458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Bradley Crew - Assigned  754th Squadron - June 7, 1944

Standing: Roy Cook - WG, Gus Duhon - BTG, Louie Ratto - TG, E.J. Pyle - RO, Allen Tuten - E, Bob Cowan - TTG
Kneeling: George Bradley - P, Dick McGough - N, Bart Catanzaro - CP, James Evans - B

(Photo: James Evans)

Completed Tour

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt George P Bradley 0693610 Pilot 10-Oct-44 CT Rest Home Leave
1Lt Bartholomew Catanzaro  0818106 Co-pilot Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross 
1Lt Richard L McGough 0702462 Navigator 10-Oct-44 CT Rest Home Leave
1Lt James W Evans 0698538 Bombardier 30-May-45 CT Appointed Asst Sqdn Adjutant
T/Sgt E J Pyle 38449493 Radio Operator Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt Allen V Tuten 14139227 Flight Engineer 10-Oct-44 CT Rest Home Leave
S/Sgt Robert E Cowan 15125723 Airplane Armorer-Gunner  Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Roy M Cook, Jr 34600254 Airplane Armorer-Gunner Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Gustave A Duhon 18218736 Aerial Gunner Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Louie J Ratto 39044908 Aerial Gunner Nov-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross

Bradley’s Crew arrived the day after D-Day, into one of the busiest mission months the group would have.  The 458th had put up three missions on the day of the Invasion, and on the day of the crew’s arrival, the group flew a mission to Lisieux, France in order to “disrupt transportation facilities and movement to the beachhead of the much needed German materials.”  During June, 34 missions were briefed and 30 missions were flown in 30 days.

After a few days of indoctrination, the officers and enlisted men flew their first mission as a crew on June 14th to Domleger to hit a Noball [V1 launch] site.  Bradley had flown two missions prior to this with experienced crews before taking his own crew over the Continent.  It was on Bradley’s fourth mission, the crew’s second, that their silver Liberator named Cookie was heavily damaged by flak.  They made an emergency landing at an RAF base, and Cookie was out of action for about 45 days.  The crew flew a total of ten missions in June, but only received sortie credit on eight of them, having to turn back on two occasions due to mechanical difficulties.

Another ten missions followed in July and the crew was sent on leave on July 28th.  The officers went to a rest home called “Roke Manor”, and the enlisted men were sent to Pangbourne House for one week.

They were back at it on August 5th. Ten missions per month seems to have been quite common for the Bradley crew, as they finished the month of August with ten more!  In mid-September, the 458th was relieved of combat operations and was assigned to fly gasoline to Patton’s Army in France.  These missions were referred to by the crews as Truckin’ Missions, however no sortie credit was given.

Breaking away from their ten mission months, the crew only flew three missions in October and Bradley finished up with three in November.  Most of the crew is believed to have finished their tour around this same time or towards the end of the month. Co-pilot Bart Catanzaro is shown flying his two final missions as first pilot.  The first of these was on November 26, 1944 to the railroad viaduct at Bielefeld, Germany.  The entire crew, less George Bradley, was along on this mission.  The co-pilot that day was 1Lt Henry L. Newell, who was also on his 34th mission.  Catanzaro flew his last mission on November 30th 1944.

George P. Bradley, whose ambition was to fly a combat tour as a fighter pilot, apparently got his wish, joining the handful of 458th pilots who transitioned into fighters.  Bradley went to the 56th Fighter Group, and flew several missions in P-47’s before the war ended.

James Bradley remained in the 754th Squadron and in May 1945 was appointed Squadron Personnel Affairs Officer, as well as Assistant Squadron Adjutant.  He flew back to the States with one of the many crews that ferried B-24’s over the Atlantic in June 1945.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
14-Jun-44 DOMLEGER 65 1 42-51095 Q Z5 12 SHOO SHOO BABY  
15-Jun-44 GUYANCOURT 66 2 42-95165 S Z5 17 COOKIE  
18-Jun-44 FASSBERG A/D 69 3 42-95116 V Z5 12 JUNIOR MSN #1
20-Jun-44 OSTERMOOR 73 4 41-28735 V J3 25 UNKNOWN 005 MSN #1
20-Jun-44 NOBALL FRANCE REC -- 42-95096 U Z5 -- BOMBS AWAY MSN #3 RECALL
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 5 41-28682 I Z5 39 UNKNOWN 003 TGT #8
24-Jun-44 CONCHES A/F 77 ABT 41-28682 I Z5 -- UNKNOWN 003 ABORT MSN #1
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 6 42-95096 F Z5 20 BOMBS AWAY  
29-Jun-44 ASCHERSLEBEN 82 7 41-28682 I Z5 40 UNKNOWN 003  
02-Jul-44 COUBRONNE 83 8 41-29276 G Z5 14 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
05-Jul-44 LE COULET, BEL A/F 84 9 41-29276 G Z5 15 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
06-Jul-44 KIEL 85 10 41-29276 G Z5 16 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
07-Jul-44 LUTZKENDORF 86 11 41-29276 G Z5 17 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
12-Jul-44 MUNICH 89 12 42-95108 M Z5 21 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
17-Jul-44 3 NO BALLS 92 13 41-28682 I Z5 46 UNKNOWN 003  
18-Jul-44 TROARN 93 14 42-95116 V Z5 21 JUNIOR  
19-Jul-44 KEMPTEN 94 15 42-95108 M Z5 -- ENVY OF 'EM ALL II ABORT - SORTIE?
24-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA 97 16 41-29276 G Z5 19 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
25-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA "B" 98 17 41-29276 G Z5 20 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
05-Aug-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM  105 18 41-29596 R Z5 36 HELL'S ANGEL'S  
06-Aug-44 HAMBURG 106 19 42-95018 J Z5 33 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
07-Aug-44 GHENT 107 20 42-95018 J Z5 34 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
11-Aug-44 STRASBOURG 110 21 41-29305 N Z5 34 I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC  
12-Aug-44 MOURMELON 111 22 41-29305 N Z5 35 I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC  
14-Aug-44 DOLE/TAVAUX 113 23 42-110070 K Z5 31 ELMER / LADY LUCK  
15-Aug-44 VECHTA 114 24 41-29276 G Z5 24 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
16-Aug-44 MAGDEBURG 115 25 41-29276 G Z5 25 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK  
24-Aug-44 HANNOVER 117 26 41-29276 G Z5 27 URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK   
25-Aug-44 TERTRE 119 27 42-110070 K Z5 32 ELMER / LADY LUCK SEVERE FLAK DAMAGE 
10-Sep-44 ULM M/Y 125 28 42-95108 M Z5 38 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
09-Oct-44 KOBLENZ 131 29 42-100366 H Z5 52 MIZPAH  
30-Oct-44 HARBURG 139 30 42-100366 H Z5 57 MIZPAH  
02-Nov-44 BIELEFELD 140 31 42-100366 H Z5 58 MIZPAH  
05-Nov-44 KARLSRUHE 142 32 41-28963 T 7V 6 UNKNOWN 007  
16-Nov-44 ESCHWEILER 147 33 42-51196 Q J3 13 x x x x x QUEEN

Bradley Crew

Standing: James Evans, Bart Catanzaro, George Bradley, Richard McGough, Allen Tuten
Kneeling: Robert Cowan, Roy Cook, Gustave Duhon, Louie Ratto, E.J. Pyle
(Photo: Curt Cowan)

Lt. Bradley's First "DFC" Mission

Aircraft in foreground is B-24H-25-FO 42-95165 Z5 S Cookie

1Lt James W. Evans

The way it went, Brad flew his first mission as co-pilot with an experienced crew. His second mission, Brad flew as pilot with an experienced crew, third Brad’s crew with an experienced co-pilot, and finally the fourth mission [#2 on mission list above] was Brad’s complete crew. It was a beautiful day, CAVU. We had hit the target and as we were heading home, someone called fighters in the area. I was in the nose turret and just hit the dead ahead position when an 88 hit the right wing just beyond No. 4 engine. The plane started falling to the right and I thought I was shot clean off the plane, then the pilot was shouting to the co-pilot to get both feet on the left rudder. I realized I was still with the plane and was starting to hear damage reports like “That hole is as big as Minnie, an old friend from Idaho!”, the tail gunner is saying. “I think the aileron just went by.” Brad and Kitty [Catanzaro] finally got the plane level but we were losing altitude. We discussed bailing but decided to try for home. Mac plotted us the shortest route and we arrived over an RAF base, but it was sod which we had never used. Nearby was what appeared to be a landing strip. The pilots put us down on what turned out to be an emergency strip for fighters. Tar paper over rolled ground. The personnel didn't want to feed us - they thought we were Germans! We never did tell them that we had six enlisted men aboard.

