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Legacy Of:

Donald  W.  McKinney

 

Personal Legacy
DONALD W. McKINNEY
Tail Gunner
World War II Memories

"We hit Weiner-Neustadt and were shot up pretty badly. The radio and electrical systems were shot out, as well as No. 3 engine. We landed at an Aussie fighter base outside of Bari, Italy. We were there for five or six days, fixing up the plane - all but the radio - and then went back to Tunis."

Most of the group had gone back to England a day or two earlier so I can't recall the number of the A/C but they called her 4Q2. It also had what they called "toothpick" props. No one had heard from us until we returned to Shipdham. We were all listed MIA. F/O Taylor, our pilot, flew all the way back to England with a 20mm shell in his chest parachute! Van Ess was the substitute copilot and Murphy was the sub-navigator on this mission. Lt. Akin and Lt. Ford were grounded at the time.

Later, I don't recall what mission it was, but Bennett, Bagge, Hunt and myself were grounded. The rest of the crew and spare Eng., Radio Op., and two gunners went. The only ones we heard from was Taylor, the pilot and Dzownskowski who came back through the underground,. Taylor's promotion caught up - a 1 Lt. Bennett and I did not fly anymore. Mike into the ground a.m. and I to he 506th armament. Bagge kept on flying.

Memories of 10/11/43 as told to Will Lundy in a letter dated April 18, 1982

Our regular crew was attached to the 44th and sent to North Africa, Benghazi, getting there after the low-level Ploesti. We didn't get to fly a mission and was sent back to England and Shipdham. When I say regular crew, I mean the original members. We still didn't fly. All were sent back to North Africa, Tunis this time. We hit Weiner Neustadt. We were shot up pretty bad. The radio and electric system was shot out and No. 3 engine.

We landed at an Aussie fighter base outside of Bari, Italy. We were there five or six days, fixing up the plane. All but the radio and went back to Tunis. Most of the group had gone back to England a day or so before we returned. I can't recall the number of the aircraft, but they called it 4Q2, with a lemon painted on the nose. It also had what they called toothpick props.

No one had heard from us till we returned to Shipdham. We were all listed MIA. Edward F. Taylor, our pilot, flew all the way back to England with a 20 mm shell in his chest _____.

Van Ess was the substitute copilot and Murphy was the substitute navigator on this mission. Lt. Akin and Lt. Ford was grounded. The original crew was Pilot F/O Edward Taylor, copilot Lt. James Akin, Bombardier Lt. W. V. Tolbert, Navigator Lt. Jack Ford, Engineer T/Sgt. Michael J. Bennett, Assistant Engineer Sgt. Sid Marion, Radio T/Lt. Walter B. Bagge, S/Sgt Assistant Radio Henry Dzownskowski, Sgt. Robert Hunt, Gunner and myself S/Sgt. Tail gunner and Armorer.



After returning to England and Shipdham, we were given passes and went to London.

I don't recall what mission it was (December 1943), but Bennett, Bagge, Hunt, and myself were grounded. The rest of the crew and spare engineers, radio operator and two gunners went. The only ones we heard from was Taylor, the pilot and Dzownskowski. They came back through the underground. Taylor's promotions had caught up with him. He was a 1st Lt. I never heard from the rest of the crew. Anyway, when they didn't return, Bennett and I didn't fly anymore. Mike went into the ground a.m. and they transferred me to the 506th Armament. Walt Bagge kept on flying and was the lead group radio operator. I don't know what became of Hunt. (Hunt completed tour 4/13/44, per Lundy's records).

I have the books, The 44th Liberators Over Europe and the 14th Bomb Wing. I can't remember the name of the crew chief on. I found his picture in the 67th Engineering Group, but can't find the name. He, Ford, and Akin were waiting for us in Tunis when we returned from Italy.

I haven't been to any reunions yet. I really enjoyed my second Ad Paper and also the 8th AF Historical Paper. I try to find some familiar name. There is one that I want to look up. His name is John E. Slivka (137 McLister Ave, per Lundy). Mingo Junction, Ohio (43938). That is a town about six miles up the Ohio River from the home of my wife's folks (Rayland). I'm going to retire this May, so maybe I'll get to a reunion. I have been to he Air Force Museum about four or five times. It is quite a place. I am planning to attend the 8th A.F. Memorial Dedication there October 9th.

If it will help, all the original officers on the crew were enlisted men before being officers. Taylor was a flying Sgt. before the war. He flew P40s, and also was a good mechanic. Tolbert, a Sgt. in Alaska, Akin and Ford washed out a 1st Pilot. That's about it. Hope this will help you.
 
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