B-17G Flying Fortress 43-38944 assigned to the 1st Base Air Depot at Burtonwood, on delivery to the 398th Bombardment Group, crashed in the evening of the 2nd January 1945 on Birchenough Hill near the Congleton to Buxton road
|Donald James De Cleene||1st Lieutenant||Pilot||Killed|
|Maynard Stravinski||2nd Lieutenant||Co-pilot||Killed|
|Thomas Manos||Flight Officer||Navigator||Killed|
|Howard F. Ayers||Technical Sergeant||Radio Operator||Killed|
|Frank E. Garry||Technical Sergeant||Engineer||Killed|
1st Lt De Cleene and the crew flying with him were all from the 398th and had flown over to Burtonwood to collect a new replacement aircraft for one which had either been lost or withdrawn from service. They were flying the new aircraft back to their home airfield at Nuthampstead near Royston in Hertfordshire, and had taken off at just about 19:00. The weather was fairly good with about 2 miles visibility and broken cloud at 3,000 feet, however it was dark and there was no snow lying on the ground. At approximately 19:25 the aircraft was heard by local farmers flying very low. Shortly after it flew into the western edge of the Birchenough Hill close to a small quarry and broke up across the hill and burned out.
Three of the crew were buried at the US Military Cemetery near Cambridge.