Kenneth Eugene Lebl

July 14, 2013
After my visit at the Brittany American Cemetery in Saint-James, France in June of 2013 I was having my doubts about adopting a grave here as it was quite a distance from home. But since I visit Normandy at least once a year and the Saint-James cemetery is not far from the landing beaches in Normandy, I decided to adopt one. After my application, the responsible told me there are still a lot of graves to adopt so I enlisted for a second grave there too. This man is on the Tablets of the missing in Saint-James.

Before the war

Kenneth Lebl was born on April 29, 1921. He grew up in Cook County, Illinois.


Illinois, USA


Cook County, Illinois


Cook County

Kenneths highest grade at school was College 1st year. One of his favorite classes was math.

He loved flying and was very eager to learn to fly himself. He also loved going to the cinema and watch movies.

He was a very hard working young man.

In the army

Kenneth left Chicago by train on January 27, 1943 for Miami where he got his basic training for about 2 weeks.

After basic training he received new orders and left for Davidson College in North Carolina where he spent 5 to 6 months training and following classes. It's here that he learned to fly, which he loved a lot.

When he finished in North Carolina, he was transferred to Nashville, Tennessee. Here Kenneth received his classification papers to become a pilot and an Aviation Cadet.


Article about the navigators receiving their commissions

A picture of the original crew taken in the USA. We recognize Kenneth Lebl (top left), Pavel Lester (next to Kenneth), Billy Hollingsworth (top right),
Tony Caddell (bottom left), Roscoe Wilson (bottom middle), Dallas Kincaid (second from the bottom right), William Smith (bottom right)


This is the flight plan of the Moby Dick on 6 June 1944. On this day things went wrong with the plane and it's crew.


Missie van de Moby Dick op 6 juni 1944


More information soon.

Kenneths death

Kenneth Lebl was a crew member (navigator) in a Liberator B-24. He was part of the aircraft with serial number 42-94789 which was nicknamed "Moby Dick". The aircraft took part in the first mission from the 862nd Bomber Squadron, 493rd Bomber Group (Heavy), also nicknamed "Heltons Hellcats".

That first mission took place on June 6, 1944 and their target was to bomb Lisieux (France), but the thick clouds prevented all 36 Liberators to drop their bombs so they returned with them. Around 10h28 at about 11.000 feet above the Channel the "Moby Dick" collided with another Liberator B-24, nicknamed "No Love No Nothin" with serial number 44-40471. The "No Love No Nothin" appeared to have hit the tail of the "Moby Dick".

Both planes disappeared in the overcast and crashed into sea. Lt. Donald Russell was the pilot of the B-24 in which Kenneth Lebl was a crew member. All 10 crew members died in the crash. In the "No Love No Nothin" 9 were killed, 1 became a POW.


B-24 Moby Dick in which Kenneth Lebl and his comrades made the final flight

Kenneth rests somewhere in an unknown grave, probably at sea. His name is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Brittany American cemetery in Saint-James, France.


Brittany American Cemetery, Saint-James, France

The rest of the crew of the Moby Dick is also mentioned on the Tablets of the Missing at the Brittany American cemetery. They too deserve to be commemorated:






862nd Bomber Squadron, 493rd Bomber Group, Heavy


8th Air Force


862nd Bomber Squadron


493rd Bomber Group, Heavy


Second Lieutenant


More information soon.

Contact

On July 28, 2013 I received an e-mail from Heather Cristman. She contacted me because my good American friend Andi contacted her through Ancestry and told her about me adopting the name of Kenneth Lebl on the Wall of the Missing and I was looking for relatives of him. She answered that call and told me Kenneth was her grandmothers nephew. Her grandmother named her son, the father of Heather, after Kenneth as a second name.

In November 2017 we connected again and she provided me with more pictures of Kenneth Lebl.

Personal information

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Service # O-710284
862nd Bomber Squadron, 493rd Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered service from: Illinois

Born: April 29, 1921
Hometown: Cook County, Illinois

Died: June 6, 1944
Status: missing in action or buried at sea (MIA)

Buried: Tablets of the Missing, Brittany American cemetery, Saint-James, France
Awards: Air Medal and Purple Heart


Air Medal


Purple Heart


Family
Father: Jerry C. Lebl (1894-1981)
Mother: Estella Schultz (1895-1971)
Brother: /
Sisters: /

More pictures













Sources

- http://www.abmc.gov
- http://www.wwiimemorial.com NARA
- http://www.wwiimemorial.com tablets of the missing
- http://www.findagrave.com
- http://www.findagrave.com
- Andi Hunting
- Cynthia De Bock
- Rudy Kenis
- Heather Cristman
- 493rd BG museum Suffolk

Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (nicklieten@hotmail.com). Thank you!