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Fifty-nine years ago,

Emmett was too young to die;

When the mighty B-24

Fell from the German sky!


Emmett, I have searched the

Records to learn how you died.

I just wanted you to know

How your sister, Francis, cried!


I found your name just yesterday

In the 8th Air Force flying men;

That is, the record of all the B-24's

And men who came not back again.


From Jolly old England you left

In the mighty B-24 for a bomb run,

Over the land of Germany but you

Did not return with the setting sun!


I'd like to know, Emmett, how

Your B-24 was shot from the sky;

And why over Germany it was

That one so young as you, had to die!


I know that you were a gunner

Who gave the Luftwaffe thunder,

On that sad day so long ago,

Leaving me to remember and wonder.


Finding your name among the missing,

Just yesterday, Emmett D. Bagwell, I read;

It still was hard for me to realize that your name

Was there among all the others who were dead!


I do not know how you died,

But this I know quite well;

You emptied your machine gun

In giving the ME-109's hell!


You are a hero among the dead,

For you gave all that you could give;

And in the great sacrifice of life,

You died that others might live.


I salute you for all you did.

I still remember your face.

If I could turn time back 60 years,

I'd gladly die and take your place.


Cruel, cruel world it is

Which robs youth of his years,

And leaves an empty space,

For the filling of many tears!


So long, Emmett, my friend!

I'm glad I found your name.

Now, perhaps, I can rest a bit,

But I'll never ever be the same!


I turn my attention to the sky,

Listen for sounds now gone by,

Is that one bomber or more,

Or is that Emmett's long lost B-24?


Copyright C. Douglas Caffey
All Rights Reserved 



My first friend to die in WWII was Emmett Bagwell, a gunner on a B-24, 8th Air Force, in Europe. I have tried for some fifty years to find the particulars of his death. Just yesterday, or perhaps the day prior (Aug.5, 2003), I was fortunate in contacting a historian of the Mighty Eighth, as it was, and is, known.

I have learned that Emmett was a top turret gunner and flight engineer in the 446th Wing and that he was killed on April 27, 1944. There was no Missing Aircraft Report (MACR) for B-24's that date, however, on that date, there is recorded crashes of two B-24's. I have the aircraft numbers and it is assumed that the two B-24's may have collided on take off, hence, no need for a MACR, for it would be immediately known.  
In the last 24 hours, I learned the information below:

On April 27 Emmett's plane, "Dragon Lady" 42-50306 was taking off to bomb a marshalling yard in Blainville, France, from Bungay, UK.  The B-24 was piloted by Ist Lt. Wayne Case.  There had been a storm with strong winds, and on take-off a side wind caused the pilot to lose control, which caused the plane to crash in a nearby field.  Upon impact the bombs exploded, killing all ten of the crew and two RAF guys in a Radar shack

At least I have learned when he died and how he died, and I feel that it was quick and there was no pain for him.  Nevertheless, his departure has brought heartache to those who knew and loved him. I knew his family well and they were so proud of their son. His sister was a classmate of mine.

Emmett, I salute you.  Emmett, I have missed you all these years. You are a hero in my book of memories!

Photo of crash 

Nose Art of 42-50306 Dragon Lady


Background music 
~ "Battle Hymn Of The Republic" ~
performed by Hector John Gaudreau. 

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