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305th Bomb Group, USAAF in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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305th Bomb Group, USAAF

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   479th Anti-Submarine Group, USAAF was formed at Langley Field, Virginia USA from existing squadrons reassigned from HQ Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command and 25th Antisubmarine Wing. They deployed to RAF St Eval, Cornwall, England attacking German U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay off the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border and the major Kriegsmarine U-Boat bases at Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle (La Pallice) and Bordeaux. They moved to RAF Dunkeswell, Devon in early August 1943. But in October 1943 the aerial antisubmarine mission was allocated to the United States Navy.


  • 4th Antisubmarine Squadron
  • 6th Antisubmarine Squadron
  • 19th Antisubmarine Squadron
  • 22nd Antisubmarine Squadron


   4th Antisubmarine Squadron was part of the 479th Anti-Submarine Group, USAAF formed at Langley Field, Virginia USA. They deployed to RAF St Eval, Cornwall, England attacking German U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay off the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border and the major Kriegsmarine U-Boat bases at Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle (La Pallice) and Bordeaux. They moved to RAF Dunkeswell, Devon in early August 1943. But in October 1943 the aerial antisubmarine mission was allocated to the United States Navy.


28th July 1943 Submarine Sunk

29th Dec 1943 Night Raids

January 1944 New Targets

28th Jan 1944 POW train bombed

 Flying from Tibenham

 Shot down Over Germany

17th May 1945 P51 Lost

10th Jun 1944 Emergency Landing

22nd June 1944 

6th Jul 1944 Royal Visit


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

Those known to have served with

305th Bomb Group, USAAF

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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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Capt. William N. Doughten 506th Bomb Squadron 44th Bomb Group

My grandfather, Captain William N. Doughten was stationed in Shipdham with the 506th from Sept 1943 to the end of the war. He was ground crew, I believe. He spoke of James Curtis McAtee, a colonel, who was stationed there and was one of the pilots of the Aug 1943 ploesti raid. Col. Mcatee is still alive and well.

Derek Benz

Col. James Curtis McAtee 44th Bomb Group

Derek Benz

2nd Lt Charles Matthew "Chuck" Eberhardt 410th Squadron 8th Airborne, 94th Bomber Group

My father, Charles (Chuck) Eberhardt, was a POW at Stalag Luft 3 and I am looking for any other POW who may recall him. Please send any info to me at or call me at 972-567-0029. Thanks

Mike Eberhardt

William F. Carter 855th Bomb Sqd. 491st Bomb Group

I purchased at a flea market, a "cloth" map of England. On the cover, it has the following information:

William F. Carter, 855 Bomb Sqd. 491st Bomb GP.

R(?)P.O. 558 c/o P.M. N.Y, N.Y.


I have determined through research, that the aircraft was indeed a B24J, serial number 42-40722, with the name of "Little Gramper".

I would like to possibly find any descendents of Mr. Carter, and return this to a family member.

Andrew Weems

S/Sgt. Ray F. Fortney 855 Bomb Sqd. 491st Bomb Group (d.30th Mar 1945)

I am the younger brother of S/Sgt Ray F. Fortney who was a tail gunner on the Robert Siek crew, which ditched at sea on Mar 30, 1945. The "Heavenly Body" had been losing altitude constinually on the return trip as one engine was out. When ditching became inevitable, the radio operator sent the word out. An Air-Sea Rescue unit saved only two men from the crew. It was the last aircraft from the 491st to be lost on operations.

Joe K. Fortney

Lt. Joseph Obosla 360th Fighter Squadron 356th Fighter Group (d.8th Jun 1944)

My uncle, Lt. Joseph Obosla, served at Martlesham Heath during World War II. He served in the 360th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group until he was KIA on June 8, 1944. He served with Captain Bertrum E. Ellingson.

Joseph Obosla

Capt. Bertrum E. Ellingson 360th Fighter Squadron 356th Fighter Group

Captain Bertrum E. Ellingson served at Martlesham Heath during World War II, with my uncle, Lt. Joseph Obosla. He served in the 360th Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group.

Joseph Obosla

2nd Lt. Robert Siek 855 Bomb Sqd. 491st Bomb Group (d.30th Mar 1945)

2nd Lt Siek lost his life when he was forced to ditch at sea on Mar 30, 1945. His aircraft the "Heavenly Body" had been losing altitude constinually on the return trip as one engine was out. When ditching became inevitable, the radio operator sent the word out. An Air-Sea Rescue unit saved only two men from the crew. It was the last aircraft from the 491st to be lost on operations. My older brother S/Sgt Ray F. Fortney was the tail gunner on this crew.

Joe K. Fortney

Lt Charles Eberhardt 410th Squadron 94th Bomb Group

Does anyone know if a list of Stalag Luft 3 POWS exists which identifies which ones were housed together?

Michael Eberhardt

John Croul 96th BG 338 BS

I am helping the navigator Lt Croul find his crewmates and am seeking contact with crewman of the B-17G "Skyraider" of the 338th BS 96th BG. The son of a gunner posted here earlier this year but left no email address.

Jack Cook

Lt. Sidney Solomon navigator 452nd Bomb Group

Lt. Solomon and Tech Sgt. Powell were the only suvivors of a terrible accident near Cambridge, UK in Oct. 1944. My friend Matt Ransom was the tail gunner on this flight and was one of the crew that lost his life. At the time of the accident Lt. Solomon was based at Deopham Green, near Cambridge, England. The last report that we had on Lt. Solomon was that he was living in Penbroke Pines, FL and we are trying to get more information on the accident. We know that he attended the 452nd reunion in Charleseton, SC some years ago and I would believe that someone from that reunion could shed some light on the whereabouts of Sidney Solomon the Navigator of that flight. Tech. Sgt. Powell is deceased. We also tried to find a book that he wrote, however, it is out of print.

John Younger

Second Lieutenant Ralph J Diederich Purple Heart 388 Bomber Group, Heavy 563 Bomber Squadron (d.8th March 1944)

My grandfather's brother, Second Lieutenant Ralph J. Diederich O-755052 enlisted in Illinois in the U.S. Army Air Force and flew with the 563rd Bomber Squadron, 388th Bomber Group, Heavy. He lost his life on Wednesday, March 08, 1944 and was buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold (Moselle), in France. He was awarded a Purple Heart. I would love to learn more about him.

Brian Diederich

I don't have much information for you about my Grandfather's brother. He was Second Lieutenant Ralph J. Diederich, O-755052 from Illinois he served with the U.S. Army Air Forces, 563rd Bomber Squadron, 388th Bomber Group, Heavy and was killed on Wednesday, March 08, 1944 and buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold (Moselle), France. He was awarded the Purple Heart

Brian Diederich

John Eugene Frasch 445the Bomb Group 702 Bomb Squadron

I am looking for any information anyone may have concerning John Eugene Frasch, my step-uncle.

Abaya Onukure

2nd Lt. Robert R Wilkins 701st BS 445th BG

I am looking for any information available about my cousin, U.S. Army Air Corps 2nd Lt. Robert R. Wilkins, a B-24 pilot with the 701st Bomber Squadron, 445th Bomber Group (Heavy), who was shot down on Nov. 21, 1944. He was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, he is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands.

John Maddigan

Edmund La Mar Moberly 12th Bomb Group 83 Bomb Squadron

I am researching my uncle, Edmund La Mar Moberly who was a bombardier in the 12th Bomb Group with the 83rd Bomb Squadron in North Africa in 1944. His plane went missing whilst on a bombing run to Sicily and was never heard from again. I was wondering if anyone would have any information regarding his service or disappearance or any information about the group and squadron during those years.

La Mar Moverly

Captain Blades 44th Heavy Bomb Group 66th Squadron

My Dad, La Verne L. Carvo, would like to know if there is anyone who has information about the armorer personnel who serviced the guns on the B24 bombers headed by Captain Blades.

Thomas Carvo

Sargent Edward W Tegge 356th Fighter Group 361 Fighter Squadron

My uncle, Sgt Edward W. Tegge, served with the 356th Fighter Group 361st Fighter squadron during World War Two at Martlesham Heath, England. He was a Radio Technician know as a "Static Chaser" from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He enlisted on August 21st 1942.

Does anyone have any pictures of the ground crews of 361st Fighter Squadron or their radio technicians?

David William Galvin

Flight Officer Frank White Bartlett jr. 847th Bomber Squardon 489th Bomber Group Heavy (d.29 May 1944)

I am inquiring for information, My Uncle, Frank White Bartlett, was in England, at Halesworth Air Base in April 1944 with the 847th. Bomber Squardon. He was a Flight Officer. He was killed in a plane crash prior to D-Day. The story I have heard was they were having an aircraft fly by for some VIP's prior to D-Day when the wing tips touched and at least 4 planes in formation crashed. I have not been able to find any details of this and hoping someone might point me in the right direction or have been there. I never knew him and I was in the Air Force in Veit Nam, I want to take my Mother to England to see her brother's markers at Cambridge Cemetery. She is 80 years old and in very good shape. Thanks for hearing my story.

John T. Scales

1st Lieutenant Jack A. Kelly 306th Bomber Group 369th Bomber Squadron (d.14th Oct. 1943)

My uncle, Jack A. Kelly, my dads' brother and my namesake, was a bombardier and 1st Lieutenant for a B17 crew. His plane went missing on 14th October 1943 on a mission over Germany and the crew were eventually declared dead. His memorial is at the Tablets of the Missing at Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. I never knew my uncle, but now that I am getting older I would like to do more to honor his memory.

Jack A. Kelly

Radioman Robert Clark 96 Group 337 Squadron (d.22nd June 194-)

On June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany, aircraft 42-5877 was shot down. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

Nick Schultz

Edward J Kelso 96 Group 337 Squadron

I found my uncle Edward Kelso's photo on file as a POW at Stalag 17b about 18 months ago. Through his daughter I began the search for his discharge papers. I just got a copy of these and gave them to friend who has researched lost fliers. He found him last night with the 337th Squadron. As chance would have it he also had the 96th's Group Book.

We learned that he went down on June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany. The aircraft was 42-5877. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

On behalf of my first cousin Pamela Kelso Winkler, we would like to inquire if anyone has any information about the crew and who may still be living and where the plane crashed after being shot down.

Nick Schultz

Pilot Harold C Russell 96 Group 337 Squadron

I found my uncle Edward Kelso's photo on file as a POW at Stalag 17b about 18 months ago. Through his daughter I began the search for his discharge papers. I just got a copy of these and gave them to friend who has researched lost fliers. He found him last night with the 337th Squadron. As chance would have it he also had the 96th's Group Book.

We learned that he went down on June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany. The aircraft was 42-5877. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

On behalf of my first cousin Pamela Kelso Winkler, we would like to inquire if anyone has any information about the crew and who may still be living and where the plane crashed after being shot down.

Nick Schultz

First Lieutenant William F Hunter 389 Bomb Group/H 564 Bomb Squadron (d.9th March 1945)

I have adopted a grave of a fallen soldier who died in World War 2, on the 9th March 1945. He's buried at the American Netherlands Cemetery Margraten.

His name is William F Hunter. O-792598, 1st Lt, American Airforce 564 BOMB SQ 389 BOMB GP/H/

If there is anyone who have some further information please I would love to know.

Guido Sipers

1st Lieutenant Jack A. Kelly 306th Bomber Group 369th Bomber Squadron (d.14th Oct. 1943)

My uncle, Jack A. Kelly, my dads' brother and my namesake, was a bombardier and 1st Lieutenant for a B17 crew. His plane went missing on 14th October 1943 on a mission over Germany and the crew were eventually declared dead. His memorial is at the Tablets of the Missing at Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. I never knew my uncle, but now that I am getting older I would like to do more to honor his memory.

Jack A. Kelly

Edward J Kelso 96 Group 337 Squadron

I found my uncle Edward Kelso's photo on file as a POW at Stalag 17b about 18 months ago. Through his daughter I began the search for his discharge papers. I just got a copy of these and gave them to friend who has researched lost fliers. He found him last night with the 337th Squadron. As chance would have it he also had the 96th's Group Book.

We learned that he went down on June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany. The aircraft was 42-5877. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

On behalf of my first cousin Pamela Kelso Winkler, we would like to inquire if anyone has any information about the crew and who may still be living and where the plane crashed after being shot down.

Nick Schultz

Pilot Harold C Russell 96 Group 337 Squadron

I found my uncle Edward Kelso's photo on file as a POW at Stalag 17b about 18 months ago. Through his daughter I began the search for his discharge papers. I just got a copy of these and gave them to friend who has researched lost fliers. He found him last night with the 337th Squadron. As chance would have it he also had the 96th's Group Book.

We learned that he went down on June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany. The aircraft was 42-5877. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

On behalf of my first cousin Pamela Kelso Winkler, we would like to inquire if anyone has any information about the crew and who may still be living and where the plane crashed after being shot down.

Nick Schultz

Radioman Robert Clark 96 Group 337 Squadron (d.22nd June 194-)

On June 22nd on a mission to Huls, Germany, aircraft 42-5877 was shot down. The Pilot was Harold C Russell and Radioman Robert Clark is listed as KIA.

Nick Schultz

First Lieutenant William F Hunter 389 Bomb Group/H 564 Bomb Squadron (d.9th March 1945)

I have adopted a grave of a fallen soldier who died in World War 2, on the 9th March 1945. He's buried at the American Netherlands Cemetery Margraten.

His name is William F Hunter. O-792598, 1st Lt, American Airforce 564 BOMB SQ 389 BOMB GP/H/

If there is anyone who have some further information please I would love to know.

Guido Sipers

Stephen Tanella 367th BS 306 Bomb Group

My father, Stephen Tanella, is a veteran of World War 2 and was stationed at Thurleigh Airforce Base with the 306th Bomb Group, 367th BS. He served as a bombardier on the B-17G named the "Rose of York" as it was dedicated by the then Princess Elizabeth.

John Tanella

Lieutenant James A DesJardins 360th Fighter Sqaudron 356th Fighter Group (d.25th November 1844)

During WW2 near my village an american aircraft crashed on 25th November 1944 2.Lt James A. DesJardins? MACR 10472 of 356thFG, 360thFS. 1.Lt Edward M.Nebinger was the leader. Have you more informations about the pilots or the attack?

Lothar Ritzmann

Lieutenant M Nebringer Edward 360th Fighter Squadron 356th Fighter Group

During WW2 near my village an american aircraft crashed on 25th November 1944 2.Lt James A. DesJardins MACR 10472 of 356thFG, 360thFS. 1.Lt Edward M.Nebinger was the leader. Have you more informations about the pilots or the attack?

Lothar Ritzmann

Sergeant Everett Wayne Stanley 613th Bomb Squadron 401st Bomb Group

My grandfather was the ball turret gunner on a B-17G. On April 29, 1944, his aircraft was shot down over Holland after bombing the railway yards in Berlin. All of the crew made it safely out of the aircraft. All of the crew were captured by German forces with the exception of one man. This man, Sgt. Watkins, was able to evade capture with the help of members of the Dutch Resistance and made it back to England. The rest of the crew were taken to Dulag Luft for interrogation. All of the enlisted crew members were sent to Stalag Luft 4. My grandfather however was sent to Stalag Luft 3 with all of the officers. They arrived a little more than a month after "The Great Escape". All of the crew members survived thier ordeal in the german prison camps and were later reunited after they were liberated by Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army. Sadly, my grandfather passed away from cancer. He never spoke of his experiences during the war. After much research, I now understand why. God bless all that served and let us never forget thier sacrifice.

Wayne Roberts

Staff Sergeant Robert Welch " " Mills 348th Bomber Sqd. (d.5th July 1943)

Does anyone have info or photo's they would share with me? I only have one of my grandfather S/Sgt. Robert Mills. He is buried in Florence Italy, He was a tail gunner with 348th Bomber Sqd. He enlisted May 12, 1942 in Camp Blanding, Florida.


Capt. Charles T. Milioti 96th Bomb Group 338th Bomb Squadron

I am trying to find out if there are any surviving members of the 338 Bomb Squadron/96 Bomb Group besides my grandfather, Captain Charles T. Milioti. He is 89 and currently living in Georgia, and says he has searched for surviving members, but to no avail. He survived several major crashes and was rescued from one in particular by his future father-in-law.

Cristin Milioti

2nd Lt. Joe Leroy Ogan 741st Bomb Squadron 455th Bomb Group

I was a B-24 pilot flying combat missions out of Cerignola, Italy with the. On 30 May 1944, I flew a mission to Wells, Austria where I was knocked down. The wing of my airplane was blown off between the 1st and 2nd engines. I was taken prisoner and transferred to the interrogation center at Frankfurt.

Later, I was transferred to Stalag Luft 3. On 27 January, as the Russians were advancing, I was marched out of there in the deep snow and several days later was sent to Muremburg. After some time, I was marched out of there toward Moosburg. I was liberated by Patton's 3rd Army.

Joe L. Ogan

Tech Sgt Reginald William Buxton 749 Bomb Sqd, 457th Bomb Group

We have just recruited this airman and I would appreciate it if you could advertise the fact that the Goldfish Club is still alive and well and happy to have any member who ditched join/rejoin our Association. Many Thanks Editor & PRO The Goldfish Club

Michael Dane

2nd Lt. Maurice Joseph "Murray" Wasser 325th Fighter Squadron

My beloved father, Murray Wasser, was a member of the 325th Fighter Squadron in Italy. He was shot down on his 13th mission over Salzburg, Austria and was a POW at Stalag VIIA. He passed away in April, 2007 and when looking through his things, I found his POW dog tags. My father's POW number was 147023. What shocked me was that those numbers are the same as in my birthday; 01/23/47! My sister made a necklace for me of the tags and I wear them proudly everyday.

I'm trying to find out what kind of metal they are made of. They have some rust and/or oxidation on them and I don't want to use something harmful. If anyone knows the type of metal used on those tags, please contact me. Thank you so very much!

Sandi Wasser Falk

2nd Lt. Arnold Paul "A.P." Martin 548th Squadron 385th Bomb Group

My father was the co-pilot of B17 'Miss NonaLee II' which developed engine problems on the October 9th 1943 mission to bomb the Marianburg factory. The crew bailed out and the pilot ditched the plane in occupied Denmark. The rest of the crew, including my father, were captured and spent 15 months in Stalag Luft III and then were forced to march to Stalag 7A (Moosburg) in January 1945 where he was imprisoned until liberated on April 29th 1945.
Patricia Martin

Capt. Edward P. Ludeke 355 Fighter Group 357 Fighter Squadron

My Dad was very proud to have served as a pilot based in England until 1944. He enlisted in 1940, but I do not know when he actually arrived in England. I believe he flew out of the Steeple-Morden Station 122 in Cambridge County, which I discovered through my own research.

Dad would not talk much about the war. Because of that I do not know details and have lost track of his friends I met as a child who were from his USAAF years. I grew up listening to him sing the drinking songs that he had learned while in England. He had many fond memories of those years which he shared very sparingly. When he did talk about serving in England it was about the wonderful friendships that he had gained, but we never heard any stories about his P-51 missions.

I hope someone who knew him reads this posting and chooses to get in touch with me. It would mean a lot to me and my siblings.

Phil Ludeke

Sgt. Lawrence Earl Romig 92nd BG 407 squadron 407th Bomb Sqd.

Lawrence E. Romig was waist gunner on a B-17 that was shot down somewhere over Holland on 2-24-1944. He and the other crew members were captured and sent to Stalag #4 POW Camp. I beleive the prisoners were later moved to Stalag 11b pow camp. I beleive the POW's were liberated sometime in July 1945.

Charles Ziriax

S/Sgt Raymond Ezra Duncan 836th Squadron 487th Bomb Group

I was assigned to the 487th Bomb Group 836th Squadron from inception to termination. I served in England on Station 137 for 15 months. I volunteered to be bar tender for the 836th Sqdn party on return of Col Bernie Lay's return after the bomb mission which his aircraft was shot down in France.

I was also present at the Boarding of Trebble Four aircraft by Brigadier General Bernard Castle on 24 December 1944 which ended in fate for General Castle & possibly one other crew member.

For 65 years I was not aware of the outcome of this flight until it was discovered on the internet. I was Crew Chief on Heavenly Body which has been reported in a narrative on the internet that it crashed but I have to say I flew back to the USA in July 1945 in it after being allerted 19 times for takeoff.

I prepared a swing seat between the pilot & Co-pilot as the pilot was concerned about one spark plug malfunction. I assured him that it was OK. We flew from station 137 to Wales-overnight on to Rejykavick, Iceland-overnight, on to Labrador-overnight & on to Bangor, Maine without incident.

I built a hut by the aircraft hardstand out of B-24 Bomb bay cargo racks & lived in it several months.

Raymond Duncan

Mst.Sgt. Joseph Francis Macone 448 Bomb Group

My dad, Joseph Macone, died in 1991. We don't know many details about him but he was proud to serve during WWII as a Bombardier. We know he also flew on a B-24 plane named the Rabduckit. He talked about being stationed at Bungay in England. My brother and I did find a photo of the plane but would like to know a little more about it and who my dad may have served with.

His obituary reads: Joseph Francis Macone was cofounder and partner in the former Macone Sporting Goods store in Concord, died Sunday in Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. He was 68 and lived in Sarasota and Bristol, Maine. Mr. Macone opened the store as a bicycle shop with his brother, Ralph, after returning to his native Concord after World War II. They sold the business in 1981. A 1942 graduate of Concord High School, Mr. Macone flew 27 missions as a bombardier on a B-24 in the 448th Bomb Group in England. He was discharged from the Army Air Corps as a master sergeant.

Nancy Macone Arbeene

Tech Sgt. Reamond Smiley 545th Bomb Sqd.

I'm looking for anyone who may have a recollection of Reamond C. Smiley, who was imprisoned in Stalag 17B from 1943-1945. His B17 was shot down over Hamburg, Germany on July 25, 1943. He was a waist turret gunner. 384th Bomb Group (H), Squardon 545th. He may have gone by the nickname, "Smiley".

Carol Smiley-Vincenti

Lt. Ed Wanner 700 Bomb Sqd.

Ed Wanner arrived in England as a replacement who would soon pilot B-24 Liberator Asbestos Alice, in the 700th Bomb Squadron, 445th Bomb Group, 2nd Bomb Division at Tibenham, Norfolk. He was somewhat bemused by the differences in England and noted that here they were in a "foreign land" where they drove on the "wrong" side of the road and where the great Normandy Invasion Landing was happening.

Spencer Benedict

S/Sgt. Racine Black 94th Bomber Group

I just read the story on this website of the crash landing of the B-17 called Little Sir Echo in England. My uncle was Racine Black the waist gunner. My aunt Wanda Shults was married to him and she is still living in Okemah, Oklahoma. I would love to get more history on my uncle and his crew of Little Sir Echo.

M. Shults

Jesse Edgar Kennedy 466th Bomb Group

I'm helping a friend trace his dad, Jesse Edgar Kennedy (from Texas) who was at Attlebridge, Station 120 in the 466th Bomb Group in 1945, if you could help or offer any advice to get closer, please drop me a line.


2nd Lt. Joseph Charles Sanford 782 Bomb Sq, 465 Bomb Group

I went into Federal Service From 44 Div NG. Sept 16 1940. I then entered USAAF in 1943 a Member of Class 43 10 Bombardier training at Childress Texas. I trained to drop "The Bomb" at Wendover Field Utah as a member of Col Keese' Provisional Group. But The Bomb was not ready so I joined 456th Bomb Group at McCook, Nebraska and flew to Africa, and later on to Italy. I then flew 31 missions bombing oil refineries. I was shot down in July 1944 and taken to POW North Compound at Stalagluft III, then to Nuremberg and then Mooseburg. I was Liberated by General Patton.

Joseph Charles Sanford

Sgt. Robert Lara Morales 855th Bomb Squad

My father, Robert Morales was a gunner on a B-17 and was in Normandy. When I was a young girl growing up he never liked to talk about his time in the war. It wasn't until he was 90 that he shared bits and pieces with me. He told me about crossing the English Channel and he also told me about coming home on the Queen Mary. I have his Army Air Force papers and I have pictures of him in his uniform and with some Army buddies. I am so proud of my father and have such deep admiration and respect for him.

My son is a sophomore in high school and doing a research paper on D-Day. He is amazed at everything that happened and is so proud of the fact that his grandfather was there. He was only 7 years old when my dad died so he never got a chance to talk to his grandpa about the war and D-Day but he knows now what his grandfather's contribution to history is and is so proud of him. He earned the Good Conduct, European, African and Middle Eastern Campaign medals.

Vicki Morales Tachias

2nd Lt. Donald Emmett Casey DFC 370th Bomb Group

My name is Don Casey of Chicago, IL. I was in Stalag Luft III after being shot down 5/18/44 over Hamburg, Germany while flying Deputy Lead Navigator for the 379th Bomb Group out of Kimbolton, England. We lost 4 of our 9 man crew that day. Five survived as POW's. Pilot Steve King and I were taken to SL3 and were held in the South Compound along with 2,000 flying officer prisoners of the USAAF. There were five compounds. The Great Escape compound was also called North Camp. Conditions were pretty good that summer. We had food, books, musical instruments and room for exercise. On January 27th 1945 we were evacuated on foot in a 15 degree below zero blizzard to the sound of the Russian guns approaching the camp from about 30 miles. For a while we were hopeful the Russian Army would liberate us but to no avail.

I have written a book about my experiences entitled: To Fight For My Country, Sir. It is a paper back edition of just less than 300 pages with pictures taken throughout my training, in combat and at SL3 inside the camp.

We were liberated on 4/29/45 at STALAG VII-A in Moosburg (Bavaria) Germany by Gen. Patton's 14th Armored Division of his 3rd Army and George visited us there on 5/2/45, in person. Two other SL3 POW's surviving from South Camp are Col. Steve King, USAF, Ret. and Valleau Wilkie of Fort Worth Texas.

Don Casey

Staff Sgt. Frederic C. Martini 551st Bomb Squadron

S/Sgt Frederic C. Martini, Flt Engineer.

Staff Sgt. Frederic C. Martini was stationed with the B-17's at Gt. Ashfield, Suffolk, England. He was a Flight Engineer & Top Turret Gunner. I lived in Stowmarket, a small town about ten miles from Gt. Ashfield. I had no idea my future brother-in-law was stationed so close by. I was only seven.

Later I would tease Fred, asking him if he was the American Air Force fellow we picked up along the road one evening, heading for Gt. Ashfield. We took him home to have a meal with us and my mother fed him the last egg we had, being on strict rationing at that time. I asked Fred if he was that fellow and his reply had nothing to do with eggs! Unfortunately, I can't tell you his reply here anyway!

Fred's B-17 was shot down three times. Once they ditched in the English Channel near a rescue buoy & were picked up by the RAF Air-Sea Rescue; another time they crash-landed in a British field; the third time they went down over France & Fred was taken in by the French Underground. However, someone turned him in & he spent time in Buchenwald until they were liberated. He didn't talk much about those times

Mary E. Hover

Theodore Andrew Brown 485th Bomb Group

The recent Swampscott Historical Society Antiques Appraisals Night was successful. It was fun to see nearly 100 people learn the value of their antiques and collectibles. I brought ceramic Stengal birds given to me years ago. They were vintage 1940s, valued at about $100. Many paintings brought in for appraising were in the $300 to $400 range. But, to me, the most exciting item was a kerchief-sized heavy silk fabric with a detailed map of Germany and Belgium on one side and Germany and France on the other side. Teresa Vatcher asked everyone in the hall if they knew what the maps were from. Two people in the hall recognized the maps. These detailed maps were issued to airmen flying over hostile territory during World War II and were included in their survival kits. Of 35,000 servicemen who found their way home from enemy lands, more than half used these valuable maps. They could be folded up small and hidden if the owners were captured. They could be sewn into their clothes, or hidden in a hollow shoe heel and they didn't crackle like paper or disintegrate when wet. Soldiers in cold areas used the silk maps for warmth, in hot areas men used the maps to shield them from bugs.

Teresa, who brought the silk map in, said she used the silk maps as a kerchief and treasured it because it belonged to her brother, John Pagnotta, World War II top gunner on an 8th Air Force B-24 bomber. John told her his gun position had no heat, no bathroom, no windshield wipers. When she left to go home, without bringing her silk map to be appraised, I stopped her and said, “Aren't you going to even show your map to the appraiser?” She said, "Do you want to take it up?" I said, enthusiastically, "Yes." So she left the map with me and as she went out the door she said, "Give it to my sister to bring home." I said I’d certainly return it to Catherine Valeriani after it was appraised. I wrote a short blurb about the silk map belonging to John Pagnotta on a scrap of paper and put it with the silk map to give the appraiser a clue. (John Pagnotta was in the 453rd Bomb Group and Jimmy Stewart, the movie actor, was his commanding officer.) The appraiser was intrigued. She'd never seen a silk map before in her many years in the field. She couldn't put a value on it, for she had no idea how many were made, but she was aware of its sentimental value to the Pagnotta family. Curious, I went online the next day and typed in “silk maps WWII” on a search line. I got back the history of silk maps. I printed it out and phoned Terry and read it to her. I told her she was wearing a $300 kerchief. I’d read about old silk maps selling on eBay for $300+. Terry said I’d made her day. Perhaps she'll give it to a museum someday.

Then I called my former neighbor, Mary Brown, because her husband, Ted Brown, was a waist gunner on a B-24, and did bombing raids over Germany. I wanted to ask her if he had a silk map. Mary said, “He’d never mentioned a silk map, but he did have a thumb-nail sized compass.” She began to tell me the story of his last flight over Germany. I asked her if I could write it down for her children. She agreed and what follows here is the story she told me:

The bomber was a B-24 and Col. “Hap” Arnold was the first commander of the 485th Bomb Group, stationed in Venosa, Italy. Their mission was to bomb the synthetic oil plants in eastern Germany. After a certain number of missions, the exhausted plane crews were given rest and recreation time. The men were sent to the Isle of Capri for a rest before the next group of bombing missions.

The lead bomber of a hundred B-24s, where Staff Sgt. Ted Brown was a waist gunner, was on the way home, August 1944, from a bombing run to the Ploesti Oil Fields. They were about 100 miles from Berlin. They were under heavy ack-ack fire and the plane was hit. It was on fire and the crew had to bail out. Ted Brown said the crew never had any training in parachute jumping, or even any last-minute instruction. Over enemy territory, with the bomber on fire, they had to get out of the plane fast. The man directly in front of Ted got to the escape door and froze. He could not move. He could not force himself to jump out into the unknown through the ack-ack fire.

Ted quickly booted the terrified man out the door and Ted jumped out right behind him. (Later, the man thanked Ted for booting him out the door, saving his life.) The whole crew parachuted down into Germany. On his way down, Ted was wounded in his elbow by the ack-ack fire and his groin was cut by a twisted strap on his parachute when he landed in a tree. Ted cut himself free and fell to the ground. He was all alone, no other parachutist in sight.

He ran away from his parachute as fast as he could, and hid, for the Germans would soon find the parachute. He buried his pistol, knowing he’d be shot if he was found with a gun. He hid for five days, travelling by night, hiding by day, eating the watercress, Brussels sprouts, and Swiss chard he found growing in the fields. He recognized the plants as edible because he’d grown up on a farm in Vermont. He used the tiny compass in his survival kit, hoping to find friendly forces, and he hid and slept during the day.

One day he was hiding in a cornfield, and woke to find a group of Polish men, a forced work crew, coming through the field. The men saw the airman on the ground, but never let their German guards know he was there. As they walked past him some men dropped bread for him without looking down so the Germans never knew an American airman was hiding in the cornfield.

The fifth day he was asleep in a field and woke up to find a German policeman with his spike- topped helmet, holding a gun on him. He was brought to a nearby farmhouse, and taken to the cellar where a German officer, who spoke excellent English, interrogated him. When Ted gave only his name, rank and serial number, as required by the Geneva Convention, and would say no more, the German officer smashed him across the face with his rifle butt. Eventually the entire crew of the bomber was captured and imprisoned.

Mary Brown, back at home, received news Ted was missing in action. She did not know for three months if her husband was dead or alive. She only knew his plane was shot down on the way home from a bombing raid. Mary was working at Cushman’s Bakery in Lynn and her co-workers were amazed at her belief that Ted was alive. She felt she’d know if he’d been killed.

Lt. Cummings, who’d trained with Ted, wrote a letter to Mary. As an officer, Cummings censored his own letters and he was able to tell her, “Mary, I haven’t seen Ted for a while, but I know he is all right.” She was grateful to hear the news. Ted was alive! This was before the Air Force informed her he was in a prisoner of war camp. Ted spent 10 months as a prisoner of war in Germany. Once Mary knew he was alive, and in a POW camp in Germany, she sent him many letters and packages of food. POW mail went through neutral Switzerland. He only received one of her letters and none of the food packages.

Living conditions were harsh in the POW camp, with little food. In cold weather, the men slept head to toe, side by side, and kept their feet warm under each other’s arms. One of the prison camp guard dogs slept at night right under their compound. The men, desperate for food, got a floorboard loose, killed and ate the dog.

One day Mary Brown was invited to Boston and with a troop of soldiers standing at attention, she was presented with Ted Brown’s medals. Ted had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross, with oak leaf clusters. The medals he’d been awarded were pinned on Mary.

As the Allied forces pushed into Germany, the English from one side, the Americans from another and the Russians from a third side, the thousands of men in POW camps were moved from camp to camp, away from the advancing armies. Ted was forced into a boxcar with so many others there was only standing room and no latrine. Ted remembered the stench in the boxcar was awful. The men standing in these boxcars moving from camp to camp would be shunted to a siding for frightening hours when the Allies were bombing. As they travelled through little towns they were warned to make no sound lest they be shot. At that time there were roving bands of the retreating German army and SS troops.

On one move from a POW camp, the men went on a forced march of 100 miles, in the winter, which took 12 days, and if you didn’t keep up, you’d be shot. Their German guards were older men who didn’t really want to shoot anyone. The prisoners would get on each side of a faltering comrade and almost carry him along. They helped each other. They travelled on back roads to avoid the retreating German soldiers and SS troopers.

Ted Brown ended up in Stalag Luft III located in Sagan, near the Baltic Sea, about 100 miles southeast of Berlin. Stalag Luft III was run by the German Air Force. One day in April 1945, the prisoners woke to find all the German guards were gone. Later that day, the Russians liberated the POW camp. Ted commented, “The Russians were a wild bunch.” During the war the Germans had raped Russian women and the Russians couldn’t wait to catch and kill as many Germans as possible.

When the Russians saw the emaciated condition of the men in the prison camp, they went out into the countryside and rounded up livestock. They put on a giant barbecue for the prisoners. The Russians even supplied vodka for the celebration, which they insisted everyone should drink. With his shrunken stomach, Ted could not eat much and he only put his lips to the vodka bottle, not daring to drink a drop. The men who ate and drank too much were soon very sick.

The former prisoners of war were flown out of Germany in B-17s to France, where they lived in tents and were put on a liquid diet for several weeks before they were able to tolerate solid food. The men were told they might never be able to have children as they had been so starved. Mary said, "Our three children are proof of how wrong the doctors were about that." The men waited their turn to get on a Liberty ship and head home.

Ted arrived back in New York in late May 1945. He called Mary and said he wanted to see her alone for a couple of days, then after a couple days, he’d be ready to visit with the rest of his family. So Mary rented a room at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem for two days and told no one (except his brother Fred) where they were staying. When Ted arrived, Mary hardly recognized him, he was so thin. Mary told Ted to sit down, as she had a surprise for him. She told him about her going to Boston and being awarded his medals. She gave him his medals. He was flabbergasted for Ted was a modest man. He didn’t think what he’d done was so special. But it certainly was. The second day at the Hawthorne Hotel, Ted’s brother Fred, with whom he was very close, couldn’t wait any longer, and he came to Salem to see Ted. Ted was finally home.

Betty Dean Holmes typed up this story “from Mary Brown’s wonderful memory.” Copyright 2007 The Swampscott Reporter. Some rights reserved. Mary and Ted Brown were my neighbors for many years.

Betty Dean Holmes

Lt. Ralph E. Hamilton Oak Leaf Clusters 78th Fighter Group, 83rd Fighter Squadron 8th Air Force

Lt.Ralph Hamilton was a P-51 pilot who was shot down on a mission to Nurnberg on February 22, 1945 while strafing a marshalling yard in Crailsheim, Germany. He bailed out and was captured trying to reach the Swiss border. He achieved limited popularity among other prisoners for being able to make a delicious white cream sauce out of minimal ingredients, turning rather bland rations into food that was almost edible.

In his notes he said he wrote the following poem under a dim night light, on toilet paper in the camp at Moosberg Kriegsgefangenenlager Stalag VII-A. He said the bedbugs had chewed his wrists, neck, and ankles to a painful mass of itching misery and forced him from his bunk.

A Kriegies's Prayer: Oh, God, I ask of you in humble prayer, As I lie in torment far from home, Keep safe my loving family over there; Make lighter theirs—this burden Which they bear. I ask not why this plan for war was lain, Nor question your divine authority, But couldn't you have had the flak refrain That last time I went down to Strafe a train? Oh, God, just slightly overflow thy cup, And speed me from this vermin-prison’s bed. Please, God, release me from This land of Krupp Before these God-damned bedbugs eat me up!

Shawn E. Hamilton

Lt. Teddy G. Shaw 748 Squadron (d.24th Aug 1944)

My uncle, Lt. Teddy G. Shaw was a B-17 pilot with the 748th sqdrn. He and his crew were lost on 24 August 1944. His mission summary is below along with the names of his crew. I would like to one day visit England to see where he was stationed. Unfortunately I never knew him, but recently discover his voice via a recording he sent my grandmother just before departing for England.

