Crew 55 - Assigned 754th Squadron - October 1943
Interned in Switzerland May 11, 1944 (MACR 4801)
|1Lt||Stuart Goldsmith||0803184||Pilot||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland/Escaped|
|Capt||James F Simes||0745203||Co-pilot||May-45||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|2Lt||William C Etheridge||0810605||Navigator||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|2Lt||Ralph T Ritter||0752905||Bombardier||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|S/Sgt||Darrell G Pulley||39904436||Radio Operator||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|S/Sgt||William S Ferguson||19149513||Flight Engineer||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|S/Sgt||Albert V Barney||20939075||Waist Gunner||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|S/Sgt||Walter J Pac||31325245||Waist Gunner||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|S/Sgt||Gerard B Roland||13059219||Ball Turret Gunner||11-May-44||INT||Interned Switzerland|
|Sgt||Kenneth Katten||19024629||Tail Gunner||22-Apr-44||WIA||Wounded on Hamm, Mission|
Crew 55 was a part of the 754th Squadron and trained in Tonopah with the rest of the group. They made their way to England in January 1944.
Their first mission was on March 6, 1944
to Berlin. The 458th lost five aircraft and crews on this mission. Back
at debriefing, Goldsmith’s crew described one of these losses (most
likely another crew from the 754th Squadron, Crew 46) to the debriefing officer:
“B-24 first sighted at 15,000 feet in vertical dive, then gentle pull
out, wings sheared off and plane disintegrated, falling into lake in
Berlin area. Two chutes opened.”
The crew followed this up with another trip to Berlin two days later. In March they flew five missions, four to Germany and one to France. April saw the crew take off on twelve missions but complete only ten due to mechanical difficulties causing them to abort twice. The crew also flew only one aircraft for the remainder of their time in the 458th. A B-24H model, someone had given it the odd name of Meat Around The Corner. The artwork depicted a shotgun-wielding Elmer Fudd holding the freshly severed head of Adolf Hitler. Authorities feared that should the crew be shot down, especially over Germany, the nose art would not be viewed favorably by the Germans. At some point it was modified and Elmer was left holding a skunk by the tail. All in all, Goldsmith’s crew took off 19 times in Meat Around The Corner and completed 15 missions in this aircraft.
On May 11, 1944, the crew took off on
their 17th mission, to bomb the marshalling yards in Epinal, France.
Just after bombs away, several crews spotted Goldsmith turning away with
some sort of trouble and head for Switzerland.
According to 1Lt Charles Stilson, flying on Goldsmith’s right wing: “Goldsmith had one engine feathered,
dropped his bombs, fired green-green flares and failed to turn with the
formation. Had very good fighter cover. Believed he was headed for
Switzerland.” According to pilot 1Lt Gilbert Schulze, "Saw Goldsmith shoot green-green flares shortly after target. Something wrong with rudder. Peeled off formation, no enemy fighters near. Was near Switzerland."
2Lt James Simes, co-pilot and Sgt Kenneth Katten, tail gunner, were not flying with Goldsmith on this mission. On April 29, 1944, Simes flew his first mission as pilot of Crew 51. He had taken over this crew as first pilot when 2Lt Robert “Jake” Couch had been killed on the April 22nd Hamm mission. Couch’s crew had not been scheduled to fly that day, so he volunteered to fly with the Harris Crew, with whom he had been co-pilot prior to becoming a first pilot.
For an unknown reason, James Simes did not fly any missions from the middle of June through October. On October 31, 1944, Captain Simes was appointed as Assistant Operations Officer for the 754th Squadron. In addition to his missions as co-pilot on Goldsmith’s crew, and as first pilot of Crew 51, he flew 15 additional missions as command pilot between November 5, 1944 and April 6, 1945. He was awarded the DFC in May 1945.
Sgt Katten was also a substitute gunner on the April 22nd mission. He had the unfortunate luck to be flying with the Stilson Crew when they, like the Harris crew, were shot down over Norwich by German Intruders. Three of Stilson’s crew were killed when their aircraft crash landed near Horsham St Faith. Rather than bail out, Sgt Katten elected to stay on board to help with the wounded while Stilson attempted to land his burning aircraft. Katten was severely injured in the crash spending the next few weeks in the hospital and received the Purple Heart in May 1944. He was also awarded the DFC for his actions on the Hamm mission. He flew no further missions.
On May 11th, 2Lt Andrew P. Cote and S/Sgt
Robert N.J. Morin flew with Goldsmith as co-pilot and ball turret gunner respectively. Both had been recently assigned, Cote with 2Lt Frank L. Vermieren, and Morin with 2Lt Martin E. Williams. It is unknown if Cote had flown any missions prior to this date. Morin had apparently been transferred to Goldsmith's crew to replace the wounded Kenneth Katten. He flew with Goldsmith on their abortive attempt on May 5th, which made the May 11th mission his first - and last - over the Continent.