Man of the Month

James Evans, Allen Tuten and George Bradley after receiving their DFC's

Nine years’ service, during which he has served successfully as a dirigible rigger, an armorer-gunner, a bombardier, and a pilot, was climaxed for 1st Lt. George P. Bradley of Springfield, Mo when he received the second oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Two of the three DFC’s have been awarded for bringing badly crippled bombers back from Europe.

The latest award was presented to Lt Bradley, and also to his bombardier, 1st Lt James W. Evans of corning, N.Y. and his engineer, T/Sgt Allen V. Tuten of Baxley, Ga. For successfully bringing their flak-riddled liberator home from Europe after gasoline lines, hydraulic lines and radio had been shot out.  It was during this mission that lt. Evans, who is five feet tall and weighs 100 lbs, was left dangling by a 12 foot rope when he lost his footing while repairing broken fuel lines in the open bomb bay.  Gunners pulled him back to the catwalk.  Sgt. Tuten, who also was working on the broken fuel lines, narrowly escaped disaster when he lost his footing on the slippery catwalk and caught hold of a safety rope in the nick of time.  Lt. Bradley landed the A/C with the use of parachutes in lieu of brakes.

The DFC was first awarded to Lt Bradley after his fourth mission, when his liberator sustained a direct flak hit on the right wing near the No. 4 engine.  A hole was torn completely through the wing, the main spars were severed, and the side of the A/C peppered with holes.  Without aileron control, Bradley flew back to Britain and landed on a short fighter strip in south England.  When a crew chief climbed out on the wing to inspect the damage, the entire wing tip fell off.

Lt Bradley has flown 34 missions over Europe with this group.  The Missourian says his ambition is to fly a tour in fighters.  He enlisted in the army in 1935 and his first duties were with a lighter-than-air squadron at Scott Field, Ill.  Later he was transferred to a Flying Fortress outfit at Langley Field, Va. And flew as a gunner in B-17’s.  He then trained as a bombardier and flew with an anti-submarine squadron based in Puerto Rico and Panama, and finally in December started pilot training.  He received his wings on Oct. 1, 1943.  He was promoted to 1st Lt, July 8, 1944.  Lt Bradley has been overseas since May 1, 1944.

Lt Bradley is the son of Mrs. Lucy P. Bradley, Morganfield, Ky.  He is a graduate of Morganfield high school.  His wife, Mrs. Patricia Bradley resides at 1431 E. Madison St. Springfield, Mo.

 Public Relations article September 1944

Target: Victory - November 25, 1944

Bombardier on a rope!





When his B-24 Liberator lurched while he was repairing broken fuel lines which were showering him with gasoline, bombardier 1st Lt. James W. Evans, of Corning, N.Y., recently fell out of the open bomb bay doors without a parachute and was left dangling beneath the bomber at an altitude of 20,000 feet on the end of a 12-foot rope that he had tied around his waist mountain-climber’s style.

En route to a target in Europe the Lib had been hit by flak, jamming the bombs in the bomb bay so they could not be jettisoned and severing vital gasoline lines.  Lt. Evans, nearly blinded by the spraying gasoline, and without a parachute because of the cramped quarters, stood on the narrow, slippery, catwalk over the open bomb bay and pried the bombs loose one by one. 

Then he tied the rope around his waist and, while three gunners held the other end, he stood astride the bomb bay in order to reach and repair the fuel lines.  When the bomber lurched he lost his footing and plunged through the opening below.  The gunners finally pulled him back into the plane.

T/Sgt. Allen V. Tuten, of Baxley, Ga., who was helping Lt. Evans work on the gasoline lines, had no rope around his waist and was thrown on his back across the narrow catwalk when the plane lurched.

The Lib was piloted by 1st Lt. George P. Bradley, whose wife resides at 1431 E. Madison St., Springfield, Mo.  He brought the bomber back to its base with the hydraulic system shot out and landed successfully using two parachutes released from the waist windows in lieu of brakes which would not function.

Lt. Evans is the son of Mrs. Orrilla D. Evans, 140 Pearl St., Corning, N.Y.

END 6:45 PM

1Lt James W. Evans

The day started great.  It was an afternoon mission, a bright, sunny, day to leap into the blue. After join up we hit the enemy coast and the lead navigator is off course and drags us over a 155 rail gun battery that opens up. As I remember there were 18 ships in formation and 9 left from flak hits. My trouble started when Brad told me to get rid of the bombs and I find that they will not release. I got out of the turret and fought the navigator for room to get past. On my crawl to the bomb bay I found one of the supports to the nose gear severed, and further back the hyperbolic lines were squirting fluid, making the deck very slippery.

