World War II Memories
Taken from a letter to Pete Henry
Dear Pete Henry:
I was happy to hear of the 2nd Air Division Organization and happier to join it. I regret not knowing about it and the 8th Air Force Association years ago.
I responded personally to Mr. Blodgett's inquiry about what happened to "Down De Hatch" appearing in he Second Division News. As I told him, my crew and I flew in "Down De Hatch" after we lost our plane. I gave Mr. Blodgett all of the details on the plane, the fine record it amassed and even sent him a picture of it. It was a good plane and brought back many a crew. I was in the 506th Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, from February 1944 to July 1945. I came home with the last cadre of 44th on the Queen Mary out of Scotland back home to the U.S. We closed down Shipdham Airfield disposing of the remaining equipment and planes before we left. Some came back by flying planes back and some planes were sold to the British and then the boat ride home.
I was with Jack Titter's crew and was an engineer/gunner alternating between waist guns and tail gun position.
I flew 18 missions, many decoy missions and diversion missions to confuse the Germans, their fighters and ack-ack. This was done because of no fighter escort due to limited range. We lost our original plane and flew "Tinker Belle" with August T. "Guss" Goodman M/Sgt as crew chief. He was from Washington State (Bellingham). We lost "Tinker Belle" when another crew used it on our stand down day and they were shot down. That's how we started to use "Down De Hatch" on alternating missions with other crews.
I was grounded by Captain Allison, the Flight Surgeon, after my 18th mission due to a complete neurological breakdown and combat fatigue.
This was after two back-to-back missions to Berlin, Germany where we got shot up pretty bad. Berlin was bad news. The 392nd flew next to us and also got shot up badly. Seemed like a hard luck outfit. After being grounded, I finished my time in he ETO on the flight line checking out planes and working on planes. I remember your name well during that period and memory seems to tell me you knew our pilot Jack Tilter on a more personal basis. He live din West Chester, PA, and after not seeing him for years, I decided to contact him and visit him last year only to find out he died a week before I called his home. I regret leaving the time go by.
It is amazing to realize that we were all 18-19 years old and called the Pilot the "Old Man" because they were generally 21-22 years old. I enjoy reading the 8th Air Force and 2nd Division News and after many years reflect back on the events of the time. For years I did not do this because of the bad times and loss of many friends and buddies. As you get older, it seems easier to do.
I would appreciate it if you would publish this letter and if anyone knows the whereabouts of the crewmembers listed, I ask that they let me know personally. The truths of the 8th Air Force efforts have never really been told in total including the tremendous losses of men, and planes and the bravery of the young men involved. By today's standards some of the events would be almost nightmarish but the job was done. I appreciate this opportunity to write to you and hope also to contribute some stories to the publication.
Respectfully, Frank Orehowsky
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
512 Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
18 October 1988
Was pleased to hear from you and appreciate your effort in trying to locate the fellow members of Jack Tilter's crew. Pete Henry had sent me most of the addresses and I took the time to send each one a letter asking them to get in touch with me. This was to no avail. I even put returned addresses so that if they were not at the addresses the letters would be returned. It was like they fell off the end of the earth.
The addresses you gave me for Puglisi and Becker are later than what I had so I will try them again. Jim Whitehouse and Bob Graham both were from San Bernardino and both were post-war buddies and close friends. Brumm's first name was Harold Brumm and was from Minnesota. Victor Uchanski was our radio operator and was from West Virginia. No news on him either. Your address for Jack Tilter's widow is correct. Would be good if she received some 44th literature since she is lonesome and took Jack's death very hard. After the war we, as a crew, at least on the East Coast, kept together and as we got married we all drifted apart as life got more personally involved. I am now personally partly retired after having 38 years with Naval shipbuilding as an engineer. I now do part time consulting work at my pleasure and leisure. I have a tremendous collection of 44th and 506th squadron pictures of people, planes and missions which I hope to share with the publications. Also am a staunch defender of B24 Liberators and the part they played in the war. Sick of B17 stories and publicity.
Please to hear from you and appreciate your efforts.