Adams County

Lt. Kenneth Bickford



Lt. Bickford, Sgt. Kneller Are
Reported “Missing In Action”


Bickford Over Germany
Kneller In Italy

The “missing in action” report from the War Department brought discouraging news to two more Adams County homes this week. Both messages were received Monday and concerned boys in the Air Corps, serving in the European areas, one in France and one in Italy.

Monday Mr. and Mrs. L. I. Bickford received a message from Mrs. Gladys Bickford at Cleveland, Ohio, stating that she had been informed by the War Department her husband, Lt. Kenneth Bickford was reported “missing in action” in France since November 9. Kenneth is the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. I. Bickford and has been in overseas service since last June. He has been in the service about three years. Lt. Bickford was pilot of a bomber crew. His brother, Lt. Russell Bickford is now in training in New Mexico with a B-29 bomber crew. He has been in the service since February 24, 1944.

Lt. Kenneth Bickford has been on many bombing missions over Germany and it is known that at least twice his plane has been in difficulties. On one mission the plane was destroyed but the crew ‘chuted to safety. The following story of this mission was written and in type for publication the Free Press this week before the word came that Lt. Bickford was missing.

Mr. and Mrs. L. I. Bickford recently received a clipping from a Cleveland, Ohio, newspaper, which tells of the thrills experience by their son, Lt. Kenneth Bickford, pilot of a bomber named “The Uninvited.” Lt. Bickford was flying a mission over Mersburg, Germany, when the plane was crippled by flak and practically shot to ribbons. Mrs. Gladys Bickford, his wife, is employed as a supervisor at the Navy Bureau of Supplies and Accounts at Cleveland, Ohio.

After the plane was hit and crippled by flak, Lt. Bickford was forced to fly back across Germany at 5,000 feet. “We were the target for every gun crew we passed,” Lt. Bickford reported. “Finally the plane sank to 1,000 feet and I ordered the crew out and then jumped myself. My ‘chute jammed. I tore at the flaps but it failed to unfurl. The ground jumped up t me. I clawed desperately at the pack and then the wind caught the ‘chute and it blossomed. I was only 75 feet from the ground,” he said. He landed safely. All the crew were safe. Lt. Bickford has been overseas with the Eighth Air Force since last July.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, November 30, 1944, Page 1