Warner Crew – Assigned 752nd Squadron – June 5, 1944
|Lawrence M Warner
|Last Mission flown
|Charles F Ivory
|Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
|Franklin J Shepherd
|Trsfr to 70RD for return to ZI
|Richard S Robertson
|Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
|Robert I Boose
|Promoted to T/Sgt
|Arthur H Schappert
|Promoted to T/Sgt
|Robert L Hiers
|Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
|Leonard A Stemple
|Promoted to S/Sgt
|John B Mason
|Promoted to S/Sgt
|William N Rice
|Promoted to S/Sgt
1Lt Lawrence Warner and crew were assigned to the 458th the day before D-Day. They flew their first mission on June 10th, and by the end of the month had completed 12 sorties – over a third of the required missions they would need to complete their tour.
There is very little information in group and squadron records regarding this crew. Pilot, Lawrence Warner is only mentioned as having been assigned, and most of the enlisted men only appear once, having been promoted. Warner’s diary however, made available on the website “Patchie’s Crew” several years ago, gives quite a record of the crew’s missions and activities during their time overseas. It appears that most of the crew completed their missions in late August or early September 1944 along with Warner, although Co-pilot Charles Ivory and Bombardier Richard Robertson appear to have run into October. Ivory flew several Truckin’ missions in September and two missions as Airplane Commander in October. It is not known which crew or crews he flew with during this time.
1Lt Franklin Shepherd, the crew’s navigator, was reassigned shortly after their arrival, for training as a lead navigator. In October 1944 he is shown being transferred to the 755th Squadron as part of the lead crew of Lt Robert R. Hayzlett. Shepherd completed his tour of missions in February 1945 and was rotated back to the States.
Missions – Lawrence Warner as Pilot
|HERE I GO AGAIN
|TOP O' THE MARK
|GAS HOUSE MOUSE
|MSN #1 ABT-SORTIE
|SHOT UP - LAND IPSWITCH
|YANKEE BUZZ BOMB
|LE COULET, BEL A/F
|YANKEE BUZZ BOMB
|SHOT UP BY FLAK
|#1, 4 SUPER CHG
|3 NO BALLS
|TOP O' THE MARK
|ST. LO AREA
|YANKEE BUZZ BOMB
|YANKEE BUZZ BOMB
|3 NO BALLS
|GAS HOUSE MOUSE
|YANKEE BUZZ BOMB
|HERE I GO AGAIN
|WE'LL GET BY
|MISSION CREDIT IN NOV
|HERE I GO AGAIN
Missions – Charles Ivory as Pilot
|HSF to LILLE
|HSF to LILLE
|HSF to LILLE
|HSF to LILLE
|HSF to LILLE
|MY BUNNIE / BAMBI
|GAS HOUSE MOUSE
Crew B-41, 399BG 806BS – March 22, 1944
Standing: John Mason, Robert Boose, Leonard Stemple, Unknown, William Rice, Robert Hiers
Kneeling: Lawrence Warner, Charles Ivory, Franklin Shepherd, Richard Robertson
(Courtesy: Stan Shepherd)
Mission Diary of Lt Lawrence M. Warner – Aircraft Commander
Several years ago, there was a very fine tribute to this crew on a website created and maintained by Larry Graham, called “Patchie’s Crew”. A number of photographs, information, and the diary of pilot Lawrence Warner were featured. I believe these items were contributed by William Rice, a gunner on Warner’s crew. Unfortunately this website no longer exists. Warner’s diary is reproduced here so that it may still be read by those interested in history. There were no photos incorporated with the original version of this diary. I have added a few here to give the reader some context. I hope that whoever is responsible for this diary’s appearance on the “Patchie’s Crew” website will forgive me this liberty.
— Darin Scorza, 458bg.com
An easy day nothing to do but to sleep and eat, so I sleep and eat. Could use a little bit of Winifred tonight, I might add – even a letter would be good. This is a school – to prepare us for the grisly business that lies ahead. My my.
Today a little “why you are here and what you’ll be doing” lecture, and exams. Fun, and the school sounds like it might be worth while. Still no mail though so we drink beer.
Classes start – same old crap, but now it’s the latest dope, and good stuff. No mail though, so we drink some beer. Hope Win gets the flowers.
School still. O’Steen is here; and Schmidt from Ft.Worth and Scharman. No mail though, sooo-
Mail! One letter from Winifred, and I like her. It’s a very lovely day, and I like her. T’would be nice to see that boy of ours- I like her.
The letter from home today. Now when I find out Winifred is home I’m happy. Heard also a couple of good lectures today – good ones.
No mail, low morale.
No mail, low morale, not even beer.
Mail today! Three letters from my wife, three from home, one from my sister, and one from Cpl. Emery. A very lovely, rainy day. Besides I got paid. Easy day too – just an hour of Link on S3A easy it is. In the PM we have one of these gas alerts. I can’t for the life of me see why we don’t carry masks all the time- maybe Jerry will come over on gas mask day though.
Another easy day – it’s getting tiresome just waiting though. Like to get in a couple of missions I would. Fired my 45 this morning; nothing this afternoon yet – no letter either.
Nothing to do all day, except to read Anthony Adverse.
Clear the post today. Charles did it, so I again spend the day in the sack. Also I must write a short note to my young son, so he’ll know how to handle his Mother.
Fly from Clento (that’s the way it’s pronounced) to our permanent station – the 458th; got here this afternoon, and got assigned temporary bunks in the PX -heh heh. It’s a beautiful field – permanent buildings old RAF base – the best field in the ETO, it says here. I get in the 752 Sq., Wagner in the 755th. Now we should get started. (and Shepherd)
Checking in takes about all day – and that’s all. We may get a training mission tomorrow.
Class in aircraft Rec this morning. Charles went up with Middleton to slow time. The rest of us did nothing. We may get a training mission tomorrow. Major La Roche gave pep talk. D-day!
Mail from home – none from Win. Today I did my part for the invasion by slow timing one each B-24. More fun buzzing in a 4-engine bomber! We may get a training mission tomorrow-
Got in some turrets today and a little on position firing. Tracy, Lansing and Van Galder are here. O’Steen is with the 389th and good Shepherd is still missing. May he stay that way! We may get a training mission tomorrow.