Mission No. 112, August 24, 1944, Target - Weimar

The target for the 457th on this date was manufacturing facilities about five miles west of Weimar, Germany which was believed to be making V-2 rocket bombs. A nearby barracks of the Geatapo was also a target. The group put up 36 planes. One plane, s/n 42-09755, left the formation and was not seen again. Over the target another plane, s/n 42-97571, was hit by flak and lost and four others were badly damaged. The target was clearly visible as the squadrons bombed in trail. The target was left a smoking, burning ruin. No fighers nor flak were encountered on the way home.

This plane s/n 42-97558, named "Tis Me Sugar," and piloted by Lt Teddy G Shaw, left the formation with no apparent problem. One report says that there were no fighters or flak and the plane simply left the formation and was not seen again. Another reports that he was hit by a lone jet fighter plane, lost two engines, went into a spin and later exploded at a lower altitude.

Theodore Cox

1st Lt. Arnold Paul "A.P." Martin 548th Bomb Squadron

My father, Arnold P. Martin, was a B-17 co-pilot. The crew was ordered to abandon ship, Miss Nonalee II because of the loss of one engine over Denmark on the way to the Marienburg mission of October 9th, 1943. He was sent to Stalag Luft III, and was on the forced march of January 1945 to Moosburg. He was liberated April 29, 1945 by Patton's Army. He is not listed as a POW at Stalag Luft III in the National Archives. I have tried in vain to have him added because I have all the proof that he was there. However, I have been referred to agency after agency, all who tell me they don't have authority to do so.

Patricia Martin

T/Sgt. Henry D. Irving 69th Bomb Sqd.

My older Brother, T/Sgt Henry D. Irving, served with the 13th AF/42 Bomb Gp/69th Bomb Sqd in the South Pacific from early 1943 until Invasion of the Phillipines. He was a Radio-Gunner on a B-25 flying over Japanese held territory. He was based for some time on Guadacanal and did an R & R period at Christ Church NZ. Sgt Irving was awarded a number of Medals for his actions including The Air Medal with several clasps.

Hal Irving

David G Brown 67th Bomb Sqd.

My late grandfather, David G Brown served in the 44th Bomb Group (Flying Aceballs), 67th Squadron (I think) as a lead navigator. I would love to hear from anyone who is still alive and was friends with my grandfather. I love him and miss him very dearly. He will forever be my hero.

Jennifer Hatton

Lt. Mayer Isaiah Hurwitz 338 Bomb Squadron (d.30th Jul 1943)

I saw this war memorial of Lt Hurwitz in In Weert (Bornem) Belgium, near by Antwerp. Can anyone tell me more about this person?

François Breugelmans

Raymond Andrew Dettinger 407th Bomb Squadron

My father, Raymond Dettinger flew with the 8th American Air Force, 92nd Bomb Group, 407 Heavy Bomb Squadron.

Ray Dettinger

S/Sgt. George J. Smith 703rd Bomb Squadron

My father, SSgt George J. Smith was in the 703rd and was shot down on 1 April 1944 over Ludwigshaven. Five of the crew perished. My dad survived, was captured and spent the rest of the war in Stalag 17.

I noticed a SSgt Hugh D. Watt in the 703rd who died on 1 April 1944, I am wondering if anyone had any other information about SSgt Watt and whether he went down over Ludwigshaven?

Mary Smith Amberg

1st Lt. Augustine Anthony "Og" Mandino DFC. 701st Bomb Squadron

Augustine Mandino was a member of Lt. Paul Swofford's crew. He completed 30 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters. After serving in Word War II, he became a popular writer of some 19 books with 20 million copies sold.

Silvio I. Mandino

2nd Lt. Robert L. McFetrich 510th Bomb Squadron (d.29th March 1944)

Robert McFetrich was killed in a mid air collision between B24's near Halesworth, Suffolk, England on the 29th of March 1944. A cemetery memorial for Robert is at Champion Township Cemetery, Champion, Trumbull Co., Ohio.

Bonnie Diehl

1st Lt. Robert F. Russell 12th Fighter Squadron (d.11th Nov 1944 )

I'm looking for the family of pilot, 1st Lt. Robert Russell of 13th Air Force, 18th FG, 12th Fighter Squadron who was killed in action on 11th November, 1944. as I have in my Great Uncle's logbook a photo of his plane. They took off from Wama Airfield on Morotai on a fighter sweep over Tacloban on Leyte. Intercepted by Japanese Zeros over Cebu at 9:30am, Major Smith claimed two Zeros shot down off the tail of Russell's aircraft. Another pilot 1st Lt. Squire radioed Russell to "get out of the area" and he acknowledged. He was last seen over the northern tip of Negros.

Luther Moore

2nd Lt. Kenneth Doran 381st Squadron 363rd Fighter Group

2nd Lt. Kenneth Doran, USAAF was a POW at Stalag Luft 3, Sagan. He was a P-51 pilot who was shot down by ground fire near St. Lo on July 4th, 1944. This was only his third mission in P-51s after having completed many mission as a P-47 pilot. After the war, Mr. Doran lived in Cleveland , Ohio USA, and served for many years as a Cleveland Police Officer. He died long ago, circa 1980.

Tom Matowitz

John Paul Coughran 575th Squadron

My father, John Paul Coughran, flew with the 391st bg 575th sqdrn. I am looking for names and info on crewmates- "mac" Mackenzie was one, I believe. There was a reference to Peter Colin MacKenzie on the website, and I think my father credited him with keeping my father and the crew out of peril.


1st Lt. John A. Cotter 357 Fighter Squadron

Jack Cotter was shot down over Germany about 3 Aug 1944 while strafing a train and sent to Stalag Luft III for the duration.

Rick Cotter

S/Sgt George Theodore Sulick 334th Squadron 95th Bomb Group

My Dad, Thoedore Sulick, was prisoner in Stalag Luft I, but his name is not on any list that I can find for Luft I. His B17 was named Holy Matrimony and the crew were:
  • Everett D. Peery
  • james W. Daniels
  • Lawrence Kleinman
  • Guiseppe G. Merlo
  • Dominick Maffetone
  • George T. Sulick
  • John H. Detweiler
  • Michael J. Natt
  • Francis E. Sutpin

Mission Report

All were held as POW's, originally, Dad was in Stalag Luft IV, but was transported by boxcar, along with a lot of other men, to Stalag Luft I. This was done to try and evade tne encroaching Russian liberators.

This is his story:

My military training began on February 3, 1943. I was an inductee, therefore, I was sent to an induction center for my physical and general aptitude testing. This is most important, as it has tremendous bearing on one’s destiny, in the service of one’s country. From the center, I was shipped to Fort Devens, Massachusetts for basic training. Upon completion of said training, assignment was to the Air Corps and I was shipped to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Billeting was in a large oceanfront hotel - for guess what? Eight more weeks of basic training! This consisted of close order drill on sandy beaches, marching through city streets all-day and singing Air Corps marching songs. After completion of training, we received orders, transferring our group to Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina. When we arrived, the Command did not know what to do with us. Consequently, we received “basic training” once more, along with K.P. duty.

This field was a huge facility and was operational, 24 hours a day. The troops had to be fed. I was assigned my first duty. It was my task to remove frozen sausage from a carton, and separate them from layers of cardboard, tossing them into a kettle the size of a hot tub. As you might suspect, this is not a simple task. Trying to separate frozen sausage from frozen cardboard can be a trial. I soon learned; it could be quite simple. Looking over my shoulder was the “K.P. pusher (he’s the boss). Seeing the kettle only half filled, he picked up a carton and removed the sausage – no problem! When he reached the layers, he had difficulty removing the frozen sausages from the frozen cardboard. Immediately, he changed the procedure. He told me, “If the sausages are not cooperative, toss them into the kettle, cardboard and all”. From this experience, I never ordered sausage and gravy. It was always, “just sausage, please”.

Our next orders for assignment would be Hammer Field, California, for schooling. It didn’t happen. Instead, we were shipped to Camp Pinedale in Fresno California, for classification. I accepted the offer to become a radio operator. The classes were to be held at Camp Kohler, in Sacramento, California. After listening to Morse code for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it becomes a drag. However, graduation was achieved because I was capable of receiving 20 words a minute without error. At our graduation ceremony we were told, because of our accomplishments, the class would attend a “High Speed Radio Operators” course. This was at a former CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp Camp), located in Yosemite National Park, California, at Waiwona Point.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the First Sergeant, who was armed with a 45-caliber pistol. This location had a country club atmosphere, consisting of five buildings. Two were classrooms, two were administration buildings and one was a mess hall. As new students, we were to sleep in 8-man pyramid tents, in clearings surrounding the compound. After the sergeant finished his orientation lecture, a recruit from Brooklyn, New York, who was overcome with curiosity, asked: “Hey Sarge, why the sidearm”? The Sergeant’s sole reply was “Bears”! After a few weeks of schooling and country club living, some of us became restless. We were not involved in the real war! Ten of us made a pact that we would go to see the captain and request a transfer to become aircrew members or Paratroopers. Our agreement was whichever came first, we all would accept, since we bonded together as buddies. Now it was back to classes and our daily routine – listening to code and learning to type at the same time. The only excitement was returning to our tents at the end of our day to find that the bears had pulled a raid, stealing the Brooklyn recruit’s salami. He had a startled look because some recruits didn’t know what a bear looked like, let alone seeing one in the wild! More excitement occurred because our request for transfer became the news of the day throughout the entire camp. The next day, we were off to Air Force Gunnery School, north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The training was interesting, as we learned about disassembling and reassembling 50 caliber machine guns at high altitudes with mittens on. It is very cold above the clouds. We had 6 weeks of strafing the floor of Death Valley and shooting at a fighter plane and towing a target. This was significant because each crew member was assigned a belt of 50 caliber tracer bullets with a color-coded slug. The color was put into the individual’s record for scoring purposes. We all thought that shooting tracer bullets at a tow target was a no brainer – how could anyone miss? The target will come back in shreds. It came back, but not in shreds and our instructor read the results of each individual’s performance. There was not a Sergeant York among the crew!

These exercises completed our training. We were then transferred to a reception center for the formation of individual crews. The center was in Tampa, Florida. Each B-17 was to consist of a 10-man crew for further training at an Overseas Training Unit (OTU). Most of the crews were waiting for the tenth man, who was to become our Navigator. Scuttlebutt came out concerning attendance at classes. Classes were supposed to be longer in order for the recruits to earn their wings as full-fledged Navigators. During the waiting period, there was not much to do. Our days were filled with the mundane – roll call, meals, sleep and visits to the theater, which was on the base.

After 2 weeks of waiting, we got our Navigator. Now we became a complete crew ready for our OUT assignment. We did not have long to wait. We were assigned to Avon Park, Florida, which was not far from Tampa. Upon arrival, we were immediately assigned to the Cromer Group, flying B-17’s. Training began in earnest and it was much like Gunnery School, except we flew in the positions for which we were trained. Guess who was the Radio Operator? On all missions my requirements were this: maintain a radio log, monitor the frequencies selected for the missions, and keep in touch with our base. There was a briefing before each mission, and it was at this briefing that we were informed of our destination, the dead reckoning signs, and when to return. Most of the flights took us over the Gulf of Mexico. I recall that our Briefing Officer would always warn the Navigators not to mistake Lake Okeechobee for the Gulf of Mexico. All missions returning from the Gulf would routinely buzz Fort Myers Beach. It stirred our patriotism to see the excitement we created on the beach. The sunbathers jumped up and screamed. The pilot would tip the wings of our plane and our crew would wave back from the windows in the waist of the B-17.

While at Avon Park, several crewmembers invited their fiancées to visit because this would be our last stateside base. During this time, our engineer and his fiancée decided to marry. We were all involved with the wedding arrangements. The ceremony was performed in the base chapel. The reception was held in town. The guests enjoyed a menu of potato chips, sandwiches and beer.

This was May 1944 and we were still stateside. Approximately one week from the wedding, we were put on 24 hour alert. This meant we would be shipped to Hunter Field, Georgia, pick up our spanking new B-17, and we would fly it over to “Merry Olde England”. When we arrived, we found out there was a shortage of planes. For several weeks we did busy work until we were sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Then it was on to Brooklyn, New York to board a ship bound for England. The ship was a former luxury liner. We sailed past the Statue of Liberty into the Atlantic Ocean. Once on the Atlantic, we became part of a large convoy, bound for the British Isles. The head count on board was 9,000 men – all heading for the unknown. Not much happened aboard ship. We whiled away the time, waiting in long lines for our meals, playing card games. The only interruption to this routine was the occasional submarine alert. After 5 days at sea, we docked in Liverpool, England. In about 20 more years Liverpool would become famous as the home of the Beatles. It was June 1944 and the only singing the Beatles were doing was from their cribs! We were not in port for long. Trucks pulled in and drove us to a reception center, not far from Birmingham, England. After several days, it was announced that our crew would be assigned to the 8th Air Force, 95th Bomb Group, 334th Squadron, stationed in Horham, England. During our orientation, the Briefing Officer told us that a British Colonel from World War I had invited us to his estate for afternoon tea. This was to acquaint us with the local female population. These young ladies would be responsible for serving tea. Our lodging was in Nisson Huts, two crew to each hut.

It was now our responsibility to check the bulletin board daily. The board would list which crews were scheduled for a bombing mission the following day. Eighteen months of training and anticipation finally fell upon us on August 25, 1944. We were in a combat ready mode.

The wake up call was at 3 AM. It was breakfast, religious services of your choice, then report to the briefing room at 5 AM. This is where it all began. The Briefing Officer instructed us on the details of our mission. Our target was oil storage dumps in Politz, Germany. Intelligence reported 99 anti-aircraft guns at this location, all waiting for our arrival. We were cautioned to wear our parachute at all times. If it became necessary to use it, we were instructed NOT to pull the ripcord until we could see the ground spinning below. As a crew, we had never had so much as a practice jump during any of our training. We were given the name of the plane we would fly. Our plane was called Nagasaki. We were dismissed with “Good Luck Men”. The jeeps were waiting to take us to our bomber. Before entering the plane, our pilot gave instructions on what he expected from us during the mission. He also announced, following completion of 3 missions, we would be eligible for a weekend pass to London. Soon we heard the pilot announce that we were now in enemy territory. He reminded us to keep our eyes open for enemy fighters and maintain our positions. The pilot then announced we were approaching the target. At this point, it was my job to quickly start jumping “Chaff” (8 pieces of tin foil) through a small hole in the floor of the radio room. There wasn’t much visibility through the hole, but I cold see puffs of black smoke below, caused by the bursting of anti-aircraft shells. Within seconds, I could hear and see pieces of shrapnel coming through the ship. I then heard “Bombs Away” and I watched the bombs drop from the bomb bay, heading for the target.

The waist gunner called to the pilot: “Sir, one of our engines is on fire”. The pilot quickly asked the navigator to give him a fix for Sweden, as we were not too far from that neutral country. Attempts were made to put out the fire, but they didn’t work. Then came the moment of reckoning – the pilot issued the order – ABANDON SHIP! Seconds later someone said they had seen the navigator bail out and his chute had opened. With that information, I walked back to the waist of the ship and saw that it was empty. I noticed the tail gunner crawling into the waist and I waited for him at the door. We watched the flames for a few seconds, and I commented to the gunner that the flames would never go out. With that, I jumped. Drifting down, I looked over my shoulder and saw the ground spinning and I pulled the ripcord. The jerk was so great that I lost my portable oxygen tent and mask. The next thing I saw in front of me was a billowing parachute, dragging me out to the open sea. It was imperative to rid myself of my chute and keep afloat. Finally I managed to free myself from the harness, inflate my “Mae West”, and sink the chute. I headed toward shore, but it was very difficult to swim with my heavy sheepskin-lined flying boots, so I discarded them. This was a big mistake because when I reached shore, my first task was to fashion some sort of footwear from my flying suit coveralls. It was time to open my escape kit and see what I had. I found a map, two buttonhole compasses, a D bar (chocolate candy), a plastic tube to carry water, a tiny saw, and two types of pills. One was for purifying water. The other pills were “bennies” (Benadryl for energy). The map was not helpful because I didn’t have a clue where I was, although I knew I was in enemy territory. One thing I did know was West was the direction I should follow. Despite the fact that I was soaked to the skin, I fell asleep in the bushes. I awoke before daylight and started my journey into the unknown as an evader. Go West was firmly implanted in my mind, and I headed in that direction, staying close to brush and forest. After several hours of walking, I found a pond and decided to stop. My clothes were still very wet and the day was very bright and sunny. I removed my clothing and laid it on the grass to dry. I sat down and rested and slipped into periods of fretful sleep. Suddenly I head young female laughter in the distance. Shocked, I jumped up quickly, gathered my clothing, and bolted for cover in a nearby forest.

Walking in the forest I heard a train whistle. This was music to my ears. Intelligence always told us to follow railroad tracks. Following the tracks I came upon a small village railroad station with its name on the building. Quickly I checked my map for the location. I could not find any listing resembling the name. Traveling on, not too far from the station, I passed a farmhouse. People were sitting on the porch, so I waved as a friendly neighbor. Darkness was falling, so I found the next available haystack and fell asleep. When I woke up, there was breakfast to be had. Luckily it was not far away. Within sight there was a farm that ran along the tracks. There, for my picking, I found carrots, rutabaga, apples and pears. Well supplied, but getting nowhere, I altered my course. I was more comfortable in the forest, than out in the open along the tracks. I chose a wagon trail, which was a straight line versus a huge curve in the railroad tracks. Halfway along, I passed two German soldiers. They did not speak, so I kept my mouth shut. Quickly I found refuge and burrowed under a pine tree and stopped breathing! I’m not sure, but I believe I slept there for the night. Later it occurred to me that the German soldiers might have thought I was a tired woodsman, because I was carrying a large branch on my shoulder as a weapon.

This experience frightened me, so I altered my course again and followed the tracks, which were now in a straight line through the forest. Looking ahead, I spotted a sentry post at the entrance to a fenced-in factory compound. It was necessary to circle around and follow the tracks to the other end of the compound. Before reaching the tracks, there was a small gully where I stopped to sit and eat my lunch. Suddenly I heard rustling from behind. Turning to see the cause of the sound, there was an uniformed plant guard, jumping from his bicycle. He had a rifle pointed at me. He motioned for me to climb over the fence. From a call in station inside the perimeter, he announced his capture or spread an alarm. He then motioned for me to march ahead. My homemade boots no longer had bottoms. A severe blister developed on the ball of my right foot. Walking became most difficult. After a short distance we arrived at the desk of the receptionist. She questioned me in German. I gave her what the Geneva Convention required: Name, Rank and Serial Number. The receptionist called someone on the phone. Soon a blond, English speaking young lady came in and asked whom, what, why and where are you from. Intelligence cautioned us to be wary of young, blonde, German women. They wine and dine you, hoping to elicit information. It didn’t happen that way to me. Appearing at the door was an uniformed policeman, who beckoned me to follow. Outside, he mounted his bicycle and pedaled behind me. It was a long walk to the police station in the town of Barth, Germany. I was strip-searched and placed in a room with a bed made of boards, and an empty pail. There was no food for the night.

