458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Wilburn Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - November 9, 1944

F/O Chesleigh Wilburn Crew - Casper "Crew of the Week" (L-R)

Standing: Joe Strauss - WG, Jim Winslow - RO, Roy Fischer - WG, Van Taylor - TG, Oscar Gaff - E/TTG, Bern Lehman - NTG
Kneeling: Jim Allison - B, Chesleigh "Tex" Wilburn - P, Bob Henn - CP, Dick Bateman - N
(Photo: 2ADA Journal - Bob Henn)

Wilburn Crew - Flying at the End of Hostilities

Name

Pos 

Status 

Date 

 Notes
 1Lt Chesleigh D. Wilburn

 P

 FEH 

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 2Lt Robert A. Henn

 CP

 FEH

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 1Lt Richard E. Bateman

 FEH 

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 F/O James Allison

 UNK

1944

 Not assigned with crew
 T/Sgt James B. Winslow

RO 

 FEH 

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 S/Sgt Oscar E. Gaff

E/TTG 

FEH

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 S/Sgt Bernard A. Lehman

NTG

 FEH 

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 S/Sgt Roy J. Fischer

WG 

FEH

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 S/Sgt Joseph M. Strauss

WG 

 FEH 

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz
 S/Sgt Van Taylor

TG 

FEH

10 Apr 45

 Last mission - Rechlin/Larz

F/O Chesleigh D. “Tex” Wilburn and crew arrived at Horsham on November 9, 1944 and were assigned to the 753rd Squadron.  F/O James Allison, the crew’s bombardier in training was not assigned with the crew.  The crew’s first mission came a little over one month later on December 11, 1944 when they flew a B-24J named “Silver Chief” to the marshaling yards in Hanau, Germany.

The crew was able to get in 27 missions before the air war in Europe ended.  All of these missions were flown to targets in Germany, and included two trips to Magedeburg, and one mission to Berlin on March 18, 1945.  There is an unexplained two-week gap early on in the crew’s combat tour between January 14th to 29th.  While the crew had only flown six missions by the 14th, it seems a bit early for them to have gone on a leave of some sort.

They finally did get a rest home leave on April 10, 1945 after flying their 27th (and what would turn out to be their final) combat mission.  On April 25, 1945, the Eighth Air Force ceased operations in Europe and the war ended twelve days later.

Thirteen of their 27 missions, were flown in a B-24J named “Arise My Love and Come With Me”.  This Liberator would become a familiar aircraft to many Liberator and World War II enthusiasts after the war due to a staged set of color photographs taken of Captain Howard Slaton’s crew of the 755th Squadron in the summer of 1944.  At least one version of this photo has appeared in numerous publications on the Eighth Air Force since the war.  The most recognizable version appears on this website's home page.

The crew was assigned to ferry this aircraft back to the States in June 1945.  Lt John Kowalczuk, the bombardier from Lt Ralph Dooley’s crew, flew back with them and took several photos of the trip.


Wilburn Crew - Casper Wyoming - Sept 1944

Wilburn Crew as assigned to the 458th (L-R)

Standing: Bern Lehman, Joe Strauss, Van Taylor, Jim Winslow, Roy Fischer, Oscar Gaff,
Kneeling: Bob Henn, Chesleigh Wilburn, Dick Bateman
(Photo: Bob Henn)

Wilburn Missions

DATE

 TARGET

PILOT

458th Msn #

Pilot Msn#

Serial

RCL

Sqdn

A/C Msn #

 A/C Name

Notes

11-Dec-44

 HANAU

WILBURN

155

1

44-40201

N

J4

30

 SILVER CHIEF

 

24-Dec-44

 SCHONECKEN

WILBURN

157

2

42-110141

U

J4

29

BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN

 

28-Dec-44

 ST. WENDEL

WILBURN

160

3

44-40134

R

J4

37

 UNKNOWN 039

 

03-Jan-45

 NEUNKIRCHEN

WILBURN

165

4

44-40281

Q

J4

 

 A DOG'S LIFE

 

08-Jan-45

 STADTKYLL

WILBURN

167

5

42-50449

W

J4

32

 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY

 

10-Jan-45

 SCHONBERG

WILBURN

168

6

42-110141

U

J4

31

BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN

 

14-Jan-45

 HALLENDORF

WILBURN

170

7

42-50768

Y

J3

23

 ARISE MY LOVE...

