Willis S. Cole
               Military Museum


        The Largest Museum Display Item Is A  German 1917 Krupp 210mm Lange Morser (Howitzer)
              The only one in the world where everything moves as it did during World War One         
A Non-Profit Corporation   

          13007 W 12th Ave, POB 1735, Airway Heights, WA 99001-1735 (509)723-6059 U.S.A.

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pages.  The inter-active pictures on this page, will arrive as you read about our museum.   We ask that you visit the
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   Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum is named after Willis Samuel Cole, who served as
a Corporal in the 295th Military Police Company, 6th Division, in France during Word War One.  The
museum's main focus is on
World War One, with World War Two American aviation in Europe becoming
a larger area of research.

                                                      Willis S. Cole
                                                         His Story
(Click On The Photograph And Go!) 

     The museum displays relics of World War One, featuring both battlefield recovered relics and
quality relics.  Its major display is a 18,000 pound, 210 mm, 21 cm, (8.274 inch) German
Lange Mortser,
one of only 21 left of the 474 built by Germany from 1911 through December, 1917.

    One four foot section of British tank track in our collection has been traced to one of the first
50 tanks used in warfare.  The tank track was shot off by a German artillery piece that was located
a few kilometers away.  That same artillery piece was destroyed the same day by the French, who
came over a ridge to the southeast of the German location. They saw the German artillery and 
pulled by hand, a French 75mm cannon into position.  Its first shot, destroyed the German cannon,
which can now be seen at the Albert Military Museum, which is located in the French air raid
shelters from World War Two.

   Among our
growing displays are recovered relics of the dual Congressional Medals Of Honor
, the B-17G-35VE, Serial Number: 42-97904, named the Lady Jeannette.


                          The Lady Jeannette, just as the last survivor bails out.
                       Notice the Tail Gunner trapped and hanging under the tail.

    On the various pages of the site, you will learn about our research into the identity of the
American Remains contained in the grave of an Unknown American Aviator of World War Two,
as well the fate of entire crews of the five bombers that became linked together during our research.

   This particular research all started when on Christmas Eve, 1991, when the museum's Director
was introduced to the grave located in the village cemetery of Cartigny, Department of the Somme,
France, located a few km east-south-east of Peronne, of World War One fame. 

   The grave is no longer unidentified, as a new 20" X 36" grave marker was dedicated on the
10th of November, 2000, 56 years to the day of the death of the three men whose partial remains
are buried in the grave.

   The grave marker provides the names and all the information required to verify our research into
the identity of the three B-24J
crewmen whose partial remains are buried in this common grave. The
result of the only fully
witnessed and documented case of American Soldiers of World War Two
recovering the remains
of dead American Aviators and later hiding most of the remains they recovered
along a French road.

    The origin of the Grave at Cartigny, can now be fully explained.  Nine years and eleven months
after the beginning of the quest that Christmas Eve, the only living survivor of the three men from
the hospital unit attached to the 397th Bombardment group was found by pure luck.  The man I
finally located, PFC Barney Silva, had been an ambulance driver and he drove one of the hospital's
Doctors and an Enlisted Medical Sgt. to the crash site.

    From his testimony, we now know, that the remains of the three men in their "Official Graves"
were recovered by these three men, after their arrival at the crash site at 3:30 a.m. in the early
morning of 10 November, 1944, about one hour after the crash.  They left the crash site at 06:30
to take the three newly created "Official Burial Packages" to their main, reporting hospital at St-Quentin

    The remains recovered in those hours before full light became the "Official Remains" accounted
for by Capt. Judson, the Doctor, which were buried in the men's "Official Graves."  However, they had
recovered only the larger remains of the three men killed, which totaled about the weight on one man,
120/150 pounds and they left the crash site, leaving the rest of the men's remains unaccounted for.

