William "Gil" Gilbert joined the L.A. Police Force directly after leaving the Air Corps.
He served with Law Enforcement until his retirement.
One of the stories my Dad told me was of a crewman having his oxygen mask knocked of his face by a piece of AA shrapnel coming through the aircraft. The lucky fellow was Gil, and he was unscathed. He found the chunk of shrapnel lodged in the body of the plane. He retrieved it, and his son has it to this day.
During one long mission the Tail Gunner, Airman R.E. Weckerly, moved from his position to stretch his legs for a minute, at that precise moment a German 88 mm anti aircraft round passed upward through the aircraft's body, passing right between his legs. The rounds fuse must have been altitude controlled as it exploded well above the plane after passing through the fuselage. Weckerly was shaken but didn't receive so much as a scratch.
Miraculous that these guys came through unscathed..... or just luckier than many. In those situations a fraction of a second would have meant the difference between life and death.
LUCKY HUT #13
According to Gil's son, when the crew arrived at Attlebridge England they had to choose a Quonset hut for their quarters. They found an entire hut empty and decided to take it. As they were getting situated another Airman came in and told them that the Hut, #13, was to be avoided as other crews had been billeted there and not returned from Missions. The Crew must have figured that having the entire hut to themselves was better than worrying about superstition, they stayed and had the entire hut to themselves.
Each hut was only rationed a small supply of coal for the heating stove so most huts were like refrigerators in the damp, wet seasons. Dad's told me more than once about being the coal "supplier" for the coke stove. They were given a weeks allotment which would last no more than a couple of days and were not happy about being cold all the time. Dad was a wiry fellow at 27 and found that the Coal Supply "Depot" was secured right near hut # 13. He made "night runs" over the fence and kept their coal supply buckets full and the stove a cook'in. Others would visit hut #13 and comment on how damned nice is was in there compared to the other huts. Dad would just smile and tell them "they rationed carefully".
Dad is the most honest soul whoever walked the earth, but his "liberation" of a little of Englands coal supply has not played on his conscience.