CARPETBAGGERS Allen, Keith Nichols

Craig Robertson

Staff member
Keith Nicols
  • UNIT
1403 AAF Base Unit,Leuchars
  • RANK
Lieutenant Colonel
Distinguished Service Cross
See roll of honour



Distinguished Service Cross : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel (Air Corps) Keith Nichols Allen (ASN: 0-303121), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of an Airplane in the 1403d Base Unit, in aerial action on 20 September 1944, over Norway. On that date Lieutenant Colonel Keith Allen, pilot, Captain Schreiner, co-pilot, and seven crew members took off from Leuchars on an operational mission to drop supplies to the underground in Norway. After crossing the coastline in Norway, number one engine began to smoke and run rough. This condition continued until they reached the target area and released the containers. The engine then caught fire and was feathered and the fire extinguished itself. They decided to head for Murmansk as heading back across the North Sea was a bit risky. The plane finally crossed the mouth of the Kola inlet as the crew looked for a place to land. Three searchlight cones of three each were turned on, indicating an airfield. In attempting to turn back toward the airfield, without knowing it, the pilot flew over the Russian Battleship Archangel. During this time the Russian colors of the day were being fired from the Very pistol, all lights on the plane were turned on, including the landing lights, and calls were being made on the International distress frequency. At this time, the battleship Archangel opened fired along with some shore batteries, hitting engine number two which caught fire, shooting off the left rudder and damaging the left wing. With the plane on fire Colonel Allen ordered Captain Schreiner to bail out the crew, advising that he would follow. The engineer released two life rafts through the bomb bay. The right waist gunner was hit by flak and bailed out, the navigator escaped thru the nose wheel well after destroying the classified material and making sure the IFF was destroyed. The navigator escaped thru the nose wheel well after destroying the classified material and making sure the IFF was destroyed. Lieutenant Colonel Allen's unquestionable devotion to duty at the cost of his life is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces.