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John J. Stainker

Staff Sergeant, 
U.S. Army Air Forces

13125583

328th Bomber Squadron, 
93rd Bomber Group, Heavy

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: January 7, 1944
Buried at: Plot D Row 5 Grave 41
Normandy American Cemetery
St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France
Awards: Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart

328th Bomber Squadron
Logo


STAFF SERGEANT JOHN J. STAINKER was born in New Jersey in 1922. His father passed away before April of 1930. The 1930 census indicates that in April of that year he was living at 615 Hunter Street, Gloucester City NJ, with his mother Charlotte Manduka Stainker, who supported the family as a dressmaker in a dress factory, grandfather father William Manduka, who still worked as a shipyard electrician at the age of 70, and siblings William, Charlotte M., and Helen, at 615 Hunter Street in Gloucester City NJ. At some point after 1930, his widowed mother married Paul Gebhart, a produce salesman who in 1930 lived at 217 Hudson Street in Gloucester City. John Stainker graduated from Gloucester High School in 1940, and worked at the RCA-Victor plant in Camden NJ until he entered the Army.

John J. Stainker enlisted in the United States Army on October 12, 1942. Qualifying for flight duty, he was assigned as a ball turret gunner to a bomber crew in the 328th Bomber Squadron, 93rd Bombardment Group, Heavy. He was stationed in Hardwick, Norfolk, in England. Flying in a B-24 Liberator bomber nicknamed "On The Ball", he was lost over France on January 7, 1944. He had last written home on December 30, 1943, and had enclosed his Air Medal with the letter.

An account of the downing of Staff Sergeant Stainker's plane, originally written in French and translated follows:

The last plane shot on January 7 was the bomber B-24 No. 42-40990 of the 93rd Bomb Group, 328th Bomber Squadron which fell near Brou. It was called "ON THE BALL". The mission of the B-24 was to bombard the city of Mannheim near Ludwigshafen to bomb the Krupp factories. The planned route for round trip was a move to 150 km north of Paris. The move went normally taxable, but the return to deviate the route of the bombers who eventually went to the south of Paris.

Her crew was as follows:

Pilot Charles W. Walters Lt 0-797208 Evade
Co-pilot J.M. Bickley 2nd Lt 0-745039 Evade
Navigator Harmon Smith Jr. 2nd Lt 0-801042 Evade
Bombardier Jack D. Georges 2nd Lt 0-729463 Evade
Flight Engineer Louis E. del Guidice T / Sgt 31168760 Evade
Radio operator Carl E. Hite Sgt 15330283 Evade
Waist Gunner Vincent S. Sweet S / Sgt 32255810 Killed
Waist Gunner Elmer Kudej S / Sgt 35316181 Killed
Ball Turret Gunner John J. Stainker S / Sgt 13125583 Killed

The U.S. report states that the engines No. 2 and No. 3 were on fire, hit by projectiles and air fills with smoke. The bomber came out of formation. The pilot ordered the evacuation of the aircraft and the radio operator (Hite) or Del Guidice opened the cargo door. The engineer was the first to bail out, followed by the radio operator (at 7000 feet) and the others (the pilot jumped at 5,000 feet). The navigator, Harmon Smith jumped the last while the gunners were still in the air. Sgt Stainker was a prisoner of his turret and the two waist gunners, Elmer Kudej and Vincent Sweet tried to bail out but could not do so before the plane exploded near the ground. The three gunners were killed in the crash of the bomber.

The authorities of the time discovered three dead found in the wreckage of the aircraft and two or three parachutes were observed. They were not found and evaded capture. The three bodies were buried in the cemetery St. Chéron (Section No. 60) at Chartres on January 10, 1944 at the same time that the bodies of the airmen of the B-24 shot at Bouville.

Regarding the escape of the survivors, it seems that Jack Georges, the bombardier and Harmon Smith, the navigator were separated from the rest of the group surviving at their parachute jump. The two airmen found each other the following night. They were then met by the local resistance and then sent to Paris, to the house of M. Pierre Bietrix at 2 Bis, Rue de Monceau. However, while traveling to Spain with the intent of returning to England, they were captured by the Germans and imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp until July 1945.

For their part, Bickley, Del Guidice, Walters and Hite were supported by the local resistance of Brou, led by M. Maurice Voulizaud. 15 days after the crash, the pilots were in Paris then escaped from France via Spain. They returned to England in March 1944.

John J. Stainker was survived by his mother Charlotte Manduka Stainker Gebhardt, of 217 Hudson Street, Gloucester City, and his siblings. His mother was the President of the Gloucester City Mothers Service Club at the time of his death. His death was reported in the evening edition of the Camden Courier-Post on March 23, 1943. His brother William was with the Army in England, another brother, Earl, was also serving as a gunner in the Army Air Corps, in South America.


This monument is at the 93rd Bombardment Group Museum
 at Station 101, in Hardwick, Norfolkshire, England


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THE CRASH OF UNVERRE

The last shot was the bomber B-24 No. 42-40990 of the 93rd BG, 328th BS Unverre fell near Brou. It was called "ON THE BALL". The mission of the B-24 was to bombard the city of Mannheim near Ludwigshafen to bomb factories KRUPP. The planned route for round trip was a move to 150 km north of Paris. The move went normally taxable, but the return to deviate the route of the bombers who eventually went to the south of Paris.

Her crew was as follows:

Pilot Charles W. WALTERS Lt 0-797208 Evade
Co-pilot BICKLEY JM 2nd Lt 0-745039 Evade
Browser SMITH Harmon Jr. 2nd Lt 0-801042 Evade
Bombardier Jack D. GEORGES 2nd Lt 0-729463 Evade
Mechanic Louis E. del Guidice T / Sgt 31168760 Evade
Radio operator Carl E. HITE Sgt 15330283 Evade
Gunner Vincent S. SWEET S / Sgt 32255810 Killed
Gunner KUDEJ Elmer S / Sgt 35316181 Killed
Gunner STAINKER John J. S / Sgt 13125583 Killed