Albert E. Jones |
War Diary of WW II
May 3, 1944
Boarded the SS Billie Mitchell at the 49th Street Pier in New York. Assigned quarters on the main deck with Lee and Winters of our crew and Lts. Albin, Barnett, Winter, Buemuler, Capt. Dobbs, Donald and Fisher. Ate my first meal on board and it was pretty good. Pulled out of port at 11:00 p.m.
May 4, 1944
Assigned to a red meal ticket. Of course, Pete and Al came along with the other tickets so we could eat when we pleased. Two meals are served each day. Sea fairly calm when I got up this morning. About 20 ships have joined ours, including SS Cincinnati and a small aircraft carrier. Enlisted men are in the hold (as always!).
I felt pretty good and sat down to eat my K-rations. After about an hour and a half we landed at Tomb, Ireland, a B-26 advanced training base for overseas crews. Per usual, the Army was all screwed up and we find ourselves in the wrong place. By the time the Major in charge can get us truck transportation to Cluntoe our stomachs have begun to feel the pinch. Hence, he ran us all over to the mess hall and they gave us a good feed of chicken. After eating, we boarded the trucks for a 15-mile ride to Cluntoe arriving about 6 p.m. in time to get our barracks assignments and to hit the sack.
May 22, 1944
This morning we were moved again! Pete, Lee, Al and myself were assigned a cot in the Nissen Hut right next to the orderly room. These Nissen huts are about 100 feet long and are made of galvanized sheets of metal mounted in an arc over a cement floor base. It's just like living in the middle of a drum, because every time anyone decides to throw a rock at the hut, it makes a loud booming noise.
We all grabbed beds near the one and only stove, which is placed in the center of the hut. By morning the place is usually cold and damp because the fire goes out during the night. Instead of a mattress, the supply sergeant issued three squares of material called biscuits. We all found it pretty hard to keep these biscuits from crawling up the cot until groups of bumps were formed. Also the Irish nights are cool and damp and the few Army blankets don't seem to keep the cold out for long. Some of the fellows had a couple of sheets which made them much more comfortable but we had to be content with just scratching when the wool became irritating.
This base is spread all over the countryside and the nearest place of business is about one half mile away. As far as we can find out we'll be here for about ten days to receiving instructions in the latest methods of bombing and navigation. They have a number of men who have finished their tour of duty and it is their job to let us in on anything they have learned during their missions.
The meals are pretty good here and they have a snack bar at 9:30 each night. My luck ran out in gambling and I'll be short until payday. I met Art Dehn at mess. He has only been here four days longer than we have. He got most of his phase training in the East.
J. T. came in today with Andy's crew. His hand was put into a cast today although I don't know what his trouble is. At any rate, it will be some time before he can fly.
We had an orientation lecture today and they told us we wouldn't receive any passes out of camp during our stay here! However, the boys who have been here say we can get out a couple times if we are careful. Pete and I want to get into Belfast for some sheets and a steak dinner we heard about.
May 23, 1944
Everyone in our group started ground school today. Much of the stuff is the old story but the instructors are much better and it's a good review. Also they have combat experience and can make their talks more interesting. After school the travelling P.X. came into camp. These are regular Army stores on wheels. They visit each camp in England about once every two months. However they often run out of things you want a long time before you can reach them. I did get some underwear and gloves though. The mail situation is awful! No mail since we landed in Great Britain and I'm running low on clothing because my baggage hasn't arrived yet.
Our school life continues unbroken for three solid days before Pete and I decide to take a rest. I arranged with Winter to answer roll call for me and Pete got Pat Knapf to do the same for him.
May 26, 1944
Pete and I arranged for tickets on the Belfast bus at noon today. We went to our ground school classes in the morning. About 11 a.m., Lou Quinn decided to go along with us. We didn't make arrangements early enough for a seat on the bus, so we all had to stand. Luckily we stood way in the rear of the bus and when the MP at the gate began checking passes he didn't reach us. All of the enlisted men on board knew we didn't have any passes so they booed the MP until, in disgust, told the driver to go ahead and he didn't bother checking those in the rear.
Belfast is about 30 miles from our base so we found the ride quite rough. We reached the outskirts of Belfast about 3 p.m. and found it to be quite a modern town. The best we've seen since arriving in Great Britain. The bus carried us into town along the waterfront down a four-lane highway. Across the river we could see the ship building yards. They build a lot of England's larger Navy ships there. We left the bus in the downtown area and went into the Grand Central Hotel. Luckily, they had room for us and we went up and cleaned up, tested the beds and looked over the menu to see what was offered to eat. We each got our haircut in the hotel barbershop and then ventured downtown in search of some linen sheets.
A few blocks from the hotel we ran across a linen shop and Pete went in to get his sheets. The shopkeeper showed Pete some white sheets and Pete was about to purchase three pair of them when he happened to ask the price. The man said six pounds a pair for the sheets and Pete, regaining his composure, asked if there weren't some cheaper. The shopman brought out a pair of bright green sheets, three-quarter size with a price of 2 ½ pounds. Pete purchased one pair and we took them back to the hotel.
About six o'clock we started hunting for the place we had heard sold steak dinners. After asking three or four cabbies if they knew where this place was, we found one who knew and he took us there. From the outside the place looked like a private home, but there was a little sign out front announcing Chaclottes. We knocked on the door and a little Irish girl let us in and led us to a table. It must have been the living room. As soon as we sat down she asked us if we wanted a steak and naturally we said Yes. She laughed and told us that she knew that's what we wanted cause all the Americans came there for steak. That was confirmed a few moments later when four or fine parties of Americans arrived - all for their steaks.
We ate our meal with relish because it was the best food we had found in England. However, the steak didn't look like beef even though it tasted like it. Both Os us figured we had had horsemeat steaks, but we asked no questions. We arrived back at the hotel about 8 p.m. It was still light outside so we went for a walk and discovered the Belfast Officers Club. A pretty girl in the lobby had little trouble getting us to join and we went upstairs to the Club. They had a bar where Scotch whiskey and soft drinks were sold and a small snack bar.
On the third floor they had a dance floor. Pete and I got a few cokes and a couple Ginger Ales and sat down to watch the Officers go by. There sure were some characters around. A couple of Scot Officers, wearing their kilts, almost stopped the show with their bare legs and bumpy knees. Then the creaky British Majors, etc. We studied our British rank here. One pip - lieutenant; two pips, 1st Lt.; three pips, Captain; one crown, Major; etc. Most of these British Officers were above the rank of Captain and they usually had some sour-faced old girl in tow. When they danced, they had no expression on their faces - they just moved. We left the dance about 11 p.m. and headed back for the hotel. ON the way we stopped in at a penny arcade for a little fun. We found most of the machines broken though so we didn't stay long.
At the hotel we ran into Quinn. He'd been out roaming around and had just about killed a quart of Three Feathers. However, he wasn't stewed and we all went up to the room to shoot the breeze. After about half an hour we heard some girls in the hall. Quinn rushed out and followed them down the hall. Pete and I hit the sack, but we just turned out the lights when Quinn came back to get some Three Feathers. He said the girls were having a party and he was going to crash it. We wished him luck, called the desk to leave a call for nine o'clock, and hit the sack again.
The phone rang at 9 a.m. and we both got up, took a hot bath, ate breakfast, and boarded our bus by 10:30. We all managed to get seats easily for the trip back and we reached the base at Cluntoe in time for our afternoon classes. The MP was a good egg and didn't check our passes, so we arrived safely - thus ending a perfect vacation.
In the afternoon I made our my pay voucher. I couldn't get flying time this month so I'll be short next month.
Saw Art Dehn tonight. He's been assigned to the 446th B.G. That's Jimmy Stewart's outfit. He'll be pulling out soon, now.
The next few days were more or less routine, but on May 30th, Pete and I got the wanderlust again, so we decided to go to Dungannon, a small town about 15 miles from the base. We took the bus, and got out past the MPs okay. After a rough, 45-minute ride through the country, we reached town. As it was dinnertime, we went directly to a hotel to eat. Luckily, we managed a small steak. Nothing like the Belfast meal, but it was good. After dinner, we walked around town, finally ending up in the country. On the way back into town, we passed by Doctor's Row. For about half a mile there were nothing but fine, large homes with fences and hedges around them. Each was neat and clean and well kept, with a large brass plate denoting name and kind of doctor. These homes sure stood out compared to the others in town.
About eight o'clock we ended up in a narrow street near a pub. There was an Irish soldier on the balcony above the Pub singing Irish songs. He laughingly granted our request for "The Rose of Tralee." After leaving the Pub someone persuaded us to go to a concert." I expected some sort of recital, but it turned out to be what we would call a variety show. The town was putting it on to benefit returning soldiers when they came. During the show a man got up and began selling parts of an armored car. That is, he was taking pledges for parts of this car, to be paid for at a later date. The money was given to the Government and the car then bore the name of Dungannon. He did pretty well, too. Got pledges for the wheels, lights, fenders, bumper, steering wheel, and many other parts.
The program was quite interesting, even though it was corny. We were in the balcony and had a number of kids around us. Pete and I sang along with their B.B.C. version of Bing Crosby, surprising the young lads. He used all of Bing's arrangements and did sound something like Bing. Then they had a couple of twins from Belfast who danced. They weren't bad looking, but their dancing was strictly third-rate. We had to leave in the middle of the comic, but we couldn't understand him very well, anyway. So I guess it was for the best.
Caught our bus and arrived back in Cluntoe about 11:30 p.m. The MP had to be persuaded a bit, but he let us in okay. Tomorrow is the last day of the month, and we expect to be assigned to our combat group. As to choice of groups, they try to do all they can for you on one basis or another. Either you can request to go to a certain base and that's all, or you can request to go with another crew wherever you go. We all preferred to go to the 446th BG, but in as much as Knapf, Sutherland and Robertson requested that group, we settled for any group as long as Anderson came along.
Most of us knew little about the Groups anyway, so I guess that can take care of itself. There is a lot of talk going around about "this" group losing a lot of crews - and "that" group being so good, but I doubt if anyone really knows much about it. About four o'clock this afternoon Pete came back from Headquarters with our assignment. It's the 44th Bomb Group and Keller and Donald will go along with us. Anderson won't be ready to go until later - he's not on shipment yet, but they promised he will be along in about a week. All we can find out about the 44th is that it's the second oldest Group of B-24s over here in England. Hatle and Kelly have been assigned to the 392nd B.G. That is a member of our Wing.
We packed all of our personal luggage tonight because we are supposed to fly out of here early tomorrow. All of the enlisted men are at another base here in Ireland so we won't see them until we get back to England again. Per usual we are aroused early and have to spend three or four hours waiting around before anyone makes an attempt to get us on our way. Instead of having three or four planes to fly us to England we are all assigned to one B-24.
Everyone walked out to the plane and a truck brought all of our hand luggage. Pete and I tried to find some other way of getting to England, but no dice. After all of the luggage was loaded aboard, it was impossible to get the nose wheel on the ground, even after putting six men in the nose and the wheel-well. Pete got himself located on the flight deck and I drew a spot standing in the wheel well. A bunch of the boys were standing behind me all through the bomb bay, and baggage and bicycles were tied to the bomb racks. As the engineer couldn't get down to the bomb bay to perform his duties, I took care of the bomb bay doors, A.P.U., and hydraulic pump.
The tailskid dragged all the way out to the take-off position and we couldn't get the nose down at all. Without further messing around, we started down the runway. You can imagine how I felt I We had had trouble at Blythe getting a B-24 off the ground with a crew of 10. How was this to be with 39 passengers and a crew of four, plus baggage? Needless to say, we made it, staggering off the runway about 110 MPH at half flaps, and not getting more that 125 indicated for nearly twenty minutes. I began to feel better after we got five thousand feet under us and everyone settled down for the two-hour trip to England. We arrived about 2 ½ hours later, having been shot at by English flak guns when we wandered off course.
Everyone piled out at Horsham - a B-24 base of the 96th Combat Wing, located in Norwich, Norfolk. A few moments after we landed, another B-24 arrived from Ireland with our enlisted men. After a fairly good meal, we went outside and met a pair of trucks from the 44th B.G. The drivers told us a bit of the history of our new Group. Colonel Gibson is in charge of the Group and General Johnson, who commanded the 14th Combat Wing, is on the field, too. He led the 44th on the Ploesti mission from Africa, along with the 93rd, now stationed at Hardwick. Killer Kane used to belong to the 44th, although some of the stories told about him now are not so nice. The Group insignia is a flying Eightball, and the home base is supposed to be Selfridge Field, Michigan. The 44th was formed during the last war in France. (????) After a rapid ride of 15 miles we reached Shipdham and our home-to-be.
It was about 10:30 and nearly dark, but we reported in and went directly to a barracks area to get some sleep. Pete and I slept with some enlisted men and our truck drivers. Everyone was hungry, but we couldn't get anything to eat. So we hit the sack quite disgusted and downcast with our new home. The base seemed remote and lonely compared to Horsham where we landed and nobody seemed to expect us or welcome us. However, maybe we' re just tired and things will be better in the morning. I sure hope so. We have been in Great Britain less than a month today and we've finally reached our destination.
June 11, 1944
Pete Henry goes on first mission over France. Still bad weather. Had to let down through 10,000 feet of overcast. Pete flew as copilot with Stevens. Saw no e/a or flak.
June 12, 1944 -- Mission 1
We are alerted for first time as a crew. The Greek has to stay home as we only fly a crew of nine. They call us at 12:00 p.m. Midnight for briefing at 1:30 a.m. Eat a big breakfast and then go to briefing room. We carry 52 fragmentation bombs and are supposed to hit an airplane dispersal area at Illiers, France. After briefing, we get dressed and are taken out to our ship, P. It is an old B-24J with 42 missions. I check the bombs and find out I can't get into the nose turret -- I'm too big! I decide to ride the waist position and let Billy Moore operate the nose turret. Take off is at 4:15 a.m. and climb over England to 10,000. Takes two hours to assembly.
Pass over London about 6 a.m. and hit Channel about 15 minutes later. Weather is good. There is a continuous stream of ships all across the Channel. All sorts of boats and ships. We don our flak suits as we near the French Coast. We are supposed to cross near Caen, France, and pas right over the beachhead. There seems to be millions of boats down there although we are too high to see much activity. We start getting flak from Caen -- it's moderately heavy and pretty accurate. About 20 bursts to a volley. I don't think of getting hit so much from above or to the side as much as I do through the floor! Very funny feeling, but I don't think I'm scared.
We are at 21,000 and soon pass on out of range. No one down. We are flying extreme right, high -- a very vulnerable position. All of a sudden Tillner, the other waist gunner, starts firing. I look around and see a plane on an attack curve. Neither of us is sure what kind of aircraft, but he slides off and we see two P47s right below us. That was quite a surprise! We are near the I.P. now and two rockets come up, but are way wild. Some three or four miles, we are the only planes getting any flak from Drue because of our position. Lead bombardier screws up and we make another run, finally drop our bombs and miss very badly. On the way out we get some more flak from Caen, but only have one very small hole in the tail section. Get home about seven hours and land. Go to interrogation and clean our guns. After a bit to eat, we hit the sack.
June 13, 1944 Bad weather. Buy eggs from a farm boy.
June 14, 1944
Awakened at 12:30 a.m. for a mission. Eat, go to briefing, and out to the ships. We are flying A today and in number 5 spot. Target is an airfield at Chateaudun, France. Bomb load is 52 100-general purpose. No flak over coast. Caen in flames. Hit target fairly well. Very slight flak. A couple of rockets and no fighters. I ride the nose turret. On return, we are alerted again for the afternoon. Target to be an airfield. Mission is scrubbed after we get out to our ships. Really tired and we all hit the sack. Greek was along with us and he really got sick as well as having ear trouble.
June 15, 1944
Mission 3 -- Up again at 12:30 p.m. Briefed and on our way. Plane A again. I ride the nose. Load is 12,500 lb. demos. About 20 miles inside France fighters hit a B-24 between the two squadrons. We see three FW 190s and a JU88 lobs a couple of rockets. No damage to our formation. P51s drive off the fighters. Two chutes come out of nowhere and sail by us. We have good P51 escort from there to target.
Moderate flak from town but not very close to us. Another couple of rockets. Target is a rail bridge about six miles from Tours. We really do a good job. Other squadrons hit four more bridges and they all disappear. I have heated suit trouble. Flight was about 6 ½ hours.
June 18, 1944
Mission 4 -- Up again at 12:30 (0030 a.m.) and down to the briefing room. J.T. (Jennings) is along for the first time and we find out target to be an airfield near Hamburg at a place called Luneburgh, Germany. It's a two-engine repair depot for German fighters and bombers. We have three squadrons hitting that target. The 66th and 68th are first over with 100 pound GP bombs and we are last with frags. Two other squadrons of the 2nd Division are carrying 500 pounders.
We take off at 5 a.m., travel across the North Sea, north of the Frisian Islands, and into Germany. We get P51 and P38 support all the way. We find the weather pretty bad and the target overcast. Also, we get contrails, which we were not briefed for. We have three turnbacks in our squadron so go in with nine ships. Target is covered so we don't drop. Other squadrons bomb Heligoland and the German port of Bremerhaven. Our lead crew messes up and we bring our bombs back. Everyone is sore. We lose one ship flying the right wing of our element. No one seems to know where. Pilot was Herring (Note: 67th history says that Herring bombed on PFF, hitting Bremerhaven.) We get heavy accurate light cal. Flak over Heligoland and a couple prices hit our ship. One piece comes through copilot's window and hits Lt. Winter on the head. He had his "tin" helmet on though so he is not hurt. I got pretty ill and failed to get enough oxygen while at 24,000 feet. We land after a 7 ½ hour flight. I still have a very bad headache and feel rotten. Hit the sack about 9:30. We put Mission #4 on P today. One more mission and it will need an engine change.