Early the next morning, the policeman awakened me. He left some bread and coffee for my breakfast. I pointed to my blistered foot and he shook his head up and down and said Yah. An hour went by and in walked a Luftwaffe soldier who would remain my personal guard until we reached our destination. It was a short walk to the railroad station to board the train to a German Airdrome. There I was put in solitary confinement and fed a good meal for dinner. The meal consisted of noodles in hot milk. With the warm feeling I fell into a sound sleep. The morning came quickly – so did my breakfast, which was a tasty bowl of millet. Soon I was escorted to my personal guard who was waiting outside the jail. He pointed his finger in the direction I was to walk and I pointed my finger to my blistered foot. He shook his head up and down, which I accepted as Yes, OK. Sure enough we ended up at sick call in a German Airdrome. It was as crowded as those were in the United States (full of goof-offs). The guard left me in the center of the overcrowded room and walked into the inner office. Seconds later, he opened the door and motioned for me to enter, despite the grumbling of the other patients. Even though I did not understand German, I felt strongly that I understood what they were saying. Inside a doctor in a long white coat looked at my foot. He treated and bandaged it with crepe paper. I bowed my head and thanked him. He became enraged and kept hollering and waving his arms. Finally I detected a word that sounded like salute. As soon as I realized what he meant, I saluted him and everything was fine. My guard and I went out the door, through the crowd of grumbling sick call Luftwaffe soldiers. We boarded a train headed south. Along the way we picked up a seriously burned P38 pilot and a paratrooper from Brooklyn, who was dropped in error behind enemy lines. Our train stopped in Wetzlar, Germany, which was the Interrogation Center for all POW airmen.

I was put in solitary confinement like all the others, as we waited to be interrogated. On my second day I was taken to another room to meet with my interrogator. It was not an intense, stressful situation. The questions asked were about the group I flew with and its location. To all questions, my answer remained Name, Rank and Serial Number. I returned to my cell for one more day in solitary before I became part of a large group of United States Airmen who were assembled in the area. Colonel Charles W. Stark, U.S. Army Air Corps, greeted us. He announced that we were here to receive proper clothing, a good meal, and assignment to a Luftwaffe camp. That evening we had what would be our last meal, sitting at a table, in a Mess Hall for the next 9 months. Early the next morning we were issued a cardboard suitcase with pajamas, socks, handkerchiefs, soap, razors, toothbrush, writing paper and a pencil. We also received a G.I. overcoat and fatigue cap. In addition, I received a pair of shoes. This was the first time I had footwear since bailout.

The morning of September 5, Colonel Stark informed us that we were leaving for our permanent camp by train. The train traveled in a northeasterly direction to the town of Kiefheide, Germany. This was the location of Stalag Luft IV. After the war, this town reverted back to Poland and became known as Podborsko. When our train was pulling into the station, there was a patrol of armed guards with German Shepherd dogs, waiting for us to be discharged. On the platform, the guards lined us up for the march to our new home – Stalag Luft IV. If anyone lagged behind, the guard would command the dogs to bark, snarl, and snip at the person that lagged behind. Approaching the camp, we could see the guard towers with machine guns pointing at the formation. When inside the Lager, we were assigned to a barrack with a room number.

The barrack leader ushered me to my room and announced who I was. He also explained that I would be spending my time with the rest of them until the end of the war. With introductions accomplished, the prisoners began asking questions. Most of the questions were “Where’s Patton, where’s Montgomery and where are the Russians”? They also wanted to know how long I thought the war would last, and how many missions I had flown. For the first 3 questions I had no information that would raise their spirits. However, I did say we would be home for Christmas. As to how many missions I had flown, I told them it was my first! One of my new roommates pulled me aside and whispered the next time anyone asks what mission you are on, tell them it was your last! It adds more glory to your record, and it really is the truth.

The shout “roll call” sounded through the barrack. We left to be counted by the guards. Standing for my first roll call as a POW was memorable because the RAF (Royal Air Force) arranged with the Germans for the presentation of a cardboard medal to a RAF pilot, who was shot down during the siege of Poland in September, 1939. Returning to our room after roll call, the room leader told me it would be best for me to use the table as my bed, since the floor would be very cold. The room was small, so my roommates would stumble over me on the way to the latrine.

Soon, 2 G.I.’s left to get our dinner from the kitchen. They returned with a bucket of boiled potatoes. The room leader had the tedious task of dividing equal portions for 15 hungry men, salivating over the bucket. It did not take much time to fall into the daily routine of life in a POW Lager. The day began with roll call – then breakfast. Breakfast consisted of hot water, a slice of black bread, and a lump of coal to heat our room. Then we had free time. We played bridge, pinochle or read all day. We would listen to the arguments over the other games. The bridge games were very serious business, non-stop all day, except for chow time. Normally we had a lunch of soup and then more free time. At this point you were allowed to get some fresh air and exercise. We were not allowed to exercise too much because it would make us more hungry and dirty. In the evening there was another roll call and lights out at 8 PM. As a new recruit, I listened to many horror stories from my roommates. In the course of exchanging experiences, I learned that the body of water I bailed into was the Baltic Sea. Daily rumors were abundant. There was bad news when the guards would shake down a barracks and claim they found a tunnel being dug or a radio in a room. For this, punishment was being locked in the barrack for a day or more – often without food.

This is where the Red Cross parcels filled the void. Sixteen items were in each carton. There was a bartering value on each item. For example, two packs of cigarettes could get you a D-bar or a package of prunes, etc. We did not always receive full parcels. At times it would become necessary to split and share the contents of the parcels. The Germans gave several excuses for the shortages. One excuse was that our fighter planes strafed the running railroad cars carrying the goods, and another excuse was the U.S. had bombed the warehouse containing the parcels. For our fresh air and exercise, we would walk around the compound. At times you could hear machine gun fire from the tower, blasting at the center of the compound. When this occurred, our top ranking officer would register a complaint. The German response to this was usually that they were testing their guns. Thanksgiving arrived and we made the best of what we had. I made an icebox cake with cracker crumbs for the crust. I formed the cake in an empty prune package, and I filled it with stewed prunes, minus the pits. A layer of chocolate sauce from a D-bar and then a layer of whipped powdered milk topped the cake. I cracked the pits of the prunes and used the seed to decorate the top. Some of my roommates were willing to sign an IOU from their back pay for a slice. When they heard the price, they found it was beyond their reach.

Time passed and we started to prepare for the Christmas holidays. Raisins were claiming a high price in the bartering market. The winemakers were forming wine clubs. If you wanted to toast both Christmas and the New Year, it would cost you your raisins. The Community Room was not large enough, so we were allowed to celebrate Christmas Eve services in shifts. We sang Christmas carols by the Christmas tree. The wine club members were anxious to get back and have the wine tasting. I must say, it was a very unusual vintage. There wasn’t a lot of wine, but it did upset many stomachs. Time seemed to pass quickly because there were many rumors concerning the Russian advances in the East. We began to hear the muffled sounds of heavy artillery. With every salvo we heard, the lager would erupt with whistles, screaming and jumping up and down. We would yell “Come on Joe (Stalin)”.

In January 1945, a new rumor was rampant every day. The one that was so vivid was that the Russians were very close. You had a sense of this in everyone’s mood. This continued for weeks. On January 30th some of us were marched out of camp, despite severe blizzard conditions. We were herded onto boxcars that were waiting for us. The Germans loaded 50 to 52 men in each car and threw us some bread and an empty pail. The pail was our latrine. They locked the door and left. There was not a configuration we could come up with for a comfortable seating arrangement. There was not enough room because the cars were not big enough for 50 plus men. At 2300 hours, the train left the station for an unknown destination. The second day of our trip, the guards opened all doors, allowing us to jump out and relieve ourselves. This was in the snow-covered meadows along the track. I don’t know how many cars made up the train, but I do know that at least 1300 to 1400 men were relieving their bowels at the same time. What added to the drama was the appearance of a horse-drawn sleigh, with its bells tingling. The passengers in the sleigh were teenagers witnessing this spectacle. This was the longest “mooning line” in history. The trip was long and complications developed. There was sickness and physical pain and a lot of mental stress. One of the men broke down. He had been standing for such a long time that his legs could not support him any longer. We managed to sling a blanket in one of the corners of the boxcar. This gave him the necessary relief. There were delays because of bombing raids, which took place day and night. We also had to wait for German troop trains to pass. On the 8th day of our trip, we arrived at Stalag Luft I. It had taken us 8 days to arrive at this camp in Barth, Germany. It was less than 300 miles from our former camp. The camp was laid out the same as the other camp. Overcrowding was still a problem. We also learned that the men we left behind were marched out the next day, headed on foot over the countryside to keep them from being liberated by the advancing Russian troops. Again, the booming of field artillery could be heard. We knew liberation was at hand. At 5am on May 1, 1945, we were awakened by shouts inside the barracks. ‘’G.I.’s in the towers”!!!! Sure enough, the German guards had moved out in the still of the night, leaving us to the Russians.

The Russians arrived at the main gate later that morning. All hell broke loose. The Russians gave us gifts of flour, cattle, pigs, and geese. We had some Texans in our barracks, and they shot one of the herd. They butchered it into steaks and stew meat. After being hungry for several months, this was quite a bonanza! One of our senior officers, Colonel Zemke, was in charge of negotiations with the Russian command. One order was to remain in camp for our safety. Some of the men became adventurous and wanted to take part in the spoils of war. They were commandeering boats and rowing across the peninsula into town. My buddies and I swam across from another side of the peninsula and walked into a small hamlet outside of town. There were four small cottages in this lonely village that seemed abandoned. We decided to enter one to see what it was like. To our surprise it had not been ransacked. It was as though a family might have gone off to church. Suddenly we heard a woman’s voice hollering at someone in German. We looked over and saw a Russian soldier with a gun trying to remove something from her home. Quickly we ran out the back door to the safety of our camp.

The camp was all-abuzz because word was out that planes (B-17’s) would be arriving daily to evacuate the camp. On Mother’s Day 1945 I climbed aboard a plane and headed for a landing field, somewhere in France. When we landed we were loaded into trucks headed for Ramp Camp (Recovered Allied Military Personnel). There were several ramp camps in the region. Ours was Camp Lucky Strike outside of LeHavre, France. On arrival, we were stripped, deloused, showered, issued new uniforms and fed. The tents we were assigned to were huge. I don’t know how it was possible to keep track of the thousands of G.I.’s that poured into the camp. We were immediately allowed to send a telegram to our folks telling them we were headed home. One health tip given to us was to be sure to drink a lot of eggnog. For this, an area was set up to dispense eggnogs all day and well into the evening. Instead of saying let’s go for a Coke or a beer, it was let’s have an eggnog. Actually it was a social event, watching the endless line of G.I.’s going for their tonic. One day, while watching this flow of humanity, I met all the members of my crew, except the navigator. From this meeting I learned that only 3 of us landed in the sea – the pilot, tail gunner and me. A German patrol boat picked up the pilot and tail gunner. Their captors punched them around.

In a few days a passenger list was posted. My name was on it and the ship was leaving the next morning. Trucks delivered us to the pier. There we boarded a creaky old tub known as a Liberty Ship. The second day out it was stormy and I got seasick. What a nightmare! After all I had been through, I wanted to die because I was so ill from seasickness. There were many suggestions for a cure. None worked. Finally I crawled to sick bay. I received some pills and strong advice from the medic to be sure to take small amounts of food each day. This prescription worked out fine. After 7 or 8 days at sea, we pulled into New York Harbor, past the Statue of Liberty. A briefing officer came aboard from Fort Dix, New Jersey. He told us we would be going by train to the Fort for debriefing, cleaning up, and food. From there we would receive our orders and transportation to our next base. My orders sent me back to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. There was more debriefing there, a physical examination, and completion of our military wardrobe. After 6 weeks of leave and 2 weeks of R & R in Atlantic City, New Jersey, my next assignment was Bedford Army Airbase in Bedford, Massachusetts. If I had enough points for discharge, this latter stint would not have been necessary. However, it was fun and games. They caught up with me though and put me in charge of traffic. This was the office that handled the paperwork for incoming and outgoing flights. The GI who had this assignment before me had enough points for discharge. He was out of there. I was not trained for the job and my first day was a predictable catastrophe. It all started with a call over the intercom. “Traffic, this is tower”. Aircraft coming in for a landing with a VIP aboard. The VIP aboard is Fleet Admiral Nimitz. Traffic to tower – what do I do? This is my first hour on the job. They told me to find the Officer of the Day quickly. He took the pressure away from my end and arranged for the proper receiving line for the Admiral. Weeks dragged on and I began to accept what I was doing. However, as each week ticked by, I finally earned the points necessary for discharge. My orders were cut for Mitchell Field, New York. This was not a lengthy stay, but just enough time for them to prepare my records for discharge. I was finally a free man and they sent me home to my family and loved ones. This happened on November 15, 1945. Soon it was Thanksgiving and I was, indeed, most thankful.

Report on Stalag Luft IV

Map of the area.

Patricia Mazella

T/Sgt Francis George Dolsen 349th Squadron

I enlisted in the Air Corps in June 1942 and became part of the European theatre operations until 1945. I was part of the 8th Army Air Force in the 100th Bomb Group. I was part of the 349th Bomb Squadron (H). I was a radio operator gunner on a B17 aircraft. I was shot down November 5th 1943. I was a POW in Stalag 17B until November 1945 when General Patton's Third Army liberated the POWs.

Francis Dolsen

Tech Sgt. Daniel J Burke 76th Troop Carrier Sq

My father was shot down during the Battle of the Bulge over Melmedy, Belgium. He was kept in Stalag X111D at some point. His story is highlighted in a book "In Harms Way" written by Paul Cashdollar.

Dan Burke

T/SGT Jack D. Patzke 347th Squadron (d.8th April 1945)

My Great Uncle T/SGT. Jack D. Patzke served with the 99th Bomb Group 347th Squadron in Italy. He flew 33 missions as radio operator/gunner, his first was on January 1, 1944 and his last was April 30, 1944.

On his last mission their B-17 42-32014 Pappy Yokum was hit by fighters all crew members bailed out. They were captured sometime after. Stalag Luft 3 is where they were sent. He stayed in barrack 72 and room 2 his POW number was 4323. I found out that he took to boxing as a recreation.

When the camp was evacuated and the POWs were forced to march, sometime between Moosberg and Nuremberg he left the column with two other POWs. It was figured on April 8, 1945 is the day he was killed along with one of the other POWs. His remains were found sometime in 1949 and then brought back to the States in 1950.

I am hoping to find an ex-POW or a family member of a POW that might have some information on Jack. I know some of the POWs wrote diaries of the times in camp and about friends. Any information would be helpful.

Lee McGinnis

2nd Lt. Garnett Otis Nelson 96th Bomb Group 339th Bomb Sqd. (d.12th May 1944)

Garnett Nelson was listed as Missing in Action on the 12th of May 1944.

Linda Cheshire

S/Sgt. John Michael Zanetis Airplane Crew Chief 750 702nd Bomb Sq

My father was Airplane Crew Chief for 702nd Bomb Squadron. He was originally from Griffin, Indiana. He passed away in 1979 of a heart attack in Vincennes Indiana. I'd love to hear from anyone who knew him or whose parentd might have known him. Thank you all and God Bless.

Martha Zanetis

Leslie Amelang 454th Bomb Group

Les has told his story in front of church groups and on local TV. His daughter-in-law helped him start a web-site with some of his memories on it. He was born June 5, 1920, to the late Lewis Amelang and Mary Davis in Ottumwa, IA. He was a graduate of Louisville (Nebraska) High School, and from the University of Louisville (KY) School of Business in 1950. He worked 36 years as an accountant and data processor at the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times, retiring in 1986. He was a member of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where he had been a deacon, elder, and elder emeritus. He served in World War II in the Army Air Corps and was an original member of the 454th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force based in Italy. His plane was shot down over Budapest, Hungary, and he was held as a Prisoner of War in Stalag Luft III POW camp, Sagan (now Poland), and in Stalag VIIA, Moosburg, Germany, where he was liberated on April 29, 1945.

In 1970, inspired by his own experience as a prisoner of war, Les founded and served as president of POWER, Inc., "Prisoners of War, Early Release," a regional organization to aid families of prisoners and war and missing-in-action servicemen of the Vietnam conflict. He was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years, Mary Margaret Swift, of Winchester, KY; and his brothers, Maurice, Max, Merle, and Laurence.

He died in 2011 without getting his story in print as a book as he had desired and attempted to do. I wanted to let you know as he was a great man and a good friend of mine.

Gordon Blue

Sgt. Joe Reichel 96th Bomb Group

Snetterton Heath, England. USAAF Station 138, World War II Memories By Then Sergeant Joe J. Reichel, Lt Col, USAF (ret) August 2012

1943 Headed Overseas

On 5 May 43 my outfit, the 49th Service Group left Fort Dix, New Jersey for the Port of Embarkation in New York and we were loaded aboard our troop ship, the Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Elizabeth, as well as her sister ship, the Queen Mary, were British luxury liners converted to transport troops during the war and plied the Atlantic as quickly as they could load, or unload, and turn around. I was detailed to duty as “Sergeant of the fresh water guard” in our particular portion of the ship. Because fresh water was at a premium there had to be a guard stationed at each water fountain to insure water was not wasted. I had to post and relieve guards at three separate fountains at two-hour intervals. We ate twice a day, forming lines with mess kits in hand, having them filled with plenty of tasteless food. Once each day we participated in life boat drill, as German submarines were known to be on the lookout for troop transports. The Queen was speedier than any submarine so our chances of not being sunk were much enhanced. About three days out of port, when any danger of spies being around was remote, we were told that our destination was England. Each of us was given a small booklet which told us something about the country, the coinage, and how best to get along with the natives.


We arrived at Gourock, Scotland, near Glasgow, on 11 May 1943 and were immediately put aboard a quaint English train and taken to a small country train station in East Anglia called Eccles Road. A truck took us to the nearby airfield of USAAF Station 138, otherwise known as “Snetterton Heath.” I was now entitled to a twenty percent pay raise for “overseas duty.”

Our unit was designed to render administrative and materiel support to a Bombardment Group. Apparently there were more of us than were needed at Snetterton Heath, so the unit was split in half— the 49th Service Group half went to another air base, and our half stayed at Snetterton and was re-designated the 27th Station Complement Squadron. We joined the 96th Bombardment Group (Heavy), flying B-17s at this base. That Group had only recently arrived ahead of us and was still “setting up.” Snetterton Heath was located just about mid-way between the cities of Norwich and Cambridge, but closer to Norwich.

Snetterton Heath was to be my home for thirty-two months. The war did not touch the base itself, except for three or four random strafing runs by German fighters, which were there and gone before we could hardly notice. None caused any significant damage On the other hand, the crews flying our B-17s suffered disheartening losses, particularly during the remainder of 1943 and early 1944, until the allies had established absolute air superiority over the continent. Each day our planes would take off before dawn, rendezvous with other Bomb Groups and head for the continent by the thousands. Later in the day we would hear them as they returned. Those with wounded aboard would fire red flares to alert the medics. The whole base turned out to watch as these planes returned, often with gaping holes in the wings and fuselage. It was a sad experience for me to make friends with the enlisted gunners during evenings at the Red Cross Club, and then, just a few days later, some of them would not return from a mission.

