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Legacy Of:

James  F.  Boyer, Jr.

 

Personal Legacy
JAMES F. BOYER
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter sent to Will Lundy)

Dear Will:

I sure enjoyed the last 44th logbook.

I thought it would be my turn to write and let you know about some of the happenings while I was with the 44th.

It started April 1, 1942, graduating from A&M school in Chenute Field, Illinois as an aircraft mechanic. I arrived at Barksdale Field, LA. Howard Foley was also with me. We were both assigned to the 68th Bomb Squadron. We both became crew chiefs.

While there, the group did patrol work in the Gulf and was credited with sinking a submarine or two.

In August, we were transferred to Will Rogers Field, Ohio for night flying practice. At the end of August, the group was headed east to Fort Dix, then on to England. We arrived in Shipdham and that was home for two and a half years.

The first B-24 I crewed was named "Captain and Kids." My crew was B. D. Cramer, assistant crew chief, John Wolfe, L. Villemig, and A. Vaughn. Cramer was later promoted to crew chief, also Villinez got his plane.

On January 4, 1943, we received a new commanding officer, Col. Leon W. Johnson.

He was one of the finest men I have ever met, as an officer and gentleman. He made his first combat mission in the Captain and Kids, B-24-D. All planes returned that day, OH. During the first few months, the 44th was making a few diversionary missions, which everyone was not too happy about.

About April or May, I was called for a special assignment in which I was on D. S. B. D. Cramer took over as crew chief.

I had gone to Scotland at an RAF School on special orders for B-24s. Upon my return, I was again sent on special duty as a crew chief for a new gunnery school involving a B-24 as a tow target training for new gunners. The B-24 was specially equipped to towing targets. About a month later, General Headquarters canceled the program. Upon returning to Shipdham, the 506B Squadron had arrived and they needed a crew chief, so I transferred to the 506th.

The first ship I received was "Everlovin' Gal," a B-24-H. I had 28 missions on her before she was lost in action.

It was about in June of 1944. It also was equipped for PFF. (29 June 44 collision).

The next B-24 I received was a new "J" series. We named her "My Gal Sal." H No. 544 (626?).

We had 14 missions to her credit. It crashed on take-off August 30, 1944. I happened to be onboard her at the time. The pilot had special orders to fly to London. This was not a combat mission. The flight engines were not able to be located at the time of takeoff. I volunteered to fill in as flight engineer. However, just as we were ready to leave, he came out and took over his duties as flight engineer.

We were all fortunate as no one received any injures in the crash. I hated to see the ship destroyed. I had, at times, flown as flight engineer such as testing new engines. We had the pilot take her up and check out the engines. Also a few times on practice bomb guns, I served as flight engineer. Crew chiefs had been trained for that. After I lost the plane and was waiting for another one, I helped out other crew chiefs that were short on maintenance help.

I was assigned to John Schliessman's plane S and crewed that ship until April 1945.

On May 24, 1945, I was married to my present wife, Joan, in London. She later joined me in the states in March of 1946.

The group left England about June 15, 1945 and went home on Queen Mary, who had brought the 44th ground personnel in 1942.

Joan and I had one son who was born in Middleton, Ohio in 1947 in July.

I am sending some photos and clippings, if they are of interest to the logbook. You do not have to send them back as I have copies.

Also, is it possible to have an update on the 44th notes of all living members?

In the original book of Liberators over Europe by U.P. Howell, a few names were mission including my name. Would be nice if a new roster could be compiled. If everyone could send a little scratch that would help.

I was to the Memorial Ceremony of the 8th Air Force Historical Society that was held here in Dayton on September 9th or October of 1982 at the Air Force Museum.

There, I met General Leon Johnson and Col. Jim Posey. It was the first time I have seen them since Shipdham, 1944.

I think if everyone would write a little about themselves, etc., we could keep the logbook going for some time.

The last time I saw Joe Worth was in Dayton in 1982. Sincerely, Jim Boyer





JAMES BOYER
World War II
Memories and Biography

68th and 506th Crew Chief

After graduation from A&M School at Chanute Field, IL, I started 1 April 1942 with the 44th BG, as an aircraft mechanic. I arrived at Barksdale Field, near Shreveport, Louisiana. Howard Foley and I arrived together and we were both assigned to the 68th Squadron. We both became crew chiefs.

While at Barksdale, the group performed patrol work in the Gulf of Mexico and were credited with the sinking of a sub or two.

In late July, we were transferred to Will Rogers Field, just outside of Oklahoma City where we trained in night flying. Near the end of August, we were on our way to Fort Dix, NJ and then to England. It was in early October before the group got together again at Shipdham, our home for another 2 years.

The first B-24 that I crewed was named "Captain and His Kids." My crewmembers were B. D. Cramer, assistant crew chief, John Wolfe, L. Villemez, and A. Vaughn. Cramer was later promoted to crew chief, as was Villimez.

On January 4, 1943, the group received a new commanding officer, Col. Leon W. Johnson. He was one of the finest men I have ever met, both as an officer and a gentleman. He made his first combat mission in the "Captain and His Kids," a B-24D. All planes returned that day okay.

During the first few months of operations, the 44th was making many diversionary missions, which everyone disliked. Then about April or May, I was called for a special assignment in which I was on DS, so B. D. Cramer took over the crew for me.

I was sent to Scotland to an RAF school for B-24s. Upon my return I was again sent out on special duty as a crew chief for a new gunnery school that utilized B-24s as tow target training. Our B-24 was specially equipped for towing targets so that new gunners could be trained in aerial gunnery. But about a month later, General Headquarters canceled the program. Upon returning to Shipdham, the 506th Squadron had arrived and were short crew chiefs, so I transferred over to the 506th squadron. My first aircraft was named "My Ever Lovin' Gal," a B?24H that had 28 missions on her before she was lost in action (29 June 1944, collision). She also was equipped for PFF, a lead ship.

The next B-24 that I received was a new "J" series. We named her "My Gal Sal," No. 42-50626 Bar-H. She had 14 missions to her credit when lost due to an accident. She crashed on takeoff on August 30, 1944, and I was on board her at the time. The pilot had special orders to fly to London, not a combat mission. The flight engineer was not able to be found at the time of takeoff, so I volunteered to fill in for him. However, just as we were ready to leave, the engineer came out and took over his duties. Being all set to go, I decided to stay in the ship and go with them.

We were all fortunate as no one received any injures as a result of the crash. I hated to see the ship destroyed - it was too badly damaged to consider the major repairs necessary.

I did fly occasionally acting as the flight engineer - times when slow testing new engines when we had the pilot take my plane up and check out the engine, making sure it performed okay prior to a combat mission. Also, I flew on practice bombing missions when the flight engineer and gunners were not required to go. As a crew chief, I was trained to act as flight engineer.

After I lost "My Gal Sal," I Helped out other crew chiefs who were short on manpower. I was assigned to John Schliesman's plane (44-50500) Bar-S, and crewed that ship until April 1945.

On May 24, 1945, I was married to my present wife, Joan, in London. She later joined me in the states, March 1945.

The group left England about 15 June 1945, luckily getting a cruise back on the same ship that took us over, the Queen Mary.

Joan and I had one son, who was born in Middleton, Ohio, July 1947.

I was able to attend the Memorial Ceremony of the 8th AFHS that was held in Dayton, September 1982. There, I met General Leon Johnson and Col. Jim Posey. It was the first time I had seen them since Shipdham. I think that if everyone would write a little bit about themselves, we could keep the Newsletter and Logbook going for quite awhile.

Sincerely,

Jim Boyer
 
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