My name is René Bosma and I live in the little Dutch town of Oosterwolde. For the past four years I have been
investigating the Air war over the Northern part of the Netherlands. It is my main objective to gather as much
information as possible about the aircraft and the airmen which came down over the province of Friesland
during the Second World War. We consider it very important to keep the memory of the Air war alive; especially
the many flyers who paid with their lives for our Freedom.
One of the aircraft I research is an American B-17 heavy Bomber of 303 Bomb Group/427 Bomb Squadron.
The B-17 (serial: 41-24569 Nickname “Memphis Tot”) crashed on the 4th of February 1943 into the
Waddensea. The sea is situated in the northern part of the Netherlands. The B-17’s came back from a
bombing mission on the marshaling yards at the German city of Hamm. When the group was flying off the
Netherlands a radio message came in that the target at Hamm was under heavy clouds so the bombs could
not be dropped. A target of opportunity were the industrial installations at the German city of Emden. The
Group of bombers made a turn to the north. The route went over the city of Lingen en Bersenbrück. Near
Bersenbrück the Group was attacked by German fighters But through the thick clouds the fighters could be
shaken off. When the Group came over Emden, under a rain of heavy flak (flak = German anti-aircraft fire) the
bombs were dropped.
The route back to their base of Molesworth, England went over the Waddensea, in the north of the
Netherlands, and the North Sea back to England. But above the Waddensea some German Night fighter,
stationed at Leeuwarden Airbase, were waiting for the American B-17’s. It was a hard fight. Eight German
fighters were lost in the battle. But also the B-17 “Memphis Tot”.
When the Group came over the Waddensea, the Memphis Tot was at the end of the Bomb Group. Maybe it
was already hit by the Flak. Now it was a easy target of the German Fighters. Battle shot up - the pilot tried to
make an emergency landing on the water of the sea. But when they hit on the water, the plane broke into two
Four brave American airman lost their lives on this accident. Two are still buried at the American War
Cemetery’s at Margraten the Netherlands en Lege, Bergium. Two of the four are still Missing in Action. Their
names are on the Wall of the Missing at the American War Cemetery at Margraten. The other six were picked
up by a local fishing boat and captured by the Germans. They were brought to German POW Camps. All six
survived the war and came back to the USA in 1945.
The Tail Gunner of the 41-24569 crew was Staff Sergeant Philip Joseph Callery. He was born on the 24th of
December 1917 at Massachusetts. His parents were Philip J. Callery (1891-1918) & Emroy Phyllis Parker
Callery (1896-1976). I did not know if Philip had any brothers or sisters. After Philip (His Father) died during
the 1st world war, his mother Emroy remarried with Frank Sangiovanni (1907-1995). Philip and his mother
lived in 1930 with his grandparents Homer Anson Parker and Laura A. Danforth at North Adams, Berkshire
After the war Philip lived at Hopedale, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Philip passed away at Hopedale on
the 18th of March 1981.
He studied at the New York Military Academy. This must have been in the mid 1930’s till the beginning 0f the
After the crash Philip was picked up by the fishing boat and was brought to POW Camp Stalag Luft 17B near
At the moment I research this crash and I was hoping that there are some old paper clippings or other
additional information about Philip:
• his military career
• his family
• his life before he sight in for service
• Maybe his obituary
are available in your Library or archive. I also hope to get in contact with some relatives or children of Philip.
Maybe you also could help me to locate one of them.
My goal with the information I try to collect is to make a as precise as possible reconstruction about the crew
en their mission on that day. So the story of the brave man who gave their live for our freedom never will be
Thank you in advance and I hope you can and will help me.
René Bosma, Oosterwolde, The Netherlands
The information on Combat Mission No. 13 below was sent by Rene. Click here for much more.
Philip made 14 Operational missions:
• 1 - 17-11-1942 - St. Nazaire, France (#41-24610 Joe Btfsplk)
• 2 - 18-11-1942 - St. Nazaire, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 3 - 22-11-1942 - St. Nazaire, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 5 - 06-12-1942 – Lille, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 6 - 12-12-1942 – Rouen/Sotteville, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot) Lead
• 7 - 20-12-1942 – Romilly-sur-Seine, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 10 - 13-01-1943 – Lille, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 11 - 12-01-1943 – Lorient/Brest, France (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 13 - 02-01-1943 – Hamm, Germany (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
• 14 - 04-02-1943 – Emden, Germany (#41-24569 Memphis Tot)
Thanks to Rene Bosma for the mission information below.
Philip J. Callery Square in Milford, Massachusetts in the island on
Main Street, near the fire station. Philip Callery, the father of the Philip
Callery who is the subject of this page, was killed in World War i.
Above and below - From the American Air Museum in Britain - Click here for much more.
From the Draper Corporation periodical, Cotton Chats.