The 96th participated in a “shuttle mission” to North Africa in 1943, bombing the aircraft factory at Regensburg, Germany en route. While in North Africa one of the crews bought a young donkey, fitted it with an oxygen mask and brought it back to England where it became famous. The Stars and Stripes newspaper wrote a story about Lady Moe.

I worked as an Administrative Inspector until the summer of 1945. Each day I would select a squadron orderly room (office) to visit, mount the bicycle issued to me as part of the job, and go to that office to inspect it’s administrative procedures — Service Records, Sick Books, Forms 20, etc, pointing out any errors I saw and recommending corrective action. I was not usually a welcome visitor, although I tried to be nice. Being a Sergeant kept me from KP duty, but turned out to be no excuse for being detailed to guard duty, which I drew about once every three months, guarding a B-17 aircraft, always after mid-night. Staying awake was the biggest problem for me.

The base was active around the clock, seven days a week. My normal work shift was eight hours a day seven days a week. Evenings were spent reading, or writing letters. I wrote to Virginia, my fiancée, three or four times a week and she wrote every day. Her letters would usually arrive three or four at a time, several days apart. Before there was e-mail there was V-Mail. I would often use V-Mail to correspond with family and friends. This was a special form to be used for corresponding, which could be reduced in size by photographing, flown to the United States, developed and then sent to the addressee. Supposedly it saved a lot of space on ships and was faster, too. I also received frequent letters from family members, as well as high school and workplace friends, which I answered as soon as they arrived.

Sometimes in the evenings, some of us would walk along a narrow country road to a “tea room” about a mile away, where we would sit and chat over tea and scones. Then back to our “Nissen Hut” home, carrying a couple of loaves of fresh, hard crust English bread. The huts were heated by two small cylindrical coal burning stoves, about three feet high and ten inches across, with a lid on top and a vent at the bottom for draft. We would slice the bread and toast it in front of the bottom draft, spread a little margarine on it and the taste was heavenly, even though the margarine was a bit waxy.

Eating in the Quonset Mess Hall was sometimes a challenge. Spam, Brussels Sprouts, dried eggs and powdered milk were served all too often and food, in general, was not very palatable. Maybe it was in the cooking. If weather conditions were just right, condensation would collect on the metal ceiling and then drip down upon us and our food.

Our sleeping quarters at Snetterton Heath were in Nissen Huts, which were sixteen feet wide, eight feet high and about 25 feet long. Cots were double decked and lined up on each side of the hut, about three feet apart. I was fortunate in having an upper bunk where the air was a bit better. The fire in our two stoves was built with “coke,” a type of coal, which was very difficult to start, unless we could scrounge some scrap wood or some soft coal to get it started. The coke, once started, burned very hot and kept those within ten feet of it quite cozy. Beyond that point, long underwear felt pretty good. Our coke ration did not always last a full week, making it necessary to remain cold, or steal coke from someplace else, like the base stockpile, which was never guarded. We were not supposed to do that!

There was no running water in the sleeping hut, but another special hut within a hundred feet had sinks in which you could wash up and shave. Still another hut housed the toilets — six to an open room, offering no privacy whatsoever. A mile away was a communal shower in case you ever wanted to bathe all over. Laundry and dry cleaning services were provided in the city of Norwich and dirty clothes were taken there by G.I. truck once each week, and then returned the next week. The farmer’s wife in her home just behind our barracks picked up some extra money by doing our washing for us, and it was much handier than the regular service.

Some of my Nissen hut.barracks mates were: Malcolm Novess; Jack Hasslinger; Harold Edwards.John P. Hicks; Donald McAllister; Frank Brattelli. Henry Gilbert; Jerry Zarro; Charlie Linesay; and Marvin Rettinger.

Near each sleeping hut was a brick-lined dugout where we went for shelter during the air raid alerts which came in the early morning hours several times a week. Our base was never bombed, but we could watch while towns and other bases in the distance were bombed.

We were allowed one three-day pass each month, and accrued 2 ½ days per month to apply toward furlough. Three or four of us would go together on a three-day pass, sometimes to Norwich and sometimes to Cambridge. Really nothing much to do except see the sights and go to the “Cinema.” Once we went “punting on the Cam” river at Cambridge. This was a beautiful row-boat trip passing the various college campuses. At Norwich we stayed in a facility, operated by the Red Cross, called the Bishop’s Palace, for that is what it actually was before the war. It was huge and cold. Every room was equipped with canvas army cots, placed very close together, but at least it was a free place to flop for the night. One night I was billeted at another location. Its rooms were very small, about eight feet square, with one tiny window up high on the wall and another small peephole window in the door. The following day I learned that it had been the insane asylum. At Cambridge we stayed in private homes which offered bed and breakfast for a small fee.

Several times during my stay in England, I took advantage of my accrued furlough time and went further a-field, to Edinburgh, Scotland and Blackpool, England, and once to London, staying five or six days each time. Here again we would travel in a group of five or six friends for companionship in a strange land. In later years I have often felt sorry that I was not mature enough to want to explore historic sights and locations while in England. Wartime blackout of England was total and proved to be quite a trick to find ones way around town at night. The nation was on “double daylight war time” so it didn’t get real dark until around 10 pm. Taxis roamed the streets with headlights in “blackout mode” only a thin slit permitted light to shine forth

Edinburgh was a fun experience. We stayed at the hotel located by the train station and explored the city during the day. Notable were the Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens. Sometimes we would take in a live stage show and that was fun. Once I visited a shop which sold cloth yardage, among other things, as I wanted to buy some Tartan plaid for Virginia. The store owner promptly put the “closed” sign on the front door, completed my transaction, and then opened the shop again. It seems that he didn’t want to get caught selling cloth without the ration slip which he knew I would not have Blackpool was a seaside resort on the Irish Sea offering little but atmosphere and a chance to walk along the beach or see a movie.

London was, of course, a very interesting place and offered many places of historic interest to visit and explore, but it kept getting bombed at night, early in the war by German bombers, then later by V-1 “Buzz Bombs” and V-2 rockets. Buzz Bombs sounded like a semi-truck slowly going uphill. When the sound stopped we knew it was out of fuel and would plunge to the earth and explode. I was very nervous during my visit to London.

“Charge of Quarters” was another extra duty to which I was detailed about once in six months. Someone had to stay at the group headquarters just in case the phone rang, or an urgent message was received. This is where I was when Victory in Europe was finalized on 8 May 1945. Victory over Japan followed on 2 Sep 1945. These events started the “going home” movement and a priority, of some sort, had to be designed to insure a fair selection of personnel to go home first. So a system of points was devised, and, appropriately, combatants were given an edge. So many points for combat duty, points for decorations, medals and ribbons; points for time spent overseas; points for just being assigned to a combat unit, etc. My points assured that I would be among the last to leave. With the 96th Bomb Group leaving, it meant that the 27th Station Complement Squadron had to take charge of the base headquarters, so my job became Base Sergeant Major working for the Base Adjutant. I learned, upon returning home, that my mother had been telling her friends that I was a “Major General.” Now there were lots of promotion spots open and in August of 1945 I was promoted to Staff Sergeant and I received a pay raise of about fifteen dollars a month. I was getting rich! Home

In November of 1945 we entrained to the port of embarkation at Southampton, a seaport on the south coast, and boarded the Queen Mary for our trip home. Some of us carved our initials in the fancy woods of the ship. Our unit was chosen to perform KP duty for the entire trip home, no one was exempt. We were given a preferred location aboard ship and all we could eat, so it wasn’t so bad. We arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 27 Nov 1945, and, after a few idle days, I was put on a train to Camp Grant, Illinois, where I received my discharge papers effective 3 Dec 1945. My uniform was now bedecked with ribbons for service in the European Theater and American Theater, the Good Conduct Medal; Distinguished Unit Citation and Victory Medal, plus one three-year service stripe, five overseas service bars and Staff Sergeant Chevrons. I was ready to resume life as a civilian.

(This article taken from the Stars and Stripes Newspaper, c1944)

THE Lady Moe Still Alive, Kicking

Donkey From Arabia Leading the Life of A Chow Hound. By Bud Hutton, Stars and Stripes Staff Writer

A Fortress Base, Mar. 15—Lady Moe, a tub gutted Arabian donkey who mingles with mess sergeants, Grosvenor House society and other exalted people, is becoming a legend and she’ll chew (literally) the tail out of anyone who doesn’t like it. The gravel voiced mascot of this base [AAF Station 138; 96th Bomb Group (H)] flew to England in a B-17 returning from the shuttle raid to Regensburg and North Africa last August. She weighed 50 pounds, was soft-coated, muzzling-nosed, gentle and thin. The airmen took her to heart, bathed her, petted her, let her sleep in their huts ands fed her.

Today lady Moe is 150 pounds or more, shaggy-haired and redolent with B.O., sharp of tooth, ornery and fat-bellied enough for these Fortress men to compare her with a Liberator. She is still in the men’s hearts but they no longer bathe her, nor do they let her sleep in the huts, and she has been stigmatized with the epithet of “chow hound.”

The boys still love Lady Moe. They will swear fiercely she is the best air base mascot in the ETO, [European Theater of Operations] which, of course, means all the world. They will feed her (even as she bites off their hands up to the wrist because she is tired of Spam). They will pet her (even as she whirls on her forefeet and belts their shins with a pair of lashing hooves). They will lie in their sacks and recount her exploits (even as she brays her long-eared head off at the moon to keep them awake).

Since the day Capt. Andrew Miracle, Loyall, Ky., pilot and his crew of The Miracle Tribe bought Lady Moe for 400 francs from a beat up old Arab donkey-man, made her an oxygen mask and brought her back here by way of the raid on Bordeaux, she has grown in legend in exact proportion to the now alarming extent of her cast-iron gut. As one gunner on the base puts it: “Lady Moe is our legend—and we’re stuck with it.”

No Midnight Safety

These days a gunner or maybe a line chief will be walking down the dark perimedal track after a midnight job of work on a B17. He will be maybe thinking of pay day, or home-made fudge or his gal when something will jab him from behind and a hideous noise will rend the night. Lady Moe—and they still love her.

The stories about Lady Moe began as soon as she landed and a cameraman got a picture of her in the B17s waist window with Lou Klimchak, of Josephine, Pa., and E. O. Matthews, of Porter, Tex., beside her. Papers all over the world published that picture of “the flying donkey.” The rest of the base was delighted, and the fact that another Fortress group had brought back a donkey, also named Lady Moe, didn’t matter, because only this outfit’s Lady Moe got picture space in the papers. They would feed her and scratch her ears from 11:30 to 1 o’clock when the mess hall closed and then the cooks would feed her a little more. After a while, though, some of the boys found they weren’t getting much time to eat themselves and they told Lady Moe to go away after the first tid-bit. That was the beginning of the legend.

Lady Moe began to nudge gunners on the part of them that stuck over the edges of the chairs. She would nudge them twice and if she still got no response, she would sink her broad donkey’s teeth into that same portion that stuck over the edges of the chairs. If they had a Stars and Stripes stuck in their back pockets at noon chow, maybe she’d first pull that out and chew it up.

Times Grow Tough

As she grew in size, Lady Moe found food harder and harder to get, even at the threat of the bared front teeth. So she began to lurk quietly in the back of the mess until some unlucky gunner put his food down at a table and went off to get coffee, or maybe jam for his bread. As soon as he had left the table Moe would sprint to his place, lick the plate clean (spit-out out any knives or forks she’d gulped) and retire. Every now and then a gunner would belt his innocent neighbor when he returned and found an empty plate. But they still loved her.

After a couple of months of GI living, Lady Moe began to get mail in care of Barney Ehrenreich, the PRO. [Public Relations Officer]. The mail was of the sort which would have come naturally to the gentle 50-pound little pet which had flown up from Africa. It didn’t fit in quite as well with Lady Moe, chow hound. For instance, there was the formal invitation for Lady Moe to attend an exhibit at a Leicester Square store in London under sponsorship of an organization devoted to caring for sick animals in North Africa.

Lady Moe went. The show was opened by Dame Sybil Thorndike and for three days Lady Moe showed her teeth at little kids who wanted to rub her nose, chewed at the new blanket the boys had made her and generally was her own sweet self. After the exhibition, a magazine called The Little Animals’ Friend printed a story entitled “Lady Moe and Her Fairy Godmother.” It included a letter from Lady Moe to the children who read the magazine:

Thank You, People.

“Dear Humans: This is to thank you all for coming to meet me in London and for putting such generous donations in my box. The result of it all is that I have collected, after deducting expenses, over £350, and this money will be spent on medicines, bandages and all the needed veterinary things and sent out to my country. Well, I had a wonderful three days in Leicester Square. It was delightful being spoken to so nicely by so many people and children and to have the roots of my ears rubbed. I went back to the airdrome happily and was given a great welcome by my American friends there.

Yours lovingly, (Signed) Lady Moe.”

“P.S. I am letting the little lady have the last word except that I want to add my hope that the Little Animals’ Friends members as they grow older won’t throw away their belief in fairy godmothers. You may not always see them but they are all around you ready to turn ‘nothing into everything’ if you can only believe it.”

The day that letter came to the base, a gunner forgot Lady Moe’s delicate little tummy only likes chewing gum in sticks ands gave her some chiclets. She kicked the hell out of him and no fairy godmother nonsense about it, either. But they still loved her.

No Grass For This Ass’ is her motto; She Wants Food!

Then there was the affair at London’s swank Grosvenor House. The Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa, 96 Blandford St. W1, president, Her Grace the Duchess of Portland, was giving a ball at Grosvenor House. They invited Lady Moe. The boys in base PRO went out to get the crate they had shipped her in the last time and someone had busted it up for firewood, so they made another and sent her to London, resplendent in a new orange blanket.

Lady Moe was a great success at the ball. She chewed off the orange blanket, spat the pieces on the floor, repeatedly fell off the platform when benevolent-minded dowagers tried to pet her, mussed up the place in general and took a bite at the breeches of a naïve individual who chewed gum in front of her. She was a very great success.

Moe rode back on a night train. There was a party at base when she arrived at the railroad station. The baggage master had dealt with Lady Moe before, so he called the base immediately, and when he couldn’t find the PRO he called the MPs. About 3 o’clock in the morning the PRO staff had to get Lady Moe out of the guardhouse.

The New Deal.

About this time there came to the relationship between Lady Moe and Mess Sgt. Jasper Baker, of Jacksonville, Fla., a new deal. Group headquarters issued an order barring Lady Moe from the mess hall, and Baker heaved a reluctant (he still loved her) but relieved sigh. Moe, who had found there were three other messes besides the combat mess, tried them all. No soap.

Each day, then, Lady Moe stood wistfully at the combat mess entrance. She would sigh as the gunners went in to chow and she was waiting there as they came out. She would nuzzle them gently, stirring their memories. It was very touching. Of course, if their memories had happed to forget to bring her a little sugar or maybe a piece of chicken, Moe would whirl around and kick the khaki off any stragglers. All very touching..

Moe took to playing with a pack of dogs about this time, and with Smokey, a Dalmatian owed by Col. James Travis, of Portland, Ore, the group commander, would delight in racing through mud puddles as soldiers were passing.

The boys put up a tent in a grassy hollow, bought a batch of the market’s best hay. Not for Moe. She’d been sleeping in Nissen huts and she intended to continue. By this time she’d grown big as a small horse, fat, shaggy and was somewhat fragrant, and she couldn’t understand why the boys resented it when she kicked in the outside doors after they’d turned her out of the huts.

She took to roaming the perimedal track late at night and as some late-working mechanic would start for his hut in the darkness, thinking maybe of home-made fudge or a spam-less world, an ungentle nose would give him a shove, a dark shape would race away in the dark and through the still night air would go a brassy braying.

She Knows The PX.

These days, Moe is out on what 1/Sgt. Everett Lee, of Wenatchee, Wash., describes as “DS [detached service] to the hospital, because the grass is greener.” She still gets to chow down on time and she knows what hours the PX is open. As a matter of fact, the PX is one of her favorite spots, because new gunners on the base usually can be cajoled into giving her a package of American cigarettes to chew. She’s a little brassed off at the old gunners who get tired of giving her part of their cigarette ration and started to buy her English cigarettes for chewing tobacco. Moe doesn’t like English cigarettes.

Over Moe’s life there is scarcely a cloud. She is noisily happy, and maybe even she’s forgiven that precise gentleman in the British Department of Agriculture and Fisheries who threatened to make her ETO arrival unhappy last August.

When Moe’s story was told, this precise individual recalled that under the Dogs and Cats Importation Order of 1928, which is naturally administered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, any animal coming into the country had to be certified by a veterinary or quarantined for six months. Or something, the gunners weren’t quite sure.

The precise gentleman in the D of A and F called up the Stars and Stripes and wanted to know where Moe was. He even read the Dogs and Cats Importation Order of 1928 over the phone. Somehow, no one at S&S knew where Moe’s station was, and when further inquiries were made, no one else seemed to know, either.

Eventually, it seemed, the gentleman at the D of A and F must have resigned himself. Moe waxed fat without veterinary or quarantine, and no one caught any diseases from her.

The other day a London newspaper carried a story that “Lady Moe, the famous donkey brought back from Africa by American airmen, is dead.” The boys were a little alarmed, but it was all right. It seemed there was another donkey named Lady Moe, at another group. She had died. But THE Lady Moe was still alive. The boys found her the very first place they looked—just outside the kitchen door at the combat mess.

After Word: The Lady Moe did finally die sometime in late 1945, when the “point” system was sending everyone home. She wandered onto the railroad tracks, which ran through AAF Station 138 at Snetterton Heath, and was run down by a train. Most of her friends were back in the USA by then, so she went un-mourned by the new troops shipped in to replace the ones who had returned home. (Added by Joe J. Reichel)

J Reichel

Capt. Harold O Binkley 20th Fighter Group

Captain Harold O Binkley flew P51 Mustangs and later Lockheed P38 Lightning aircraft from Station 367 King's Cliffe during the second world war. He is related to me, a cousin, and during his service he shot down two German Aircraft and was reprimanded for flying too low and snagging tree branches in his undercarriage.

James Binkley

Sidney A Mandel 331st Bombardment Squadron

I've know Sidney A. Mandel, Bombardier, 331st Bombardment Squadron, for almost 40 years. He is one of my real-life heroes. He will celebrate his 90th birthday in March.

Richard Heltzel

Edwin Rucker "Rocky" Walthall 381st Bombardment Group

S. Flynn

Charles Siegel DFC. 451st Bombardment Group 726th Bombardment Squadron

Charles Siegel served in the Mediterranean, Middle East and European African theatres from March 12, 1844 to August 12, 1945. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, A Purple Heart, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medals.

