Robert B. McWhite, 8th Air Force B-17 Pilot, Ex-POW

Robert B. McWhite, Pilot of B-17 "Tom Paine," U.S.A.A.F., 8th Air Force, 388th Bomb Group, 562nd Bomb Squadron, Knettishall, U.K
Mel Dahlberg, Sue Rucker, and Bob McWhite at the 8th AFHS-MN Veterans Day Celebration, November 9, 2016, K of C Hall Bloomington, MN


Crash landedEllough, Beccles, Suffolk NR34, UK11 April 1944

Crash landed in B-17 42-30793 Ellough, Norfolk, on return from a mission. 11/4/44. RTD.

Shot downEhrenberg, Germany24 April 1944

Shot down 24 April 1944 in B-17 42-31253. POW.

Prisoner of War (POW)Stalag Luft III Żagań, Poland24 April 1944 – 1945

Prisoner of War. Stalag Luft III

"Crash landed in B-17 42-30793 Ellough, Norfolk, on return from a mission. 11/4/44.
Shot down 24 April 1944 Freidrichshafen mission in B-17 #4231253. Prisoner of War (POW)."

Below is an article about Bob from the Beccles  & Bungay Journal

WW2 pilot in emotional return to airfield

09:00 04 June 2010

Robert McWhite, now 88, landed at the airfield in April 1944 and managed to narrowly miss a group of children after the plane had suffered damage from enemy fire over northern Germany.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the feat and this week returned to the scene of his heroics to give away the medal to the airfield, along with four others he had been given throughout his service.

Mr McWhite formed a fascinating bond with the airfield following the landing, after one of the children who had been in the field wrote an article about the experience.

Christopher Elliott, now 81, and living in Wimbledon, wrote about his experience in a school essay that was later developed into an Eastern Daily Press article that reached some of the aircraft's crew.

The crew contacted Mr Elliott, and he and Mr McWhite became friends. In 2002 Mr McWhite visited Ellough and for the first time met the three child witnesses, and also became good friends with Rainer and Marcia Forster, who run the airfield.

The couple now raise the American flag on April 11 each year to mark the crash landing.

“I'm at the part of my life where I'm giving things of value to people that I value,” explained Mr McWhite on Wednesday. “This is like coming home. Even though I've only known these people a relatively short time they have been great friends.”

Mr McWhite visited the airfield with his wife Fran and other family members, as well as Mr Elliott. It was the last time that Mr McWhite would make the journey to the airfield, and he was taken up in a plane by Mr Forster, following part of the route he would have taken on his way to Ellough.

He was given a painting from local artist John Reeve, of the United States 8th Air Force B 17 Flying Fortress “Tom Paine” aircraft he had been flying, as well as a copy of the book RAF Beccles at War by local author Malcolm Holmes.

Mr Forster said it was a massive honour to receive the medals, which include Mr McWhite's “wings,” given by the army air force to their pilots, and his Purple Heart, awarded after being wounded serving the US military."


Robert B. McWhite, Sr.

Robert B. McWhite, Sr. Robert B. McWhite, Sr.

McWhite, Robert B., Sr. Age 96 of Wayzata, passed away on April 9, 2018. Preceded in death by Frances, his wife of 72 years. Survived by sons Robert and Timothy (Sharon); 7 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Born in Minneapolis in 1921, Bob joined the Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor, graduating first in his class. He piloted 13 missions between 1942 and 1944, prior to being shot down, spending 13 months in a Stalag Luft III German POW camp. Heavily decorated, he received the Purple Heart with clusters, the air medal with clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Following the war, he had a 40 year career as an executive with Peavey/Con Agra. In his twilight years, he was very involved with his fellow POW's, eulogizing many of them at their funerals. He was the patriarch of our family who everyone turned to for strength. He will be sorely missed. Visitation Monday, April 23, 5-7 PM at Gearty-Delmore Plymouth Chapel, 15800 37TH Ave. N. @ Vicksburg Lane. Friends may gather Tuesday, April 24 after 10:30 AM for the beginning of full military honors with Mass of Christian Burial 11 AM at the Church of St. Bartholomew, 630 E. Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata. Services will conclude with military burial at St. George's Cemetery, Long Lake immediately after Mass. Memorials preferred to St. Bartholomew Church. Gearty-Delmore 763-553-1411

From the Mooseroots website

Robert B. McWhite - Prisoner of War RecordHeld in Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan, Germany

Robert B. McWhite was a Second Lieutenant in the Army during World War II. Robert was captured by the Nazis while serving in Germany, and was sent to Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan, Germany where 6,667 other American POWs were held. Robert's capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on April 24, 1944, and the last report was made on July 23, 1945. Based on these two reports, Robert was imprisoned for at least 455 days (1 year and ~4 months). The average duration of imprisonment was 363 days. Ultimately, Robert was returned to military control, liberated or repatriated.