ALFRED R. WILSON|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Jerry Folsom)
January 24, 1999
I don't know if you remember me, but I flew a few missions with you at the end of the war.
We crashed landed on our 20th mission on June 27, 1944. Flew again in November with you.
Our pilot, Scheer, refused to fly when we got to England. Lost his pilot rating and went to the infantry as a private.
I worked 40 years in New York City Fire Department and was commander of American Legion Post No. 292 in 1957.
It's nice to see that you are active in the 44th.
Best of everything...Al Wilson
ROCKAWAY MAN REUNITES WITH B-24
Alfred Wilson sent the following article. The date of the article is unknown, as is the newspaper in which it was printed.
When the exhibition of historic World War II bombers touches down at Floyd Bennett field this Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, a Rockaway man will see the B-24 "Liberator," the type of airplane in which he flew 30 combat missions during the war, for the first time in 50 years.
"We never came home without some flak holes, every mission had its problems," said Alfred Wilson, 76, who has lived in Rockaway most of his life. Decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Wilson survived one of the most dangerous jobs in the war, serving as bombardier and navigator on the military plane's missions.
Flying in the glass-enclosed tip of the aircraft, Wilson also manned the .50 caliber machine gun to try and ward off attacks by enemy aircraft, including the deadly Messerschmits. "One time I swung it around and the door got stuck. I couldn't move and I couldn't get out. I didn't even have a parachute. If we had been hit then, I would have been a sitting duck," said Wilson, who admits to being scared on that flight.
On one mission, he did lose two fellow crewmembers. "We were hit on a bombing raid outside of Paris. We limped home and crashed landed at the first airfield we saw in England," said Wilson. On that mission, one crewmember died in the air, the other during the crash landing. "He stayed down too long trying to get the landing gear down."
When Wilson returned home to Rockaway from the war, he began a career in the New York City Fire Department, including 20 years here in Rockaway. Married to Mary L. Wilson for 52 years, the couple has always lived in Rockaway where they raised their six children. He remains an active member of the 44th Bomb Squadron Veterans Association.
This weekend, when the b-17 and B-24 aircraft are opened to the public at the Gateway Recreation Area's salute to the end of the war, with a Big Band playing the music of the 1940s, Wilson will again climb aboard the airplane he spent so many dramatic moments on. "I'm sure it will bring back a lot of memories," said the veteran airman.
ALFRED R. WILSON
World War II
Memories and Biography
27 June 1944
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
340 Beach 91st
Rockaway Beach, NYC 11693
The Feudin' Wagon was assigned to the 506th Squadron.
The pilot at the time of the crash landing was Lt. James Tucker.
I don't remember the copilot, as this was the only mission he flew with us. However, he must have been assigned to the 406th. If your records show that there was a Capt. Anderson in the 506th, I would be inclined to believe that he was the one who flew with us on that fateful day.
I was navigator and bombardier on most of our missions after our crew lost our pilot when he refused to fly when we arrived in England. Tucker became the pilot and our navigator, Hess, was assigned to lead crew status after a few missions.
After the crash, I flew six more missions with different crews. I rejoined Hess, the navigator, on a lead crew as back-up bombardier and nose gunner on two of my last missions.
I am sending you pictures of the Feudin' Wagon, our crew, and the destination of my 30 missions.
I came across a list of crews assigned to England dated December 24, 1943. Maybe it will help you in locating crews.
You will notice Sgt. Breaker was assigned to our crew. I think he flew a few missions with us, but then flew a mission on August 7, 1944 on the Jacobs crew where he lost his life (see letters in Logbook, Summer 1990.
Also in this list there is the Lt. Wescott crew that went down on June 29, 1944.
Lt. Scudday was flying right in front of me in June of 1944. His plane received a direct hit and blew up. No parachutes were seen and I didn't expect any, it happened so quickly. I can't remember what mission we were on that day. Forty-eight years is a long time. Our crews socialized together and I'll remember that sickening feeling I had throughout my body when I saw this tragedy through my Plexiglas nose position. I was heartsick. He was fun to be around and just a great guy, as were the other officers.
If my original picture of the Feudin' Wagon that I sent to David Klaus turns up, I would appreciate your returning it to me.
Al Wilson, 506th Bombardier