S. Flynn

Veto Iavecchia 2nd Air Division 389th Bomb Group

Veto Iavecchia enrolled in Army Air Forces flight school during World War II and was qualified as a bambardier in the 389th Bomb Group, Second Air Division, Eighth Air Force.

He was stationed in England and participated in two missions on D-Day. On a 20th June 1944, bombing run to destroy the synthetic-fuel supplies in Politz, Germany, his B-24 bomber, "Mistah Chick", with 11 aboard, was hit by enemy fire. The flak disabled the plane's hydraulics and caused fuel to leak. Unable to return to England, and uncertain how long the fuel would hold out, the crew voted to try and make it across the Baltic Sea to neutral Sweden. The crew jettisoned everything, including the machine guns, through the bomb bay doors. The plane made it across the Baltic, and, with the landing gear inoperable, the pilot landed on a dirt field. The crewman suffered only minor injuries. The Swedish Government interned the crew. Unaware of what had happened, the War Department sent telegrams to the men's families saying the crew was "missing in action and last seen over Politz, Germany". Five weeks later, the families learned that the crew of the "Mistah Chick" had been located; five months after that, the crewmen were freed.

S. Flynn

William L. Booker 477th Bombardment Group

William L. Booker was one of the first black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Kentucky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.


Sgt. Wesley Clifton Browning 27th Bomb Group (AC) V Bomb Cmd 17th Bomb Sq.

POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

Pvt. Christopher T. Carson 24th Pursuit Gr. V Bomb Cmd AC 34th Bomb Sq. (d.09 July 1945)

Died in POW Camp Fukuoka 17 in Japan

Pvt. Albert Joseph Corsarie 454th Ord. Coy. AVN

SB Flynn

Rfmn. A. Leckenby 2nd Btn. Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

A Leckenby and the 2nd Battalion joined Montgomery's 8th Army for the invasion of Sicily and the battle for Italy in 1943, and from there was involved with the Garigliano Crossing. Unfortunately, he was captured and ended up bound for Germany on a POW train. It was on this journey that the Allerona tragedy took place.

On 28th January 1944 at the Orvieto North railway bridge at Allerona, Italy, a train full of Allied prisoners, most of whom had come from Camp P.G. 54, Fara in Sabina, north of Rome, was hit by friendly fire from the American 320th Bombardment Group. U.S. Army member Richard Morris was on the train and wrote that the journey was stopped on the bridge over the river, and that the German guards fled as soon as the bombs struck. The prisoners were left locked inside the carriages. Many, including A Leckenby, managed to escape through holes in the boxcars caused by the bombing, and jumped into the river below. It was a great tragedy of the war resulting in the deaths of hundreds of men. Leckenby was uninjured in the train crash, but was captured at Garigliano. He was sent to POW camp Stalag 344 in Lamsdorf, Poland.

S Flynn

Jack LaCara Canicatti 719th Squadron 449th Bomber Group

My Grandfather, Jack Canicatti of 449th Bomber Group 719th Squadron, took off from Grottaglie on 17th October, 1944. The target of mission 150 was to blow up the railways in Vienna, Austria. The B24 liberator named "Spirit of Plainfield, NJ" (s/n 42-51763) was hit and started losing altitude. My Grandfather, the left waist gunner was injured in his leg, as was the navigator John W. Clark. All 10 men managed to bail out before the plane crashed. My Grandfather was taken to the hospital in Györ, Hungary where he remained for a month. He was then taken to Stalag Luft IV.

Maryjane Creamer

George Van Morris 603rd Bomb Squadron 398th Bomb Group

Sgt. George Van Morris (US Army Air Corp - serial #34057965) was a relative and I am researching his time as a POW at Dulag Luft Grosstychow Dulag 12. His bomber plane was shot down and he was captured on 17th November 1944. I have been trying to locate information about this POW camp. Is there another name it was known by? Any assistance would be appreciated.

Alice L. Luckhardt

W/O. Howard Jack Mason 405 Squadron

Howard Jack Mason top left

Howard Jack Mason front Row 8th from left

Sketch of camp by Micky Dee

Jack Mason was my half brother and was 28 years old when I was born in 1946, which explains why, to me, he was like a second father. He trained as a pilot in Dallas Texas on Stearman biplanes, converting to Wellington and Halifax Bombers in the UK. He joined 405 Squadron in 1943 shortly after a detachment from the squadron moved from Topcliffe to Beaulieu. Initially he was with RAF Coastal Command but was transferred to Bomber Command. He was shot down by a German fighter on the night of 11th/12th of March 1943 following a raid on Stuttgart. Jack was the last member of the crew to bale out and said that he remembered looking down the fuselage through the tail gunner’s turret to see the fighter approaching. Jack hurriedly bailed out to find, rather painfully when his chute opened, that he had not done the straps up tightly enough. He managed to evade capture for 10 days and then called at a French farm house and was given food by the farmer. However, while Jack was eating, the farmer sent his son to the German fighter field to fetch the Germans. Jack later heard that the farmer, who gave him away, had been shot by the French Resistance. When Jack was captured, the German senior officer asked if he would like to meet the pilot who shot him down. Jack said he would and in fact they shook hands. Later, in Stalag Luft III, he was given the news that the fighter pilot himself had been shot down and killed. Jack said he felt really saddened by the news.

Before the war, Jack had been a panel beater, trained by my father. He must have been very good at it since he worked for Rolls Royce for a while before helping to build flying boats at the Shorts factory in Rochester. This experience was put to good use in Stalag Luft III where he made pots and pans from the Red Cross tins, which he tied round his belt and sold round the camp. He made several escape attempts and was one of the tunnel diggers. In the Great Escape, he designed and helped build the tunnel entrance in the shower room. This tunnel was later used to store escaper materials since it was decided to put all the effort into one tunnel. He also escaped from a tunnel which exited under one of the guard huts, but he got his trousers caught in the barbed wire and was approached by a sentry. Jack smiled at the man which may be the reason why he was not shot. The sentry was sent to the Russian front for not shooting him. On another occasion, he and two friends tried to get over the wire using a home-made ladder. A guard approached whereupon Jack picked up the ladder, talking all the time to the guard, and walked back to the huts. Once again he was not shot. Finally, as the Allies were advancing, Jack and two other POWs buried themselves under one of the huts, covering themselves with de-lousing powder so the guard dogs wouldn’t smell them. They stayed there for three days and emerged to find the camp empty. The Germans had marched the POWs further into Germany. Many men died on the march from that camp. Jack was in no fit state to march and his escape undoubtedly saved his life.

Jack brought back a note book which was issued to POWs by the YMCA. His daughter Terry still has that book together with Jack’s flying log book and photos. I am grateful to her for allowing me to photograph these documents. The note book makes very sobering reading, showing a bit more of what life was really like in the camp. It was clearly a far cry from the jollity shown in the Great Escape film. If the film had shown more of the reality then no doubt, it would not have been so popular. Jack said that he used to walk his friend round and round the camp to prevent him breaking down completely. I also remember that Jack had nightmares for several years afterwards.

After the war, Jack became a dental surgeon. This must have required an immense effort and determination considering his background as a panel beater. From panel beating however, he had developed a very strong hand which I recall gripped your jaw like a vice. When he was about 40, Jack started showing signs of renal failure and was likely to be discharged from hospital since it was thought there was nothing more that could be done. However, my other brother, Don, was at medical school and heard of a new treatment called dialysis. This gave him an extra three years but eventually he died aged 58. Of course we all still think of him but I consider myself so very fortunate to have had a “second father”.

The first two photos were possibly taken during training. The rest are from Jack’s note book, issued by the YMCA to POWs. The sketch by “Micky Dee” is quite moving when you consider that was what he was looking at when he drew it. Dixie Deans was highly regarded in the POW camp and became quite well known. The “Grace” poem is in Jack's handwriting, I don’t know whether or not he wrote it.

Peter Mason

S/Sgt. Lutska.

Served as a Gunner Instructor

John Paulick 327th Bomb Sqd.

I believe this might be a photo from Bovingdon 1942/43 when my father

My father John Paulick was a radio operator of Lt. Neil Ritchie's B-17 crew of 92nd Bomb Group, 327th Bomb Squadron stationed at Bovingdon Aug to Dec 1942.In early 1943 he joined the newly formed 1/11 CCRC (Combat Crew Replacement Center) at Bovingdon as a radio instructor.

I believe this might be a photo from Bovingdon 1942/43 when my father was stationed there. Any leads will be most appreciated.

A history of the CCRC is available on microfilm.

Microfilm # B0797 (Unclassified) the history of 1st Combat Crew Replacement Center Group (covering the period Aug 42 - Nov 44) Bovingdon

Available from:

Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) Maxwell AFB, Alabama

HQ AFHRA/RSA (microfilm order)

600 Chennault Circle

Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6424

It contains very useful information for any person who is interested in first hand accounts. Teh following is a transcription from that microfilm.

Relationship of 92nd group to Combat Crew Replacement and Training Center

To tell accurately the story of the Combat Crew Replacement and Training Center reference must be made here, at the beginning, to the 92nd Heavy Bomb Group from which came most of the personnel for the school. This unit arrived in England during August of 1942, being the third American Heavy Bomb Group to be assigned to the European Theater of Operations. As a result of its flight to England the 92nd Bomb Group became the first complete organization to fly the non-stop, transoceanic route from Gander, Newfoundland to Prestwick, Scotland. The flight was made without loss and had a great deal to do with the general acceptance of this route for heavy bomber travel. The organization was led on this flight by Colonel James A. Sutton, Commanding Officer of the Group, and it was his brilliant leadership which was undoubtedly responsible for the successful completion of this mission. The unit was personally congratulated by General H. H. Arnold for this flight.

War Department

Headquarters of the Army Air Force


31 August 1942

Subject: Commendation

To: Colonel James A. Sutton

Commanding Officer

92nd Bomb Group (H)

Through Commanding General

U.S. Army Forces in the British Isles

1. I have just received the report that all airplanes of the 92nd Bomb Group have successfully completed their movement to England today.

2. I wish to commend you and all of the officers and men of the 92nd Bomb Group for your remarkable demonstration and accomplishment.

3. The safe execution of such a lengthy and hazardous crossing over a route previously unflown by any of the personnel of your group is indeed meritorious. The effort, hard work, and thought put forth by everyone of the 92nd Bomb Group in accomplishing this mission are indeed appreciated. I heartily congratulate you and your men.





The aircraft flown to this theatre by the group were B-17Fs, the first of this type to be brought to this country. The B-17E was then being used by the 97th Bombardment Group. The 92nd had worked hard on these ships, fitting them for the long flight and for the combat they were to eventually face. Many original modifications were made, several of which later appeared as standard equipment on the B-17G. Two changes of particular importance were: nose gun to fire directly forward (this later modified itself into the present "chin" turret), and radio guns fed from flexible bolts of 25 or 50 round ammunition cans.

The 92nd Bomb Group came to this country at the completion of its training in the United States expecting one thing: OPERATIONS-the chance to take on the enemy in the skies over Europe and to fight it out with him. It was with this single purpose in mind that the Group carried on its day to day existence; but upon arrival at this station, the unit was immediately ordered to exchange its new ships for the battle damaged ones of the gallant 97th Group. The personnel were then told by Lt. General Ira C. Eaker (then Major General), who was at that time Commanding general of the 8th Air Force, that they were to staff a training center for heavy bombardment crews. The loss of their planes was by the group taken more or less in stride, and repair and modification work began at once on the "beat up Es" inherited from the 97th. The men could see the obvious logic behind the exchange of planes, though of course they were not exactly happy about the idea; but to be taken out of the big fight without even hearing the sound of the bell was nearly a mortal blow to the morale of the organization.

"Why the 92nd Group?" Was The question in everyone's mind. The comments ran something like this: "We are not trained for this job!" "We don't know anything about combat yet!" "Why had we not been told before?" And even "What did we do wrong to draw this detail?" Some of the reasons "Why the 92nd?" later revealed themselves, but not all of them.

The airdrome to which the Group was assigned is located at Bovingdon, Hertfordshire and was designated as AAF Station 112. The field, which had been designed by RAF engineers as an operational base, was partially completed. With discontent everywhere the men of the group went about this work of completing the field, setting up equipment for maintenance, organizing the system of supply, and generally solving the 'mud' problem. In their leisure time the discontented men fortunately had something very big to occupy their minds: a new country and a new people. There were things to find out: "How far was it to London?""What was a 'pub'?""Where was the nearest'cinema?""Just what were the English people like?" "Did the sun ever shine?" "How much did a bike cost?" "How much was that in real money?" "Can I get up to .... and back on a forty-eight hour pass?" "I've got relatives up there that I have never seen". And so the queries ran. But despite the fascination of the new country, and the amount of hard work that was necessary to get the field going, the big thought in mind was still "Why the 92nd?" with its brother thought "What can we do to make them change their minds?" Colonel Sutton pledged himself to work unceasingly to have the organization reinstated for combat.

Permission was granted in September for the 92nd to take part in several combat missions in the interest of gathering necessary battle information to be taught in the school. Targets attacked by the Group were:


4 September 1942 Meault, France 1

26 September 1942 Cherbourg, France 0 (diversion-airdrome)


2 October 1942 Meault, France 0

9 October 1942 Lille, France 1

21 October 1942 Cherbourg, France 0 (diversion-airdrome)

Other groups flying on these raids included the 97th, 91st, and 301st bombardment Groups.

These five missions flown by the 92nd plus others being made at that time in which the 92nd did not participate were, however, bringing home to the group with great force, the seriousness of daylight high-altitude bombing. The missions also revealed dangerous weaknesses in the Group's combat technique. For example: they found their formations looked good to the eye of a camera, but did not permit maximum firepower for self defense. The aiming technique of the gunners was alright according to existing classroom ideas, but the enemy planes were not being hit. Navigation, because of radio aids and different weather conditions was full of new problems. The bombing technique proved itself to have an outstanding weakness, the pilots, through no fault of their own, found it nearly impossible to hold the plane level and true in the midst of fighter attacks and bursting flak. The bombardiers, bombing from an unstable platform, were not able to hit targets with true accuracy. These combat weaknesses and many others showed themselves on those first missions, proving to the group the necessity for futher training, training to cover the gap between the generalization of the OUT schooling in the U.S and combat in the European Theatre of Operations. It was this advanced, fine-grain training that had been anticipated by General Eaker, and the assignment to set up the school for carrying out this training had been given to the 92nd Group. The assignment did not just concern itself with the training of the 92nd personnel, but rather with all combat crew replacements for the entire 8th Air Force.

It was a big assignment, worthy of the best efforts of a fine organization. The need for the school was then apparent to all, still the Group balked at the idea. The Combat anticipating hearts and minds of these men could not be reconciled to the monotonous duties of school teaching no matter what accompanying circumstances existed. It was decided, therefore, after much discussion within the organization and between representatives of the Group and General Eaker, that the Unit would be divided in two. Those interested in the school and necessary to the school would be assigned to it; those interested in combat and indispensable to the Group's operation as such a unit would be assigned to the Group. [Unsigned and No date shown]

This was transcribed from microfilm # B0797 (Unclassified) the history of 1st Combat Crew Replacement Center Group (covering Aug 42 - Nov 44) Bovingdon

Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) -Maxwell AFB, Alabama HQ AFHRA/RSA (microfilm order) 600 Chennault Circle Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6424

Portions of the microfilm are difficult to read.

Mike Paulick

S/Sgt. Sloop.

Served as a Gunner Instructor

Bernard S. Miller 61st Fighter Squadron

I recently aquired an A-2 jacket with with the markings - Bernard S. Miller serial #0-830047 stamped on the inside. The jacket has a 61st Squadron patch on the front. Might you be able to provide any information on the gentleman and if not, could you possibly point me in the right direction as to where I could start my research? I used to have a 56th FG Unit History that would have been some help to me but over the years it has gone missing. I have a little information that I got from the person who I got the jacket from and he believed that Mr. Miller may have been from the Boston area. Any help would be appreciated

Greg Smith

T/Sgt. George A. Ganem 338th Bomb Squadron

My father-in-law, T\Sgt George A. Ganem, was in the 96th.BG 338th.BS stationed at Snetterton Heath England. On July 10 1943 he was loaned to the crew of a Capt. Flagg on a B-17 called "Wabbit Twaks". Their target was Lebourget France. I would like any information on this mission the aircraft and the crew. The next mission my father-in-law flew, was July 28th with his own crew on their B-17 "Paper Doll". They had to ditch in the North Sea. Their B-17 floated a record amount of time allowing all crew to exit safely to their rafts. They were picked up by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in Stalag 17-B. He did not know about any ribbons he had earned on his previous mission to Lebourget France. Would like if possible any pictures of these two B-17's and their crews or medals earned or any information at all.

Donald W. Will

William C. Craggs 700th Bomb Squadron

My Father, William C Craggs was with the 445th Bomb Group, 700th squadron. His Pilot was Fritz Mueller, Dad was the co- Pilot. Any information such as the name of his plane,or any crew Photos, I would be greatly interested in. Thank you very much for your interest in these men and their lives.

Cindy Craggs

Lt. William S. Winneshiek 333rd Bomb Squadron

My father, William S. Winneshiek, was stationed at Rougham during WWII. He was a B-17 pilot and his planes were Double Trouble and Bouncin' Bitch. He was flew with 8th Air Force, 3rd Air Division, 4th Combat Wing, 94th Bomb Group, Squadron 333.

We had a skeleton in the closet. After my father's death, my mother revealed to myself and my siblings that my father had an affair with a lady in Rougham. My oldest sister thinks her name was Michelin. My sisters and I are curious if there are any Winneshiek's over there? Of course their last name would not be Winneshiek, but we are wondering if we have a brother or sister from their relationship.

I am in process of writing a book on my father and his military ventures during WWII. The book will include information on my father's American Indian heritage, which he was ashamed of, as many Indians were from that era. My father and my siblings are enrolled members of the Ho-Chunk Nation. I want to "spice up" the story to include his affair with "Michelin." As I said, my oldest sister thinks this was her name and she is unsure of the spelling.

I have photograph of him from 1942. With the photo we're hoping someone with recognize him. In the photo, he is standing, far left. There's black mark above his head. Any other information you have on my father would be greatly appreciated.

Bill Winneshiek

S/Sgt. Thomas M McGraw 716th Bomb Sqn. 449th Bomb Group (d.28th Feb 1945)

Staff Sergeant Thomas M McGraw served with 716th Bomber Squadron part of 449th Bomber Group during WW2. His B24 was downed near Grado, Italy and he was positively identified from human remains recovered from the underwater site. My uncles B-24 has been positively identified and contains human remains in 40' of water near Grado Italy. B-24#42-51642/ Hanson crew is a popular diving site and has been pillaged and vandalized for years. This site is unprotected and has been reported on Italian newscasts and newspapers alike. The coordinates are well known and it is crucial that these brave men's remains be recovered ASAP. The Grado government along with historians, archeologists and professional divers are trying their best to preserve this historical grave site from rogue divers wanting to plunder these men's personal items. Please see My Facebook Page

James J Fox

Sgt. Bill Unknown 326th Squadron 92nd Bomber Group

My story is identical to many who have lived a life of not knowing their father as a result of the effects of war. Many would have been in this situation due to the loss of their father in combat. They would have been told the facts surrounding his loss. Killed in action, Missing in Combat, Prisoner of War. Others may know that their existence was due to a period of time when it was important to grab a moment of happiness when they could.

One day, at junior school, my teacher asked the class to say what their mother and father did at work. I knew my mother worked in an office but I did not have a father. I asked my mother and she told me that he was killed in the war. At that time in London children played in streets where bomb sites were normal. We knew about the war so there was no reason to ask further questions. My mother found a partner when I was 9 years old and after several years he became my step-father. My name was changed by deed poll when I moved to Secondary school.

At various times in my childhood and early teenage years I had occasions to question my fathers demise. My Grand-mother (my mothers mother) once told me that my mother had the opportunity to move to America but had decided not to. I remembered being carried on the shoulders of soldier in Trafalgar Square with my mother. At this time I had been given a toy car which I now realise was an american model convertible. It was fantastic, with a steering wheel that worked and individual suspension. In my early teens I became interested in who my Father was. My Mother would not tell me of any detail other then he was killed in a battle at Caen, France. My Grandmother told me that he was an American who my mother had met whilst working as a bus conductress in Bushy. My grandmother asked me not to discuss this any further and especially not with my mother as she had been warned not to tell me the truth. I had already been threatened by my step father with being put in a children’s home if I was disobedient so decided to give up the questioning.

In 1998 my step-father died leaving my widowed mother living on her own and subsequently relying on me as the only child with few other relatives. To my surprise, one day she produced a photograph of a British army soldier and informed me that this was my father. She gave me the details of his regiment and service number and I was able to confirm he was killed in action in Caen following the D Day invasion. I decided to tell her that her mother had told me that my father was an American serviceman. My grandmother had died many years before. She looked shocked and then denied that the story was true. There was little point in pursuing the subject and nothing more was said.

Following my mothers death I dealt with the disposal of her belongings and was surprised to find a photograph of an American Airforce Sergeant signed on the reverse, Love from Bill, 13033949, 92nd Bomber Group, 326th Squadron USAAF 11th November 1942. My wife, on viewing the photo, said, 'you have his eyes and smile. That's your father'. My only other relative, a cousin, when told of my discovery, said, 'We were told that your father was an American'

I carried out a search on the internet and confirmed that the bomber squadron were on active service from Bovingdon Airfield during the relevant time My birth date also coincided with the possibility that Bill was my father. I discovered that there was a veterans association for the 92nd Bomber Group in the USA. I made contact and was informed that without a surname and the State in which Bill had been recruited it would not be possible to identify him. According to the archivist for the Vets Association each State in America issued the service number. Therefore it could not be used in isolation as a means of identification. I had to accept this as a fact and gave up on the quest.

I reasoned that such time had passed that it was probable that Bill was dead. I had to assume there was a surviving family in the USA and that they would be unaware of my mothers brief encounter during the war. Let sleeping dogs lie…..

Tony Dockerill

T/Sgt. Lester Arnold Beck 94th Bomb Group

Lester Beck was shot down over Hanover on 24th July 1943. He was severely wounded and became a POW in Stalag 17B near Krems Austria until the end of war.

Les Beck

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

S/Sgt. Jesse Otis Watson 563rd Bomb Sqdn. 388th Bomb Group H

Jesse with his crew 563rd Bomb Squadron

S Sgt Jesse O Watson Jr flight jacket, Madiam Marie

Lucky Bastards Club Award

S/Sgt. Jesse Otis Watson flew with 563rd Bomb Sqdn. 388th Bomb Group H

David F Watson

William T. Minor 703 Sqdn. 445th Bomb Group

I flew a B-24, the `Gremlin's Roost'. I was shot down on 5 January 1944 and was a POW at Stalag Luft 1.

William T Minor

Belcik 306th B17 Sqdn.

If anyone has information about an airman who served in US Air Force 306th B17 Squadron by the name of Belcik would they please get in touch. I am trying to gather information on 306th's base airfield at Thurleigh on behalf of a colleague.

David Taylor

Howard G Crissman 454th Bomb Group, 15th AAF 739th Sqdn

I was a member of 454th Bomb Group, 15th AAF, 739th Sqdn stationed near Cerginola, Italy from August to December 1944. On my 30th mission on 27th December I went down over Bruck, Austria. I was then a POW in Stalags 13d and 7a until liberated on 29th April 1945. I was a tail gunner on a B24 (a great plane). All except the engineer got out safely. I lost one-third to one-half of my body weight in four and a half months on a 700 calorie (or less) diet. I retuned to the USA on 5th June 1945.

Howard G Crissman

2nd Lt. James Isaac Hastings 385th Group 551st Squadron

My late father, James Hastings, was shot down on his 25th mission as bombardier of the USAAC B-17 bomber "Spirit of Chicago" of the 8th Air Force, 551st Bombardment Squadron, 385th Bombardment Group, over Germany on 29th April 1944, and was taken prisoner of war and imprisoned in Oflag Luft 3 for one year to the day until 29th April 1945 when General Patton's tanks liberated him. He had two confirmed kills of a FW-190 and a ME-262. I have digital pictures of his scrap book and will share these with the interested to honour him.

Jonathan Hastings

Robert Dubowsky 66 & 68 Bomb Sqdns. 44th Bomb Group

I flew 35 missions with 44th Bomb Group from July 1944 to March 1945. I also did duty as a co-pilot and flew with the 66th and 68th Bomb Squadrons. I was shot down on my 33rd mission on the return leg from Dresden, when I bailed out just inside the allied line. That is the reason I had to fly two more missions to complete the tour requirement of 35 missions. A piece of my parachute is in the 2nd Air Division Association memorial library at the Forum in Norwich.

Robert Dubowsky

H. G. Crissman 454th Bomb Group

I served with the 454th Bomb Group, 15th AAF, based near Cerignola, Italy from August to 27th December 1944. I was a tail-gunner on B24 `Thunder Mist' which was lost to AA fire over Bruck, Austria on our 30th mission. I was in POW camps in Frankfurt, Wetzler and Nuremburg and walked to Stalag 7a Moosburg in mid April 1945. Nuremburg had to be the worst camp in Germany (old 13d) There was no heat and little food.

H. G. Crissman

Nick Konsuvo 303rd Bomb Group

My uncle, Nick Konsuvo served with the 303rd Bomb Group (H) `The Hell's Angels', part of the 8th Air Force. He was stationed at Molesworth. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers him or any information about his particular squadron, the 444th.

Christine DeRosa

Felix Napoliello 446th Bomb Group

I am trying to help Felix Napoliello locate fellow crewmembers of `Miss Margie' (B25) that was shot down on 14th May 1944 near Porto Ferraio, Elba, Italy. They are: Allan (Alan?) T. Sampson (Samson?), Ernest Nigrello and Robert F. Mygrant. 446th Bomb Group was part of 12th Army Air Force, 57th Wing, 321st Bombardment Group. If anyone has information about any of these men please contact me.

Debbie McCabe

S/Sgt. John William Ring 9th Bomb Sqdn. 7th Bomb Group (d.25th November 1943)

My father, John Ring was in the 7th Bomb Group, 9th Bomb Sqdn. He was killed on 25th November 1943 over Burma. I am hoping that someone might remember him.

Billie Jo Ring Moore

Kenneth V. Moore 612th Sqdn. 401st Bomber Group

My father, Kenneth V Moore served with the 401st Bomber Group, 612th Squadron and I am searching for more information.

Larry Moore

John Pringle 303rd Bomb Group 359th Bomb Sqdn.

I trained with Purcell's crew (359th) in the States. I was grounded and lost a kidney at Dyersburg AFB.

John Pringle

Roy L. Chancellor 369th Sqdn. 306th

My uncle, Roy L. Chancellor, died on 1st January 1945 returning from a bombing run over Germany. The aircraft went down over the North Sea. The exact cause of the loss was never known. His pilot was 1st Lt Robert D. Stewart.

E Neal Chancellor

Nav. Raymond A. Parker 703 Squadron 445th Bomb Group

I came to Tibenham with the original 445th Bomb Group. I was a navigator in the 703rd Squadron, and flew 11 missions over Germany and France. I was shot down on 18th March 1944, and remained a POW until the Russians liberated us.

While at Stalag Luft I, I was the publisher of our underground daily paper `Pow Wow'. I would appreciate hearing from anyone in the 445th.

Raymond A Parker

Adolph L. "Vinny" Visconti 367th BS 306th Bomb Group

My father, MSG Adolph L. (Vinny) Visconti served with the 306th Bomb Group, 367th BS, in Thurleigh from 1942 to 1945. He was the crew chief of B-17 (named `Skipper'), which flew over 100 missions without an abort. USAF Brig. Gen. Barney Rawlings completed his tour on Skipper. My dad's best friends were Buck Gaines, John R. Calb and Keith Jackson, all MSGTs.

Adolph L. Visconti III

2nd Lt. John J. Scott 338th Bomb Sqdn.

My father never talked much about the war or his time as a POW, most men of that time didn't say much. It is only now after his passing, while completing the family tree, that the whole story is known. Jack Scott enlisted on 29th January 1942 at the age of 23. After flight training in the US, his group (96th BG, 338th BS) was based at Snetterton Heath, England on 4th July 1943. A little over three months later on 8th October 1943 at 15:10, flying at an altitude of 22,400 feet over Bremen, Germany, his plane went down. Those who could, bailed out. In his Missing Air Crew report he wrote: the plane crashed 15 KM SW of Weingbergen, Germany. He was the navigator, he had the maps, so he knew exactly where it went down. They flew B-17F - Serial Number 42-30373, Lucky Lady III. The POWs were taken to Stalag 7A, Moosburg, Bavaria 48-12 (Work Camps 3324-46 Krumbachstrasse 48011, Work Camp 3368 Munich 48-11) where they stayed until liberated by American Forces on 29th June 1945.

The Crew of the Lucky Lady III was- Pilot: Warren Jones; Co-pilot: Jim Fisher; Navigator: John Scott; Bombardier: Elmer Smith; Flight engineer/top turret gunner: John Sisul; Ball turret gunner: Frank LaPorta (6 Prisoner of War); Radio Operator: Leon Pensack; Waist gunner: Art Townley; Waist gunner: Bob Bassett; Tail gunner: Art Neilsen; foto-John Black[HQ Sqd 48th ASR] (5 Killed in Action); flak, crashed Weingbergen. God bless everyone of you Ggntlemen.

M Scott

Charles Dwight Darby 489th Bomb Group 644th

My grandfather, Charles Dwight Darby, was a B-24 bombadier in the 489th Bomb Group, 644th Squadron, initially trained at Wendover in Utah, and ultimately was stationed at and flew out of Halesworth in England during the months surrounding D-Day. He participated in the D-Day mission, and only several days later did his plane crash on takeoff, killing many of his crew members. He survived and, after a year in hospitals back in the States, proceeded to live a long life and have a very large family. He was a successful CPA in Tampa, FL.

Trae Williams

Belcik 306th B17 Bomb Sqdn.

I am researching Thurleigh Airfield, home of 306th B17 Bomber Squadron, pre-1945. Can anyone help?

David Taylor

F. B. Peacock 327 Sqdn.

My father, 2/Lt F. B. Peacock was shot down with William Lavies.

Francis Peacock

Maurice McGinley 384th Bomb Group

My father, Maurice McGinley, was stationed with the 384th Bomb Group B17 at Grafton Underwood Airfield in WWII.

Nancy Clarke

S/Sgt. Roy Peterson 567th Bomb Sqdn. 389th Bomb Group

My grandfather was a POW at Stalag Luft 1 for about seven and a half months after his B24 Liberator bomber took anti-aircraft fire over Koblenz in late September/early October 1944. Five of his ten crew were killed that day. He and his radio operator were captured together.

Kendra Ogles

Sgt. Maurice Paulk Air Supply Corps 444th Sub-depot 303rd Bomb Group

I was a sergeant in the Air Corps Supply 444th Sub-Depot of the 303rd Bomb Group (H) - Molesworth. I stayed with a family in Dudley, Worcestershire during my passes. Wonderful people. Over my greatest protests I have eaten the last egg, piece of meat and drank the last glass of milk. Tried to tell them I was well fed on base - but to no avail. I then started bringing rations from the base - including sugar that I had "liberated".

Maurice Paulk

1st.Lt. Edward John Murphy DFC PH 757 Squadron (Heavy) 459th Bomb Group (Heavy)

Edward Murphy was the Pilot of a B-24 of 459th Bomb Group based in Giulia, Italy, that was shot down and belly landed in Hungary on 7th of July 1944. The crew was captured by local farmers and German troops they spent 2 weeks in the Budapest Jail then was shipped to Stalag Luft III via boxcar. They were liberated in April 1944 near Moosburg, Germany.

Daniel Murphy

Samuel R. Watkins 398th Sqdn. 601st Bomb Group

My father was a member of the 601st Bomb Group, 398th Squadron. He flew missions from October 1944 until April 1945. One of his planes was the `Tar Heel Lemon'. His co-pilot's name was Wilson, navigator Swartz, bombadier Dodson/Dobson, and the rest of the crew were Pricer, Harris, Mansey, Piha and Tueller.

Sam Watkins

Sgt. John K. Barry 359 Bomb Heavy Group (d.30th May 1944)

Sgt Barry was part of Douglas van Weelden's crew and is buried in Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands.

Alan S. Johnson 491st Bomb Group

I served with the 491st Bomb Group during WWII.

Alan S Johnson

Carroll Willard Norvell 100th Bomber Group 8th Air Force

My father was a waist gunner on B17s with the 8th Air Force, 100th Bomber Group. He would never talk about the war.

Susie Norvell

Lt. John F. Taylor 306th Bomb Group

My father, Lt John F Taylor was a member of the 306th Bomb Group, USAAF, stationed at Thurleigh, England. His B17 the "Belle of the Blue" was shot down over Germany in 1944.

Jason Taylor

S/Sgt. Harry C. Moore 306th Bomb Group

My grandfather, S/Sgt Harry C Moore was the flight engineer on board the B17 the "Belle of the Blue". I have been looking for anyone with more information on the plane. I have a picture of the plane and some other pics, including one of my grandfather in a POW camp after he was shot down in 1944. I know he was on both Schweinfurt missions and flew several missions on the "Rose of York" as well.

Jason Moore

S/Sgt. John H. Markiewicz 547th Bomb Squad 384th Bomb Group

S/Sgt John H Markiewicz was shot down on 22nd May 1944 over Kiel, Germany. He was held as a POW until June 1945 when he was liberated by the Russians. Does anyone remember him?

Basia Markiewicz

Harold Jackson 365 Squadron 305th Bomb Group

My dad, Harold Jackson, was with the 8th Air Force, 305th Bomb Group 365 Squadron. He was shot down on his second Schweinfurt Raid on 14th October 1943. He was injured when he bailed out and, after the treatment in hospital, was in Stalag 9c for a brief time. He then went to Stalag 17b until the march and literation. Does anyone remember him?

Layton L. Wickizer 571 Sqdn. 390th Bomb Group

My grandfather Layton L. Wickizer was a ball turret gunner during the war. A couple of weeks ago my mother gave me a small file of what little information she had about him during the war. It contained a small notebook that listed his missions and two pictures of the gentlemen he flew with during the war. We are trying to find information on the men and anything else to share with my new grandchild when he grows up. He is named after my grandfather and I wish my grandfather had lived to see his great-great grandchild but he passed away about 10 years ago. On the back of one of the pictures the men in the picture are identified and I was wondering if any are still living. I would also like to know where to get pictures of the planes. The names are as follows:
  • Horton, Philip S., Pilot
  • Hayes, Thomas, Co-Pilot
  • Freeman, Richard W., Navigator
  • Johnson, Oliver W., Bombardier
  • John W.-Engineer, Top turret
  • Cohn, Sidney, Radio Operator
  • Sines, Lloyd E., Waist Gunner
  • Verdi, Joseph F., Waist Gunner
  • Koehler, Sylvester J., Tail Gunner.

The plane names I found are: Chaff Wagon, Boston Blackie/Heaven Cent, The Jennie Bell, Lucky and Gentleman Jim. Any information at all would be appreciated.

Denise Headley

Joseph Oramel Morse 388th Bomb Group

Joseph Morse served with the Army Air Corp, as a ball turret gunner in 388th Bomb Group in WW2. He was shot down over France. Looking for information.

Kathy Savage

Lt. Michael Hannan 846th Bomb Sqd. 489th Bomb Group

My grandfather, Lt (later Captain) Michael Hannan, USAAF was stationed at Halesworth with the 489th BG, 846th BS as an armament officer for the B-24s. I've visited there and contacted the 489th BG association but I was hoping someone might have an additional story or two to share from that time. He passed in 2002 but I was fortunate to grow up on his stories of wartime England and I have some photos and momentos from his time there as well. His influence and example resulted in myself becoming an 8th AF bomber pilot.

Scott Hannan

Peter A. Maloney 491st Bomb Group 855th Bomb Sqdn.

My father Peter Maloney served with the 855th Bomb Squadron, 491st Bomb Group from 8th September 1944 to 16th October 1945. I would be interested to know if his squadron refuelled at RAF Lakenheath.

Catherine Maloney

S/Sgt. Warren "Pappy" Newton 337th Bomb Sqdn.

I am looking for any information on the 337th Bomb Squadron, especially a plane called "Candie Ann". The plane was named after my wife's oldest sister. The "Candie Ann" limped home from a mission, landed on a railroad track and was demolished by a train. My wife's father was S/Sgt Warren "Pappy" Newton.

Douglas Birge

John Davis Smith 96th Bomb Group 339th Bomb Sqdn (d.7th January 1945)

My uncle received training as a B-17 tailgunner at Pyote, TX Army Air Force Base near Amarillo. Based in England, he was assigned to the 339th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group. One day he was assigned to fly with an unfamiliar crew. On 7th January 1945 they made a bomb run over Cologne, Germany. While returning, their plane ran into another B-17. All died except a pilot and crewman from the other aircraft. I would like to hear from any survivors.

Paul T Smith

Lt. Frank H. Glass 49th Sqdn. 2nd Bomb Group

On January 27, 1944, Pilot Lt. Frank H. Glass and I flew in a B-17 stationed in Foggia, Italy - l5th Airforce, 2nd Bomb Group, 49th Squadron, mission 134. We were both POWs.

Larry Carastro

Gode 342nd Bomb Sqdn. 97th Bomb Gp

My father served in the 15th Army Air Corp, 97th Bomb Group 342nd Bomb Squadron, 5th wing, flying missions as a tail gunnner aboard a B-17 out of a base in Foggia, Italy. I am looking for any information on Lt. Pilot named Steve Hamilton who possibly lives in or around Virginia. The other fellows I am looking for are a tech sargent who was a flight engineer named Harvey May who hails from the Pittsburgh,Pa. area, and a fella nicknamed "Shorty" who was a ball turret gunner, his last name is possibly Netafee and he hails from the state of Iowa.

