Accidental U.S.A.A.F Deaths At Snettisham - 18th May 1943

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Accidental U.S.A.A.F Deaths At Snettisham - 18th May 1943

Postby Hornchurch » 06 Jul 2019, 06:07


Ambling around elsewhere, I stumbled across this most unusual & rather tragic story.

From the website.

Marc Benson of Wisconsin reports that-

"Staff/Sgt. Stidham and fellow crewmate, Staff/Sgt.Garland L.Strang, were both killed when they wandered into a minefield.

I think it was at the Snettisham Gunnery range."


Armyairforces forum has posted that Stidham and Strang were killed when they walked into a minefield, possibly on the Snettisham range.

This accident apparently happened 18 May 43.


By chance, around some 10-12 years ago (IIRC), I joined the 'now defunct' website, BUT NEVER SAW THIS THREAD MENTIONED.
Whilst I'm super-keen on USAAF history in general (a lifelong fan & follower), I'd really only joined to post a few pix on there & ask questions.

By some degree of irony, my posting & reason for joining, was purely over some pix I'd been given regarding "Station.172", the range itself.

One of the fabulous pictures had a shot of about 5-6 USAAF crewmen of the 1st.Air-Div', on the beach, next to an Austin K.2 Ambulance...
(the exact same type of Ambulance that you saw in the famous British-wartime movie, "Ice Cold In Alex" starring John Mills/Sylvia Syms/Anthony Quale)

I'd put-out a request over there, merely to see "if" anyone could or would recognise the 5-6 men involved, be they (then), still alive, or a direct-relative.

Anyways, having latterly stumbled (no pun intended), over this awful 'beach/mine-explosion/life-taking event', I thought I'd mention it.

Thought that some of our older/elder readers, plus anyone who is or has had ANY stories or tales handed-down like this, may wanna chime-in ?

Also, bring it to the attention of those interested in local wartime history, plus those like myself, who were hitherto, unaware of it.

Figured it's also worth putting it out there, to the memory of those two poor-lads, who traveled from an ocean-away, to help free Europe from tyranny...

P.S, = Incidentally, for those unaware, this "May 1943" date, is rather/fairly early-on, for 1st-Air-Div' Boeing B.17 gunners.

Yes, the USAAF "had" started-out, over here, in 1942, but hadn't REALLY gotten-going, certainly NOT on B.17's, until 1943.
(this being the period in time, where the 8th Air Force were transitioning from DB.7 Bostons, to B.24 & B.17 "Heavy Bombers")
Their a/c markings & insignia, again, were in their infancy over-here - No tail-markings, just the early 1942-'43 "Blue/White Star, with NO BAR"
It helps when trying to place/time/date some of the earlier 8th Air-Force pictures & history - This sad-event took place during that time...

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