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RAF Foggia, Italy in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RAF Foggia, Italy

7th October 1943 Move to Italy

16th Dec 1943 Move

29th Dec 1943 Night Raids

January 1944 New Targets

31st January 1944 Moved to Italy

24th Feb 1944 Aircraft Lost

April 1944 On the move

5th May 1944 

6th May 1944 Aircraft Lost

25th May 1944 Aircraft Lost

15th Oct 1944 Reorganisation

17th October 1944 Detachment to Greece

11th Nov 1944 Aircraft Lost

23rd Nov 1944 Aircraft Lost

10th Dec 1944 On the Move

February 1945 Retraining

13th Mar 1945 Last Bombing Mission

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Foggia, Italy

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Carr George. Flt.Sgt.
  • Chadwick Peter Morgan. F/Lt
  • Cox Charles Dudley Gough.
  • Gaunt Philip Henry. WO.
  • Gibson John Edward.
  • Harries Taffy.
  • Hatcher Lewis Terry.
  • Hogan William.
  • Hughes Francis Rodney. Flt.Sgt. (d.2nd/3rd June 1944)
  • Jenvey Keith. Sgt. (d.22nd Jul 1944)
  • Mann Herbert Reuben. Flt.Sgt. (d.19th July 1944)
  • Rice Olan. S/Sgt.
  • Vlok Theodore. Lt. (d.6th July 1944)
  • Wall John Ackland.
  • Walzak Edward. Stf.Sgt.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Flt.Sgt. George Carr 18 Squadron

My Dad, George Carr was a wireless operator air gunner in the RAF during WW2. He trained at Bicester in Oxfordshire, then flew out to Gibraltar and on to North Africa, Sicily and Italy with 18 Squadron which was equipped with Douglas Boston 3's. The only place I remember him talking about was Foggia in Italy, I know he would talk about bombing and strafing German and Italian troops moving undercover of darkness at night. I do recall many of his wartime flying stories but there are too many to tell right now, but it was very action packed.

Edward Carr

Sgt. Keith Jenvey 104 Sqn (d.22nd Jul 1944)

The records of the Air Historical Branch show that Sgt Keith Jenvey was serving as Rear Gunner on board Wellington LP200 of 104 Squadron when he baled out of the aircraft 10 to 15 miles North-East of Bihac in Yugoslavia, at about 0310 hours on 22 July 1944. The aircraft had taken off from Foggia Main airfield at 2035 hours on 21 July 1944 for a bombing mission to Pardubice Oil Refinery in Czechoslovakia. On the return journey the engines cut and would not immediately pick up again, the Captain gave the order to prepare to abandon the aircraft but about 30 seconds later the engines recovered. It was later presumed that Sgt Jenvey had only heard the last part of the Captain's order, as when the aircraft landed back at base neither Sgt Jenvey or his parachute could be found. Despite extensive investigations in the Bihac region after the War by the Missing Research and Evaluation Service (MRES), no trace of Sgt Jenvey could be found and he in consequently listed on the Malta Memorial. This memorial commemorates almost 2,300 airmen who lost their lives during the Second World War whilst serving with the Commonwealth Air Forces flying from bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, West Africa, Yugoslavia and Gibraltar, and who have no known grave.

Mike Jenvey

F/Lt Peter Morgan Chadwick 104 Sqn,

My father Peter Chadwick was pilot with 104 Squadron, I have his log books and some old aerial photographs. He was based in Foggia Sept 44 to Feb 45. I remember get togethers of his crew in the late 1950's as late night beer and cigarettes down stairs. I flew with the University Air Squadron and took father flying from Staverton. It was a memorable experience!

Stephen Chadwick

Lewis Terry Hatcher 15th Air Force

Terry Hatcher enlisted in November 1942 and trained as a B-17 pilot. He served with the 15th Air force, at one point from a base in Foggia, Italy. He and his fellow airmen completed 24 bombing missions over Germany, Austria, Poland, Yugoslavia and Italy. but it was the 19th mission, on March 16, 1945, in which he bombed the Schwechat oil refinery in Austria, that he called his "longest day".

The plane took off early that morning with a 6,000-pound payload. It rendez-voused over the Adriatic Sea with hundreds of other planes. The B-17 dropped its bombs on the target and was turning to head back to base when two of the four engines quit, hit by enemy fire. Flak had stripped through the right wing and parts of the instrument panel - and oil and gas streamed out, washing into the rear gunner's position," Mr. Hatcher told a veterans' group on 7th Feb. 1991. "The Decision was made not to bail out, but to make a go for it, out of enemy territory. Shortly afterward, a third engine quit, and the plane started losing altitude at the rate of 1,500 feet a minute. Notwithstanding all of this, the Hungarian border was reached, and a belly landing ensued on a hilly piece of farmland. Miraculously, the entire crew got out without injury. Local farm folk appeared, including one old farmer, who stepped out of the crowd flourishing a bottle of vodka and shouting, 'Do you want a drink, comrade?' The answer, 'Why not?'"