    When full daylight finally came that late, cloudy fall day, the people around the crash site began to
find more and more pieces of men.  In mid-morning, another ambulance believed to be from the
hospital located in Peronne, came to the crash site.  This is the ambulance crew that the French
helped recover the "bits and pieces of human, about what one see when one prepares sausage"
is the most heard quote from those that helped these men recover the rest of the crew's remains
at the crash site.

    As no one in this crew has been found, one has to believe they found out that the Air Base Hospital
had already turned over remains to a hospital at St-Quentin about 15 miles to the east.  By regulation,
they should  have taken men's remains to that hospital.  However, they did not.  What they did do,
was to stop by the road and bury the remains they had just recovered with the help of the French
people.  What they did not know, was that they were observed by one of the French who had just
helped them recover what they were illegally hiding.

    So, now we know and can prove with an American participate, that the Village Priest who recovered
the second set of remains hidden by the Americans was correct in his statement at the time.  And, that
the French who believe the remains in the grave was all the remains recovered are also correct.  For
the grave does contain the vast majority of the remains of the three American Aviator killed in the crash
of their B-24J, SN: 42-51226, 36th BS (RCM) about 2:30 a.m., 10 November, 1944. 

    The museum's most recent research has lead to a totally different and newly understood end of
the last flight of the
dual Congressional Medals Of Honor bomber; the Lady Jeannette, and the
relationship of the medal
citations with the last flight of a "Top Secret" B-24J bomber of the 36th
Bomb Squadron (RCM - Radar Counter Measures) on a "spoofing mission" against Germany
FLAK and Night Fighter Radars, while on a night mission with the 100th Group Royal Air Force
protecting R.A.F. and R.C.A.F. flying night bombing missions against German targets.

    The research is also tied together with a crashed B-26 bomber, "Where's It At?".  The Pilot
and Co-Pilot of that bomber were both awarded the
Solders Medal, the highest non-combat medal.
The Official Records of the 9th USAAF, state their mission that day, lead to the most successful
day of the entire war for the 9th USAAF.  Equal mention of that day's mission, 22 January, 1944,
against the "Our River Bridge" can be found in many military histories.

    Two other bomber crashes of World War Two, one a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax and the
othe,r a B-17G bomber are tied together and intertwined with the museum's original research.  These
two crashes
lead to the execution of the evading American Pilot and the Canadian Radio Operator at
the hands of the
Germans, in the woods above Olizy-Primate, Department of the Ardennes, on
August 8, 1944.

                                                      Aviateur Americain
                                        MORT POUR FRANCE - en 1943

                       Stories of the five bombers, lost in action over Europe.
and the grave of three men K.I.A. that was marked
                                                 UNKNOWN for fifty years.
                                                    (Click on the picture and go!) 

    The museum is a very active participant in preserving the military history of the United States
and its
Allies during both wars.  If you believe, that this history deserves to become memorialized
the events and memorials occurred, you can help in the meeting the museum's goals with a
allocated tax-deductible donation to the museum that will be used to defray expenses
of memorization.

    The museum's research specialty is 'site specific' research, in Europe, mainly along the Battle
Lines of World War One and World War Two's aircraft crash sites.   The museum's
volunteer staff
searches for information from diaries, books, and visitor input to seek the
exact location where
notable events of World War One and Two took place.  These sites
are then intensely researched
in Europe, including interviews with local people for legends
of the event and if possible, locate
actual eyewitnesses to learn and record their stories.

                                          crshpop1.jpg (20443 bytes)          
                                           Willis S. Cole, Jr. "Sam" at the crash site of
                                           the Lady Jeannette.  Proof still impressed in
                                           the earth's surface that the bomber did not
                                           crash as specified in the Medal Citations.
                                           During second survey visit to crash site.

    After 56 years, the missing Identity Tag of 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, Congressional Medal Of Honor
was recovered at the crash site in May, 2000.

   After 56 years, evidence of human remains were also found at dual
Congressional Medal Of Honor
crash site in France.

