The forgotten ACES: Air gunner ACES of WWII (image heavy)


Fighter aces are seen as gods and heroes by society and history. Many books, programmes, films and interviews about them – and rightly so. BUT we never hear much, if at alll,  about the other brave men who also stared death in the face every time they took to the air – the air gunners.

Below is a list of air gunner aces – not many have considered these guys but now you can change that. And then scroll through the images of the air gunners and give them a salute. Amazing men. An amazing time.

Rank- Name- Kills- Unit- Airforce- Aircraft- Gun position


Frederick Barker- 13- 264- RAF- Defiant
Albert Lippett- 12- 264- RAF- Defiant
John Roberts- 12- 108- RAF- Blenheim
S. B. Johnson- 11- 264- RAF- Defiant
Frederick King- 10- 264- RAF- Defiant
Henry Jacobs- 8- 219/600- RAF- Blenheim
P. Lillie- 8- 264- RAF- Defiant
Wallace McIntosh- 8 – 207- RAF- Lancaster
L. H. Hayden- 7- 264- RAF- Defiant
C. Sutherland- 7- 207- RAF- Lancaster
?. Bradford- 6- 57- RAF-Lancaster
Peter Engbrecht- 6- 424- RCAF- Halifax(Top Turret)
Robert Turner- 6- 264- RAF- Defiant
Fred Gash- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
?. Martain- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
F.W. Wake- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant
J.E.M. Williams- 5- 264- RAF- Defiant


S/SGT Michael Arooth- 17- 527 BS 379 BG 8 AF- USAAF- B-17(Tail Gunner)
S/SGT Arthur J. Benko -16- 374 BS 308 BG 14AF- USAAF- B-24(Top Turret)
S/SGT Donald Crossley-12- 95 BG 8 AF- USAAF-B-17 (Tail Gunner)
S/SGT Benjamin F Warner- 9 – 99 BG 12 AF-USAAF- B-17 (Waist Gunner)
S/SGT John B Quinlan -8- 324 BS 91 BG 8 AF/20 AF-USAAF- B-17(5),B-29(3)(Tail Gunner)(Gunner on Memphis Belle)
T/SGT Thomas Dye -8- 51 BS 351 BG 8 AF -USAAF-B-17(Ball Turret)
S/SGT John D. Foley-7+8 prob- 22ND BG 5 AF- USAAF-B-26(Top Turret)
S/SGT John A. Murphy-6- 500 BS 345 BG 5 AF- USAAF- B-25(Top Turret)(all Zero’s)
T/SGT Weston (Wes) Loegering-5 -574 BS 391 BG 9 AF -USAAF-B-26 (Top Turret)
SFC Richard H Thomas-5- VPD 117- US Navy-PB4Y (B-24)(Front Turret)
ARM2 Paul Ganshirt-5- VD 3-US Navy-PB4Y(B-24)(Top Turret)

Italian Airforce:

A di B (WOFF1) Pietro Bonannini-8+2 prob- Cant Z 506B & Fiat RS14 (Top Turret)(4xSpitfire,3xBlenheim,1xHurricane)

USAAF Tail Gunner.

Nose gunner in the cramped conditions of the Frazier-Nash front turret of the Vickers Wellington bomber, with it’s two .303 machine guns

B17 waist gunner in A-11 helmet, A-2 jacket, B-4 life vest (mae west) and B-8 parachute harness


The engineer and waist gunner on a B-24 of the 8th Air Force in England.

In the South Pacific in World War II, tail gunner Sgt. James E. Berryhill sits with a field modification of two .50-caliber M2 machine guns on his B-24 Liberator bomber. James E. Berryhill photo

Gunner He-111

B-17 Waist Gunners

Clark Gable (1901-1960) served as an aerial gunner on a B-17 during World War II. He signed up for duty following the tragic death of his wife Carole Lombard, who was on a war bond tour when her plane crashed. He is seen here giving an interview from his waist-gunner position aside a .50 caliber Browning M2 machine gun. (June 6, 1943)

B-24 tail gunner

Waist gunners with ammo feed

German gunner from the crew of a Heinkel He 177 bomber.January 1944

Waist gunner with ammo feed

Sgt is top turret gunner on a B-24 of the 8th Air Force in England.


An air-gunner of 264 Squadron wearing a GQ Parasuit, or “rhino suit” (August 1940









Russian gunner in his turret

Waist gunners on a B-24 Liberator wearing protective flak vests and helmets.

Facts & figures via