June 19, 1944
Mission 5 -- almost. Scrubbed, finally.
June 20, 1944
Mission 5. We were awakened at 12 p.m. Rumor has it that it will be a long raid. All bad rumors seem to come out true, and we find our target is Politz, Germany. This is a Deep Penetration (DP), past Berlin to hit a synthetic oil refinery, which puts out over 10% of Germany's synthetic oil. We carry 42 100-lb. GPs and 2,700 gallons of gasoline. Today, the 44th BG is leading the whole 8th Air Force over the target. All together, 21 squadrons are to hit Politz.
We take off at 5 a.m. and our route carries us north over southern Denmark, north of Kiel, and then southeast of the target. We make a sharp turn and head for the target. The first squadron over the target doesn't get too much flak but we catch hell! It seems like the sun is blotted out it is so dark and it's accurate. They told us 85 guns would be turned on us. I'm sure there were all of that.
The Germans try to cover the refinery with smoke pots, but they aren't successful because of a high westerly wind. Our ship is really hit as we cross over the target, but our bombs really do a good job. Our top turret and tail turret are hit with flak. We get out quickly and start for home. Two ships of the 44th are hit and lose altitude -- both are under control. One was Keller from the 68th and he went to Sweden. The 493rd BG runs into a whole mess of fighters and lose 14 planes out of 24. Our tail gunner claims a ME410. After we arrive home, we find some 25 holes in our plane -- E.
June 21, 1944
Mission 6 -- Up again at 12 p.m. This time it is Berlin! Boy, I wish they'd give us a rest. We ate, briefed, and are off at 5 a.m. Our target is the Daimler-Benz Motor Works in Berlin. We have J (318) today and a load of 10 500-pounders. After some five hours, we reach the target. Escort is fairly good, but we have a period of some 30 minutes without escort just before we hit the target. They can't seem to make up their minds. This causes half of the formation to drop too soon. We didn't hit the target very well. Flak is heavy but we seem to have a lane right through. Only one small hit is sustained. P-38 cover is good along with 51s. The 493rd BG gets hit again and loses eight more ships. I have one gun out in my turret. We get back and land at 1:20 p.m.
Quite a few ships land with hydraulic systems out. One without any rudder control. I find out that J.T.'s crew isn't back. I really begin to sweat! They were last seen with two engines out over the North Sea. Finally, found out they got into another field. Boy, I really sweated that out. Eat a little and hit the sack. Sure hope we get a day off soon as I can't go much longer and be any good.
June 22, 1944
Mission 7 -- We weren't awakened today but Lee and I had classes in Target Identification. I also had bomb trainer. While in the trainer, I was visited by General Johnson, plus the highest ranking Czech Army Officer and a mess of British brass. I had to make a run for them. Did pretty well, but I really sweated it out.
At 1:30 p.m. we were called to briefing. Our target was Laon, France, an airfield. Ship M a B-24H, a bomb load of 52 100-lb. GPs. Duration was 6 ½ hours. Saw one ship crash, hit by flak. Two others were shot down, with five chutes in all being seen. Flak was heavy and cloud cover about 7/108s. Made two runs and the target was pretty well hit.
June 25, 1944
Mission 8 -- Was called at 6:30 a.m. for a mission. Bomb load was 12 500-lb. GPs. Ship was UU, B-24H, and target was a powerhouse at Doullens, France. A very small target to hit, and Lt. Murry did a good job of hitting it from 25,000 feet. A little flak from Belgium as we went over. No flak at the target. Saw Brussels and the White Cliffs of Dover today. All ships return. Mission good. A 5 ½ hour job when we land at 1:30 p.m. A castle was destroyed by mistake on the mission. Everyone feels bad about it.
June 26, 1944
Briefed at 1:30 a.m. for a very long mission to Munich, Germany. Load 10 500-lb. GPs. Ship W, an old B-24J. We are supposed to hit a large airfield in Munich. We are in the ship and ready for takeoff when the mission is scrubbed. I'm back in the sack by 5 a.m.
June 29, 1944
Mission 9 -- Up at 12:30 p.m. Breakfast and briefing. Takeoff at 4:30. Ship Q, B-24J, Myrtle, the Fertile Turtle. Target is Magdeburg, Germany, a motor works. Load is 42 oil bombs. I flew the waist position because of the size of the turret. Over the target Tillner, the other waist gunner was hit in the leg with flak. Flak over the target was heavy and accurate. Trim tab of rudder shot out, prop on number 4 also was hit but it still worked, though. I gave first aid to Tillner over target area because no fighters would attack during that period. Flak was still in his leg. I cut away heated suit and put sulfa powder on the wound. Made him lie down and gave him plenty of oxygen. Didn't use tourniquet because bleeding wasn't heavy and soon stopped due to the cold. He refused morphine.
Got back three hours later. We left the formation at the coast and came in as fast as possible. Circled the field, fired red-red flare and landed. Ambulance followed us to our dispersal area -- doctor took off Tillner and then took him off ship. We lost two planes over target (from 506th). They hit one ship and it fell into another. Both blew up but we saw 11 chutes. One was on fire, however. Good P38, P47 and P51 support. They held off enemy fighters.
June 30, 1944 -- Pay Day!
July 4, 1944
Mission 10. Called out at 12:30 p.m. for a mission. Takeoff delayed two hours. Went to Beaumont, France to hit an airfield. Ship T broke down with no gas pressure. So we used N, took off late with a load of 52 100 GPs. Never did find our squadron but tagged onto the 68th. Dropped through overcast. Couldn't see the results. The only opposition was about seven rockets.
July 7, 1944
Mission 11. We get the max max. Up at 2 a.m. Takeoff at 0410 a.m. Target Bernberg, Germany. Load is 52 oil bombs. A JU88 factory is our MPI on an airfield. They put us in as deputy lead for the first time. The 67th flew second with 13 planes, followed by the 68th with 13 planes; all in all, 39 planes. Everything went well until we reached the I.P. I was just swinging the sight on the target when I chanced to look up. Just at that moment, about 75 to 100 ME410s hit the squadron just ahead of us. I shut my eyes expecting all the 24s to be knocked down. However, they only got one. He went down in a controlled bank and we saw ten chutes come out. I thought we were next to get an attack, but because of our position, high and to the right with good formation, the MEs took the lower group, the 68th. I tried to watch because J.T. was in that group of planes but was unable to see. And besides, we were on the bomb run. I picked up the target and we let our bombs go.
First and second squadrons had good results, the 3rd was excellent. Flak wasn't too heavy. However, we saw about six to eight 24s go down and many fighters. Our escort was in a full fight with the Germans by now and things were really popping. Saw two 38s get a 410 in crossfire and blew him up. Saw lots of fighters going down and Lee and I counted over 30 chutes over the target area. Later found out that J.T.s outfit (68s) lost three planes in the 410 attacks. He got a 410, as did his tail gunner. It was quite a day and we were all very tired when we got home. After dinner M/Sgt. Mike Curtin, our crew chief, came over. Lee, Pete, and Al had drinks with him. I took Greek and we went to shoot craps -- won 20 pounds.
July 12, 1944
Mission 12. Up at 0615 for a pre-briefing. We are to fly deputy lead and the mission is again Munich. Same I.P. etc. Take off at 9 a.m. in our ship Myrtle Q; our load is six 500-lb. GPs and four 500-lb. clusters of incendiaries. Just as we hit the coast, two of our formation turn back. Our number four engine started losing oil but we decided to go on. Cloud cover almost 10/10. Lee passed out from 02 lack. I got him to come to, but he was no good the rest of the mission. I did navigation to the best of my knowledge -- could see the ground occasionally. Bombed PFF and overran the I.P. Dropped on the PFF ship over the center of Munich. Flak was light on us, but heavy on the squadrons behind us.
We were briefed that they had 192 guns in the area. Chaff worked good and most of the firing was low on us. We led the whole 8th AF on this one. I had to give Lee emergency oxygen all through the mission. On the way home, I ventured eating a K-ration. With my mask on, it was difficult, but worthwhile. We were at 24,500 for most of the time. Just as we started our instrument let-down, our number four engine had to be feathered (no oil). We let down through the overcast firing red-red flares, cut in on the traffic pattern and landed. We were in the air nine ½ hours. Later, found out from Sgt. Curtin that we had lost 32 gallons of oil. Rumor has it we might get U, a new B24J-2. I looked at her last night. It sure is a swell ship and will solve all our problems.
July 13, 1944
Everything is all messed up! We were transferred to the 66th Squadron, all PFF today. Everyone is sore.
August 24, 1944
Mission 13. Up at 2 a.m. for a mission. Our first PFF job. No pre-briefing -- can't understand that. We are flying deputy lead, 2,7y00 gallons of gas, bomb load four 500-lb. GPs, two 500-lb. clusters and smoke bombs. Target is Hanover, Germany. We fly R plus, a new ship with only one mission. Everything goes well until just before the I.P. The lead ship took us over Brunswick where we lost one ship with an engine on fire. Turning from the I.P., the lead ship had an engine knocked out and we looked to take over. However, we got no signal and stayed in formation position. Glickman was going to toggle and I was killing rate of drift with the sight. Flak was heavy and accurate.
About in the middle of the bomb run, a piece of flak came through the bombardier's glass and hit the sight. I was blinded by flying glass and cut over the eye. As I was looking to see if I was in one piece, another piece or hunk of flak came through behind me, knocked out the turret junction box, my electric system, went over my leg, hit an oxygen cylinder which, in turn, blew up and went by my ear, and started 50 cal. Shells exploding in the box next to me. This piece of flak also dropped our bombs for us, but we didn't know it at the time. Other ships dropped on us and spoiled the pattern. At any rate we got home okay after 8 ½ hours.
August 26, 1944
Mission 14. Up for pre-briefing at 2:30 a.m. Flying deputy lead on Torrell. A/C is J plus a J-2, bomb load eight 250 GPs and six smoke bombs. Target is a synthetic oil plant at Salzbergen, Germany. This is a very small target with hardly any check points. Takeoff is delayed two hours, finally off at 9:25 a.m. Our Mickey set went out, as did the Gee-box before we reached Holland. The weather as briefed was supposed to have been good but we found extensive haze. The 14th Combat Wing A was led by the 392nd and they had two ships collide over the target. We got very little flak and our fighter support of P51s was good.
August 30, 1944
Mission 15. Up early for another mission. We led our first mission today -- a Gee H job. They sent us over to lead the 392nd BG at Wendling. Target is a rocket site near Abbeyville. Things screwed up and our number 2 station didn't send out a beam. Therefore, we had nothing to drop on. We brought the bombs back and dropped them in the North Sea j-- 24 250-pounders. Lou Quinn flew his 30th mission behind us in the number 4 spot. H cracked up upon landing, but no one was hurt. (She completed war. Have photo leaving Valley, Wales w/98 missions!!)
September 9, 1944
Mission 16. Up at 4:30 for a mission. Very bad weather. Our ship will be Q plus, Glory Bee, load of 12 500-lb. GPs, target Mainz, Germany, which is right next door to Frankfurt. We are trying to bomb the rail yards and supply dumps to aid General Patton. The course in was flak-free until we get to the target. Lots of barrage flak from Frankfurt and Mainz. A ship just ahead of us received a direct hit, taking the whole tail assembly off at the waist position. It went straight down and blew up. Lee saw six chutes come out. Parachute flak also is sent up. It has a can of explosives under it and floats through the formation. We dropped on leader by PFF. Got home at 2 p.m. after six hours, after taking some pictures on the way back. We flew at 10,000 feet over Belgium and France. Had a P-51 escort that were so close, I could see what the pilots looked like.
September 11, 1944
Up for a mission at 5 a.m. Ship was Q plus, Glory Bee. Target to be the marshalling yards at Hanover, Germany. Takeoff was at 7:30 a.m. Load of eight 1,000 lb. GPs. After takeoff, we went through assembly and started for Belgium. About halfway to the Coast, we started leaking oil badly and lost power on the number one engine. I noticed spark leads were loose, also. Tried to get into Germany so we'd get credit for a mission, but we couldn't keep up with the formation or get altitude. Finally, we turned around at the Belgium coast. I went back and safetied the bombs and we went up to the wash to dump them. We only had about 6,000 feet so I had to drop them "safe." That done, we returned to the base. On the approach, we had to feather number one because we couldn't get it to lose power. The least we could get was 20 inches of Mercury (Hg). Upon landing, we found that a cylinder was blown and the spark leads were loose or off. The ship needed a complete engine change.
September 13, 1944
Mission 17. Up for a mission at 0200 hours. Mission is to Schwabish-Hall, Germany, way down by the Swiss border. The target is an airfield where the jet planes are based. Our ship is J plus and the load is ten 500-lb. GPs. We have an overcast up to 26,000 feet and can't get over it. Called the leader and dropped to 19,000 feet before breaking out. About this time, we crossed the Moiselle River and they shot the hell out of us. Went on to hit the target, but encountered no flak there. We caught a bunch of planes on the ground! Saw Lake Constance and the Swiss Alps. Arrived back home after nine ½ hours flying. Hit the sack immediately. Failed to get up for dinner and slept for 16 hours.
September 17, 1944
The boys got up at 0630 for a practice mission. Then had to go again at 1230 hours. All of this was low-level stuff! Tree-top level. We expect something tomorrow. I went to Norwich tonight.
September 18, 1944
Mission 18. Awakened at 0800 for pre-briefing. We are flying deputy lead. We're to fly supplies to an American glider and paratroop force in Holland. Supplies consist of medical stuff, K-rations, guns and ammunition. A field is picked out for us to release on. The altitude inbound is at 100 feet. We don't take off until 1300 hours. The whole wing is flying supplies today. On the way in, we can see the damage the Germans have done by letting the sea in. All along our course, the Dutch people gather in groups to wave at us. We're so low one can almost shake hands with them.
We pulled up to 300 feet to release our cargo. The field is covered with gliders. My racks fail to function properly and we leave the squadron to make our own run and then release by salvo. This time we get the stuff out! We start out the same way we came in, except almost alone. There are a bunch of Dutch boys standing waving to us on a cracked-up Spitfire. The squadron catches quite a bit of small-arms fire from the Germans. It is mostly .30 cal. Stuff.
On the way back over the North Sea, we see a 24 ditch. All the crew seemed to be okay. We are the first ones back and land just as we find out we're leaking gas. A .30 cal. Is in the wing tanks and the ship will not be able to fly for a couple of days. That's the extent of our damage but others aren't so lucky. Three ships pile up on landing. No nose wheel, flat tires, and shot-up hydraulic system. Target was at Best, Holland and all the cattle in Holland got a good workout.
September 21, 1944
Briefed for a mission to Koblenz, Germany, the marshalling yards. We have K plus today with 12 500-pounders. The red-red flares are fired as we are on our way down the runway. We were to fly deputy lead on the high squadron flying with the 392nd BG. Went back and played bridge all afternoon -- and night.
September 26, 1944
Mission 19. Up at 0600 for a mission. We are leading the high right squadron. Target is the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, the largest in all of Germany and for direct help to the paratroopers in Holland. Load: 12 500-lb. M17s on ship K plus. Took off at 1230. Everything is okay until we reach the target. I'm all set up and on the target when the group ahead turns off. We have to follow.
On the next pass, we can't even see the target and drop on the group leader PFF. The yards were hit pretty well by the 491st and 392nd BGs ahead of us. Flak was light, but quite a few rockets were seen. Accurate flak also from Munster and Osnabruck. P-51 escort very good. Return after 6 ½ hours.
October 3, 1944
Mission 20. Up at 0600. Mission to Offenburg, Germany. Load six 1,000-lb. GPs. Third section lead for us. We drop as a squadron. Mission is screwed up. Target abandoned. Deputy lead Honmyhr. Dropped on lead squadron and missed. Glickman rode nose turret. Ship K plus (Scotty Mac) had to turn back, too. Hit sack after being in air 8 ½ hours on this mission.
November 9, 1944.
Mission 21. Up for pre-briefing at 0200 hours. Target, Metz, France, a fortified area. Ship K plus, time of takeoff 0630, load four 2,000 lb. GPs. We put a picture on one of the bombs. The boy was killed in France and his brother sent it to Pete to be delivered to Hitler in person. We reached the target at 0952 and dropped with Gee H as a group due to a 8/10th cloud cover. We were bombing just ahead of General Patton's 3rd Army troops. They put up a friendly line of flak at 17,000 feet at their foremost position. We also had C-52 equipment to tell when we were past our own lines. These all worked very well and no bombs were dropped on our own troops. The target was well hit. We encountered some enemy rockets -- about 50 in the area but that was all.
Our last resort was Saarbrucken, which I'm glad to say we didn't have to hit. Over Dover, we took our squadron directly home. We beat the others in by about five minutes and landed as a squadron. The others had to make an instrument let down due to weather. We just hit the ground 20 seconds behind our left wingman when it started raining and snowing. Parked the plane. Time was 1300 hours, after 6 ½ hours in the air. Temperature was -32 degrees today at our bombing altitude of 23,000. We flew a crew of 11 and finished up one man.
