Harvey “Son” Mathew Nix & Clement Moore Clapp

Like a lot of people in my generation (well, usually the people about 10 years older than me in my generation, but still), I have grandparents who are WWII veterans.

My Granddaddy Neal was a clerk and part of the invasion in Normandy. (Interestingly, this past weekend when I was at his house, he showed me a picture of his “class” in stenography school. He’d had all of the people in the picture sign the back and put where they were from. Noticing that there weren’t many people from the South, my mom found that there was a guy from Atlanta Georgia…he signed his name…Truett Cathy. Pret-ty cool.) My Grandmama served in the WAVES. Two of her brothers, my Uncle Karl & Uncle Jimmy, served in the US Coast Guard stationed in Puerto Rico, where they married twin sisters, Ermess & Iris. My Uncle Jimmy actually remained there and raised his family, none of whom I’ve met and most of whom only speak Spanish. (Also pret-ty cool, I think.)

On the other side of the family, my Granddaddy Clapp served as a supply pilot in England and across Europe.  Both he and my Ma-ee had brothers (both pilots) that died during the War. Ma-ee’s brother, Harvey Mathew Nix, Jr., never returned from a mission in the Philippines. Granddaddy’s brother, Clement Moore Clapp, was killed in route to North Africa, when his plane went missing over the Himalayas.

A couple of month’s ago, my Uncle Clem (this all gets a little confusing with the family names, sorry!) began finding new information about Uncle Son’s and Uncle Clement’s planes…this is the latest info.

Seriously, seriously cool:

Uncle Son:

Missing Aircrew Report for B-24D #42-40069

Site Report: September 20, 2008

This aircraft from the 308th Bomb Group was lost on a flight over the Hump. Aircraft #42-40069 “The Pregnant Swan” was lost with all aboard. Major Fensler was commanding officer of the 425th Squadron. Dead: 9.

Acting Pilot: Major Robert W. Fensler, xxxx7377

Pilot: 2nd Lt. Phillip G. Huffman, xxxx1437

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Gerald E. Owens, xxxx0158

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Frederick W. Ossenfort, xxxx1623

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Harvey M. Nix, xxxx8506

Engineer: TSgt. ErIe H. Thayer, xxxx6430

Assistant Engineer: SSgt. Aubrey Stevensen, xxxx8940

Radio Operator: TSgt. Norman A. Price

Assistant Radio Operator: SSgt. Louis F. Verhagen, xxxx8470

Gunner: SSgt: Sandav E. Rivardo, xxxx5460

Photos of the Recovery

Uncle Clement:

11 May 2009

Subject: E-mail message of 22 April 2009 re B-17G “Dorothy Dee”

Mr. Clement Clapp,

In response to your e-mail message referenced above, we at the 390th Memorial Museum respectfully submit the following information:

Your uncle, 1st Lt. Clement M. Clapp, a member of Air Combat Crew No. 73 (later renumbered 88) under the command of Pilot – 1st Lt. Edward D. Lewis, flew a total of 35 combat missions with the 571st Bomb Squadron, 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Air Division, 8t US Air Force. His crew position was that of Bombardier (32 Missions), or Navigator (3 Missions) for which he earned and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters. Of Lt. Clapp’s 35 missions, 24 missions were flown on aircraft S/N 238048-“Dorothy Dee”, 6 missions on aircraft S/N 337564- “Little Moron”, 2 missions on aircraft S/N 230388-“Cabin In The Sky”, and one mission each on aircraft S/Ns 231651-“Decater Deb”, 231134-“Gung Ho”, and 2107070-“North Star”.

We are forwarding to you, as an attachment, a photo of the B-17G aircraft “Dorothy Dee” per your request. The “Dorothy Dee” was accepted by the USAAF 11/26/43 and received by the 8th AF (UK) on 12/30/43 where it flew a total of 103 combat missions before its return to the United States on 7/03/45 and then on to Kingman , Arizona 12/18/45.

We thank you for your interest in the history of the subject aircraft and for the sacrifice your uncle, 1st Lt. Clement M. Clapp, gave to our country and the world during a critical time in history.

If we can be of any further assistance please contact us via our e-mail address or our guestbook.

Sincerely,

Eugene Radtke, Volunteer

Research Department

390th Memorial Museum Foundation

Dorothy Dee

Dorothy Dee

EDIT:

I found out this weekend that I had some of this info completely wrong…it turns out that my Uncle Clem actually returned from his action in Europe and was training to go into the Pacific when his plane crashed during a test flight in Colorado. I’m hoping that I don’t have too many other things confused, but if you know otherwise, please set me straight!

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6 thoughts on “Harvey “Son” Mathew Nix & Clement Moore Clapp

  1. Clement Moore Clapp was my biological grandfather. He died when my mother was only a cpl of wks old. So we were unfortunate to never meet him. My mother has a scrapbook that my grandmother, Pauline Clapp Hanahan had made during the time he was at war. It has so many original pictures, his diary, handwritten and dated by him describing each mission. As well as a lot of other memorabilia of his, money etc… How wonderful to plug his name in google and find out people still speak of him.

    • Hi Tricia! It’s great to hear from you…I’d love to put our families in touch…is the e-mail you posted this comment from the best way to keep in touch?

      • yes , the email is a way to get a hold of me. Its great to find blood relatives. Look forward to meeting you and your family

  2. In the summer of 1945 he was assigned to training on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress at the Pueblo Army Air Base (PAAB) on the northeast side of Pueblo, Colorado. The PAAB was home to the 215th Combat Crew Training Station-Heavy (CCTS-W; NOTE: The “S” can also be printed as “School” or “Squadron”).

    At 1749 on 8 July 1945 the B-29 Superfortress #44-86315 had just returned to the base from an hour and half bombing practice training mission. At this time four of the seventeen men on board disembarked from the aircraft. At 1803 the ship took off again for a navigation mission. On this evening a thunderstorm was coming over the mountains in the west to cross the plains heading toward Kansas. As the craft turned near Dotson Lake and the Flying-A Ranch, about 20-miles southeast of the PAAB and 28-miles southeast of downtown Pueblo, it encountered the now severe thunderstorm. The turbulence was quite fierce, labeled “extreme,” and then the plane was apparently hit by a bolt of lighting, removing the tail section. With the tail section missing and total loss of the vertical stabilizer and rudder, horizontal stabilizer and elevators, the ship lost control and flew into the ground, exploding into a ball of fire. All 13 persons on board where killed.

    The east slope of the Rocky Mountains in the area from Pueblo to Boulder is noted for it’s wind-sheer effect. This effect is heightened during the summer evening thunderstorm season.

    The Boeing B-29 #44-86315, model B-29-45-MO, block number 45-MO, was one of 531 built by the Glenn L. Martin Company (Martin Omaha) in Omaha, Nebraska.

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