Legacy Page
 

Home
Back

 

 

Legacy Of:

Forrest  S.  Clark

 

Personal Legacy
FORREST S. CLARK
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

220 Fairmount Ave.
So. Plainfield, NJ 07080

July 15, 1982

Dear Will:

I saw a copy of the 67th history briefly at the Nashville reunion this month but I did not get a copy as we had agreed to get one from you.

I noted few discrepancies in the record. One is that Sgt. William J. Kuban was the ball turret gunner on the airplane and not as referred to in some accounts, the engineer.

I was not, as some accounts state, a waist gunner but as a matter of fact was that day flying in the tail gunner position on the mission.

I also recall that Lt. Griffith told me, again, at Nashville, that at one point over the North Sea, all four engines cut out and fortunately he got three of them going again.

However, the history is an excellent job and I most certainly do want a copy of it. I met Griffith at Nashville largely because of your efforts and for this I am most deeply and personally indebted to you. We both had a lot to talk over after all these years.

Please save me a copy of the history.

Sincerely,

Forrest S. Clark

*********************************************************************

FREE FALL OVER SHIPDHAM.
WHO TO GO FIRST. True Story of the 44th.


We had struggled, I mean struggled to stay above the frigid waters of the North Sea for two hours and more.

We knew we were badly shot up but we struggled on. I could see a hole in one wing big enough to drive a jeep through. Hot shell casings littered the waist. One gunner Sgt Bill Kuban was wounded and bleeding badly. It looked hopeless.

I heard the bail out bell and came up from my tail turret to lift the camera hatch cover. I had exhausted my ammo belts and we were going down fast.

Who would go first. Sgt. John Gibboney or me. We debated, you first or me. Who will it be. Back and forth. Lt. Weatherwax , navigator, came back to tell us, "You got to jump." \

Smoke began pouring out of the bomb bay, and the hiss of leaking fluid was everywhere. "Youíve got to go. We cantí get the landing gear down" shouted Weatherwax over the noise and confusion. I knelt and prayed.

To this day, I donít know who went first, Sgt Leo McAndrews, Gibboney or myself. But finally I did go.
I let myself through the narrow hatch opening and went off into space falling fast and turning over and over in a dizzy spin. I looked up to see the B24 and thought I better fall more or get caught in the fuselage. So I left myself free fall. Never thinking of the ground below.

Now, of course we in the bomber crews never had formal parachute training. We only knew chutes were somethings you checked out from supply before missions. I vaguely remember seeing the D ring in my hand and hearing the billowing of the chute above me.
Then I felt a big jerk on my whole body and swaying right and left.

Then I finally looked down and saw the ground coming up fast. There was a farm field filled with mud below me. I hit the ground with a tremendous blow injuring my left foot and dug into the mud with both hands trying to hold back the chute. I got dragged many feet covered with mud.

A farmer armed with a fork and shovel came running toward me and I put my muddy arms up to surrender. He then informed me I was back on English soil. I was not sure where I was.

I never saw McAndrews again and would very much like to know what happened to him. Did he finish his missions or not? I think he went before I did.
Gibboney and Weatherwax I did meet again after the war./ The pilot Lt. Rockford C. Griffith died in Sept. 2005 near Fort Worth, Texas. As for Sgt. Kuban he did survive his wounds and then dropped out of sight. I never saw him again.
Griffith landed the plane and saved Kuban. The rest is history, a history of the 44th.

Anyone who has definite information of Kuban or McAndrews is welcome to contact me with it. I often wonder what happened to them.

**************************************

The date 18 Nov. 1943. The target Kjeller Airfield, Norway. Sixty two men lost. The lessons are that bomber crews ought to have parachute training and that the B24 was a tough old bird. It got us back.
 
Send mail to Support@8thAirForce.com with questions or comments about this web site.   Copyright © 2013 8thAirForce.com
Last modified: 01/26/14