458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

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

Standing: Bern Lehman - AG, Joe Straus - G, Van Taylor - AG, Jim Winslow - RO, Roy Fischer - G, Oscar Gaff - E,
Kneeling: Bob Henn - N, Chesleigh Wilburn - P, Dick Bateman - CP

(Photo: Bob Henn)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

WilburnCrew
Rank  Name  Serial # MOS  Crew Pos / Job Title Date Status  Comments
1Lt Chesleigh D Wilburn T62457 1024 Pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
2Lt Richard E Bateman 02063333 1024 Co-pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
2Lt Robert A Henn T63352 1034 Navigator Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
T/Sgt James B Winslow 39134420 757 Radio Operator Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
S/Sgt Oscar E Gaff 32940815 748 Flight Engineer Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
Sgt Roy J Fischer 12226568 612 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
Sgt Joseph M Straus 42058116 611 Aerial Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
S/Sgt Bernard A Lehmann 17134513 611 Aerial Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States
S/Sgt Van R Taylor 34678161 612 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry A/C 42-50768 to States

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 25 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 25th (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.

Twelve of their 25 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 set of color Public Relations 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.

F/O Chesleigh Wilburn Crew - Casper "Crew of the Week"

Standing: Joe Straus, Jim Winslow, Roy Fischer, Van Taylor, Oscar Gaff, Bern Lehman
Kneeling: Jim Allison (bombardier), Chesleigh "Tex" Wilburn, Bob Henn, Dick Bateman

(Photo: 2ADA Journal - Bob Henn)

Missions

WilburnMissions
Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
11-Dec-44 HANAU 155 1 44-40201 N J4 32 SILVER CHIEF  
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN 157 2 42-110141 U J4 31 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
28-Dec-44 ST. WENDEL 160 3 44-40134 R J4 37 UNKNOWN 039  
08-Jan-45 STADTKYLL 167 4 42-50449 W J4 32 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY  
10-Jan-45 SCHONBERG 168 5 42-110141 U J4 33 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN  
14-Jan-45 HALLENDORF 170 6 42-50768 Y J4 23 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
29-Jan-45 MUNSTER 175 7 44-40118 S J4 31 WE'LL GET BY  
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 8 42-100408 I J4 33 LADY LUCK / THE BEAST  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 9 42-100408 I J4 34 LADY LUCK / THE BEAST  
11-Feb-45 DULMEN 180 10 42-100408 I J4 37 LADY LUCK / THE BEAST  
17-Feb-45 ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y REC -- 41-28980 V J4 -- UNKNOWN 009 RECALL - WEATHER 
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 11 42-50768 Y J4 29 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 NTO 42-95120 M Z5 -- HOOKEM COW / BETTY NO TAKE OFF
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 12 42-50768 Y J4 30 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
25-Feb-45 SCHWABISCH-HALL 189 13 42-50768 Y J4 32 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
28-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 192 14 42-110059 T Z5 65 UNKNOWN 056  
01-Mar-45 INGOLSTADT 193 15 42-51514 B 7V 17 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 16 42-50768 Y J4 36 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 17 42-50768 Y J4 38 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
18-Mar-45 BERLIN 206 18 42-95108 B Z5 68 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
22-Mar-45 KITZINGEN 210 19 42-50768 Y J4 41 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 20 42-50768 Y J4 43 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
31-Mar-45 BRUNSWICK 216 21 42-50768 Y J4 46 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 22 42-50768 Y J4 48 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 23 42-50768 Y J4 49 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH  221 24 44-40287 J J4 62 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 25 42-50768 Y J4 51 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME


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

Arise My Love and Come With Me (foreground) in formation. Wilburn and crew flew this aircraft on nearly half of their combat flights.

(Photo: Jim Hartswick)

Ferry Crew - June 1945

Preparing to depart Horsham St Faith for the States
Click for larger image

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 Straus - far left, Unknown, Unknown, Van Taylor, Bern Lehman, Dick Bateman

(Photo: Jim Leddy)

Wilburn Crew at Gander Airbase in Newfoundland

Almost Home!

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)
Bob Henn, "Tex" Wilburn, Dick Bateman

Van Taylor (2nd Left) and "Tex" Wilburn (center)

Bob Henn
Click each photo for a larger image.
(Courtesy: Michael Kowalczuk)