I've a question regarding the loss of William J. Sykes, 376.FS and the crash place of his P-51 (44-11203).
I'm asking this, because during my research about the local aerial warfare I found informations about five Bf 109-losses (and a belly landing) of GAF Jagdgeschwader 77 in the area of Nassau/Lahn.
I received informations about aerial combat with four confirmed victories of 376.FS in the Trier area, but still there are some question marks:
A fellow researcher told me about the result of his phone call with the widow of W.J. Sykes several ago: Sykes had to bail out of his stricken P-51 in the Nassau area, he was heavily woundet in his tights...
Because this is the third time I received informations about an involved 376.FS to this combats, my question is:
Is there anything known about the circumstances of Sykes loss? Or does anybody have a MACR of this a/c or a mission report from this unit of this particular day?
Every information is welcome,
I found an answer about this subject elsewhere, so that's a mood question.
I just found this board from a tip over at MustangsMustangs.com
Here is my post from over there:
Long time lurker but I finally got off my duff to join.
Anyway, I have a buddy who is recently retired from the Air Force who traveled the world. He has collected (legally) many, many wrecks and project aircraft. We are trying to locate the pilot of a D model who was shot down and then spent some time as a POW.
Here is all we know:
1st Lt William J. Sykes
Service Number O-793027
DOB: 11 July 1919
He was flying P-51 Serial Number 44-11203 and was shot down on 24 Dec 1944.
He survived the shoot down, but spent several weeks in a German Hospital before being moved to a POW camp.
He was able to recover the wreck (and obtain paperwork!) and would like to locate him. Any ideas where we would look?
Thanks for the look.
Anyway...to my surprise this is the first post I saw! Is Mr. Sykes still alive?
as mentioned, my buddy had a phone call with the WIDOW of Mr. Sykes several years ago...
The location of the crashplace is known and confirmed by eyewitnesses; further I recieved a confirmation from "official" soures as well.
But I have a problem with the following: "He has collected (legally) many, many wrecks and project aircraft". So you and your friend had know that even remains of any crashed US-a/c belong still to the US-government. And my intention is definitely not "collecting" anything, except the truth about aerial warefare here.
I guess you are not aware that there are legal means to recover some aircraft. Thats why I made a point to say LEGALLY! I'm sorry you have a problem with that.
my English ist not the best, so don't get me wrong.
I'm trying to collect any informations about the local aerial warfare. F.e., I've got informations about 10 losses in this area only for 12/24/1944, at least five Bf 109 and mentioned P-51 in an area of 5km². It takes three years to identify which Bf 109 belongs to every single crashplace, and I`m still searching for the pilot who made a belly landing after these combat upon a not mentioned football ground somewhere around Nassau. The fates and crashplaces of the wounded and killed persons are known, so don't hesitate to ask.
But: I know about several other crashplaces in this area, and sometimes the fate of the crew is unknown. Some pilots (German and American) are still listed as MIA. Their fates must be clarified in future times and I will do whatever I can. Otherwise, I am in contact with a nephew of a B-17 pilot, who died in the same area on 10/14/1943 and asked me about only a single small part of his uncle's ship.
IMHO, these are the only good reasons for collecting any part of any crashed a/c. I am no digger, because this is against some German laws.
If you have similar reasons regarding Sykes a/c, you could contact me off board, otherwise I'm interested in which cases a research about such a/c are legal.
Mr. Sykes wreck was salvaged with the intent of someday restoring it to flying condition. That is the reason it was recovered. I'm sure you are aware that P-51's are not easy to come by, wrecked or otherwise.
I initially came here to find out if Mr. Sykes was still alive to find out if he had any pictures or could help with the colors. I have since learned that he has passed away, but learned the name of his aircraft.
I'm afraid I can't help with any more local history, although the owner does have a MACR. Mr. Sykes did shot down a 109 (or maybe his wingman got the one that got Mr. Sykes) before he crashed.
A reason I never thought about...you received an e-mail.
I'am unable to send you an e-mail to mentioned adress. Any idea?
there are still a lot of question marks about the loss of W.J. Sykes:
About his a/c: you wrote that his a/c was salvaged, which is very uncommon. The normal procedure with allied wrecks until late february 1945 (US-troops arrived here between 26. and 27. march 1945) was: they were fragmented and sent to special scrap yards to recycle the basic materials for the German industry.
Further you wrote that W.J Sykes made a belly landing; AFAIK the remains of his a/c were found in the woods with signs of massive destruction.
Maybe the content of this e-mail about this subject is interesting for you:
"...according to Steve Gotts' Little Friends - 361st Fighter Group, Sykes bailed out near Oberwies.
William Adams' Fighter Losses of the Mighty Eighth also states the plane crashed near Nassau, and cites MACR 11173."
As my buddy told me, Sykes' widow mentioned a bailout of her husband, too. But I'm going to ask the local eyewitnesses again, maybe I'll find some further informations in this way.
Further, I've ordered the regarding MACR and the Mission Report of this day. But both documents are often not very precise (not to say very imprecise)
regarding the losses without attached German documents. Differences of 50 to 300 miles are common! So every further information about any salvation of mentioned a/c is very welcome.
Just got back from vacation...email me here: