Crew # 555

Crew # 555
Crew # 555 - planes flown: DAMIFINO , DIXIE, LET ER RIP, TIMES A WASTIN

1st. LT. J. William Smith

1st. LT. J. William Smith

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

B-24 losses, Luck and Fate...........

This B-24 ended up in a precarious position. One can only imagine how the aircrew in the front came out on this one.......The early B-24's had a serious design flaw with the front tricycle landing gear, obviously failed during this landing.

B-17 Battle Damage. This plane flew in after taking this amount of damage. I can't even imagine. The wind roaring through the cabin must have been tremendous. Obviously the front crewmen were casualties.

This B-24 (named "Pegasus", I believe) was in my Dad's Bomb Group, the 466th. They had their hydraulics shot out, losing the brakes and threw out a tied off parachute to help slow the plane down upon landing.

A direct Flak hit. Cannot imagine anyone getting out through the flames.

Another direct Flak hit, cutting the plane in two. Don't know if anyone got out of this one.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Flight Engineer Sgt. Alexander Boris

Below is a photo of Sgt. Alexander Boris. He entered the service at about the same time frame my father did. He was a Consolidated Factory Trained Engineer and specialized on the B-24's which were in use with the 466th. Bomb Squadron. Boris was promoted to Sgt. at some point and he flew as a Flight Engineer on various aircraft, including the Jamaica? . The photo below depicts Sgt. Boris on the engine nacelle of B-24H "Damifino" sometime in late 1944. Flight Engineer Boris was shot down on a mission over France at some point and was picked up by friendly forces, returning to Attlebridge. The name of the plane he was on is unknown. My Father and Boris were stationed at Attlebridge during the same time frames , were involved with the same aircraft and no doubt crossed paths at some point. There were thousands of servicemen stationed there so many men were just" faces in the crowds" to others. The closest friendships were among the crew mates who flew together.

(Below) 2nd. Lt. J. William (Bill) Smith during Air Cadets Training down in the southern U.S., possiblly at Selma Field, Alabama. Dad had over 250 pilots flight hours in before going into Navigation Training. He was given the option to fly as a forward observer for the Army. This would have entailed flying the little Piper Cub type aircraft over enemy lines at low altitude to give artillery fire directions. Thankfully he chose Navigation Training. If he had taken the Forward Observer offer, he may not have survived the war.

This is a Bendix Company poster showing a very early model Consolidated B-24 without any guns or gun turrets installed.

Sgt. Boris and his mates had a mascot / guard dog...he looks pretty ferocious! On the wall is the name of the aircraft "Times-a-Wastin' which is a plane my Dad flew on...

Boris took this photo of a snow - covered "Damifino" during the winter of 1944 - 1945. My Father flew numerous missions on this aircraft. Note the numerous bombs laying on the ground under the aircraft. Bombs were loaded before missions and were not "fused" until after the aircraft was in the air and underway. Normally if the bombers primary and secondary targets were obscured , the bombs were dumped in the English Channel. My Dads' Pilot, Lt. Paul Bridgeman, more than once returned to Attlebridge with unfused bombs on board and landed with them. He told Dad that he just couldn't see wasting them as long as the landing conditions were good and the plane had not suffered any damage.

A photo of the Attlebridge Air Control Tower taken during operations in 1944 and 1945.

Aerial View of Attlebridge Airfield (from Mark Brotherton collection.)