Herschell Orval Hamblin was born at Danville, Virginia, the son of Will Carroll Hamblin and Emma Gladys Bryant. Husband of Frances George. Brother of Will Carroll Hamblin who died in the Philippines in 1944. He is not listed with the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial, because he enlisted out of state.
He died 21 June 1944, Schwerin, Germany
Memorialized at Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands

Aircraft B-24H with serial number 42-95186 was on a bombing mission to Berlin, Germany. The aircraft was hit in the engines and crashed between Hof Meteln and Gross Trebbow, District of Schwerin in the morning at 1000 hours. All nine crew members bailed out. Three were captured (Branizza, Howell and Vajgl). Howell whose parachute did not open was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital in Schwerin.
The other six crew members were shot by the German Security Police while evading.

Crew members
Pilot, 2nd Lt Cleve J. Howell
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Arthur B. Majestic
Navigator, F/O Robert J. Branizza
Bombardier, 2nd Lt Victor D. Dolecek
Left Waist Gunner, Sgt George J. Grubisa
Radio Operator/Gunner, S/Sgt Herschel O. Hamblin
Top Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Bertil S. Johnson
Tail Gunner, Sgt James L. Vajgl
Right Waist Gunner, Sgt Sammie D. Vinson

The Bee, Virginia, 5 August 1944
Staff Sergeant Herschel O. Hamblin, once a Bee carrier but later employed on the coast accounting department of the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills has been listed as killed in action over Berlin. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Hamblin of East End Avenue received the fatal intelligence yesterday.
Ever since the latter part of June his parents had hoped against hope, for he was first reported as missing in action June 21 and they prayed that he might have made a safe landing and become a prisoner of war. But the International Red Cross, which clears up the uncertainties of missing in action, found that his body had been recovered in Germany and the War Department was notified. Sergeant Hamblin’s young wife, Mrs. Frances George Hamblin, at present residing at Greenville, Tenn., received the government telegram and then notified her husband’s parents here. Mrs. France George Hamblin Montana and in Florida and was a candidate for wings. In Montana he figured in one dangerous enterprise when the retracting gear of the bomber he was on became jammed, and it was necessary to make a belly landing with all member of the crew except the pilot piling up in the rear of the fuselage to prevent the nose-over. Their enterprise was the subject of a radio programme one night. In Florida he was involved in a slight crackup on a landing, but he stuck to the Air Corps and qualified as a rear turret gunner as well as radio man. As such he made more than one combat mission over Germany in a B-24 until June 21 his plane was either shot down by a fighter or destroyed by enemy anti aircraft fire. Besides his wife and parents, he leaves a sister, Mrs. Charles L. Goode of San Diego, Calif., also two brothers, W.C. Hamblin Jr., a naval seaman somewhere in the Pacific and Ernie Hamblin of Danville.

The article listing the death of his brother, W. C. Hamblin, was found as follows:
The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 4 May 1945 • Page 4

Please note that Robin Huijnen (Robin Huijnen, Valkenburg, Netherlands) has adopted S/Sgt Hamblin’s grave in the Netherlands.  He can be contacted as follows:  info@aczuid.nl

From Judith Haran–
I came across documents related to the capture and execution of this man during my job as document analyst (archivist) for the Nuremberg Trial records here at Harvard Law School. I’m submitting the original and a translation of document “R-117”– the German arrest record (which notes that he was “shot trying to escape”, a euphemism for execution). Also submitting a pic of the crew of his plane (found online at this marvelous article: https://www.nycop.com/LastMissionoverBerlin/body_lastmissionoverberlin.html

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Date of birth:
  • 8 July 1920
  • Date of death: 21 June 1944
  • County: Greene
  • Hometown: Greeneville
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 712th Bomber Squadron, 448th Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar IX, Middle Panel
  • Sponsored by: Mr. Robin Huijnen

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