Goldsmith Crew missions
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|08-Mar-44||BERLIN/ERKNER||5||2||41-29305||N||Z5||1||I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC|
|15-Mar-44||BRUNSWICK||7||3||41-28738||O||Z5||1||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|16-Mar-44||FRIEDRICHSHAFEN||8||NTO||41-28719||Q||J3||--||PADDLEFOOT||NO TAKE OFF|
|22-Mar-44||BERLIN||11||ABT||42-100408||D||J4||--||BEASTFACE||A/C SLOW TO CLIMB|
|23-Mar-44||OSNABRUCK||12||4||41-29295||K||Z5||4||BOMB TOTIN' MAMA|
|27-Mar-44||BIARRITZ||15||5||41-28738||Z5||3||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|05-Apr-44||ST. POL-SIRACOURT||16||NTO||--||--||--||--||NO TAKE OFF|
|08-Apr-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||17||6||41-28738||O||Z5||4||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|09-Apr-44||TUTOW A/F||18||ABT||41-28738||O||Z5||--||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||LOST FORMATION|
|10-Apr-44||BOURGES A/F||19||7||41-28738||O||Z5||5||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|11-Apr-44||OSCHERSLEBEN||20||8||41-28738||O||Z5||6||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|18-Apr-44||BRANDENBURG||22||9||41-28738||O||Z5||8||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|19-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||23||10||41-28738||O||Z5||9||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|25-Apr-44||MANNHEIM A/F||27||ABT||41-28738||O||Z5||--||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||#4 ENG FIRE|
|26-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||28||11||41-28738||O||Z5||12||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|27-Apr-44||BONNIERES||29||12||41-28738||O||Z5||13||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|27-Apr-44||BLAINVILLE-SUR-L'EAU||30||13||41-28738||O||Z5||14||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|29-Apr-44||BERLIN||31||14||41-28738||O||Z5||15||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|01-May-44||MARQUISE/MIMOYECQUES||32||ABT||41-28738||O||Z5||--||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||PILOT PASSED OUT|
|04-May-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||34||15||41-28738||O||Z5||17||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|05-May-44||SOTTEVAST||35||ABT||41-28738||O||Z5||--||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||LOST RUDDER CTRL|
|09-May-44||ST. TROND||38||16||41-28738||O||Z5||20||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER|
|10-May-44||DIEPHOLZ||REC||--||41-28738||O||Z5||--||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||RECALL BEFORE EC|
|11-May-44||EPINAL||39||17||41-28738||O||Z5||21||MEAT AROUND THE CORNER||SWITZERLAND|
James Simes Missions as 1st Pilot/Cmd Pilot
|Date||Target||Pilot||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||LD||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|01-May-44||LIEGE M/Y||SIMES||33||3||42-95005||H||Z5||5||UNKNOWN 034|
|09-May-44||ST. TROND||SIMES||38||7||41-29596||R||Z5||3||HELL'S ANGEL'S|
|10-May-44||DIEPHOLZ||SIMES||REC||--||42-95005||H||Z5||--||UNKNOWN 034||RECALL BEFORE EC|
|11-May-44||EPINAL||SIMES||39||ABT||42-95005||H||Z5||--||UNKNOWN 034||ABORT -2 TO's|
|20-May-44||RHEIMS A/D||SIMES||43||10||42-95005||H||Z5||8||UNKNOWN 034|
|24-May-44||VILLEROCHE||SIMES||46||ABT||42-95005||H||Z5||--||UNKNOWN 034||ABORT - LOST #4 ENG|
|25-May-44||MULHOUSE M/Y||SIMES||47||12||42-95005||H||Z5||10||UNKNOWN 034|
|29-May-44||TUTOW A/F||SIMES||50||15||42-95005||H||Z5||13||UNKNOWN 034|
|04-Jun-44||BOURGES A/F||SIMES||54||17||42-95018||J||Z5||11||OLD DOC'S YACHT|
|06-Jun-44||COASTAL AREAS||SIMES||56||18||42-95018||J||Z5||12||OLD DOC'S YACHT||MSN #1|
|06-Jun-44||PONTAUBAULT||SIMES||58||19||42-95018||J||Z5||13||OLD DOC'S YACHT||MSN #3|
|12-Jun-44||EVREUX/FAUVILLE||SIMES||64||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A1||SPOTTED APE||ZEBRA A/C|
|10-Nov-44||HANAU A/F||SIMES||146||22||BETZOLD||L||42-51939||G||J3||6||UNKNOWN 028|
|05-Nov-44||KARLSRUHE||EVANS||142||23||SIMES||L3||42-50768||J||J3||15||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME||BALL TURRET|
|27-Dec-44||NEUNKIRCHEN||SAUNDERS||159||27||SIMES||D1||109||A||GH||--||NOT 458TH SHIP|
|31-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||JOHNSON||162||28||SIMES||D1||109||A||GH||--||NOT 458TH SHIP or P|
|02-Jan-45||REMAGEN||SAUNDERS||164||29||SIMES||D1||765||X||GH||--||NOT 458TH SHIP|
|10-Jan-45||SCHONBERG||BLUMENSTOCK||168||30||SIMES||D1||44-49261||D||GH||1||UNKNOWN 042||NOT 458TH PILOT|
|31-Jan-45||BRUNSWICK||ALLEN, G||176||31||SIMES||D1||42-51936||I||J3||8||UNKNOWN 027||RECALL - SORTIE CREDIT|
|17-Feb-45||ASCHAFFENBURG||HATHORN||REC||--||SIMES||44-49743||F||J3||--||EASTERN BEAST||RECALL - WEATHER|
B-24H-10-DT 41-28738 Z5 O Meat Around The Corner
A group of 458th officers pose in front of the more "suitable" artwork of Elmer Fudd holding a skunk.
Standing: Lt Joseph
Roubal - 752nd P
Kneeling: Lt William Etheridge - N, Capt Fred Vacek - Group B, Lt John Provenzano - 752nd B
(Photos: George Reynolds & Tony North)
May 11, 1944 - Down in Switzerland
The following is an excerpt from Strangers In A Strange Land Vol II Escape to Neutrality, a Squadron/Signal Publication by Hans-Heiri Stapfer/Gino Kunzle (Photo: Rob Martyr)
Pilot, Stuart Goldsmith
My crew and I picked up the aircraft [Meat Around The Corner] when it was brand new and actually took possession of it in San Francisco. We flew it almost exclusively from the time it was manufactured to when it was destroyed on 11 May 1944. We had completed sixteen missions, including the first raid on Berlin and three very memorable raids on Brunswick. On 11 May, we started on an ill-fated mission that would result in the loss of the Liberator. The mission was to Epinal and about twenty minutes before we reached our target, my number three engine oil pressure gauge indicated a dropping pressure. This normally indicated an oil leak requiring the feathering of the propeller. We were able to maintain flight and our position in the formation by simply increasing power to the remaining three engines.
After seven or eight minutes, the oil pressure on number two engine began to drop. We had a wind-milling propeller which we could no longer feather because all the oil had been lost. We were able to maintain altitude on the remaining two engines; however, the extreme drag of the number two engine meant we would be unable to make it back to our own base in England.
Navigator, 2Lt William C. Etheridge
Our engine problems were obviously due to age and overwork. 1Lt Stuart Goldsmith asked me how far we could fly over occupied France toward England and as an alternative, to Switzerland. The crew voted to try for the latter rather than become prisoners of the Germans. About the time we crossed into Switzerland, our angle of descent due to the loss of engine power was such that we had to abandon ship. Our plane glided by itself to a crash near a Swiss hospital.
The Liberator crashed into a wooded area near Jegenstorf, while the crew was picked up by Swiss soldiers near Sumiswald.
Lt Stuart Goldsmith in his "escape gear"
Stuart Goldsmith told of his stay at Davos
I became very friendly with a young Swiss Army officer who was in Davos for treatment of tuberculosis of the eye. He would give me French lessons every day and I would teach him English. The officer arranged for me to attend many parties, wearing civilian clothes, at which various Nazi dignitaries were attending. The Germans would come and go, of course not in uniform, living in Switzerland as tourists. It was fascinating talking with and exchanging thoughts with the enemy. My Swiss friend would introduce me as a Swiss from Lausanne and since my French was always better than any of the German’s attending the party, they had no reason to question the authority of the claim.
2Lt Ralph T. Ritter and I became ever more restless and decided we really wanted to get back to our base in England and finish out the twenty-five missions required for a proper discharge. We decided that we could escape past the Swiss guards in Davos dressed as a peasant man and a peasant woman. I tied up my guard in Davos and walked by the very guards and other Swiss people that I had gotten to know during my period of internment, but no one recognized me. Ritter and I made our escape and traveled to Geneva, where we crossed the border. We were met by the French underground in a little town called Mouthe.
Article & photo from: Strangers In A Strange Land Vol. II, pg 28-29
It sat in their cellar for 67 years before it was donated to the B-17 Museum in Utzenstorf, Switzerland.