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Sgt Mervin M. Shank was born in 1922 and joined the United States Army Air Corps (later USAAF) in 1942. He was eventually assigned to Lt Stalie Reid's crew in the 791st Bomb Group, 467th Bomb Group.
He was one of three crew members (of Stalie Reid's crew no. 88) to successfully bail out of the B-24 they were flying (serial number 252445). Lt Stalie Reid and six other crew members died in the crash-landing, in a field opposite Barsham village school, following damage sustained by a German Messerschmitt during the 'Night of the Intruders' incident, 22 April 1944.