The airmen were handed over to the Russians, who in turn led them to safety with American combat troops. Mr. Hatcher told the Military Order of the World Wars. The story was chronicled by Ken Burns in his documentary "The War".

S. Flynn

Stf.Sgt. Edward "Wally" Walzak

Edward Walzak was a U.S. Army Air Corps Flying Staff Sgt. who flew 50 combat missions on B-17's out of Foggia, Italy during WWII as a ball turret gunner.

S. Flynn

Flt.Sgt. Herbert Reuben Mann 104 Squadron (d.19th July 1944)

Flight Sergeant, Herbert Reuben Mann, 418968, RAAF, Died 19 July 1944. My Dad, enlisted in the RAAF., 20 June 1942, and qualified as an astro- navigator on 04/03/1943 at RAAF., Cootamundra, NSW., & then sailing from Brisbane on 06/05/1943 on board the U.S.A.A.T. Willard .A. Holbrook. Bound for the U.K., via the U.S.A. After some time with an O.T.U., in the U.K., he & his crew were posted to R.A.F., 104 squadron, based at Foggia, Southern Italy. Arriving there on 18/04/1944, & reporting to the C/O, the next day. Then in the evening of 19/7/1944, Wellington bomber LN760, D for Donald, crashed shortly after take off, 2 1/2 miles north west of Foggia main aerodrome. The port side Hercules engine was seen to be showering sparks during take off! The full crew were: Warrant Officer S F Gerty Pilot Pilot Officer S G M Ross Navigator Flight Sergeant H R Mann Bomb Aimer Sergeant J Woodward Wireless Operator Flight Sergeant R T J Griffiths Air Gunner All of the crew are buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Bari, Italy. The crash incident is told in the book, “Wellington Wings” written by F.R.Chappell. My wife, Pam & I were honoured & privileged to have Roy Chappell visit our home, in Canberra Australia, on the 05/08/1994. He kindly autographed our copy of “Wellington Wings”

Douglas Herbert Mann

William Hogan

William Hogan served on bombers and flew dangerous missions from Foggia, Italy. He was a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber during his 16th and final mission on May 29, 1944. His plane was flying in a formation to bomb a German fighter-plane factory in a suburb of Vienna, Austria. "The Germans knew where we were going, they knew our altitude and speed, and when we approaced, there was all kinds of flak. You couldn't go over it, under it or around it; you had to go through it. We had just dropped our bombs when we were hit by flak. The plane went into a steep dive, but the pilot straightened it out. The pilot was wounded, and the copilot and top gunner were killed. On the intercom, everyone could hear what was going on. The copilot's body was removed and the navigator took over."

But the crew had bigger problems now that their plane was separated from the protection of the formation. German fighteers hit the bomber with fire from 30-caliber machine guns and 20 mm cannons. Hogan fired back, but the outlook looked more grim with each passing second. The tail rudders were knocked out, and parts of the planes were ablaze. The crew bailed out over Austria. Hogan had to pull the lines of his parachute to avoid landing on top of a woman and instead hit the roof of a two-story farm house, then fell, breaking tow bones in his right leg. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and after time in Austrian and German hospitals, an interrogation, and a stint at a POW camp in Poland, he was transferred to Stalag Luft 1, where he spent 11 months. The camp housed thousands of POW's, mostly American and British service members. What stood out? "Starvation. We didn't get much food."


John Edward "Gibbo" Gibson 104 Squadron

Ted Gibson joined the RAF in 1943 and went to Winnipeg for training. After a short time at West Freugh and Westcott was transferred to Tortorella in Italy with 37 Sq. In Dec 1944 went to Foggia Main 104 Sq., in both cases as a Bomb aimer in Wellingtons. He left the RAF briefly after the war but rejoined as a navigator and retired as a Flt Lt in 1975.

Don Gibson

Flt.Sgt. Francis Rodney "Rodney" Hughes 40 Squadron (d.2nd/3rd June 1944)

My Uncle Rodney was a member of 40 Squadron RAF from about November 1941 until his death in 1944. He was pilot of NL120 a Wellington X bomber that nominally had a crew of 6 but in actuality flew with a crew of 5, 2 Australians and 3 Brits.

