Ralph L. Lab is a World War II Missing In Action (MIA) SGT whose name is engraved on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Cemetery and Memorial Margraten in the Netherlands. His name is adopted by Tino Dam, Chairman Stichting Missing In Action (MIA).
General information on Lab, Ralph L., ASN: 15069793:
|Name:||Ralph L. Lab|
|Status:||Missing in action (MIA)|
|Missing since:||January 11, 1944|
|Unit:||8th Air Force
533rd Bomber Squadron
381st Bomber Group, Heavy
|Commemorated:||Tablets of the missing
U.S. Cemetery and Memorial
|Adopted by:||Tino Dam|
Statement of John R. Lantz, RH waist gunner and only survivor from B17G 42-37719:
We flew just over the Dutch/German border when we hit on very hostile fire. Our #3 engine was hit and lost a lot of oil, I could see it from my right waist position, it hit the right stabilizer. The engine stuttered and the Pilot decided to turn and fly back to England.
Than #2 and #4 engine gave signs of jamming and Pilot Nason decided to try start engine #3 again. Meanwhile we flew into German clouds to avoid contact with the German fighter planes.
For unknown reason engine #3 caught fire. It was obvious we where in big troubles and had to leave the plane. The navigator told us we where above water, but there was no other choice. Than the Pilot gave the command to bail out by intercom. I jumped out and had free fall for a while. I didn’t see the plane come down.
Shortly after I hit the ice-cold water, I was picked out of the water quickly by a Dutch fisher boat, minutes later followed by a Dutch Harbor Patrol boat. Nobody else from my crew was found.
The patrol boat was seen by a German boat and Lantz was taken prison. Some months after the incident the dead body’s of five crewmembers from B17G S/N 42-37719 where found in the Zuiderzee. Their names are Nason, Anagnos, Fiery and Harrah. The other four crewmembers where never found.
Destination: Oschersleben, Germany
Loss: January 11, 1944 at IJsselmeer (Enkhuizerzand), Netherlands
Missing Air Crew Report (MACR): 1881
Henry Adam Lab (Father)
Mary Ann (Rieger) Lab (Mother)
Regina Lab (Grandmother)
Bernard Lab (Brother)
Maurice (Morris) Lab (Brother)
Bruce G. Lab (Brother)*
Carl P. Lab (Brother)
*(PVT Bruce G. Lab is buried at Henri Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial)