458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Thomas Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - February 18, 1945

Standing, 2nd from right: Clyde Thomas - P

If you can identify any of this crew, please contact me.

(Photo: Don Thomas)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

ThomasCrew
Rank Name Serial # Pos Date Status Comments
2Lt Clyde T Thomas 0832281 Pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51 
2Lt Frank A Anderson, Jr  0833880 Co-pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
2Lt Robert G Bailey 02072567 Navigator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
T/Sgt Herbert L Young 13066005 Flight Engineer Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
S/Sgt George W Beard 36851070 Radio Operator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
Sgt Robert H Hill 34679288 Armorer-Gunner  Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
Sgt Bertram B Hughes 42105822 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
Sgt Anthony V LaFerrara 12100920 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51
S/Sgt  Dominick A Martino 32400138 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew 51

2Lt Clyde T. Thomas and his crew came to Horsham in February 1945 after ferrying a Liberator from the States to the ETO.  They were placed in the 754BS where they would remain until the end of the war.

Their first mission was on March 7th to the marshaling yards near Soest, Germany.  On March 19th they flew one of the older aircraft in the group, Hookem Cow, in which they were taking on its 83rd trip over the Continent. Their next four missions were also in this same aircraft. The crew completed a total of nine missions in March without any trouble.

Thee crew would fly six additional missions in April, their last on the 14th when the group flew to the Point de Grave area.  From the 458th combat narrative, "A mission of a different sort fell our lot on the 14th.  The extremely important target of POINTE DE GRAVE at the mouth of the GIRONDE ESTUARY in FRANCE which had been occupied by the Nazis and by-passed by the Allies, was to be attacked by the entire Eighth Air Force in coordination with the French ground forces who would move in as soon as this area had been bombed…. It is estimated that there are 122,000 Nazis in the area under attack by the 2AD and 3AD tomorrow.  The region is very well defended.  The ground defenses are heavy, including anti-tank ditches, barb wire, trenches, pill boxes and other emplacements.  The Nazi soldiers in these isolated places have spent most of their time in such construction.  There are many heavy gun positions, well manned and well supplied with ammunition, as is evidenced by the number of Allied A/C damaged when flying over the area.  These garrisons have been supplied by submarines, coastal craft, and air transport.  In many months these methods have not functioned so well.  As a result, the Nazis have made frequent raids on nearby civilian areas, driving off cattle and other animals."  On this day they flew Old Doc’s Yacht, a war weary B-24H, on its 103rd mission.

On April 20th the crew took off to hit a railroad bridge at Zweisel, Germany, but they experienced an unknown mechanical issue, forcing them to abort the mission.  This was the crew’s only abortive attempt.

In June 1945 they were assigned to ferry a Liberator back to the States.

Missions

ThomasMissions
Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
07-Mar-45 SOEST 198 1 42-50640 O Z5 30 BUGS BUNNY  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 2 42-51179 P Z5 75 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 3 42-51179 P Z5 77 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
18-Mar-45 BERLIN 206 4 42-110059 T Z5 71 UNKNOWN 056  
21-Mar-45 HESEPE 209 5 42-95120 M Z5 83 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
22-Mar-45 KITZINGEN 210 6 42-95120 M Z5 84 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 7 42-95120 M Z5 85 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 8 42-95120 M Z5 86 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 9 42-95120 M Z5 87 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 10 42-51199 A Z5 44 UNKNOWN 023  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 11 42-50640 O Z5 41 BUGS BUNNY  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH  221 12 42-95108 B Z5 77 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 13 42-51199 A Z5 47 UNKNOWN 023  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 14 42-95120 M Z5 91 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 15 42-95018 J Z5 103 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 42-95108 B Z5 -- ENVY OF 'EM ALL II SCRUBBED 
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 ABT 42-51179 P Z5 -- DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  ABORT - 


B-24 Kentucky Kernel


Aircraft flown to the ETO by the Thomas Crew in February 1945.  It was most likely sent to the bomb group with the most need for replacement aircraft.  Many crews in the States were under the false impression that the aircraft they were ferrying over to the UK was going to be their combat aircraft.  They painted artwork and names, only to have it go one way and the crew go another upon landing.  It is not known which group Kentucky Kernel was assigned to or its fate.  According to Don Thomas, son of the pilot, this aircraft "has nose art as the "Kentucky Kernel" and has a drawing of a four leaf clover below the name. He wanted the name Kentucky Kernel as he was a farm boy from KY and I understand that another of the crew members was Irish and wanted the four leaf clover, so they used both."

(Photo: Don Thomas)

June 1945

Thomas Crew in front of B-24J-1-FO 42-50720 Z5 R with ground personnel preparing for the flight back to the Zone of the Interior.

Standing, right: Clyde Thomas - P

If you can identify any of this crew, please contact me.