   As of 31 December, 2005, CIL, now called JPAC, Hawaii, has failed to conduct a full on-site
Search and Recovery for crew remains.

    As of  31 December, 2005, JPAC has failed to notify the researcher who had the Legal Right To Know,
of any determination concerning the bone fragment turned over to Mortuary Affairs in Germany, 26 May, 2000.

    As of 31 December, 2005, J.P.A.C. has failed to account for, or return 1st Lt. Gott's Identity Tag found
at the crash site, and by US law it was the property of the researcher at the time it was requested and then
failed to be returned as promised.

    In late spring, 2006, the Gott family members in Oklahoma, were contacted by J.P.A.C. and informed,
the remains had been proven to belong to 1st Lt. Gott.  They did not inform any of the survivors, the
families of the other  men, whose remains it could have been, or the museum that an additional burial
as planned. 

    As of 6 June, 2006, J.P.A.C., the U.S. Military or anyone else has failed to notify any of the other families
or the museum of their actions concerning the remains turned over to them, in May, 2000!

   In November, 2001, the Village Elders of the Village of Hattonville, Department of the Meuse, France,
agreed that the crash site and the original impact craters that are still viewable, will be turned into a
Memorial Park to the
Lady Jeannette
and its crew.

    On May 6th, 2002, the Museum Director and the villagers started to create the planned Memorial Park.
   As of the end of September, 2002, the Memorial Park is surrounded by a perimeter fence and each
of the impact craters has been preserved and out-lined with a low single chain fence.

    During the week of December 7, 2003, during a visit to the USAF Historical Research Agency archives
at Maxwell AFB, the identity of the American unit stationed at Hattonville on the date of the crash was
found.  The 563rd SAW Battalion was a Signals Air Warning unit for aircraft identification and control.
It was attached to the XIX TAC, or 19th Tactical Air Command providing air support to Patton's Third Army.

      On January 5th, 2004, over 100 letters were sent to members of the Battalion listed on a reunion list,
in the hope that one of them will have the much sought eyewitness report of an American that was at the
rash site.

    On January 25th, 2004, after contacting ten people who were Officers in the Command Structure in
the 563rd SAW BN, or in the Medical Section, all of whom said almost exactly the same thing, "I have
no memory of a B-17," we have located and verified a member of the HQ Company of the 563rd, who
tells us, he was standing with a group of men from the company, when they heard a rumble in the distance
and a B-17 with fire and smoke coming from  it, flying a circle, flew over the village and crashed in the
distance.  Describing exactly what many French and other Americans in the area have already described.
But he is the first of his company to admit that he saw the bomber the day it crashed.


    We are now hoping that some of those contacted in the past, will search their memories to see if they can
now remember what another remembers vividly.

   As of 30 July, 2008, The men of the 563rd, that can  be placed at the crash site, standing next to three bodies,
continue to declare the bomber never crashed?

    In April, 2006, the museum received an aerial  photograph of the crash site taken on 24 July, 1945.
In the picture, the swath cut into the woods is very distinct and the broken tail and wing can be seen.

    Obviously, the who have told a sister of the Co-Pilot and the last survivor to bail out, that no bomber
crashed, are not telling the truth.  Efforts continue to obtain the truth from these men, as to where those
three bodies are no located, as the Official Burial Records of the men, prove that there is no duplication of any
human bone in all four graves, combined!

    July 30, 2008, the members of the 563rd SAW Bn., who have now been located at the crash site by eyewitness
testimony, still claim to have no knowledge of the B-17 crash at all.  Continuing to insist the B-17 did not crash
when and where it did!

   Addition trips have been made to the Memorial Park and the museum is working with the Villagers to insure that
this extremely unique World War Two crash site will beable to be visited for years to come.

    The Memorial Park can be visited, however the direct access road has, again been delayed and it may be another
year before the easiest access road will be available.