Up for pre-briefing at 0200 hours. Target, Metz, France, a fortified area. Ship K plus, time of takeoff 0630, load four 2,000 lb. GPs. We put a picture on one of the bombs. The boy was killed in France and his brother sent it to Pete to be delivered to Hitler in person. We reached the target at 0952 and dropped with Gee H as a group due to a 8/10th cloud cover. We were bombing just ahead of General Patton's 3rd Army troops. They put up a friendly line of flak at 17,000 feet at their foremost position. We also had C-52 equipment to tell when we were past our own lines. These all worked very well and no bombs were dropped on our own troops. The target was well hit. We encountered some enemy rockets -- about 50 in the area but that was all.
November 22, 1944
Went to a bombardier's meeting in the afternoon. Someone dropped a bomb near Cambridge yesterday. Someone from the 44th BG. I went through one hangar on the way to Operations and saw M with a huge hole through the bombardier's glass and up through just ahead of the pilot's windshield. An unexploded shell went through there decapitating the navigator. It was an awful sight. However, I guess its crew was lucky the shell didn't explode. It would have killed all in the nose and probably shot the ship down.
December 4, 1944
Mission 22. Up for a mission at 0300, ship K plus. Target was the marshalling yards at Bebra, Germany. Took off at 0845 hours. Flew second sq. lead. Fighter support from a group of P51s for our 24 ships. Bomb load: ten 500-lb. GPs and two 500 incendiaries. A plus Scottie Mac lost an engine just before the target. We are to drop as a group. My R.B.R. was jammed. The leader made two runs, Gee H on the yards, but didn't drop either time. PFF finally took over and dropped on an unknown section of Germany. P plus lost two engines and landed in France. Q plus landed in Brussels. Got back to Shipdham at 1700 hours after 8 hours and 15 minutes.
December 11, 1944
Mission 23. Up at 0330 for pre-briefing. Target Karlsruhe, Germany. Ship #823 C plus a PFF and Gee H ship. We flew deputy lead of 2nd section. It's a max max. Indorf flew as the PFF man. M.P.I. is a large railroad bridge. Took off about 0705. Target run was Gee H. My bombs went R.B.R. Everything okay. 10/10th overcast. Very bad weather on our return. Landed at 1630 after eight hours and 15 minutes. Hit the sack.
December 23, 1944
Mission 24. Up at 0600. No pre-briefing. Same data and mission as for yesterday (Ahrweiler -- a troop support mission). We took off in E plus to go to the 392nd at 0815. Seven minutes from the I.P. we get flak! The I.P. was supposed to have been in our possession. We were shot at for 25 minutes. I made a Gee H visual run with Lee. One of the bombs hung up -- the lower station in the front. The other two bombs dropped on top of it but luck was with us and we didn't lose any hydraulic liens.
Right after bombs away, I took a walk-around oxygen bottle and went back to see if I could pry the bomb loose. After five minutes on the catwalk at 20,000 with the bomb doors open and no chute on, I got the bomb out. I closed the doors and we came home. We had to make an instrument let-down through the overcast. Landed after a six-hour flight. Three holes in the plane. No one hurt.
December 24, 1944
Today was the biggest day the 8th Air Force has ever had. Some 2,000 plus bombers went out from England. The 44th put up 61 aircraft, its largest effort since arriving in the E.T.O. We didn't go.
December 28, 1944
Went to lunch at 1130 hours. At lunch, Lee and I were raised right out of our seats by a terrific explosion. Captain Berthong drove us out to he field and we made our way to dispersal 21 where "Henry" is parked. A few fields from there is where a ship from the 68th Sq. hit with a full bomb load. There wasn't enough to pick up. All aboard were lost. The pilot overshot the field and lost another engine, hit a tree, and blew up. We then looked in on a Lancaster.
December 30, 1944
Mission 26 (25?) Up for a mission at 0315. Target is Altenahr, Germany. Ship 907 B plus, load six 1,000-lb. GPs. A troop support mission. We led the 3rd squadron of the 44th BG. Dropped on the lead plane. Interphone went out on the bomb run. Couldn't get racks in select position either. Lee let me know when the bombs went away. I sent an impulse through my sight releasing the squadron's bombs. Pete finally let our bombs go by using the emergency salvo lever. I broke the salvo lever trying to let the bombs go. Landed after 1830 hours.
December 31, 1944
Mission 27. Up at 0315 for a mission. Target is Neuwied, Germany. Ship #594 E plus, leading the 491st BG. Command pilot and P.N. from the 491st with us. Load of six 1,000 GPs, target: a bridge across the Rhine. Took off 20 minutes late. Gee H run was screwed up. We were following the 44th group. Germans jammed the Gee H and the 44th dropped early. By that time they had us in such a position that we could not continue. Command pilot had me drop on the smoke flares of the 44th. On the way back, we buzzed the 491st runway good and then landed at Shipdham, after seven hours 15 minutes. Command pilot said we were a "fine" crew and he liked flying with us. Had a meeting after the mission. Found out all groups couldn't use Gee H anymore.
January 5, 1945.
Mission 28. Up for a mission at 0315. Target: Oberstien, Germany. We lead the 44th with Benadom as command pilot. Weather 10/10th. Assembled in southern England. 491st were recalled. Only ten of our ships managed to find us. The command pilot had everyone teed off from the first. Lee had us on course as we left England, but the command pilot decided to follow what he thought was the 392nd. It turned out to be the 93rd. By that time we were 30 miles south of course. We finally got back on course but we were 20 minutes late. As we neared the target area, the command pilot called for a visual run. It was 10/10th up to within five miles of the target. Lee and I asked for a Gee H run, but the command pilot said, "No." Our compasses went out so it was impossible for us to find the target. I finally bombed Neukirchen marshalling yards. I had to make a manual run. Bombing was only fair. Finally got home after 7 ½ hours.
