THOMAS P. WILLIAMS, JR.|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
921 No. Mellon
Little Rock, Arkansas 72207
August 22, 1984
I just came across your letter of December 13, 1983 requesting more about me and my 1944-1945 duty with the 44th Bomb Group. This prompted me to begin a search for old scrapbooks, letters, and 201 file. It really hasn't taken this long to find some material, but leafing through it has taken a while.
After radar training at Boca Raton, Fl., Langley Field, VA and the 482nd Bomb Group (P) at Station 102 (Alconbury) in England, I was assigned to the 44th as a radar navigator (Mickey Operator) 0142, on 30 September 1944 and to the 506th Sq. on 5 October 1944. All of my missions were as Mickey Navigator with lead crews of the 506th and the 68th Squadrons. I flew 15 missions with the 506th from 15 October 1944 through 8 March 1945. I then flew six missions with the 68th Squadron from 17 March 1945 through 18 April 1945. After V-E Day in May 1945, I flew a low-level "Cook's Tour" over 44th targets. LTC Dick Lehnhausen was pilot and I navigated, using pilotage and the ever faithful "Gee Box." I took a snapshot of Cologne Cathedral standing among the ruins of the city. Just last month we were in Cologne again, and found everything restored around the cathedral, which still stands majestically towering over the city. My first trip to Cologne was 16 October 1944, my first mission. Weather CAVU. Flac heavy!
On 24 May 1945 I was assigned along with all other 0142s to the 70th Reinforcement Depot to await return to the Z.I.
I have a few pictures taken at the 44th, e.g., Maj. James C. McAtee, 506th C.O. presenting an air medal to a young Lt. Williams; pictures of yours truly, Lts. Loyd Hare and James T. Westenheiser in 506th squadron area; B-24s over Germany, scope photos, captain George R. Insley and crew of the 506th., Chaplain Ralph Cain for the 44th; yours truly in Norwich; a great airphoto of Knights Hays Court near Tiverton, Devon. This was a combat crew rest home (flak shack) operated by the Red Cross and Army.
I also have a 1945 pamphlet of the Second Air division Memorial at Norwich. This is the blue and gold one headed "The Flame Must Burn On!" with a message from Major Gen. W. E. Kepner on the back. Also there are two pages of "Notes on Proposed 2nd Air Division Memorial" prepared by the Memorial Committee of the 2nd AD. I remember contributing to the Fund in April 1945.
Thanks for stimulating me to reminisce! Best personal regards.
Thomas P. Williams, Jr.
Here are a few very old addresses of 44th BG or 2nd AD folks:
Edmund T. Wilkins (N)
1010 N. Parton St.
Santa Ana, California
Robert Meagher (P)
81 Oxford St.
Fred Illgner, Jr. (P)
1117 River Blvd.
Wichita, Kansas 67209