Ken Gode

Earl V. Dye 527th Bomb Sqdn. 379th Bomb Group

Earl V. Dye Sr., my father-in-law, who served with the 379th Bomb Group, 527th Bomb Squad, and was a B17 waist gunner, stationed at Kimbolton. He flew 35 missions (2/5/44 to 4/27/44), most of them on Julie II(s/n 42-97462). Looking for any information.

Mike Boehm

Howard J. Bohle 427th Bomb Sqdn. 303rd Bomb Group

2Lt Howard J Bohle, USAAF was a pilot of a B-17G Flying Fortress and was shot down on 29th od April 1944. He was assigned to the 427th Bomb Squadron of the 303rd "Hells Angels" Bomber Group flying out of Moleworth, England. He would have made the forced march to Stalag XIII in Nuremburg and later to Stalag VII in Moosburg at the end of the war. He was from North Dakota and was my favorite uncle. He wouldn't share stories about his experiences as a POW and wondered if anyone knew him as a prisoner?

Donald Babcock

Clarence L. "Roy" Miller 405th Fighter Bomber Group

Is anyone out there who was part of 405th Fighter Bomber Group and knew Clarence L. Miller (Roy)?

Karen Griswold

Walter L. "Benny" Benedict 409th Bomb Group

I seek contact with any surviving members of my late husband's crew. He was Walter L. Benedict (Benny to crew). They were 490th Bomber Group in England 1944/45 flying bombing missions to Germany (Dresden?) etc. The captain was Bill Gamble,(wife Bessie) from Merkel, Texas. Other recalled crew members were Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife`s name Bonny) who moved to Tallahassee FL., Don Winters, and George Miller (wife Twyler) who visited us in Surrey, England.

June Benedict

Capt. Bill Gamble 490th Bomb Group

Bill Gamble(wife Bessie) Captain, flew with the 490th Bomb Group from England on bombing missions to Germany in 1944 and 1945. His crew were:
  • Walter L Benedict (known as Benny) (wife June)
  • Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife Bonny)
  • Don Winters
  • George Miller (wife Twyler)

  • Bud Becker 490th Bomb Group

    Bill Gamble (wife Bessie) Captain, flew with the 490th Bomb Group from England on bombing missions to Germany in 1944 and 1945. His crew were:
  • Walter L Benedict (known as Benny) (wife June)
  • Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife Bonny)
  • Don Winters
  • George Miller (wife Twyler)

  • Don Winters 490th Bomb Group

    Bill Gamble (wife Bessie) Captain, flew with the 490th Bomb Group from England on bombing missions to Germany in 1944 and 1945. His crew were:
  • Walter L Benedict (known as Benny) (wife June)
  • Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife Bonny)
  • Don Winters
  • George Miller (wife Twyler)

  • George Miller 490th Bomb Group

    Bill Gamble (wife Bessie) Captain, flew with the 490th Bomb Group from England on bombing missions to Germany in 1944 and 1945. His crew were:
  • Walter L Benedict (known as Benny) (wife June)
  • Bud Becker,tail gunner,(wife Bonny)
  • Don Winters
  • George Miller (wife Twyler)

  • 2nd Lt. William J. Dallas 303rd Bomb Group 427th Bomb Sq.

    I was a 2nd Lt Co-pilot on a B17 from the 427th Bomb Sq., 303rd Bomb Group and a POW at Stalag Luft 1, North Compound, Block 7 from April 1944 until the Russians liberated us in 1945.

    Also in my room were:

  • George Arvanites
  • Richard McDonald
  • Norman Stockstill
  • William Harry
  • William Ball
  • Stanley Perlman
  • George King
  • Ernest Herzing
  • Edward Edwards
  • William Reichel
  • [??] Bernard
  • [??] McEver
  • Jack Winn.

  • William J Dallas

    Felix Napoliello 321st Bomb Grp 446th Bomb Sqdn.

    Trying to help Felix Napoliello locate fellow crew members of "Miss Margie" (B25) that was shot down 14th May 1944 near Porto Ferraio, Elba, Italy. They are:
  • Allan (Alan?) T. Sampson (Samson?)
  • Ernest Nigrello
  • Robert F. Mygrant They served with 12th Army Air Force, 57th Wing, 321st Bombardment Grp, 446th Bomb Sqdn.

  • Debbie McCabe

    Allan Sampson 321st Bomb Grp 446th Bomb Sqdn.

    Trying to help Felix Napoliello locate fellow crew members of "Miss Margie" (B25) that was shot down 14th May 1944 near Porto Ferraio, Elba, Italy. They are:
  • Allan (Alan?) T. Sampson (Samson?)
  • Ernest Nigrello
  • Robert F. Mygrant They served with 12th Army Air Force, 57th Wing, 321st Bombardment Grp, 446th Bomb Sqdn.

  • Debbie McCabe

    Ernest Nigrello 321st Bomb Grp 446th Bomb Sqdn.

    Trying to help Felix Napoliello locate fellow crew members of "Miss Margie" (B25) that was shot down 14th May 1944 near Porto Ferraio, Elba, Italy. They are:
  • Allan (Alan?) T. Sampson (Samson?)
  • Ernest Nigrello
  • Robert F. Mygrant They served with 12th Army Air Force, 57th Wing, 321st Bombardment Grp, 446th Bomb Sqdn.

  • Debbie McCabe

    Robert F. Mygrant 321st Bomb Grp 446th Bomb Sqdn.

    Trying to help Felix Napoliello locate fellow crew members of "Miss Margie" (B25) that was shot down 14th May 1944 near Porto Ferraio, Elba, Italy. They are:
  • Allan (Alan?) T. Sampson (Samson?)
  • Ernest Nigrello
  • Robert F. Mygrant

    They served with 12th Army Air Force, 57th Wing, 321st Bombardment Grp, 446th Bomb Sqdn.

  • Debbie McCabe

    1st Lt. Rudolph C. Shaw 51st Fighter Gp. 26th Fighter Sqd.

    I am looking for anyone who served with the 26th Fighter Sqd., 51st Fighter Group out of Nanning during 1944, particularly from June to December. I am trying to acquire background on my uncle, then 1st Lt. Rudolph C. Shaw. He flew P-51-c on a mission on 11th November 1944 and went down in North Indochina.

    Lt. Robert Brown 486 Fighter Sd. 352 Fighter Group (d.30th November 1943)

    On 30th November 1943 Lt.Robert Brown crashed with his P47 in my village Oirschot, near Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands. His body was excavated with his plane in 1946 and brought over to Strasbourg(FR)(I am not sure of this). Who knows more about Lt. Robert Brown from 352 FG, 486 FS from Bodney, serial nr 42-8411, army service nr:0666860?

    Rene Poierrie

    T/Sgt Samuel Clinton Ferrell 338th Bomb Squadron 96th Bomb Group

    TSgt. Samuel C. 'Sam' Ferrell graduated from Gauley Bridge High School in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia in the late 1930's. He then enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Program at the West Virginia Institute of Technology, paying $400 for his tuition and completing his degree in 1943. He was subsequently promoted to TSgt based upon his advanced education, and was assigned as a Squadron Flight Engineer on the B-17G. Sam & his crew picked-up their factory fresh B-17 from Seattle, WA, and flew it to MacDill Field, Tampa, FL for the fitting out of weapons and classified equipment. From MacDill, the crew flew overseas, but the season of the year and the route flown are unknown.

    Sam served at Snetterton-Heath for his entire tour. He completed all 35 combat missions, and as such made it known that he was a member of the Lucky Bastard Club. He recalled thick flak over Berlin, Regensburg, and La Havre prior to the D-Day invasion. He also related to me how the tail gunner received fatal injuries from a flak burst near the tail of the aircraft, and said "there wasn't much we could do for him..." He also related a loss of brakes upon landing from the brake de-boost valve being damaged by flak, resulting in the aircraft over-running the runway, and of trying to release a stuck 500lb. bomb over the English Channel, almost falling off of the catwalk in the process. The first aircraft received so much damage over a period of time that the attrition of damaged caused the aircraft to be cannibalized. Sam & his crew picked-up another B-17G from a ferry crew, and he completed the remainder of his tour from the UK base. Upon cessations of hostilities, Sam served as a French Interpreter, as he was fluent in 7 languages.

    Sam was discharged from the USAAF in 1946, but re-entered the newly-formed USAF in 1948. He served as a gunnery instructor, then entered the communications field where he served de-encrypting messages during the cold war. After receiving his 6th Honorable Discharge, he worked in crypto linguistics for an unverified branch of the U.S. Intelligence apparatus, fully retiring in 1975. He never spoke of what he did, or what he was involved with post-USAF service of 24 years. Sam was a product of southern West Virginia in his upbringing and education during the Great Depression. His father (my Grandfather) was injured in a coal mining accident in 1937, and died of those injuries 2 years later on 1 April 1939. Sam's mother was a home-maker, living to the age of 100.

    Sam remained single all of his life, and dedicated to his extended families. He enriched the lives of those he came in contact with, and never, ever asked for anything in return. He insured that his niece's and nephew's always had good medical and dental care, access to an education, and interactivity with others irrespective of age. He is a wonderful example of The Great Generation who grew-up with austerity, fought in a horrendous war, and worked to maintain the peace for the United States of America. TSgt. Samuel C. Ferrell Jr. passed away Christmas Day 2006 in his home in Montgomery, WV. He was 85, and is very much missed. His examples of understanding, patience, and love are facets that we all can continue to strive for, just as he did!

    Capt. Wm. S. Stafford

    FlyFO Witold Aleksander "Lanny" Lanowski COV & bar, DFC, AM. A Flight 302 Sqd.

    Lanny Lanowski flew with the Polish Air Force with 308 Squadron, B flight 317 Squadron, A flight 302 Squadron and 61st Fighter Squadron 56th Fighter Group USAAF.

    Krystyn W Lanowski

    2nd Lt. Charles Clark Heckel 428th Fighter Squadron 474th Fighter Group

    Day of arrival at 428thFS

    I've been researching my Grandfather's plane for over ten years, sadly he passed last fall but not before I was able to get some pieces from his crashed mount that was excavated by some nice fellows in Germany. They sent me the parts and didn't even charge mail fees. Great guys. I've tried in vain to get any photo of my Grandpop's plane, 42-68153. Here's the story.

    On October 13, 1944. My Grandfather Charles Heckel and 11 other pilots left A-78 in Florennes for a mission over Germany. His group was made of 12 American P38's in the 428th Fighter Squadron, 474th fighter group. This was the second mission of the day and the 12 were on a Gladbach- Roermond- Duren run, and somewhere over the Dusseldorf area, east of the Rhine, about 2:30PM they spotted 25 FW 190's flying in three decks. A fight ensued, and soon 12 more 190's joined in. Within a matter of minutes, 6 190's and 3 P38's all crashed within about a 15 mile area.

    One of the American pilots was killed, Lt Richard Holt. The other two had a collision, my Grandfather was wingman for the CO Lt Col Darling (Lt Col Darling and 2nd Lt Heckel) they both were able to bail out of their burning AC's. They were picked up immediately. Lt Colonel Henry Darling was initially caught by SS and on his knees for execution but was saved by a Wehrmacht Captain. The other pilot, Lt. Charles C. Heckel (my grandfather) was running through German farm land when he leapt a fence and went into the arms of 12 German farmers. A Wehrmacht trooper arrived shortly and Heckel and Darling were taken to a small town jail. The next day they went by train to an interrogation camp near Frankfurt and finally to Stalag Luft III. Eventually, those prisoners went to Moosburg freed April 29, 1945 by Patton's third Army. MACR attached.

    I've spent many hours trying to find a photo of his plane. It seems to have begun at the 20thFG 55th FS then was transferred over to the 474thFG when the 20th got mustangs. I've been unable to find a photo of it in either area. Some sites say it was KI-J at 474th but I don't know boom letters from the 20th.

    Any assistance would be appreciated. In addition, I've tried to find out the pilots who flew the BF 109's from that Oct 13.1944 They were from JG2 Richtofen. I know 6 were lost but not their names, again any assistance would be appreciated. I've made inquiries from and face book Richtofen Jagdeschwader 2 to every American site I can find. Probably have several hundred hours in the search. Any assistance in how to proceed finding: a 42-68153 Photo, story and or photos of Jagdeschwader 2 on 13th of October 1944 or the Wehrmacht account of pick up Darling and Heckel near Dusseldorf. I appreciate any assistance.

    Phil Johnson

    S/Sgt. Philip L. Chiofilo 327th Bomb Squadron 92nd Bomb Group (d.3rd Oct 1944)

    S/Sgt. Philip L. Chiofilo was a ball turret gunner with the 92nd Bomb Group, 327th Bomb Squadron. He lost his life over Germany on 3rd October 1944 when his aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision after the target had been successfully destroyed.

    Robert France

    1st Lt. Charles Howard "Chuck" McVey 20th Bomber Squadron 2nd Bombardment Group

    My father Charles H. McVey, Sr., was a navigator in a B-17 shot down on the way to the Ploesti Oil Fields (Romania) on 29th of August 1944 on 20th Bomber Squadron, Mission No. 263. It was my father's 25th mission. He was flying in 'tail end Charlie', the very last B-17 in a large formation. He was flying as a substitute navigator that day with a crew whose navigator was sick. His was among many planes shot down that day*. Once the plane was hit by fire from Fockwulf 109 German fighters, the pilot gave the order to bail out; the normal doors were jammed, most tried to then get out the bomb bay door, but it would not open either. My father remembered that most of the plexiglas navigator bubble on the nose of the B-17 had been shot off so he made his way back there, bailed out, blacked out; when he came to, he saw his plane falling with no one else bailing out.

    His chute was caught a bit in a tree and he had to cut himself down. The next couple of days/nights he did E & E (escape and evasion), eating what he could from farmers' plots; the 2nd or 3rd night, he encountered a British flyer who had also been shot down and they teamed up. Within a day a Czech patrol, ostensibly working for the occupying Germans, took my father and the Brit and added them to a group of 7 other Allied flyers they had 'captured'. They assured the Allied flyers that they would help them reach Allied lines. On that or a subsequent evening, the Czechs took the 9 Allies to a tavern to eat; a German patrol suddenly came in saying they wanted the 9 Allies. The Czechs turned over the 8 in the tavern; when the German commander asked about the 9th one, he was not there (he had gone outside just before this to the outhouse; the Germans didn't bother to look there - I understand that he made it back to Allied territory).

    *About the raid during which my father was shot down: in the 1990s, a young Czech studying in the US, called my parents' home in Chattanooga TN and wanted to speak to someone in the family of Charles McVey. My dad said that he was Charles McVey. The young Czech was incredulous as his father, Jan Chovanick had been a young boy out in the fields working that August day of 1944 and had witnessed the many US B-17s that were shot down over his area. The day was then known in that area of Czechoslovakia as the "Day of the Falling Birds". The inhabitants of that area found the list of airmen in the wreckage of the plane that my dad had been flying in; they took a propeller blade and inscribed the names of the 11 airmen, all thought to have died in the crash, on the blade and mounted it atop a stone pillar (I have seen a picture of it that Jan Chovanic's son later sent my father). That is why the young Czech was so surprised that my father was living.

    Once captured, my father and many other POWs were taken first to Vienna for interrogation, then on to Frankfurt (am Main); after that, he was sent on with others to Stalag Luft 1 in Barth on the Baltic seacoast.

    Dad said that they were treated fairly well and ate as well as their German guards. They even got their care packages with most of the contents still in them. Since all of the POWs were flying officers and almost all of the Germans were non-coms, the guards saluted the Allied officers and treated them with military respect of rank. Dad said that only two men were shot by the Germans, both during nearby fighting or air raids - the Germans had told them on pain of death not to come out of the barracks at all when the alarm sirens were sounding. On one such occasion two men stuck their heads out and were immediately shot dead.

    Dad said that one morning (May 1945) they got up, and all the Germans were gone; within a day the Russian troops arrived. Dad said there was much partying and then the Russians put the Allies on trains and sent them back to the American/British lines. From there he was brought back to the States.

    During the late 1940s Dad wrote out on long yellow legal pads a lot of his recollections of that experience. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find those among his things (Dad died in August, 2003, age 85). My niece did have my dad come to a show and tell day and I have a VHS tape of his interview with the students. Also, in 2014, Jim L. Noles Sr. & Jr. published a book about that particular bombing raid (mission 263) and stories of many of the flyers involved on that raid in August, 1944, Mighty by Sacrifice: The Destruction of an American Bomber Squadron, August 29, 1944

    I will add more should we ever find that yellow legal pad with my dad's memories written in it. I would love to hear more from anyone with information about that day and the living in Stalag Luft 1 at Barth.

    Charles H. McVey, Jr.

    Recomended Reading.

    Available at discounted prices.

    Lady's Men: The Story of World War II's Mystery Bomber and Her Crew

    Mario Martinez

    In April 1943 "Lady Be Good", an American World War II Liberator bomber, vanished at night while returning to her base near Benghazi, Libya, after a dusk mission to Naples. Attempts to find her proved unsuccessful. 15 years later, BP Oil geologists accidentally spotted her - almost intact - from the air, while on an aerial reconnaissance over South Central Libya. The sighting was reported to the US air base in Tripoli, but there was no investigation. A second sighting by the BP oilmen was reported to the RAF, but again no interest was shown. In February 1959 "Lady Be Good" was seen for the third time, and her eventual ground discovery was to result in the story of the aircraft and her crew's desperate fight to survive in hostile surroundings. The saga is one which Mario Martinez has researched for years. This is his account of what happened to "LBG", how she was found, and the significance of her crew's struggle to survive after parachuting into the unknown desert.

    To Fight For My Country, Sir

    Don Casey

    Mr. Casey relates a compelling story of his military career, including his time in the air and time imprisoned on the ground. The letters to and from his family give insight into how an American family dealt with the tribulations of having a son in a prisoner of war camp. Well written and deserving praise, this is a fine memoir which I highly recommend.
    More information on:

    To Fight For My Country, Sir

    Mighty by Sacrifice: The Destruction of an American Bomber Squadron, August 29, 1944

    Jim L. Noles Sr. & Jr.

    On August 29, 1944, the 15th U.S. Army Air Force unleashed 500 bombers against oil and rail targets throughout central Europe. It dispatched the 20th Squadron of the 2nd Bombardment Group on what they regarded as an easy assignment: attack the Privoser Oil Refinery and associated railroad yards at Moravska Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. This "milk run" deteriorated into the bloodiest day in the 2nd Bombardment Group's history: not a single one of the 20th Squadron's B-17 Flying Fortress bombers returned from the mission. Forty airmen were killed, another 46 spent the rest of the war as POWs, and only four, with the aid of the OSS and anti-German partisans, and sympathetic Czech civilians managed to evade capture. The ninety airmen on the mission to Moravska Ostrava provide a remarkable personal window into the Allies' Combined Bomber Offensive at its height during WWII. In a microcosm, their stories encapsulate how the U.S. Army Air Forces built, trained, and employed one of the mightiest


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