B-17 'Snafu' (42-29476) Memorial
Major Randolph C. Barthold, observer on the B-17 42-29476 “Snafu” for this particular mission, took off from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK, on May 29th, 1943, in order to bomb Rennes naval stockpiles. The plane’s crew had flown only five missions together since their arrival in England on May 12th. This one was a major operation, involving over 200 aircraft. The 72 B-17s “Snafu” was a part of were covered by a fighter escort to the coast. However, once over enemy territory they were intercepted by Luftwaffe fighters and were hit at 1630. Sgt Herman Philbeck was the only crew member able to jump, his oxygen mask on fire and his friends shot up in a disintegrating plane. He lost consciousness but regained it in time to land safely. He was immediately taken prisoner and sent to Stalag 17B in Braunau, Gneikendorf. Major Barthold died on May 29, 1943 and is now buried in the Brittany American Cemetery, Montjoie Saint Martin, France. He also has a cenotaph located in Westminster Cemetery, Westminster, Allen County, Ohio.