The bomb bay was a mess! It looked like a shower room from holes in the fuel cells. I got all drenched from the gas and hydraulic fluid. E.J., the radio operator, got an oxygen line to me and I stood up to release the first bomb. After releasing the arming wire, I realized I needed to start from the bottom. Returning to the bottom rack I release the first bomb, not knowing that the oxygen line E.J. had passed me was wrapped around the nose fuse.  The weight of the bomb yanked the oxygen line, my head hit the rack, the oxygen line parted, and the bomb fell out. E.J. then got me a walk around bottle and I finished releasing the bombs.

There was one point where it was very slippery, I lost my footing and fell clear of the catwalk.  I did not fall out that far, but if the rope had not been around my waist….  I remember fighting the slip stream as the gunners pulled me back into the ship.  By this time Tute had manually cranked the gear down and I gave up on trying to plug in the hydraulic lines. As I looked out the nose wheel well on final I thought about the problem of the top turret coming down if we crashed and took a position behind the pilot. On the command deck I found the pilot had ordered the waist gunners to take off their chute harnesses and arrange them around the gun mounts and to use chest packs to be released as soon as the gear touched. It was the smoothest stop we ever made!

Of course the ops officer had the final word as he gave Brad hell for not using the “No brake landing strip” recently constructed. The ops officer also wanted Bradley to understand those parachutes cost over $200.00 each.

1Lt James W. Evans - Mission List

1Lt James Evans (standing, far left) with unidentified Ferry Crew 53

EVANS, James W. 0-698538, 1st Lt., Bombardier has participated in a Heavy Bombardment Sortie on the following dates while assigned to the 458th Bombardment Group (H)

Msn #  Date  Target Msn #  Date  Target
1 14-Jun-44 Maison Ponthreu, Fr. 19 11-Aug-44 Strasbourg, Fr.
2 15-Jun-44 Guyancourt, Fr. 20 12-Aug-44 Mourmelon, Fr.
3 18-Jun-44 Fassberg, Gr. 21 14-Aug-44 Dole/Tavaux, Fr.
4 28-Jun-44 Saarbrucken, Gr. 22 15-Aug-44 Vechta, A/F Fr.
5 29-Jun-44 Aschersleben, Gr. 23 16-Aug-44 Mandeburg, Gr. [sic]
6 2-Jul-44 Coubronne, Fr. 24 24-Aug-44 Hanover, Gr.
7 5-Jul-44 Le Coulet, Fr. 25 25-Aug-44 Tertre, Belgium
8 6-Jul-44 Kiel, Gr. 26 10-Sep-44 Ulm, Gr
9 7-Jul-44 Lutzkendorf, Gr. 27 9-Oct-44 Coblenz, Gr.
10 12-Jul-44 Munich, Gr. 28 30-Oct-44 Bielefeld, Gr.
11 17-Jul-44 3 Noball Sites, Fr. 29 2-Nov-44 Harburg, Gr.
12 18-Jul-44 Troarn, Fr. 30 5-Nov-44 Karlsruhe, Gr.
13 19-Jul-44 Kempten, Gr. 31 16-Nov-44 Eschweiler, Gr.
14 24-Jul-44 St. Lo, Fr. 32 26-Nov-12 Bielefeld, Gr.
15 25-Jul-44 St. Lo, Fr. 33 30-Nov-44 Homburg, Gr.
16 5-Aug-44 Brunswick, Gr. 34 24-Dec-44 Schonecken, Gr.
17 6-Aug-44 Hamburg, Gr. 35 27-Dec-44 Neunkirchen, Gr.
18 7-Aug-44 Ghent, Belgium    

Bradley Crew DFC Photos

Maj Henson with Lt Bradley and Maj Brevakis with Lt Evans

Maj Brevakis decorates Sgt's Duhon and Pyle

S/Sgt Robert E. Cowan

Sgt Cowan is presented the DFC by his Squadron Commander, Maj Brevakis

Fighter Pilot - 56th Fighter Group

George Bradley arrived at Boxted from the 458th BG as a 1st Lt on 26th November 1944, assigned to 61st FS. He flew a total of 25 missions with the 56FG before the war ended.  It is unknown if he was credited with any enemy aircraft destroyed. On February 10, 1945 he was involved in a landing accident in P-47M 44-21178  HV-P.  The details or severity of damage or injuries is unknown.

(Courtesy: http://www.56thfightergroup.co.uk)