January 16, 1945
Mission 29. Up for a mission at 0215 hours. Plan A: Target, Rhuland, an oil refinery. Plan B: Target Berlin - the gas works. We are to be scrubbed if it is Plan B. Plan A goes into effect and we take off at 0730 hours in B plus with a load of eight 500-lb. Navy bombs. We led the 2nd squadron, pass over Wilhelmshaven, Hanover, Magdeburg, Hamburg, Bernberg and near Berlin. Turned southeast from Berlin and made for Rhuland. Couldn't find the target in time because of trouble uncovering. Got lots of flak at the target, though. We then made for Dresden.
Another group dropped bombs ahead of us enroute and we were in a turn when our bombs went away. Don't know how we hit the target. Slight flak at the target, but the group lead was hit and started to lose altitude and smoke. We then passed over Czechoslovakia and came out south near Strusbaugh. We were forced into Paris after 8 ½ hours of flying. Field was Orley. About 50 B-2s landed there. Ate in our flying clothes and were taken into town on the bus. Stayed at the Red Cross, a former hotel. Had to post two EM on the plane. Walked around town that night and found a place to exchange our pounds for francs. Got 450-475 for each pound.
January 17, 1945
Up at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Bought lots of perfume and then went out on a G.I. truck to Orley. Our heated suits and the perfume were taken. Lee didn't show up and we went back to town. Took in the follies that night, etc.
January 28, 1945
They had a mission to Dortmund today. Pete went to Norwich. Ed Schoenfeld went with Muldoon. Sweated the ships out all day. Had a heavy snow storm. Muldoon didn't come back! We're not sure what happened to them yet. The latest news had them crashing in France. Hope all are okay. Three ships didn't get back. About 5 p.m. flak magnet cracked up at the end of the runway on takeoff. All engines quit. Everyone got out, luckily.
January 29, 1945
Mission 30. Still no word of Ed. Went on a mission with Bull(?) in the morning. Target, Hamm. Went as P.N. with Rosser. It was his 32nd mission. Bombed PFF, results good. Bernie and I acted as sort of checks on the crew because it was their first lead mission. Ship was again 907B plus. Still a lot of things wrong with it. Bomb bays stuck even though we exercised them all along the route line. Dropped the bombs through the doors. Landed after 6 ½ hours.
Up for a mission at 0330 hours. Scrubbed.
February 14, 1945
Up for a mission at 0330. Target Magdeberg, Germany. Load was ten 500-lb. We dropped on PFF. Flak was moderate. Mission took eight hours. Hope we are done.
ALBERT E. (ED) JONES
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
12415 Eagle Points Place
Little Rock, AR 72211
4 March 1995
The reason I knew Edgar Clark was because he was my CO at the Shipdham control tower. Before he was there, I worked for Clifford T. Lee who was transferred to Germany some time after the Normandy Invasion. Ed and I were shipped back to the states at the same time , had our 30-day furloughs and went to Sioux Falls for reassignment. Even though he was my boss, I considered him a good friend but we lost contact until preparations for the 44th BG reunion in England in 1992.
At that time, I found out about and joined the 44th BG, 2nd Air division - 8th AF organizations. That is how I was reunited with Ed Clark though we didn't actually meet until we were at the reunion in the Hotel Nelson in Norwich, England. Since then Ed and I and our wives have attended two 2nd AD mini or regional meetings in Dallas, Texas.
We planned to be at the Dallas meeting this year as well as the 2nd AD reunion in Norwich, however, I was forced to forego both because of the timing of planned cataract surgery on 21 March 1995. Hope I'll make the next 44th BG meeting in Texas.
I worked at the Shipdham Tower from about August 1942 until July 1945. I was in charge of the alert crew, which worked directly for the control tower and worked out of a front room on the first floor of the tower. The alert crew took care of most, if not all, of the outside "hands-on" duties of the control tower. We parked, serviced, etc. visiting aircraft, maintained contact, updated records and location and conditions of all B-24s on the base, pulled them out of the mud with a prime mover, when they got off the perimeter taxi strip and various others. One of my primary duties was to operate what we called the radio jeep. This jeep was equipped to communicate with the tower as well as our pilots and aircrafts. Similar to the checked van but much more mobile.
During bad, foggy weather, I would take the radio jeep as far out in the field as possible and look for our bombers on their crosswind leg, get them turned toward the runway and observe the trees until landing time. Once when they were very low on gas (one pass or else), they decided to follow the leader and one made it, all made it or none. Fortunately, they all made it, but they looked like a string of wieners going down the runway. Probably couldn't happen again without a few crashing.
I learned the area outside the base so well that one of my jobs was to find the bomber that had gone down, radio back directions for the ambulance and fire truck crew, and identification of the plane. Of course, through all of this, we had to observe proper radio silence when in effect. One of our duties was to hand carry changes in orders to the lead commander (before take off) on a mission, enter the plane and actually hand it to the command pilot. Incidentally, we had an extra receiver in our radio equipment and when not too busy, could listen to local broadcasts, via the earphones.
The fire trucks were housed in a building next to the tower and the crew on duty had quarters in that building, however, all tower and fire crew as duty staff lived in a mission hut directly behind the tower building. For much of the time in England, the fire crew and tower staff was assigned to the tower from the various squadrons in the 44th BG. I was from the 340th service squadron. Finally the Air Force formed squadrons just for these type duties called compliment squadron, which we were assigned to. However, I never lived in the squadron area and can't remember its number.
Since our flights were day missions, our main night duties consisted of assisting in landing British bombers whose own base was too fogged in to land. Our radio jeep was equipped with a metal stand for one man to stand on while directly the aircraft where to park. Of course, on these nights, the regular control tower radio operators were, to say the least, quite busy.
Will, I can't remember the names of the guys who rode motorcycles but they were the Air Forced MPs. They did spend some time on duty around the tower a lot and were our friends. In fact, it was in that setting that I first learned to ride a motorcycle. The War II Harleys.
I could tell you lots of things that happened at crash sights around the area during the war but I'm sure you are getting bored so will hush for now.
Sorry the old 44th HMG was sort of disappointing but am looking forward to meeting with our new one. Keep up the good work.