Richard G. Hill|
World War II Memories
Taken from a letter to Will Lundy dated 5/2/95
Thanks for your letter of April 27, 1995. You finally mentioned that you were an assistant to George Baccash. Our lives were always in the hands of the crew chief and his assistants and I would be remiss not to say thanks for giving us airplanes that worked. B-Bar's crew chief was Curly Nelson.
On the particular mission you inquired about, we were successful in dropping our bombs on the target at Belfort, France. We were hit by flack getting away from target. Engine was hit and pilot Duwe feathered the prop. Duwe told Healy to transfer the gas from the dead engine and Healy proceeded to transfer the gas from the operating engine that was equipped with the pump. Now we were without two engines and the plane was losing altitude like a rock.
We were instructed to throw everything overboard to lighten the load and Duwe headed for Beachy Head. In the meantime, Healy and I went over the manuals and found we could hand transfer fuel, so we set about learning the procedure. In about an hour we were transferring fuel back to the engine with the pump and Duwe was able to start that engine again. With three engines going, we could maintain altitude at about 8,000 feet and Duwe made the decision to continue to Beachy Head for a landing.
We landed at Beachy Head and we were offered an airplane lift to the base at Ipswich where Jimmy Stewart was one of the commanders. We arrive din time for lunch, so we got in the chow line about ten persons behind the "real" Jimmy Stewart. After lunch, we were trucked to the base at Shipdham and we were debriefed that afternoon.
There was no damage other than that engine on that mission. Once we returned to Shipdham with bomb doors hanging, one rudder shot away, and the tires on one side shot out. Duwe made a superb landing while General Johnson was standing on the control tower. The General gave Duwe a letter of commendation, but I don't remember whether there was a medal involved or not. On one other mission, we brought back our Liberator with over 100 flak holes in the fuselage.
We flew one plane basically while we were in Shipdham; B-Bar [16 missions] and M-Bar, F-Bar, J-Bar, S-Bar, A-Bar, D-Bar, L-Bar and K-Bar...[16 missions] (I think B-Bar was known as the Iron Corset) B-Bar was a later "J" model. I never kept any real records and have only my hazy 71-year-old memory to rely on. Do you have that problem, too?
I have kept in contact with Carpenter and Billings. We all three have had bouts with cancer; Carpenter with colon cancer which is now in remission, Billings with prostate cancer and he has had good results from his operation and I had a bladder cancer removed last November and it is in remission. I guess you could call us real survivors. Ha!!
The rest of our crew whereabouts remains a complete mystery and I cannot fill you in on the crash at Beachy Head involving Lt. Bolin.
Sincerely...R. G. Hill
RICHARD G. "DICK" HILL
World War II
Memories and Biography
I glanced at the Masthead and saw John Gibson's name but didn't notice he was Emeritus. John was our fearless leader on that raid to Politz and that command of his to "put the wingtips in the waist windows" will stand out in my memory forever. I watched most of that air battle behind us and often wished I could paint well enough to recreate the blue, green, red, yellow, black and orange colors that were arrayed that day. (29 May 1944)
If you are in contact with John Gibson, send him my best and tell him he saved our bacon on that day. Thanks.
67th squadron, 44th bomb group
Bombardier (Duwe Crew)
The destruction of the Politz Oil Refinery in June...a 1,000 airplane max-max type mission was in the command of our base commander: Colonel Gibson.
About the time we were flying over the north coast of Germany near the Polish border, we were attacked at 11:00 high by a host of Me-210 a/c of the Luftwaffe. Col. Gibson broke air silence and said "Put those wingtips in the waist windows of your wingman and give 'em hell". We did just that, as a group, and put red tracers in the path of those fighters..Lo and behold, the fighters veered off and hit the group behind us and their bomber losses were great that day.
The top cover USA fighters were late, but one P-47 spotted our flares signifying we were under fighter attack and dove down into the melee and chased several of them over the sky.
We proceeded to the I.P. and on to the bomb run. The pink flak, signaling the fighters to get out of the area, came up as we approached the refinery and very soon the black 88 mm flack came up everywhere. We dropped our bombs and turned northwest towards the North Sea; we looked back and saw black smoke climbing upwards of 40,000 ft. We knew we scored direct hits!
I always wondered what the rest of those 964 airplanes did that day.