Lecture on flying control – the sky ain’t safe place any more – we get shot down on either side. So, as a result tomorrow we go on a mission – it is not a training mission!!!
Praise the Lord! First mission – Warner’s crew with Lt. Stromsburg as CP. Chuck didn’t go – Dick navigated – Stemple in the nose – the rest the same. An airfield at Chateaudun was the target – PFF bombing with 24 250 pounders. My formation was bad; so was everybody’s. Dick tossed the bombs on my rack up – heh hee. Didn’t see a single EA, a little flak at 3,5 and 7 o’clock, way behind us. 5:40 time and tired as all hell. Low left. [The crew flew Here I Go Again]
Mission #2. The RR bridge at Blois, south of Paris. We carried 3 2,000 pounders-Blew the bridge to bits. Hiemstra as CP. Chuck didn’t go again. Visual bombing at 5,000 feet! Saw the target before and after. Formation much better. Saw 4 EA, no flak. Lots of our little friends around. Still can’t see any of the invasion – all undercast. 6:45 time. Low left.
Mission #3. Dispersal area on the airfield at Evreaux – Fauville. We hit her with 240 20 lb. frags, and blew it to hell. Lt. Miller as pilot, so I had a chance to look over the situation. Millions of boats in the channel. We flew #2 on Trail element. Felt a bit of flak – it really bounces the ship around. No hits though, and no fighters. 7:00 time. Chuck rode as waist gunner!
Alerted again, but the mission was scrubbed, so I read all of Win’s letters and write her a little longer one for a change. Shep is back, by Jesus! He flies with us tomorrow for the last time.
Mission #4. Supply dump for new rocket installations at Domleger. 23,000′. 12 500 pounders hit the target; Lt. Warner flew with crew intact this morning; no ball mission (N.E. of Abbeyville). Formation was snafu. Take-off in the dark, Splasher frequencies all fouled up, and nobody got in the right place – I flew high right as much as possible. Caught the formation just before we reached the French Coast – pulling 45″ at 2,400 – AS 220 mph exciting. France was pretty this morning. Flak was a little heavier leaving the target – some of it placed five small holes in our bombay doors. #3 turbo gave us a lot of trouble, and #2 caught on fire on takeoff – back to bases by 8:30 though. 4:40 time. No fighters. Have a feeling will hit some tomorrow. Briefed for a mission to field within range of Paris flak – mission scrubbed – thankful – tired.
Mission #5. Airfield at Guyancourt, right southwest of Paris. If I had thought, I might have seen the big city itself, but as I recall, we were a bit occupied, Charles and me. Briefed at 0130; took off at 0400; and even went so far as to join our own formation – we flew left wing on the low left element, purple heart corner! The joker leading the element couldn’t fly formation, so we perspired. Climbed across the channel to 22,500 – bombing altitude – pushing 45″ and 2,500 rpm, with Chuck trying everything under the sun to keep the engines from burning up. With this lead man we find ourselves about 5 miles behind the formation, and 500 feet too low, but nothing to do but turn onto the bombing run and kinda whisper please don’t come up today, Jerry. We would have made such good ducks. So we dropped our 40 100 pounders on the target and then began trying to dodge the flak. It was pretty heavy yet today – heh heh. Broke the waist window in front of Rice (left) – and came too close all over. Even caught myself being certain that the next one was coming right up between my legs. It didn’t. Chuck is flying right good – a little jerky yet, but good. 5:55 time. And our bags came.
Briefed at 0900, mission scrubbed. So we work on the room and write letters. No mail from my little wife in two days now – maybe tomorrow she sure could build up my morale right now.
Mission #6. Up at 1 AM to fly assembly ship, but that mission was scrubbed. Again at 6 AM, but it didn’t fly. Finally briefed at 1500 to hit an airfield at Tours. Took off at 1730 – flew right wing in high right element. Altitude 20,000 climbed across the channel and as soon as we hit the coast, ran into the sweetest barrage of flak. I saw our left wing man get a direct hit under #3, burst into flames and peel off. It isn’t nice – the boys watched them go down and didn’t see anyone get out. I won’t forget that – just as if the ship were alive – I could see it jump and it seemed almost like it screamed. It seems like a bad dream now, and old Wagner thought it was me – I thought it was him. So we turned onto the bomb run, and I proceed to lose #1 turbo – trouble. Not enough though; I must lose #2 a minute later. That also was an uncomfortable sensation. P.S. that’s the way I feel all the time over enemy territory – not scared, just damned uncomfortable. So we really worked #3 and 4 – 50″ at 2,500 for about an hour and all the time wondering when they were going to blow. They didn’t though, and we dropped our 12 500 pounders smack on. It was a little easier after we dropped the bombs, but boy it seemed like hours before we left the E.C. Made an instrument let down and landed after dark – no fun that, either, but it can be done. 6:50 time. Came home just in time to learn that we should go back for another briefing – at 2345 we landed. But I refused to go, and ops agreed with me, so will get a couple hours sleep any-way maybe. Might say that flak has a very definite meaning to the boys now. They were swell all through the mission, but a pretty quiet bunch of fliers after we landed. I don’t like this mess myself.
Mission #7. May we have no more for a day or two. I’m getting a bit jumpy – just from being tired I guess. We did get four hours sleep last night. Briefed at 8:15 for a No Ball mission to Watten – one of the new rocket installations, so maybe London will have a couple of nights free of Hitler’s pilotless airplane. It was a GH mission, with 4 2,000 pounders, at 21,500 feet. 7 miles SW Dunkirk. Took off at 1020; Splasher 5 was jammed, lost #1 and #2 turbo’s again this time before we even got into formation. Times like this make me wish I was not a first pilot. Only 2 good turbo’ s, just barely able to catch the formation by beating the hell out of 3 and 4, and then make the decision – shall I, abort, or go on and take the boys over the channel We were at altitude though, so we went on. Kept up until we hit the bomb run, and doors opened up – that drag cut me down enough so I couldn’t stay in; but by dropping back one element at a time, I was able to keep with the section until bombs away. Then we got back into position and made base OK. We’re alerted again for tomorrow 4:10 time.
Mission #8. A no-ball to Frissen – an air-field I guess. Waited a good five hours before we took off – and that ain’t good. Finally took off at 2:10, with Lt. Eichorn as navigator – Dick is grounded for a week for DR school. Now this mission did cause me no end of worry. We had old 709, which is a tough ship to fly anyway and had quite a spot of trouble getting into formation – 20,000′. But after we got in, we-stuck. Flew left wing on the low left element, so Chuck did most of the flying and right good he did. Flak was awfully intense, and too accurate to suit me. In particular I might recall the four bursts that came up just barely ahead of no. 2 and 3 before we hit the bomb run. Perfect they were – I could look out at that one spot on either side and know perfectly well that two more bursts would show up. They did – four of them. Boy, just ten feet farther back and we would have had it! Almost made me say a prayer it did, but I still can’t bring myself to ask God to help me with this job I’m doing – to take care of my boys maybe, and Win and Davy, and Mom and Dad and Beth. But how can I ask for protection or to come back, when maybe everyone of these bombs I’m carrying over there had killed someone on the ground – so I just say thank you every time I get back on the ground. 52 – 100 lbs.
Mission #9. I hope! Sad day today – and a rough one on the mental side. Target was an oil refinery at Ostemur in Northern Germany. 12-500 pounders. Our first one to Germany across the North Seas. So we took off at 5:10, got into formation with no trouble and headed out, flying right wing on high right. Had the best ship yet – she really would climb. Reached altitude 20,000 just before we hit the enemy Coast, when Hiers calls and says watch #2, it’s losing too much oil and sure enough, five minutes later the pressure begins to drop – when it hit 40 psi., Chuck feathered and there we were on three engines. I couldn’t stay in formation so around we turn. Again I wished I was a tail gunner! Over enemy territory, alone on three engines and the North Sea to cross before we get home. Had Eichorn with us again, and he gave me a heading. All my boys were swell kept good and quiet – just “OK, Skipper” when I told them we were turning around and to keep a sharp eye peeled for fighters. A few minutes later Hiers called again and said #1 was losing quite a little oil too, so I began to sweat that out. Salvoed the bombs in the sea, throttled back as much as I dared to on #1, and started a slow descent across the water. Thank goodness my boys never knew how scared I was for them. That North Sea is awfully cold. But we didn’t see any enemy fighters, and Eichorn brought us in over the field while I still had 10,000 feet. Field was overcast, so I had to make an instrument approach, which is bad enough on four engines, to say nothing of 2 1/2. Let down to 400 feet before I broke out, and that’s low. But we came out on the head and made us a good landing, so that’s that. Now I must sweat out getting credit for the mission – 6 hours time and over enemy territory should be enough. And finally I got me and my boys grounded. Too much is too much – they were dozing off now and then today, and we all have the jitters. So grounded tomorrow, and a 48 hr. pass starting the 22nd.
A good quiet day today. My goodness but tis nice to sleep! So I did my laundry and that’s all. Went to town tonight and drank some beer by golly. That is all I believe. Didn’t write to Winifred though. Norwich is pretty nice – a little more lively than Stafford, and much larger – lots of bombed areas.
Pass starts! So Chuck and I decide to go into Norwich again – we were going to spend these two days sleeping, but it seems like going nuts doing nothing. So in we go, and walk a while, and finally go to a movie – Abbott and Costello – heh heh – Winifred would have enjoyed it. Then dinner, and a glass of beer, and we begin looking for ought to do. Rumors of a dance but we can’t find it, so we end up at the RC Officers Club and spend the night there.
Slept till 11 in the morning – wonderful After breakfast we wandered around looking for a place to get battle jackets built, and finally found one. Now we must get some points, and then in seven or eight weeks we’ll have them. Bought tickets for a show at the Hippadrome, went to the movies again, and walked through a castle museum and then ate our supper meal. Off to the burlesque – and funnier than all get out it was. These English people really do have a sense of humor. After that there was a dance at the Club, so I evened danced twice and we did decide to again stay for the night. That’s all folks.
Back to base, and we aren’t alerted for today, so we got our coupons and go back to Norwich to get Fixed up with battle jackets. Band concert tonight good, and we did get credit for that last mission – hot damn!
Lieutenant’s Warner, Robertson and Shepherd
A very bad day. What should have been the 10th mission ends up an abortion, so we’re still in the single number class. It was a no-ball to a switching station at La Boucicre. Up at 3:00, briefed at 0600 and took off at 09.30; with Richard again as full – fledged navigator. of course we must fly 709, and bombing altitude is 25,000, very high. Assembly was at 19,500, and we finally staggered up there, only to find the sky filled with contrails, and all the ships dodging around through them. We caught our formation soon though; but no sooner caught than we lose #1 turbo. So we begin to climb up out of the con trails, with me pulling everything I’ve got – reach 23,000 and out goes #3 turbo. So I’m stuck – 50″ on 3 and 4, AS 150 and can’t climb. One thing to do – come back, so at 1200 we land with the full bomb load – pretty smooth landing I might add, but that doesn’t give us credit for a mission. 2:45 time. Slept all afternoon and now must write my little wife a letter or she be mad. Winifred, I wish you were here – I wish I were there….
Almost got #10 today – a D.P. to Munich, but it was scrubbed – we never would have made it back anyway, not with 2700 gallons of petrol. Dick and I had our course all plotted for Italy or France, just in case, but luckily it didn’t come off. Maybe tomorrow a mission.
Nothing doing again today – number 10 is really coming hard. It’s almost better to be up there flying every day than this waiting to be called up. It’s hard to imagine that with just one more mission I’ll be one third of the way through also hard to believe that the next 21 will be as easy as these 9 have been. I must remember to tell Win that I do not like combat. Always that nasty little thought way in back that I might not get back to her. But I have to get back, and with her pulling for me I can’t miss – I can’t. That’s why days like this are bad – too much time to think, I guess….
Mission #10! And may we never have another one like it. Target – marshalling yards at Saarbrucken, with 20 250 GP’s at 22,000. Took off at 0435 in 709, a bad take-off-ship, was way out of trim and had lots of trouble. Got into formation OK, though, and started off with the ship working good. Didn’t see any flak until right after bombs away, and then all hell broke loose. We were bounced around like a piece of paper, with flak bursting and flying all around us. Really heavy it was and accurate as it could be. Then we caught it in #2 – oil began to spurt out and pressure dropped. I hit the feather, but she wouldn’t feather – just windmilled at about 3000 rpm, and I’m waiting for it to wind off and come through my window. Hit the button again, and this time it caught a little, so by pushing and pulling I finally got her feathered. Of course #1 turbo was out by this time, but we were still keeping in formation – dropping back all the time, but staying with them. Then #4 head temp. begins to drop off, so I figure she’s cooked – that leaves us with one and one half engines.
Then #3 and 4 RPM begin to climb and oil pressure drops off, so I says to myself we’ve had it. Called the lads and told them to get ready to leave the next time I called. Immediately the radio goes out completely, so Boose goes back to tell them to leave when I ring the bell – no electricity, no bell. Back goes Dick to tell the boys that when I rock the wings, out they go. In the meantime Mason had just crawled out of the tail when flak smashes his turret to bits, lucky he was. This came from a barrage directed at us by ourselves, so I got busy with evasive action – diving, and got out of it. At 12,000 feet then, and I figured 10,000 was the lowest, So Chuck got out and down to the bomb bay to make sure 7 chutes went out before he left – lonely it was up on the flight deck. Then, the miracle – back comes the radio, back jump the instruments to normal, so I have three engines again. I’ll never forget the relief of that moment – never. Finally, with the help of little friends and Air Sea Rescue we got back to an emergency strip near Ipswich. Then wait all afternoon for a ship from base to bring us back home. Tonight we are a thankful bunch of lads – somebody much bigger than I brought us back….
Mission #11. Why can’t they all be like this one was for us anyway. Last two ships today, but we didn’t get a single hit four engines working perfectly – everything swell. Target was a JU-88 airframe plant at Aschersleben, in Germany. Carried 11 500 GP’s, at 22,000 feet, and destroyed the target. Took off at 0520 and ran into con trails again, but were the first ship to get into formation-the 458th bombed with everyone today. It was a pretty ride in. No flak at all until we got on the bomb run. Just at bombs away, saw two chutes go out of Gorrell’s ship. And that was all. Nice quiet trip back and landed at 1220 for 7 hours time. I still keep thinking about that one we had yesterday. Never will I get over that why I told Mason to get out of the tail just before it caught the flak why the alarm bell wouldn’t work when I tried – and then why the whole system came back – why? And three letters from Win waiting for me this afternoon and two from home and one from Unc. Nice! On the 12th Winifred says “I don’t think you’re flying missions yet.” Heh hee – You’re wrong, Winifred.
Alerted again today, of course, but no mission – bad weather I guess. So I wrote a little stinky letter to Winifred in the A.M. Then this afternoon we put on our blouses and went to town. Chuck and Dick had some shoes to be fixed, and I couldn’t think of anything else to do. So we went to the show at the Hippodrome – not nearly so good this time – and then we had some sandwiches at the Club, a glass of beer downtown; and rode home in a horse cab. Nice it was -Winifred would have liked it. Of course we are alerted again tomorrow.
First day of the new month – a bad beginning too. The reason being that we had to abort from a mission that was recalled. It was a short no-ball – we briefed at 1400, took off at 1630 and climbed to assembly altitude – 24,000 – then proceed to lose #1 and #4 turbos. So back we came with still 11 missions. I did get me a bike this morning, though – a purty good one too. Now a note to my little wife and off to bed, because we are alerted for tomorrow – my name must be mimeographed on that alert schedule –
A good quiet Sunday – good to spend a Sunday and not go out on one of our missions of destruction. Rodney decided to give us a rest. heh heh. So I washed again, and read the letter from my wife, and one from home and one from Beth, and wrote to them too. That’s all.
Another quiet day. All the ratings came for the enlisted men, so I now have two Techs and four Staffs. Have to get some rank on the crew some way. Shot one landing – Chuck did -this morning – 300 foot ceiling though, so one was enough. To town this P.M., and saw “Higher and Higher.” Good!
Happy Independence Day! Not a bad day though two good letters from my wife and one from Gram Matteson. Practice mission this morning – silly damn thing. It might have done some good when we first got here, but not now. 3:50 time though. Chuck flew in the left seat for the first time – did a right good job too. Now with a few more landings under his belt, he’ll be ready. Still burns him up though because he has to work so much harder flying formation than I do. Hee heh. He’s coming though and I’m beginning to feel like a veteran myself. We’re alerted for tomorrow, so maybe we’ll get number 12 – it’s sure coming hard, and let’s have it a nice no-ball with no flak, huh? That damned flak.
Mission #12. A no-ball, practically, to Le Culot in Belgium – an airdrome used for night fighters – it won’t be used for a while. Briefed at 0245, took off at 0515 and assembled at 23,900, with no trouble, except our lead ship who stank all the way around. Dropped 40 – 100 lbs. visual. #1 turbo gave us trouble – surging, but that’s all. Only we had a hell of a job with Roberts as lead. Got one big hole in the wing tip, one in the bombay that just missed the hydraulic lines, one in the right rudder, and another in the right, wing. Lots of flak. Bases at 1030 for 5:45 time. And just when I thought my personal troubles were over, I find that the enlisted men are having a time with Hiers and Mason. So I’ll have to have a talk with them tomorrow. Slept this afternoon, and read Win’s, letter. She’s nice – I like her. Now to the sack – we’re alerted again tomorrow
No fly today – pass starts tomorrow, though, so were leaving for London this P.M. And today did I get from my little wife a picture of her and Davy. Golly it’s nice. cute kid he is, cute kid she is. I like them. Of course some son-of-a-b had to hook my hat today – damned if I’ll buy another one.
Friday 7-7 to Sunday 7-9-44
Good time in London. Saw the outside of just about everything. Wrote a good long letter to Win about it, so say no more. The buzz bombs are really doing a job – no value, but they keep you interested. Nice letters from Win when I get back too.
Alerted, but stood down. Nothing happened today.
The question – do we get credit? Started for Munich this morning, but had to turn back after we got into France. Caught some flak after we turned from Lille, so we should get some credit. Lost #1 turbo, and that’s too far to go without four good engines. So this P.m. we had to fly Roberts’ ship – to 25,000 feet to test for flutter. Had heaps of fun playing in the clouds.
It’s either #13 or #14. To Munich we did go, with no trouble. Briefed at 6:00; took off at 9:15 and landed at 5:30 for 8:40 time – Long haul. Flew lead ship in low left and had a devil of a job, but fun. Lots of flak at the target – some marshalling yards – but we only got two sets of holes – under Chuck, and in the right wing. Chuck saw the piece coming that caught under him – hee hee, dropped 6,500 delayed action GPs and 4- 500# incendiary clusters from 23,000. Those delayed actions will still be going off for the next two days – Easy mission, but tired one.
Either 14 or 15 today. Back to Saarbrucken! and this time it was a snap. Carried 3 – 2000. Supposed to fly right wing in low left, but our lead got lost in contrails and headed for base. I decided to go on – and caught the 466th over France – flew in the hole back of low trail at 23,500. No trouble – flak was all under us and we didn’t get a scratch. About 7 hours time. Low ceiling on return, but we found a hole and got in OK. Chuck is really flying good formation now. Slept all afternoon – now must write to people and Winifred. Doesn’t seem possible that I’m almost half finished. At this rate it wont be long till. We sure have been lucky so far too. Please may it keep up the same way.
Stood down today – very quiet, etc. The so-and-so’s got us up at 6 o’clock to fly a weather ship, but it was scrubbed. Went to the movies tonight, – Up In Mabel’s Room – and good. So then a letter to Win and to the sack.
What a day! Supposed to have a practice mission this afternoon and we didn’t want to go, so we didn’t – it seems #4 starter went bad, so it was impossible to start the engine – heh heh. And tonight one of our new crews – the Copilot of which is staying in our room – came in with his nose wheel up – a case of head up and locked mostly. So now he is explaining to us how it happened. Bad!! So now I must write a letter to my little wife.
#16 done – don’t like these Sunday missions, but when the man says go, we go. Back again to Saarbrucken – briefed at 0300, TO at 0515 and back at 1200 for 7:10 time. Flew left wing on high right of 466, 458 composite. Had a devil of a job finding them and they flew too slow all the way to the target -Had to climb-with flaps – 135 IAS-no good. Lots of flak at target and some en-route, but no damage. For some reason I was really scared today – flak happy. Had to fly the bomb run myself – hee heh dropped 12 – 5000# from 24,000 – PFF, so unobserved results. No trouble at all – this 314 is really a good ship. Had a little trouble with inter-phone, but that’s all – Slept all afternoon, so no sleep tonight.
#17 today and we really had to work hard -for it. Alerted twice for practice missions but both of them were scrubbed. Finally at 3:45 in the P.M. we get briefed for a no-ball to Remusnil. Took off at 5:30 and assembled at 17,500 with no trouble – flew right wing on the lead and it was pretty good formation. There were supposed to be 30 guns at the target, so we kinda sweated them on the way in. But drooped 24 – 250’s from 22,000 with nary a burst near us. Nice! Our damaged bomb racks didn’t work right – the fourth straight mission – so Dick had to salvo, but they went away OK. That 314 is a sweet ship. Nice and clear coming back over England, and we were at base by 10:00 for 5:00 time. An easy mission. Please let our luck continue?
Alerted and briefed for a mission to Rotterdam, but it was scrubbed at the last minute. It would have been good too – only 3-1/2 hours! So today I washed again -my clothes, and checked out in code. Went to the movies tonight and had a scotch and soda – terrible – no more. Alerted again for tomorrow, of course.
A little code practice this morning. Then nothing but sack time the rest of the day. Don’t like these days – they go -too slow and stuff. But I feel a mission coming up tomorrow—-
#18 Gone. A funny mission it was – easy for us, but tough on the rest of the boys. Briefed at 0315, took off at 1700 for an engine factory near Frankfurt which I forget the name of. We lead the high right element of high right section and I had to do all the flying – pretty tired too. Assembled at 12,500 with no trouble and started out. Monahan and Walker on, my wing until we left, then Monahan [Lt James L. Monahan crew] dropped over to #3 on he lead and Walker went off by himself. Monahan finally dropped out, and they’re packing his bags now. (Eisenach was the primary) Everything was snafu at the IP – we couldn’t get in trail, so couldn’t bomb the primary – and headed for Frankfurt – dropped 12 – 500’s on a MY there – and the boys said the flak was the heaviest they ever saw. I saw quite a bit myself, but we didn’t get touched. Back to bases at 1400 for 7:30 time. A good letter from Win when I got back – gee it’s nice to be back.
Left: Unidentified airmen on bicycles in one of the squadron areas
(Courtesy: Alice Burman)
Looked for my bike! Some sob hooked it yesterday. Sweated out a mission this afternoon, but it didn’t go out, so we went to town. Saw the show at the Hippodrome and it was pretty good – better than last time anyway. Then back to the field and wrote to my little wife a letter – it’s time I was getting back to her.
Another non-payoff day. Briefed for a practice mission at 0830 and took off at 1030. We flew lead in trail of second section, and it went pretty good Chuck flew in the left seat and did OK. He could check out any time if he wanted to and squadron was interested. I’d kinda hate to lose him now though. Anyway we had a good mission as far as our formation was concerned. Had trouble with #1 prop governor – it wouldn’t decrease RPM, so we had to keep punching the feather. Feathered on peel off for instrument landing, and started her again over the field. Landed at about 1430 for 4:20 time. That’s all for today – got four letters from Winifred, and one from Mom. Nice to get them. By golly I must make up my mind what to send Winifred for number 2. It has to be nice, but what? I think in my sack –
Not much today. Went to town tonight with Dick and Wagner – pubbing, and had quite fun. Still no bike though.
Mission #19? A ground for a support mission to St. Lo. Carried 52-100 pounders. Briefed at 0400, took off 1915 and returned at about 1400 for 5:00 time. We flew #3 in the low left element. Good formation, altitude 15,000 feet – very low. Target covered with clouds though, so we all brought our bombs back.. There wasn’t too much flak, but it was accurate as the Dickens. No hits on us though. Got back to find my promotion orders waiting for me. Very good – very good.
Pass starts today. So into Norwich we go to see a movie – Melody Inn. And ate at the Club and then went to the Hippodrome. Back to camp at 1200. found my bike!!
Today was the famous bike trip. Rode all over around Norwich. Found a good spot to swim if we ever get some trunks, and got some good pictures I think. Into town tonight a pubbing, – meet the Grandpop and Ma and daughters – went home with them for a couple of hours and ate tomato sandwiches. Fun it was of a sort. Lost my bike again. Curses.
Pass is over, but we weren’t alerted, so back to town again and saw a Stranger In Town – in the rain. Pubbing for a while tonight, but got home early. Not a very profitable week, so far. Maybe will start getting a few missions again. Found my bike – heh heh.
No action again – damn! Bought us our radio though, and it seems to work pretty well. Watched a pretty good ball game tonight – then started a letter to Winifred before we took off for the big anniversary party at the Club. Disgusting it was – seems to me like everyone takes advantage of this combat stuff, Wisht Win was here.
Stood down again. Didn’t get up till time for dinner. Then went to a class in C-1 mock-up and I ain’t forgot a thing. Worked on my bike the rest of the afternoon, and nothing else happened. No mail from nobody today – that’s different.
Practice mission today- right in the middle of the day of course. Worked pretty good though – with Chuck in the left seat – ended up leading high right – heh heh. No mail again ??? !!!
Mission #20. To Ludwigshaven, a synthetic oil plant. Briefed at 0715, took off at 0945 and it started out to be a good mission – but I still was kinda sweating it out, maybe because it was #20 I guess. And sure enough just after the IP, bang, and I mean bang, goes a cylinder on #2. Lost MP right away, but the OP stayed up, so in spite of oil running out, I decided to keep her running at least till we dropped our bombs and stay in formation if I could. Sure hate to beat those engines. #2 proceeded to catch fire and the boys in back got kinda scared, so I had to bawl them out – tell ’em I know what’s going on sorta and if I don’t get them back, I’ll be responsible. So they calmed down and let her burn heh heh. It was just oil running down on the turbo. So we dropped our 24 250 pounders – on the lead ship, but not on the target, I’m afraid – somebody snafued. Flak was intense at target, but we didn’t get to it. And as soon as we turned off, I began to fall behind – feathered #2 and called for some little friends. Got us 4 38’s and boy do they look good. I caught up with another cripple and decided to stay with him, so we had quite a party, the six of us. And funny when he asked me did I want him to stick around heh hee. “No Thanks, we’re OK, but maybe you better stick with our big brother on my wing” He got a chuckle out of that. Then we set her up on A5 and loafed all the way home. Undercast at base, of course, with a 500′ ceiling – left hand pattern and I had to go around. Talk about sweating – but I guess the other guy was in worse shape than I was. Landed at about l900 for 6:40 time Got the OLC today. Got pail today. Got no mail today. But still love my little wife.
Mission #21. Not such a hot trip, but I guess it will count. A no-ball south of Abbeyville. Briefed at 1730, took off at 1200. Led low trail in second section – and started off good again of course. Except for takeoff one of those things you don’t think about till you’re back on the ground. Chuck in the left seat, and he made his first and almost our last mistake – got off the ground nicely, called for gear up and hit the brakes – but pushed her back down to the ground – with gear starting up and brakes locked. Funny why we didn’t go in – but we pulled her off and everything was OK till we got to the IP then we lost #3 turbo, as usual and couldn’t stay in 47″ and 2600 but no soap. So I pointed the nose down and stayed even with the formation but losing altitude. Went over the target, but no one dropped bombs and they looked like they were going to make a second run. But we’re losing too much altitude, so Dick Salvoed the bombs and we took off for home—. More fun on the A-5. Landed just ahead of the formation – don’t believe they dropped any bombs. And so nice – a letter from Win and one from Mom. Funny about O’Steen and Ramstead – I wonder what happened – I had excuse enough, I guess once.
Mission #22. A no-ball at Billers L’Hosptal, north of Abbeyville. A perfect mission, except I think we missed the target. Briefed at 1345, took off at 16OO. Had a time with bombs today – armament dropped them out of the ship before takeoff, and one fell on the doors after takeoff, but Dick and Hiers got it back OK. Led low trail in lead section and did a just about perfect job. Good ship made a difference too. Target was visual and we should have ruined it, but they fell short. Lots of flak on the run – really felt it hard and heard it, but we only got five holes. Back to bases at 2130 for 5:15 time. Instrument letdown again – 290′ ceiling and getting dark – really a rat race. No mail again today. Come to think of it, that flak was pretty danged accurate. I kept thinking let’ s get the hell out of here quick, but it took an awfully long time, it seemed like. Still that uncomfortable feeling all the time – I guess it isn’t going to leave.
Quiet day today. Not even briefed once. Got three letters from Win, though. So it wasn’t very quiet for a while. Went to town tonight for a while.
Mission #23. A III factory at Rostock, in Germany. Really smashed the target too. Briefed at 0745, took off at 1020, with a new copilot – Page. Chuck flew with Page’ s crew – that we did not like, but he did OK. We led the low left in 2nd section and it wasn’t so hot – not my fault though, I think.Bombed at 22,000 and dropped our 10 – 500′ s right on the nose. Much flak, but no hits. Beautiful country over there – really pretty. But that flak was driving me nuts – I like it less and less. About 7:30 time —
Mission #24. An airfield and dispersal area at Brunswick – not again thanks. Briefed at 0745 and took off at 0830. flew a 754 ship – 126D (right) – old 709 was out of commission, so we had a really good ship – heaters and all, and it climbed so nicely. Lots of little things went wrong today, but nothing bad. After takeoff, the nose turret swung around and got caught in the slip stream and Stemple and Dick couldn’t get it back. So we had no nose turret. Stemple rode the Martin upper and Schappert was halfway in, Rice lost his heat and began to freeze, so in he came on the flight deck, and Schappert took his place in the waist. From there on to target, everything was OK. Ship flew good and we were really tucked in tight. Clear as a bell over Germany, and I never saw so many ships in the air at once! Thousands of then, and the country is so darned pretty – easy to forget for a minute or so that you’re on a combat mission. So finally Dick calls and says “see that black cloud at one. o’clock – that’s our target,” and I mean black. Wonder if I’m starting to get flak happy, I wonder – for two cents I’d have turned around today – just more scared to go back was the only reason, I guess.
The first section dropped their 500 pounders smack on, and tore up the place, and then we came along and kept things rolling with 52 – 100 lb IB’s. Really started a wonderful bunch of fires, and I was so danged mad after bombs away – a sharp left turn we were supposed to make to get away from that barrage – it was really coming close and lots of it, the lead starts a slow turn and instead of bending it around, – so there I was for some darned fool reason, yelling over the inter-phone, bend it over, you crazy fool!! And practically chewing the wing off of our lead, trying to get him to get the hell out of there. My boys got quite a chuckle out of that — Then on the way out, Mason’s oxygen mask froze up on him – so we had to rush around with walk around bottles, etc. Outside of that it was a good mission good peel off over the field and good landing. And four letters from Win – she’s nice! and four others – good—Now for some sleep and I hope a day off tomorrow – five in a row is enough. Almost forgot the other thing – letting down over the North Sea and Schappert comes up to the flight deck and wants to know how come we didn’t drop all our bombs – could have hit me with a crow bar – so I calls Boose, did all the bombs go? And when he looked again, he was one red faced RO. He really felt pretty bad about it. I couldn’t bring myself to eat him out – funny it was to look at him tho. And I forgot coming back over the Zyder Zee – pretty it was. Many, many cities were smoking nicely too.
Good quiet day, with nothing to do but write letters. So I write letters. Nice ones from Winifred too —
No work today either. Went to town this afternoon – saw Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble. Good. But we had to walk home. Bad. And I didn’t write to my small wife either – bad.
Mission #25. An airfield at Clastres – south of St. Quentin, and a good, good job. Briefed at 0615, took off at 1010. Flew #2, low left in second section. Assembly was good and everything went off OK. Dropped 24 – 250’s from 19,600 smack on. Flak, meager to moderate, but accurate – too accurate. Felt pretty confident today though, all the time. Four close bursts right in front of the nose, kinda made us pull our heads in a bit. Funny putting Chuck’s flak helmet on – heh hee. He flew in the left seat again – all set to go he is, but he wants to finish with the crew – OK with me. Downwind landing made things interesting for a few moments, but outside of that, uneventful. Had a good talk with Gorrell after the mission. We may have to fly only 31 or 32. Please may that be so. No letter from Win today either!!!
Mission #26. Briefed for a ball-bearing factory at Stuttgart, but we hit the secondary at Saarbrucken. Briefed at 0530,-took off at 1710 in our new ship 219 W (Patchie)- and a beautiful ship it is – no ball turret, so it’s light and handles good. Assembly at 16,000! nicely and with low power settings. Climbed to 23,000 across the channel – on the way we found ourselves an easy position – #3 in trail – Walker never showed up. About 30 minutes inside we ran into weather – couldn’t go over it, couldn’t get under it, tried to go through it and finally found an opening – at 19,000. Ahead it looked worse, so we attacked the secondary – MY at Saarbrucken – dear old-Saarbrucken. This time there was no barrage waiting for us. We were the first section over the target, so Jerry just sat there and waited for us. Right at bombs away we caught it – right in there they were – Dick was looking out the nose when it started,, but when a piece headed for him, he pulled back in and put on a helmet – hee hee. flew for at least two minutes with flak throwing our tail up every couple of seconds – talk about your uncomfortable feelings. Only got three holes though. Had no trouble on the way back and landing was OK – at about 1331 for 7 hours. No mail today – one from Unc. and for the first time since we arrived, we aren’t alerted for tomorrow. Swell!!
Nice easy day. Found out we only have credit for 25 missions though. Seems like we’re being forced to fly another, but I guess it wont make much difference. Only with so few to go, one more seems like a million. Saw Bermuda Mystery at the club tonight. And had a couple gins and oranges – not so good either. Guess I’ll never be a blooming drunkard —
No fly again today. So I went to Link this morning and did a few spins. Went to town this PM and saw Cover Girl. Battle jackets aren’t ready. Saw Nass. No letter from Win again – !!??***
Mission #27 – my count! An airfield at Mourmelon – ENE of Paris. Briefed at 0330 – took off at 0515. A beautiful trip it was – assembly just above the clouds with the sun coming up – pretty. Went most of the way in over our own territory nice, not to worry about enemy flak on the way in. Had a good ship too #3 on lead, so we had to contact fighters, which was fun. Flew perfect formation and hit the target – flak free. Everything went OK till we hit the EC on the way out – lead took us over Rotterdam, so Stemple got his close call today – a big hole in his turret, but it missed him. Jerry was really throwing the book at us for about a minute. We got a couple other holes in the fuselage but nothing serious. Nice fast let down between cloud layers, good peel off and landing – at about 1230. No mail from my wife of course. Had another strange 24 with us most of the way today – he turned back to Germany at the EC. I wonder what he was doing-
Mission #28 – my count. And a dismal day it was. It would have been so nice – direct support of ground troops – Canadian. Our targets were two roads, out of Lilurey and Montfort – to cut off Jerry’s retreat. We’re supposed to bomb in six ship elements – so that made four roads at each town that would have been cut off. Briefed at 0700, took off at 1030 – nice low assembly and Chuck did another sweet job of sliding into position – old ??? gave us plenty of trouble all the way to the target though. Really got a good look at the balloon barrage around London this morning on the way down. I don’t see how the V1 ever gets through – there must have been at least 10,000 balloons up. So we got to the EC, supposed to go into bombing formation, and didn’t till we got to the I P log again. Just before we went into our flak, I watched a ship take a direct hit, broke into three pieces and hit the ground. It takes a long time from 18,000 too. Ten chutes got out – and after I knew they were all out, it was kinda exciting watching just that big wing fall – like a leaf. Then we began to pick up some very accurate flak. Again too close for comfort and all of a sudden over the interphone old Robertson yells well I’ll be damned, I just stopped a piece of flak – hit his boot and bounced off – he’s got the piece now – nasty looking stuff. We got through it with three or four holes and kept towards the target. Just before bombs away, the lead announces that he can’t release, so the deputy should take over – so we dropped on the deputy, late though. And on the second target everything was screwed up – the deputy was synchronizing, but everyone was flying on the lead. I finally got disgusted, left the formation and tacked onto the deputy. Right then Lincoln leader said don’t drop your bombs damn! So we brought back 36 bombs – a very unsatisfactory mission. Came back leading low trail, so it was nice back – good peel off and landing – with no ball, that 219 is a tough baby to land with a load of bombs – couldn’t hold the nose off. So I come back to my shack and again find not a letter from my wife. I’m getting sore, Winifred!!!
Quiet day it-was today. Had some fun this afternoon though, slow timing 314. Took Rice and Boose and Schappert and Dick and gave them all some stick time. They had quite a time – kinda surprised they were to see that they could drive it – heh – heh. And I find you can do a wing over in a B-24, with enough speed. Big pass tomorrow and I guess we’re going to London. Don’t know why though. No mail again today either.
Tuesday 8-15-44 to Thursday 8-17-44
Pass to London and I told Winifred about it so nuff said. Good letters when I got back though.
Mission #29 – my count. Supposed to be an aero-engine factory at Metz, but it turned out differently. Briefed at 0900, took off at 1105, with a Sgt. Torley [1Lt Thomas Haydon crew] who was flying his last mission. Gorrell decided to fly him with the old boomerang crew just to be sure. Flew old 219 again and assembly was good. Nice route to target – down through our territory and then east to Metz. Bandits were reported in the area shortly after we left friendly territory and it was almost funny to see the wing close up. We didn’t see a single EA though. Got to the IP OK and started to uncover; all went well till we hit prop wash and the lead ship slid into the deputy; crumpled his wing like paper, but he only lost about 8 feet, so he made it back OK – had to abort though. We scattered when they came together but got back on the deputy and bombed a T of O – airfield on the southwest side of town. Smashed it and a few parked. He’s quite well – not one burst of flak all day! Schappert checked gas and gave me 750 gallons, which was just about right -it was a long mission and we only had- 2,500 aboard. So I was -surprised a half hour later to hear him say we now have 250 gallons. So I had to go by average fuel consumption and that gave me plenty to get back. Only trouble was #2 started cutting out every now and then for no good reason. So I really sweat that one out. But we got back over the base, peeled off and #1 and #4 fuel pressure drop off. So I made a quick look and landed on 17, cross traffic very lucky dodging ships at the intersection, but we were lucky I suppose you would say. Had over 100 gallons left, but I’m not one to just sit when the fuel pressure drops off. A good landing it was too. Now if we can just get three more like that one – I have a date with a blondy girl soon as I’m done. Nice letters today from her too.
Nothing today. We were alerted – me with a new copilot and Chuck with a new crew. So good we didn’t fly. Same thing tomorrow though. Listened to Williamson give us a pep talk – sad, sad. And that’s all.
Stood down again, rain. West over to Rackheath to see Pyke but he was on pass, so talked with Cass for a while and came home – funny thing to do
Nothing again today. Back over to the 467th this afternoon though – and the three of us went to the Blue Boar and talked things over with some bitters.
Good old time, we had too.
Today the same – nothing done.
More sack time – getting tiresome. Can’t even write my wife a good letter. Worked on my map for a while, and found out will probably have to fly 35 missions – a jolt that. But I reckon our luck can last for four extras.
Today the same. Took our cleaning and my shoes to town this afternoon. Then came back and saw make your own bed – good.
Mission #30. A 190 factory at Lubeck in Germany. Briefed at 0500, took off at 0730 and had a good mission. Hard flying ship though. Got a little flak on the coast on the way in – about four bursts, but one of them caught one of our boys a new crew and it burned – I didn’t see it though – at least 8 guys got out before it blew up. Flak-free then until target and there was just a moderate barrage there that we missed. Deputy had to take over again and almost balled things up but we hit smack on again – 10 – 500 GPs from 22,000. Nice trip back – landed at about 1500 for 7:40 time. We made a perfect landing today too. Jonnston was navigator. And tonight I must see if I can get rid of the scabies I have heavens!! Got Unc’s pitcher of Win and Davy today – and now lots of good, snaps of our boy too.
Mission #31. An oil dump north of Duhlman, A good mission it was. Briefed at 0500, took off at 0930. Broke in a new copilot – Shaw; but I had to do all the flying because we were leading high right. Old 457 was really flying good today too. Chuck flew with Shawls crew. Good assembly – good everything. Saw a little flak at the coast on the way in. None at the target, but I flew through a rocket – kinda wondered what would happen nothing. Good results. Flew around the three fields in wing formation on the way back, and led a very snappy peel off to land 200 mph over the field – heh heh. Old Tish walked in tonight, so we went out to the Bricklayers for a shot of bitters. Good day.
Fine time for a question mark! Briefed at 0830 for a mission to Big B. Took off at 1115 and led low left – Egad!
Lead Crew in 755th Squadron – possibly that of Lt. Hayzlett
Standing, second from right: Franklin Shepherd; far right: Elmer Mottern
(Photo: Stan Shepherd)
(Courtesy: Stan Shepherd)