SPARE

29-Jan-45

 MUNSTER

WILBURN

175

8

44-40118

S

J4

32

 WE'LL GET BY

 

03-Feb-45

 MAGDEBURG

WILBURN

177

9

41-28980

V

J4

22

 UNKNOWN 009

 

06-Feb-45

 MAGDEBURG

WILBURN

178

10

42-100408

I

J4

34

 BEASTFACE

 

11-Feb-45

 DULMEN

WILBURN

180

11

42-100408

I

J4

36

 BEASTFACE

 

21-Feb-45

 NUREMBERG

WILBURN

185

12

42-50768

Y

J3

29

 ARISE MY LOVE…

 

22-Feb-45

 PEINE-HILDESHEIM

WILBURN

186

13

42-50768

Y

J3

30

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

23-Feb-45

 GERA-REICHENBACH

WILBURN

187

14

42-50768

Y

J3

31

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

25-Feb-45

 SCHWABISCH-HALL

WILBURN

189

15

42-50768

Y

J3

33

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

28-Feb-45

 BIELEFELD

WILBURN

192

16

42-110059

T

Z5

65

 PAPPY YOKUM

 

01-Mar-45

 INGOLSTADT

WILBURN

193

17

42-51514

B

7V

18

 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER

 

08-Mar-45

 DILLENBURG

WILBURN

199

18

42-50768

Y

J3

37

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

12-Mar-45

 FRIEDBURG

WILBURN

202

19

42-50768

Y

J3

39

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

18-Mar-45

 BERLIN

WILBURN

206

20

42-95108

B

Z5

69

 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II

 

22-Mar-45

 KITZINGEN

WILBURN

210

21

42-50768

Y

J3

42

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

24-Mar-45

 NORDHORN

WILBURN

212

22

42-50768

Y

J3

44

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

31-Mar-45

 BRUNSWICK

WILBURN

216

23

42-50768

Y

J3

47

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

05-Apr-45

 PLAUEN

WILBURN

218

24

42-50768

Y

J3

49

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

07-Apr-45

 KRUMMEL

WILBURN

220

25

42-50768

Y

J3

50

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

08-Apr-45

UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH

WILBURN

221

26

44-40287

J

J4

66

 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM

 

10-Apr-45

 RECHLIN/LARZ

WILBURN

223

27

42-50768

Y

J3

52

 ARISE MY LOVE...

 

                                                                        Mission list compiled from 458th records


B-24J-5-FO 42-50768 J4 Y "Arise My Love and Come With Me"

"Arise My Love and Come With Me" in formation

Photo: Jim Hartswick


Lt Wilburn's crew and several ground men prepare to leave Horsham in June 1945

 

Departure Horsham St Faith 1945 (L-R)

Back Row: Unknown, "Tex" Wilburn, Unknown, John Kowalczuk (Dooley Crew-B), Bob Henn, Unknown, Unknown
Middle Row: Oscar Gaff - far left, Leroy Fischer - 2nd from right
Front Row: Joe Strauss - far left, Unknown, Unknown, Van Taylor, Bern Lehman, Dick Bateman
(Photo: Jim Leddy)

Wilburn Crew at Gander Airbase in Newfoundland

      

Bob Henn, "Tex" Wilburn, Dick Bateman

 

Van Taylor (2nd from left) and "Tex" Wilburn (center)

 

Bob Henn

Photos: Michael Kowalczuk


At Gander, Newfoundland (L-R)

Back Row: Bob Henn, Oscar Gaff, Van Taylor, Unknown, Unknown, "Tex" Wilburn, Dick Bateman, Unknown
Middle Row: Leroy Fischer - far right
Front Row: Bern Lehman, Unknown, Jim Winslow, Joe Strauss
(Photo: Tony North)