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Last Update: 03-04-2013
1939 Yearbook

Ernie Dunker

aka: Ernie Dunker

Classmate


Fan Comments
[ Courtesy: Steve Glazer - 03-04-2013 ]
Ernest Walter Dunker -- born on August 31, 1921, in Dolton, Illinois, to William Dunker and Eleanor C. Strassenberg -- was raised at 4828 (formerly 398) Hickory Street in Hammond. He attended Washington Irving Elementary School and Hammond High School. Dunker acted in school plays and held parties for friends, as well as boxed at a local athletic club. He graduated from Hammond High with Shep in June 1939. By 1943, Dunker was working as an electrician in Hammond, and helping to support his divorced mother, with whom he then lived. On September 8, 1943, he enlisted in the Army at Indianapolis. Within a year, Corporal Dunker completed his basic and advanced training, including obtaining his silver gunner's wings at Yuma (Arizona) Army Airfield in September 1944. In the harsh British winter of 1944/1945, Sergeant Ernest W. Dunker was stationed with the 422nd Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group (H), 8th Army Air Force, at Chelveston, England (AAF Station 105). On the morning of February 15, 1945, Sergeant Dunker was flying as radio operator among the nine-man crew of a B-17G Flying Fortress destined for a bombing run over Dresden, Germany. As the first fifteen planes of the group took off, the weather grew steadily worse. By the time it was Dunker's turn to take off, there was near zero visibility through the icy fog in the English countryside. Although his B-17 left the ground with a full bomb load, it barely left the runway before it fell back to earth and caught fire, killing Sergeant Dunker and four of his fellow crewmen, while injuring the remainder. Some of the men in the barracks at the airfield were also killed or injured. Nevertheless, the rapid response by the officers on the ground limited the damage that could have occurred from the burning plane and its bomb load. Although few details were provided, Sergeant Dunker's mother was notified of her son's death several weeks later back home, where it was reported in the Hammond Times on March 22, 1945.
Where Shep Made Reference To This Subject
Photos:



305th Bombardment Group patch

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



B-17 of the 305th BG in flight

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



8th Army Air Force Patch

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


February 15,1945
Crash site at Chelveston, England

Courtesy: Steve Glazer



Washington Irving Elementary School

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


November 02,1933
Dunker in school play

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


1936
Yearbook Photo

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


January 26,1937
Dunker co-hosts party

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


February 15,1945
Dunker Army casualty report

Courtesy: Steve Glazer


March 01,1945
Newspaper Account of Death

Courtesy: Steve Glazer