R.A. Brown Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - January 23, 1945
(Photo: Bill Clark)
Flying at the End of Hostilities (FEH)
|1Lt||Robert A Brown||0810827||Pilot||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|2Lt||George Kosier||0833768||Co-pilot||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|2Lt||Donald L Swenson||02071748||Navigator||28-Feb-45||FEH||TD to 482BG - H2X Class|
|T/Sgt||Dallas D Dowhower, Jr||33516015||Radio Operator||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|T/Sgt||Sabino M Alvarado||39575953||Flight Engineer||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||John E Gottschalk||36842030||Nose Turret Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||Lawrence Turner||39417981||Top Turret Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||William K Clark||11138059||Waist Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||Creed R Fairfield||16188362||Tail Turret Gunner||17-May-45||FEH||Trsf to 755th Sqdn|
On March 14, 1945, while preparing for a mission, Sgt William Clark and two other crew members were readying their plane when a careless gunner on another aircraft accidentally fired rounds into their plane. An incendiary caught fire and the men were unable to suppress the flames and abandoned the aircraft. All efforts failed to bring the fire under control and the area was evacuated. The aircraft exploded, causing damage to nine other aircraft in the vicinity.
The crew flew four missions after this incident to round out March and flew ten missions in April, including an abandoned effort to the airfield at Tirstrop in Denmark. On April 25, 1945 the 458th flew what would be the last combat mission that the 8th Air Force would fly in Europe. The Brown crew participated in this mission, their 21st and last.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|09-Feb-45||MAGDEBURG||179||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A56||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
|17-Feb-45||ASCHAFFENBURG||REC||--||42-50449||W||J4||--||HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY||RECALL WEATHER|
|20-Feb-45||NUREMBURG||REC||--||42-50449||W||J4||--||HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY||RECALL WEATHER|
|24-Feb-45||BIELEFELD||188||3||42-50768||Y||J4||31||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|26-Feb-45||BERLIN||190||4||42-50768||Y||J4||33||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|03-Mar-45||NIENBURG||195||ABT||44-10602||E||J4||--||TEN GUN DOTTIE||#2 ENG FEATHERED|
|04-Mar-45||STUTTGART||196||7||42-50912||D||J4||15||THE TRAVLIN' BAG||ABORT - SORTIE CREDIT|
|09-Mar-45||OSNABRUCK||200||8||42-110141||U||J4||46||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|14-Mar-45||HOLZWICKEDE||203||ACC||44-40118||S||J4||--||WE'LL GET BY||GROUND EXPLOSION|
|19-Mar-45||LEIPHEIM||207||10||42-50768||Y||J4||39||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|23-Mar-45||OSNABRUCK||211||11||42-50768||Y||J4||42||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|24-Mar-45||NORDHORN||212||12||42-50912||D||J4||28||THE TRAVLIN' BAG|
|02-Apr-45||TIRSTROP||ABN||--||44-10602||E||J4||--||TEN GUN DOTTIE||ABANDONED|
|04-Apr-45||PERLEBERG||217||13||42-110141||U||J4||51||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|06-Apr-45||HALLE||219||14||44-10602||E||J4||44||TEN GUN DOTTIE|
|09-Apr-45||LECHFELD||222||16||42-50768||Y||J4||50||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|11-Apr-45||REGENSBURG||224||17||42-50912||D||J4||36||THE TRAVLIN' BAG|
|14-Apr-45||POINTE DE GRAVE||225||18||42-100408||I||J4||54||BEASTFACE|
|19-Apr-45||ZWIESEL||SCR||--||44-10602||E||J4||--||TEN GUN DOTTIE||SCRUBBED|
|25-Apr-45||BAD REICHENHALL||230||21||42-51514||B||7V||41||BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER|
Friendly Fire - March 14, 1945
The explosion as seen from across the field
(Photo: Mike Bailey)
William K. Clark relates an incident that happened before one of their missions
The day started quite normally, this Wednesday morning at Horsham St.
Faith, March 14, 1945. We had been awakened early for the mission, had
breakfast and attended the briefing. This was to be our ninth mission
and our target was the marshaling yards at Holzwickede, Germany. Our
pilot, Lt. Robert Brown, and the other officers of our crew went to
their briefings while the rest of us went to our plane [a B-24J named We'll Get By] to
install the guns and to carry out other pre-flight tasks. Three of us
were in the waist section of the plane when, suddenly, the sound of
shots rang out. Because there was a distinctive hissing sound coming
from our bomb bay, my immediate thought was that an incendiary bomb has
been hit. We had, as I recall, a 5000lb. bomb load in addition to a
full complement of gasoline.
The three of us immediately evacuated the airplane through the floor hatch in the waist. We started to run, stopping to look backward all the while to see if the plane was on fire. I remember seeing smoke coming from the plane and a flare, indicating an emergency, being shot off - probably by a member of another crew. We watched as a fire truck arrived at the scene and the men aboard immediately began spraying our airplane with fire repellant. We retreated further from the area and then, surprisingly, saw the fire fighting personnel hastily leaving the area. We then heard a tremendous explosion and knew that the plane had blown up. We intercepted our officers who were about to leave for the hardstand and notified them it was our plane that exploded.
No personnel sustained injuries, but six planes in the area were severely damaged. We heard later that a gunner in a nearby airplane had accidentally discharged his gun into our aircraft.
Remains of Clark's Liberator We'll Get By
(Photo: Alan Griffith)
753rd Squadron Records
The Report of Aircraft accident (WD, AAF Form No. 14) filed on this accident contains the following summary:
"...a waist gunner of A/C 42-50565 carelessly failed to check closely for ammunition in his gun before pulling the trigger. Several rounds went off which ricocheted into the bomb bay and left wing tank of a nearby airplane, igniting an incendiary bomb and gas tanks, which set the airplane afire, exploding the bomb load, which completely destroyed the airplane [B24-J-145-CO 44-40118 J4 S We'll Get By] and caused various degrees of damage to nine other aircraft. When smoke and fire appeared from the airplane, the fire truck proceeded immediately to the scene and attempted to extinguish the fire for about two minutes, whereupon the bomb dispersal officer stated that the time limit had expired and that all personnel should abandon the area because of danger of the bombs exploding."