    Until that time, visitors need to stop at the furniture manufacturing shop, or home located next to the Memorial
in Hattonville for instructions on how to reach the Memorial Park.  The owner is Mr. Robert LECLERC
and he and his family maintain the Memorial.

    The shop is closed on Mondays, so try at the home.  Be prepared to spend some time looking at the excellent
hand made furniture.  The best time is Tuesday through Saturday.

    The museum director has become known for his assistance in planning trips to visit the  World War One
lines of France and Belgium, tailoring each trip to fit your interests and time.  People
who are also interested
in WWII battle sites will find they can easily mix both wars together
during one tour.

                                               Site Specific Research
                                     And Tour Planning Assistance.

                                                          Cimetiere Militaire
                          National de Notre Dame de Lorette (P.d.C)

                                                         Research & Touring
                                        (Click on the photograph and go!)


                             The real story of the crashes of the
             crash of the "Lady Jeannette" and the
         crash of the Top-Secret B-24, "226" which
        resulted within hours, in the implementation

                                                   Available Now            

                                        Museum Store
                                (Click on the above book front page and go!)

                 One-of-a-kind, the only two known identifiable parts of
                the 'Secret' B-24J, SN: 42-51226, crashed about 2:30 am
                     early in the morning of 10 November, 1944, at
                                    Tincourt-Boucly, France.

                                                         Museum Store
                                                    (Click on the photograph and go!)

                                              Certified Authentic!

                    B-17G-35VE, Serial Number: 42-97904

                                  the "Lady Jeannette"

     Pieces and parts of the actual bomber, that 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, Pilot, and
2nd Lt. William E. Metzger, Jr., Co-Pilot, were aboard on 9 November, 1944, when

their actions were later awarded with
Dual Congressional Medals Of Honor.  Both
men died aboard the bomber that day, as well as the Radio Operator,
T/Sgt. Robert A.
, and Sgt. Herman B. Krimminger, the Tail Gunner.

    All parts and pieces are certified to have been recovered by the museum's staff at the
crash site of the
Lady Jeannette
during the staff's on-site research visits in France.  To
date, over 600 hours have been spent at the
crash site, clearing the forest floor,
establishing the crashing bomber's debris trail,  the breakup of the bomber as it
crashed through the forest and the final positioning
of the bomber's parts and pieces at
the crash site.   

      These relics are fully certified by the museum as to authenticity, location at the crash
site and identification process. 
book store .

                                     Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum
Executive Director/Curator with cowl flap found

during a search of the forest floor to determine the
                                       crash path of the 'Lady Jeannette, B-17G-35VE
                                  Serial Number: 42-97904, crashed 9 November, 1944
                                 Congressional Medals Of Honor Relics
               (Click on the picture and go!)

    The museum's staff works with people seeking information about the service of family
members during World War One and World War Two.  Special help is available for family
research about family members
discover what happened to loved ones who were either MIA
or KIA and not return from World War One and World War Two.  The museum continues
to have more and more people contact us for this help and there is never a charge for such help.

    For our help, please visit our Missing In Action and Killed In Action websites listed below.

                                         Request Research Assistance. 
                                           (Click the picture and go!)

   Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military is supported by donations and book sales.  There is
no paid staff and all tax deductible donations and Frequent Flyer Mile donations are used to
support the organization goals, such as placing memorials at researched sites in Europe, and
for the volunteer staff to travel when possible to conduct further research.  The museum
welcomes tax deductible donations of personal military memorabilia, which will be used for
display only.

The four Memorials have been have been dedicated.

In June, 2002, the Village Elders of Tincourt-Boucly, France, removed
the large memorial.  However, the Plaques were saved by Mr. Claude
OBERT, who is working to have a new memorial installed nearby both
crash site.  As of June, 2006, this project is still in the working state.

    Two of these memorials which consist of individual memorial plaques made of 20" x 36" x 1 1/4"
granite plaques and two memorials that consist of four plaques of the same size.  These four
plaques are mounted two wide and two high, with the four plaques making up one master
memorial for each location, with a memorial surface 72 inches wide by 40 inches high on a larger
concrete base.

