2nd Lt. Rollin P. Ball, Navigator, 324th Bomb Squadron

Above: Tail gunner T/Sgt. Edwin L. Barber, 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st BG, stands with three of his crew mates following their rescue on 4 MAR 1943. Returning from Hamm, Lt. Alan Brill was forced to ditch B-17F 41-24464 "Excalibur" (coded OR-J, borrowed from the 323rd Bomb Sq.); Brill and two other crewmen drowned. Three other unidentified crewmen were presumably hospitalized, hence not pictured here. They stand in front of the right waist window of B-17F 41-24485 "Memphis Belle." 2nd Lt. Ball located on the right end.


Navigator 2nd Lt. Rollin P. Ball, 324th BS, 91st BG, survived the ditching of his ship, B-17F 41-24464 "Excalibur" returning from the 4 MAR 1943 mission to Hamm. Less than three months later he would be declared MIA; returning from the 21 MAY 1943 trip to Wilhelmshaven aboard B-17F 41-24515 "Jersey Bounce" with Lt. Phillip S. Fischer and crew, they would disappear over the North Sea; no trace was ever found.

(22) Hamm - 4 March 1943

464 Lt. Brill None 3-0-0   Ditched in North Sea  
370 Lt. Henderson       Missing  
970 Lt. Verinis None 1-0-0   Slight Never go again alone with one group
069 Capt. Gaitley None 1-1-0   Moderate Remarkable bombing
480 Lt. Cliburn None None   Slight None
515 Capt. Morgan   None     Abortive Engine Failure
Target: Marshalling Yards
Sq. Losses: 2 A/C (3 dead, 3 wounded, 10 missing)
Gp. Losses: 4 A/C (4 dead, 12 wounded, 30 missing)
Remarks: Famous attack on Hamm by 91st all alone after other groups had turned back. Missing: Lt. Henderson and crew, on his first mission as a first pilot. Lt. Brill ditched: 7 of crew picked up in North Sea after Lt. Brill, Lt. Lowry, and Sgt. Morgan drowned. Also missing: Capt. McCarty and crew of 323rd and Lt. Felton and crew of 322nd.


Above: Headstone for 2nd Lt. Rollin Ball in Netherlands Cemetary, Holland


Additional Information:

Bombardier 1st Lt. Robert F. Brubaker, 324th BS, 91st BG, following his crew's ditching on return from the 4 MAR 1943 mission to Hamm. Returning to his duties, his luck would run out less than three months later. On the 22 JUN trip to Huls, B-17F 42-29998 (coded DF-J), a "no name" Fortress of the 324th BS, he would be one of two crewmen who survived the enemy fighter onslaught to become POWs for the duration of the war. His pilot, Lt. Joseph E. Slattery, Jr., and seven others were KIA.

Flight engineer/top turret gunner T/Sgt. William G. Dickson, 324th BS, 91st BG, survived the ditching of B-17F 41-24464 "Excalibur" (coded OR-J, borrowed from the 323rd BS) on return from the 4 MAR 1943 mission to Hamm. He would be KIA flying with Lt. Joseph E. Slattery, Jr's crew on 22 JUN trip to Huls.

1st Lt. Charles W. Freschauf and crew, 324th BS, 91st BG. Freschauf flew his tour bouncing between the left and right seat; he was pilot on B-17F 42-29487 "Ritzy Blitz" (coded DF-K) for five of the six missions he flew as pilot-in-command during MAY 1943. On 21 MAY, he was flying as co-pilot for 1st Lt. Phillip S. Fischer's crew on the mission to Wilhelmshaven. Aboard B-17F 41-24515 "Marie Jane" (coded DF-H), they disappeared on the return trip over the North Sea; no bodies were ever recovered.

Photos and information contributed by Bill Ball (Rollin Ball would be his Great Uncle)