The Setting

      On 8 May 1945 the war in Europe was nearly over. American
      forces had liberated the concentration/labour camp at Ebensee
      three days earlier. Twenty P47's (five flights of four aircraft)
      embarked on an aerial demonstration/morale boosting flight
      over the POW/concentration camp at Ebensee. (Ebensee was
      an ancillary camp to Mauthausen Concentration Camp –
      the labour was used to build tunnels in the mountains and
      8500 inmates died there). All aircraft were fully armed but
      no bombs were being carried. Yellow Flight consisted of
      Yellow Leader Lt Eastman (K4-C) with Lt Mohr (K4-S) wing-
      man and Element Leader Lt Cecil (K4-A) with Lt Olthoff
      (K4-Z) wingman.

      Doug Eastman remembers the trip well.

      The Flight

      "We left Kitzingen around 9:00 am and maintained approx
      220mph on our flight to Ebensee. The later portion of the
      flight through the Austrian Alps was uncommonly beautiful.
      As we approached Ebensee, I noticed a few tall stacks within
      the town. These stacks and the fact Henry (Mohr) elected to
      fly lower than the rest of the flight made 'buzzing' the town
      at very low altitude unsafe – so we maintained a couple of
      hundred feet until over the lake. After crossing the shoreline
      and moving out over the lake we, as had been planned,
      broke formation, fanned out then dropped down to within a
      few feet of the water. A small sailboat was in view a bit to the
      right of my intended flight path. The boats occupants
      apparently thought they were about to be run over and
      proceeded to jump overboard. It was, at the time, somewhat comical. I then saw out the corner of my eye a commotion to
      my right so I pulled up a little and looked over. I saw Mohr's aircraft bounce up from the water and come down again, hit
      the water and begin to sink. We circled the crash site and saw
      Mohr thrashing about in the water and watched the plane sink
      out of sight. We headed home to Kitzingen and reported the
      crash at the debriefing".

      The Details

      It seems Yellow 2 had to go wide to miss a chimneystack over
      the town of Ebensee.  With the other three heading across
      the lake, Mohr was trying to catch up and return to his position
      when disaster struck. Flying at 230mph, the propeller touched
      the water and was wrecked. The P47 hit the water in a cloud
      of steam and spray, becoming airborne again before coming
      down onto the lake surface. There was little time for '29150 to
      float, she was already on her way down as Mohr was trying to
      get out. In the water, he did not have a Mae West or a
      dinghy but the parachute pack initially kept him afloat.
      Gradually this became waterlogged and he began struggling
      to stay afloat.

      Two girls broke into a boat shed and procured a rowing boat
      and proceeded to row to the crash site.
      A boy in another boat followed. By this time Mohr was at the
      point of drowning, his parachute pack had sunk and he was
      going under with it. At the same time his young rescuers
      arrived and thrust an oar into the water, which Mohr immediately
      clung to before losing consciousness. It is not clear whether
      the three pulled him into the boat or held him on the side,
      but Mohr remained unconscious. On the shore we was taken
      to a German hospital where he became the last MIA of the
      9AF, at least for a few hours. He was liberated later and sent
      to an American military hospital as the war in Europe ended.

      History is Made

      '29150 became the last P47 combat mission loss in the ETO
      and this ironically led to its survival. During the summer of
      1945, a large part of the surviving P47's were unceremonious-
      ly scrapped, although the surviving nineteen P47's from the
      511FS were flown to an airfield near Paris and delivered to
      the French. Its loss on 8 May has meant '29150 is
      undoubtedly one of the most historic P47's in existence.