S:Sgt Francis 'Bud' Owens was a waist gunner on B-17F 42-29928 when it was shot down over the Norman countryside in 1943.
The aircraft was part of 533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group(H), and was taking part in a raid on the Gnome-Rhone plant in le Mans on July 4th when it was attacked by Messerschmitt Bf-109s and finally crashed near the small village of la Coulonche.
Three of the crew of ten perished when the 'plane hit the ground, two of those who baled out were quickly captured. With local help, the remaining five attempted to make their way down to neutral Spain with a view to re-joining the fight against Nazism.
Four of them made it to Spain but 'Bud' Owens, a man who on many occasions had put others before himself, was to die of exposure in the Pyrenees, aged just 21. He now rests in the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium.
Please follow our project to honour and remember 'Bud' Owens and support it if you can. Thank you.

Bud Owens

Francis "Bud" Owens was one of the two waist gunners on B-17F 42-29928.

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he enlisted in 1942.

He was an original member of the 381st Bomb Group and was initially assigned to the crew of Lt. James H. Alexander as both a tail and waist gunner. 
No stranger to courage, he was awarded the Soldier's Medal for his bravery when, on  23 June 1943  he saved the life of a comrade during an intense explosion following a terrible bomb loading accident at Ridgewell. Twenty-four air and ground crewmen died in the accident.


  1. Thank you Bud for your service and showing not only the Valor of every member of the Greatest Generation but the humanity of every Pittsburgher. Please know that your service and legacy will not be forgotten.

  2. Thank you, Eric. I am Bud's niece, the "older" gal in the film. The Owens family is honored to share his story.