At the time Uncle Rodney died they were flying night bombing missions from Foggia Main to the Balkans. In 1945 my mother, Isabelle Samuelson Hughes, who worked for the RAAF pay office in Sydney, was told by returning members of the Squadron that Uncle Rodney's plane had gone down over Yugoslavia but only 4 parachutes were seen and they felt Uncle Rodney had gone down with his plane after keeping the plane in the air as long as possible while his crew ejected.

This was all we knew for 62 years. Then I started research on the Internet in 2006 and found the family of the other Australian crew member who had travelled to Yugoslavia to find out what happened to the crew of Wellington Bomber NL120 on that fatal night of 2/3 June 1944.

Squadron were returning from night bombing raid over Giugiu, Romania to Foggia Main, Italy when NL120 crashed outside Krupac Yugoslavia. Eye witnesses to the crash (who were teenagers at the time) recounted that 4 crew members had successfully parachuted out -- this being consistent with the stories told to my mother. Two of the British crew were reunited in Krupac with many hugs but the crash had been witnessed by nearby Bulgarian Facist Soldiers who turned up in the village and took these two crew members prisoner never to be seen again. The third British crew member fled into the mountains and joined the partisans eventually making it back to England where he recounted his story for the BBC in about 2008.

The fourth Australian member died from bullet wounds inflicted by the Bulgarian soldiers while hanging in a tree from his parachute. Apparently a wedding ring was removed from this crew member's finger. The fifth Australian crew member was removed from the plane after it crashed.

The bodies were interred in Krupac Church and then after an extensive search in 1945/46 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were moved to the War Cemetery in Belgrade (back row). The grave does not carry any identification because it could not be reliably established which body was which. That is they knew that they were the two (2) Australians but they weren't sure whether it was Uncle Rodney who died in the tree or whether he died in the plane.

However, by putting together little clues we believe (i.e. the Hughes family) that it was Rodney who died in the tree. The little clues are a) Rodney wore a wedding ring and he was the only one married and b) the plane went into the ground nose first (eye witness evidence) which means the body recovered was in the rear of the plane. As the 2nd Australian Crew member was the rear gunner and that position was the most difficult to exit from (the gun turret had to swivel to just the right position to allow crawling, cramped exit and needed to be mechinacally OK). Therefore the odds are it was the 2nd Australian (not the pilot) who died in the plane.

The old Wellington Heavy Bomber was known to the aircrews as the Wimpie but there was nothing wimpish about those aircrews. 40 Squadron and its fellows in 236 Air Wing were the only Commonwealth forces ever to be placed under the command of a foreign power. They were seconded to the 205 Group, 15th USAAF under General Doolittle of atomic fame. General Doolittle did look after the aircrews of 40 squadron moving them from the tents in the ankle deep mud sea of Foggia Main aerodrome to a bombed out school house in Foggia village itself.

While under the command of the 15th USAAF it was agreed that the US Air Force with their lighter more manouverable planes would fly the daylight raids and the Commonwealth Squadrons with their heavier but more reliable bombers (the Wellington was slow and heavy but almost indestructible) would fly the night missions.

On 2nd June 1944 the American's had not flown because their planes could not cope with the weather but the RAF flew their regular night mission over the Roumanian oil fields. It must have been a horrible flight in bad weather over enemy territory. On the way back NL120 was seen circling over Krupac (it made at least 3 circuits over the valley) before crashing. Why it crashed is unknown but as the Wellington was known to fly with enormous damage it must have been engine damage of some kind.

To me personally it was amazing to learn the full story of Uncle Rodney's death exactly 62 years to the day after he died. Because that's what I haven't told you so far, I was sent this story on the night of 2/3 June 2006, 62 years to the day after he and his Australian comrade died. The only thing that I found sad was that my father had died exactly 5 years previously that is exactly 57 years after his beloved brother's death.

Claire Marie Hughes

Charles Dudley Gough Cox 114 Squadron

Charles Cox Qualified as Air Crew Wireless Operator (WOP sending and receiving morse at 18 words per minute) with effect from 6th of August 1941 at Yatesbury. He Qualified as Air Gunner (AG) with effect from 25th of July 1942 at No1 A.G.S Pembrey.

