but not forgotten.
In 1987 after many years of work, Will Lundy's 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor was published. An updated and revised version was completed in 2005 and a limited-run, hard-cover edition was produced with the help of Green Harbor Publications. It quickly sold out. A PDF of The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor is available for free through the 44th Bomb Group web site. Those wishing to have the book in print, can purchase a paperback version of this 454-page reference work through Lulu.com.
Will Lundy died in October of 2006. The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor, the document he worked on for decades, is his amazing legacy. If you have questions about the Roll of Honor, please contact Green Harbor Publications and we will do our best to answer them. You can also get updates on Twitter at 44thbgROH.
For additional information on the 44th Bomb Group, please visit the 44th Bomb Group web site at www.8thairforce.com/44thbg.
Roll of Honor
In closing, here is a link to the list of the names of 44th Bomb Group men who died during World War II. This list is included in The 44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor.