458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Crew 55 - Assigned 754th Squadron - October 1943

Standing: James Simes - CP, William Etheridge - N, Stuart Goldsmith - P, Ralph Ritter - B
Kneeling: Unidentified, Unidentified, Walter Pac - TTG, Kenneth Katten - TG, Albert Barney - NTG
Unidentified/Not Pictured: Darrell Pulley - RO, Willliam Ferguson - E, Gerald Roland - BTG

(Photo: AFHRA)

Interned in Switzerland May 11, 1944 (MACR 4801)

GoldsmithCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
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

GoldsmithMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
06-Mar-44 BERLIN/ERKNER 4 1 41-28682 I Z5 4 UNKNOWN 003  
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

SimesMissions
Date  Target  Pilot 458th Msn Pilot Msn Cmd Pilot LD  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
29-Apr-44 BERLIN SIMES 31 1     42-95005 H Z5 3 UNKNOWN 034  
01-May-44 MARQUISE/MIMOYECQUES SIMES 32 2     42-95005 H Z5 4 UNKNOWN 034  
01-May-44 LIEGE M/Y SIMES 33 3     42-95005 H Z5 5 UNKNOWN 034  
04-May-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM SIMES 34 4     42-95005 H Z5 6 UNKNOWN 034  
07-May-44 OSNABRUCK SIMES 36 5     42-95005 H Z5 7 UNKNOWN 034  
08-May-44 BRUNSWICK SIMES 37 6     41-28709 I 7V 14 LUCKY STRIKE  
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
13-May-44 TUTOW A/F SIMES 41 8     42-95165 S Z5 3 COOKIE  
19-May-44 BRUNSWICK SIMES 42 9     42-95163 K Z5 2 DIXIE BELLE  
20-May-44 RHEIMS A/D SIMES 43 10     42-95005 H Z5 8 UNKNOWN 034  
23-May-44 BOURGES SIMES 45 11     42-95005 H Z5 9 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  
27-May-44 NEUNKIRCHEN SIMES 48 13     42-95005 H Z5 11 UNKNOWN 034  
28-May-44 ZEITZ SIMES 49 14     42-95005 H Z5 12 UNKNOWN 034  
29-May-44 TUTOW A/F SIMES 50 15     42-95005 H Z5 13 UNKNOWN 034  
31-May-44 BERTRIX SIMES 52 16     42-95005 H Z5 14 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
17-Oct-44 COLOGNE HANSEN 135 20 SIMES L5 42-50578 F Z5 15 SKY ROOM  
30-Oct-44 HARBURG SIMES 139 21 SPEER D1 42-50954 A+ J3 3 UNKNOWN 021  
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
08-Nov-44 RHEINE HAYZLETT 144 24 SIMES L 42-50954 A+ J3 5 UNKNOWN 021  
12-Dec-44 HANAU HATHAWAY 156 25 SIMES L3 42-50608 W J3 12 FILTHY McNAUGTY  
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN FLOYD 157 26 SIMES L5 42-50575 O J3 15 UNKNOWN 020  
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
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE HATHORN 184 32 SIMES D1 44-48837 L J3 8 UNKNOWN 041  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH BENO 187 33 SIMES L1 42-51936 I J3 14 UNKNOWN 027  
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG DYER 194 34 SIMES D1 42-51669 J J3 15 UNKNOWN 026  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG BENO 201 35 SIMES L1 44-49910 D J3 2 UNKNOWN 044  
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM CHIMPLES 207 36 SIMES L1 44-49902 M J3 3 UNKNOWN 043  
06-Apr-45 HALLE HOFFMAN 219 37 SIMES D1 42-95557 H J3 46 LADY PEACE


B-24H-10-DT 41-28738  Z5  O Meat Around The Corner

Original artwork deemed to be "too hazardous to the crew's health" should they be shot down in Germany.

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


Souvenir

As a young boy of 12 in 1944, Peter Witchi (pictured) and his brother removed this piece of Meat Around the Corner from the crash site. 
It sat in their cellar for 67 years before it was donated to the B-17 Museum in Utzenstorf, Switzerland.

The "scoreboard" from the pilot's side of the aircraft, (after cleaning) showing all but the last two missions of May 9th and, of course May 11, 1944.

(Many Thanks to John Wuethrich for these images)