T/Sgt Jacob Buikema USAF
Aircraft: B17 G Flying Fortress. Nose name: Fortworth Jailhouse. Registration number: 44-8436H
Squadron: 326th bomber squadron
Date of crash: 05/05/1945
Related Airmen:1st Lt Reginald L Hammond USAF 1st Lt Robert L Sprout USAF S/Sgt Daniel Minkon USAF 2nd Lt John F Duffy USAF 2nd Lt William J Dutton USAF
Buikema, Jacob – T/Sgt United States Air Force
Birth: 10/19/1924. Entered service: 04/05/1943
Death: 05/05/1945, England; place of burial: England
Parents: Buikema, Mr. and Mrs. Martin
Home: Chicago, IL; Church: First Chicago, IL Christian Reformed Church
B17 Fort Worth Jail House, 326SQ/92BG: 5 May 1945
Description of the Crash: 92nd Bomb Group (H) Fame’s Favored Few – Turner.
On the 5th, 1st Lt. Reginald L. Hammond, 326th, crashed and burned at Sidown Hill, killing six of the seven crew. In 10/10 fog, Hammond clipped tree tops at about 700 feet, breaking the wing tips. He pulled the aircraft up—bellying in on the top of the hill.
Wreckage was strewn for almost a mile down the far side of the hill. Casualties, in addition to the pilot, were: 1st Lt Robert L. Sprout, co-pilot; 2nd Lt John F. Duffy, navigator; 2nd Lt William J. Dutton, a passenger; T/Sgt Jacob Buikema, engineer, and S/Sgt Daniel Minkon. Only the radio operator, Technical Sergeant Nitti, who was badly injured, survived.
At the time of the accident, the B-17 crew had experienced a rather more spectacular career than the average:
Beginning their tour on Feb. 3rd, they had established a speed record in completing 33 missions by April 16th.
They had been named “Crew of the Week” for their persistence in bombing a target of opportunity on March 28th, after flak had severely damaged the aircraft and a turn-back would have been unquestioned.
On April 11th, a blown tire on take-off resulted in their plane exploding on the runway, with crew members safely away from the scene.
On May 18th, the DFC was posthumously awarded to Lt Hammond, in recognition of “extraordinary achievement” on a series of missions.”
Not an operational flight. The 92nd Bombardment Group had flown its last bombing mission of the war on the 25th April.
The group took part in the last major Eighth Air Force mission of the war, an attack on the Skoda works at Pilsen on 25 April 1945. This was the 92nd’s 310th mission. The group lost 154 aircraft in combat during its 310 missions.
Delivered Lincoln 16/9/44; Grenier 1/10/44; Assigned 326BS/92BG [JW-H] Podington 8/11/44, crash landed Sidow Hill, Wilts, UK with Reg Hammond 5/5/45 (1 survived); Salvaged 6/5/45.
Rhoten Smith (wife Barbara) (Pilot: July 1944-Jan 1945)
Smith and his crew were allowed to select their plane’s name, too, and picked “The Fort Worth Jailhouse,” because Smith, their pilot, was from Fort Worth, Texas.
“As a new crew with a new plane coming in, we were allowed to pick the name,” Smith says. “But about that time, President Roosevelt announced that soldiers fighting overseas would be allowed to vote in the election. The military re-named the plane `The Soldier’s Vote.’”
Smith flew the missions for six months – from July 1944 to January 1945 – when the crew completed the 35 missions and was sent home again
Story piece: Life and Death aboard a B17.
Killed in a Crash; Damage (0-5 increasing damage): 4
I am one of three sisters of William Julius Dutton. Bill was one of three brothers who served in WWll. Frederick Osbon Dutton lll was in the Merchant Marines and Edward Paul Dutton, the only living brother who is now 92yrs. old, was in the Navy and served aboard the aircraft carrier The Wasp in the Pacific.
My two sisters, Jane Dutton Welch and Nancy Dutton Sanders, and I, Elizabeth Dutton Donovan, were very young when Bill died and he was followed by another brother, Robert Walter Dutton. All of five of us reside on the east coast of the USA. We are among many other relatives of Bill.
It is a great honor that these young men who served and died with Bill are now being remembered at Hyclere Estate. We were just this week looking over letters from Bill to our parents when he was in training in the U.S. We have many pictures of our three brothers in uniform with our father when we were living in NJ. Bill was much loved by his family and is honored by a flagpole that his brother Edward(“Jack”) made as a memorial to Bill which now stands on his property in Centerville, MA.
How lovely to hear from you – thank you for reaching out to us.
My uncle T/Sgt Jacob Buikema was 2nd born in a family of 7 children. My grandmother kept diaries of her boys who served. Jake and brother Pete fought in WWII, my father Marty was a Marine in The Korean War.
I am fortunate to have my grandma’s diaries about Jake, his many letters, flag, metals and other treasures.
Uncle Jake was not supposed to be on the flight that day. My Grandmother’s diary is heartbreaking as she writes about the war being over and of letters from Jake delivered not knowing he was already gone. (It took 9 days before they received word.) In a portion of an entry 2 months later she wrote of Jakes old pilot (he made 30 combat missions over Germany with him) who came to the house to let them know just how he died “…they were thru fighting but another crew asked Jake if he would take their engineers place as he was missing and they had to go up on a ‘routine flight’. Jake went along…”
He was only 20 years old.
I am thrilled to be attending Heroes at Highclere with my son.
I thank you for honoring these men of the Greatest Generation.
Paula Taylor (Buikema)
p.s. Thank you Annie Sheehan for finding us!
Paula, I have read some of your Grandmother’s diaries and was so moved by them. Her grief and loss must have been unbearable at times.
I am delighted you and your son are coming on Sunday and I very much look forward to meeting you. I hope it will be a memorable day. You are correct that Annie has been so very helpful in finding the families of the brave airmen of Highclere.