    One individual 20" x 36" memorial plaque, memorializes the three men of the B-24 buried at
Cartigny, France. Another memorializes the place, Olizy, France,  where Lt. Noble and
P.O. DUBE were held for some time before their execution.

    One set of four, memorializes the crash site of the B-24, the B-26, the service of the 27th and
30th Divisions during World War One and the presence of the entire 452nd Bombardment Group (H)
over France during World War Two.

  The fourth memorial, at Hattonville, consists of a four plaque memorial, memorializing the
Lady Jeannette, its crew and their last flight which ended in France on 9 November, 1944.  This
memorial also refers to the 109th Evacuation Hospital at which four of the survivors were
treated and also, it also refers to the entire 452nd. Bombardment Group's service in Europe during
World War Two.

    The original plaque at Tincourt-Boucly, dedicated on the 9th of November, 1994.
    The plaque is based on Official Records of the United States and it memorialized
    the crash of the B-17, instead of the crash of the B-24, that actually made the hole.

   Tax Deductible Donations
                                   (Click On The Picture And Go!)

    The plaque shown above is just one of the things your donations have helped the museum
accomplish during the past years.  The museum is an I.R.S. approved
Non-Profit Corporation,
registered in the State of Washington.

    The museum depends on your Tax Deductible Donations and book sales for its operating funds.
We can also accept Frequent Flyer miles as
Tax Deductible Donations. The volunteer staff uses
those Frequent Flyer Miles to travel for research and interviews with living witnesses of the events

                                            Cheyenne Tail-Turret metal
                                                  from B-17G-35 VE
                                                    'Lady Jeannette'

Much more about our museum
                                                   and a newsletter

                                                                  (Click On The Picture And Go!)
   To find the latest information about the museum's research and the status of
ongoing research read the museum's newsletter.

                                                388th BG Research 6 Sept., 1943                       

                   Recommended Sites To Visit!

Missing In Action, sponsored by the museum, aid to research. 

Killed In Action, sponsored by the museum, aid to research. 

Avril Williams Guest House, Auchonvillers, Somme, France
Fort Seclin Museum, a real French artillery museum in a real Fort, at Seclin, France
                                        Located just south of Lille, France
Recommended reading: B-24 Pilot and Bombardier Stories
KilRoy was Here - World War II and Korean War Secrets  
Royal Air Force Bomber Command:  1939-45 Order of Battle

The Great War Society, World War One Historical Society.
World War 2 Photo-Gallery/D-Day Maps
Battle Of Arnhem Monument
Squadron Of Deception - The 36th Bomb Squadron (RCM) in World War II
                                          Home of the B-24J- That crashed at Tincourt-Boucly.
Excellent WWII Civilian Story With Sound 

World War One Informational Site - Excellent Visit
World War One -  1914-1918  Netherlands Based Information Site - Excellent Visit

    If you have a military history web site you would like to become a recommended
web site, please submit it to,   we will visit your recommended web
site and if it fits into the museums military history goals, we will add it above.

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below to navigate if you are having problems.  If you still cannot find the information
you wish, please email us at  and we will see that you receive it.

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email replies are being returned!  Your interest is vital to us, don't give up, if necessary
you can always use snail mail to the museum's address at the top of this page.
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Museum Information Page And Newsletter:
Tour Planning and Joining Tours:             
Congressional Medal OF Honor Relics:      
More About The Book And Ordering:         
Research Assistance By Our Staff:              
Tax Deductible Donations To Museum, Funds, such as Frequent Flyer Miles
please email the Executive Director/Curator at:


       The origin of this site was made possible by a generous donation from
                      Donald Max Compton
- Deceased
Nephew of 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, Congressional Medal Of Honor .

 This site last updated:  Saturday, August 01, 2009 17:20