From 26th of August 1942 to 3rd of October he flew with 42 O.T.U from Andover as a WOP/AG. From the 19th of October to 30th of November he flew from Ashbourne WOP/AG, then during December from Thruxton. In January they moved to Hartford Bridge and on the 21st of February returned to Ashbourne. Charles and his crew transferred to 301 flight training unit on the 12th of March 1943 at RAF Lyneham qualifying on the 20th of March 1943. On the 4th of April they joined 13 Squadron at Oulmene, then transferring to 114 Squadron on the 20th of May 1943, flying from Grombalia until the 7th of August 1943. They moved to Comiso, Sicily from 9th to the 28th of August then flew from Gerbini, Sicily from the 1st to 14th of September. From the 20th to 30th of October they were based at Brindisi in Italy, then from the 1st of November 1943 to the 30th of April 1944 they flew from Foggia I, Italy. On the 1st of May until the 2nd of June they flew from Marcianese. On the 23rd of September 1945 Charlie joined 10 Squadron at Mount Batten, Plymouth. He flew a total 62 Bombing Raids and his log book is signed by Flight Lt C.H Thomas Commanding Officer.

Sharon Jefferies

S/Sgt. Olan Rice 99th Bomb Group

Dad, Olan Rice, was a tail gunner on a B-17. He flew out of Foggia, Italy with the 15th AAF, 99th Bomb group. He was shot down over Austria on 25th of April 1945. He was taken prisoner and held at Stalag 18c at Pongau.

Boyd Rice

Lt. Theodore Vlok 37 Squadron (d.6th July 1944)

My uncle Theo Vlok, who I never met since he was killed in action at age 22 in Italy in 1944 before I was born, was like me a South African, and served in the RAF although he received his flight training at Lyttelton near Pretoria, at East London and Youngsfield in the Cape from 1941.

He was apparently very popular and talented as a navigator in Lancaster and Wellington bombers. His squadron was based in a castle in Foggia, South Italy, from where they carried out bombing raids into Northern Italy and Austria. He was there from March 1944 till his death in a bombing sortie over Vienna, Austria in early July 1944.

His Wellington was shot down by a German fighter after successfully dropping their bombs on a German airfield, and went down in flames with only one survivor, the wireless operator Jimmy Mitchell, who managed to bale out. Charlie Keighly was apparently the pilot, and Andy Andrews the co-pilot.

Louis Marais

Taffy Harries 205 Group 34 Sqdn. SAAF

My father served in 34 Squadron SAAF 205 group and later RAF 70 Squadron. He spent time in Foggia. He was a flight engineer and his pilot was J. Williams.


WO. Philip Henry "Tubby" Gaunt 49 Squadron

My late father, Tubby Gaunt flew with 49 Sqn. completing his first tour on Hampdens, out of Scampton, 1941 & 42, as wireless op air gunner, having trained in South Africa to be a pilot. Gaining his wings he moved on to Wellingtons at Foggia, with 37 & 70 Sqns. After 23 operations, he iced up and force landed in Gorski Kotar. He and all his crew were safe and fairly sound, where they were helped by Titos partisans, and repatriated back to Tortorella, then back to Liverpool by troop ship. It was late April 1942, and thinking he had done his bit, they demobbed him in November 1945.

Starting in 1939 having a forced landing at Manston, and a little while later a mid air collision with a Lancaster, later to survive his crash in the mountains of Gorski Kotar, Croatia as it is now, he lived a charmed life indeed.

John Ackland Wall 32 Squadron

6 sqn Hurricane, Araxos Greece 1944

John Wall, 32 sqn 2nd on right, local women repair Araxos runway 1944

32 sqn Araxos Greece 1944

32 sqn Spits, Araxos Greece 1944

John Wall is a good friend of mine here in Hamilton NZ, he's told me that he watched with awe the Spitfires in the Battle of Britain and as soon as he was old enough caught a train to London and signed up! Then it was off to Texas and training on Boeing Stearman and North American Harvards before coming back to the UK and joining 32 Sqn. He finally got his Spitfire Mkix GZ-M JF404 and we recently found it on the net, photographed just as he said at Foggia in Italy.

From there he went to Greece, landing hot on the heels of Jerry at Araxos where the Germans had blown a few holes in the strip which he said made for a tricky landing. Local peasant women filled the holes in for them! Flying photo recon flights over the Adriatic coast then conducting sweeps over the Balkans later in the war John came down and had to destroy the aircraft only to hear his fellow Spits coming back round to strafe the wreck, he hid and hoped for the rescue by partisans. Fortunately it was the ally friendly side and they secreted him around until a rescue flight on a Dak a few weeks later took him out. It had been hard and John says the only English they had was the leader knew the words to 'A long way to Tipperary' which kept his spirits up!

After the war he flew Spits in the Palestine theatre operation before joining civvy street and marrying Elma who he'd met in the service. We recently went for a flight in a Tiger Moth and John in his 90s still had 'it' as the pilot said when giving John the stick for a bit, its a pleasure knowing John, he's too humble to post his own memoirs, I hope I've done him justice.

He recently gave an interview to a a local aviation website. Click here to listen.

Ian Bisset

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