Morford Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - 26 May 1944
|Capt||Robert W Morford||0412398||Pilot||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|Capt||Robert W Vincent||0425159||Co-pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|1Lt||George E Strand||0702980||Navigator||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|1Lt||John R Butler||0702010||Bombardier||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|T/Sgt||Charles Aillet||38267548||Radio Operator||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|T/Sgt||Joseph J Kania||16127131||Flight Engineer||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Vincent C Morreale||37526973||Airplane Armorer-Gunner||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Frederick W Wright||32562367||Aerial Gunner||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Charlie M Fowler||39299326||Aerial Gunner||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Edward E Betts||36652601||Aerial Gunner||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
Robert Morford and crew were one of ten specially trained AZON crews who were assigned to the 458th in the spring of 1944. Originally intended for duty in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, their orders were changed en route and they flew to England instead.
The four officers, flight engineer and radio operator that
had trained together arrived in England in May 1944, along with Corporal Elmore A. Hattlestad, an Electronics Technician assigned to keep the AZON equipment in
good working order. The four gunners,
who trained with
the crew in the States, Sgt's Polan, Balakier, Seay, and Parks were not on board the AZON aircraft en route to the combat zone, and continued on to the
CBI being replaced once the crew arrived in England. Assigned as gunners to this crew after
arrival at Horsham St. Faith were Sgt's, Edward E. Betts, Charlie M.
Fowler, Vincent C. Morreale, and Frederick W. Wright. Sgt. Morreale was
wounded in action on October 14th and received the Purple Heart.
Morford's crew flew a specially modified B-24J 44-40291 named Royal Flush from the States. This AZON equipped aircraft lasted less than a week after arriving, crashing on take-off on May 30, 1944. (see report below).
The crew's first mission was an
AZON mission on June 14, 1944. They flew several missions from July -
October when Morford and most of the crew was transferred to the 755th
Squadron on October 23rd to become a lead crew. 1Lt Robert W.Vincent was
the only crew member who remained with the 753rd, and, having become
qualified to be a first pilot, flew the remainder of his missions in
that squadron. Records indicate that he took over the crew of Major Maurice Speer (another AZON crew), when that individual was appointed Assistant Station and Group S3.
Accompanying Morford to the 755th was the navigator from John Tracy's crew (AZON 10), 2Lt Benny N. Costello and a newly arrived 2Lt James E. Slauson. Costello was to be either Pilotage or DR navigator on the new lead crew, but Slauson's specialty is not known.
Most of the crew completed their tour of missions in February 1945, but records show Morford as only having 28 missions to his credit. It is assumed that he flew a complete tour, but the dates of all his missions are not known.
Both Morford and Vincent were promoted to Captain while in the 458th.
B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40291 J4 O Royal Flush
On Tuesday, May 30, 1944,
Lt's. Morford, Strand, and Butler took off on a training mission. The
pilot that day was 1Lt William P. McCarthy. The enlisted men on this flight were S/Sgt Leonard Polakoff, engineer; S/Sgt Garland Nixon, radio operator; and gunners Sgt's John McCain, Lowell Kurtz, George Appleby, and Gus Sinigos. These men were from McCarthy's own crew. Documented in Accident Report 44-5-30-515.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
Lt. MC CARTHY in A/C B24 44-40291 on 30 May 44 while starting to take off for a practice mission had the propellers on #1 and #2 engines run away. On the pre-take off run-up the engines checked normal also the props check through normal. The A/C was then taxied onto the R/W and the power was applied for take off. When the A/C had gained about 70 MPH #1 prop started running away. Shortly after this #2 prop began to run away. Lt MC CARTHY tried to control toggle switch which had no effect on controlling the props. No attempt was made to use the prop feathering mechanism to help stabilize the props. At this time the A/C was in the air with an airspeed of 120 MPH. Lt MC CARTHY decided to cut the power and land the A/C and try to stop it on the remainder of the R/W. However, having only 1300 feet of R/W left he was unable to bring A/C to stop on the R/W and ran off the end onto rough ground which tore the landing gear off and completely wrecked the A/C. The recommendations are that the prop governors of all A/C be tested for correct setting on the acceptance checks. Also, that the pilots try using feathering mechanism to help control a runaway prop.
1LT ROBERT W. MORFORD
"On run up all engines and instruments checked OK. Lt. McCarthy, the pilot, was riding right side as we were to fly #3 position and he would be able to fly the wing better from the right. I made the take off and as we were going down the runway on the early part of the run, I checked the manifold pressure and RPM's and everything looked OK. When we were making 75 MPH I pulled the nose off and about that time I heard a prop out of synchronization. Lt. McCarthy and the engineer were taking care of the instruments and settings. Things seemed OK and I presumed the RPM on one engine might be set a little high and continued the run. At 110 MPH both props began to run wild. We were off the ground at 120 and at that time Lt. McCarthy decided to cut the power. We immediately settled on the ground and applied the brakes. We went off the end of the runway at about 50 MPH. The left gear gave way, the nose gear collapsed and we came to an immediate stop. During this time Lt. McCarthy cut the switches and attempted to put the mixture controls in idle cut off. The crew was warned to stand by for a crash. All the crew escaped injury. Four men went out the waist and six men out the top hatch. Lt. McCarthy came out the top hatch last. The accident occurred at approximately 12:15."
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Ld||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|14-Jun-44||5 TARGETS||AZ06||1||44-40201||N||J4||1||SILVER CHIEF|
|22-Jun-44||SAUMER, TOURS||AZ09||2||44-40288||S||J4||4||BAD GIRL||TACTICAL BRIDGES|
|05-Jul-44||LE COULET, BEL||84||ABT||41-29288||L||J3||--||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||EXHAUST|
|16-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||91||4||42-100407||--||J3||32||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|17-Jul-44||3 NO BALLS||92||5||42-95050||J||7V||28||GAS HOUSE MOUSE|
|21-Jul-44||MUNICH||96||8||42-110163||M||J4||12||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|24-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA||97||9||42-110163||M||J4||13||TIME'S A WASTIN|
|25-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA "B"||98||10||44-40275||L||J4||6||SHACK TIME|
|24-Aug-44||HANNOVER||117||13||WRIGHT||L2||44-40264||K||J4||13||KISS ME BABY|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||14||WRIGHT, FW||42-50499||U||J3||8||COOKIE/OPEN POST||NELSON, JW-Pltg Nav|
|26-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ13||15||HENSLER||44-40275||L||J4||14||SHACK TIME||NO DROP - SORTIE CREDIT|
|01-Sep-44||RAVENSTEIN, HOL||AZ14||16||ISBELL||44-40275||L||J4||14||SHACK TIME|
|14-Oct-44||COLOGNE||133||17||MARTIN, C||L||44-40275||L||J4||16||SHACK TIME|
|05-Nov-44||KARLSRUHE||142||20||CLAGGETT||D1||42-95610||D+||J3||3||UNKNOWN 037||BALL TURRET|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||ABT||DARELIUS||L||42-51936||I+||J3||--||UNKNOWN 027||BOMBS REL EARLY|
|26-Nov-44||BIELEFELD||150||21||42-95554||E||J3||6||UNKNOWN 050||LAND A92 - MECH|
Posing next to B-24J-130-CO 42-110070 Z5 E Elmer / Lady Luck
Morford Lead Crew - 755th Squadron - Winter 1944
Fowler standing on left, Morford standing third from left
Photo: Matt Kania
1Lt Robert W. Vincent's missions as first pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|15-Aug-44||VECHTA||114||1||42-110141||U||J4||15||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|17-Aug-44||LE FOULONS RR BRIDGE||AZ11||3||44-40281||Q||J4||12||A DOG'S LIFE||NO DROP - SORTIE CREDIT|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||5||44-40277||P||J4||8||MISS USED|
|21-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR05||--||41-28721||G||J4||T3||DOWNWIND-LEG||WW - Pilot AKIN|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||41-28705||X||J4||T3||YE OLDE HELLGATE||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-2||--||42-110063||B||T3||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|27-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR10||--||42-110063||B||T5||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||42-110063||B||T7||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||42-7642||N||44BG||T10||M'DARLING||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|22-Oct-44||HAMM||137||10||44-40118||S||J4||11||WE'LL GET BY|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||13||42-50449||W||J4||14||HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY|
|10-Nov-44||HANAU A/F||146||14||44-40118||S||J4||14||WE'LL GET BY|
|21-Nov-44||HARBURG||148||15||44-40118||S||J4||16||WE'LL GET BY|
|06-Dec-44||BIELEFELD||153||ABT||44-40118||S||J4||--||WE'LL GET BY||ABORT - #3 ENG|
|11-Dec-44||HANAU||155||16||44-40283||I||J4||23||LASSIE COME HOME|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||44-40277||P||J4||--||MISS USED||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|27-Dec-44||NEUNKIRCHEN||159||20||42-110163||M||J4||40||TIME'S A WASTIN|
July 1944 - Preparing for a mission
Joe Kania, Charlie Aillet, Bob Vincent (with cigar)
Photo: Matt Kania