Craven Crew - 752nd Squadron - Assigned September 21, 1944
Standing: Paul Craven - P, Jack O'Regan - CP, Arlin Hargreaves - N, James Eloff - B
|1Lt||Paul M Craven||0772300||Pilot||04-Apr-45||CT||Flew battle damaged 42-51206 home|
|1Lt||Jack O'Reagan||0775252||Co-Pilot||18-Apr-45||UNK||Squadron Mission List|
|1Lt||Arlin W Hargreaves||02056587||Navigator||12-Mar-45||CT||Rest Home Leave|
|F/O||James Eloff||T3282||Bombardier||25-Apr-45||UNK||Mission Load List - Denard Crew|
|T/Sgt||Herman J Anderson||37557598||Radio Operator||12-Mar-45||CT||Rest Home Leave|
|T/Sgt||John R Barillaro||31328041||Flight Engineer||09-Apr-45||POW||Shot down - Abramowitz Crew|
|S/Sgt||Walter H Freeman||34892474||Aerial Gunner||09-Apr-45||POW||Shot down - Abramowitz Crew|
|S/Sgt||Ernest R Pyle, Jr||33807726||Aerial Gunner||12-Mar-45||CT||Rest Home Leave|
|Pfc||Arnold Ritter||12200868||Gunner/Clerk Typist||08-Nov-44||RFS||Removed Flying Status/Reclassified|
|S/Sgt||Jack H Zimpleman||37668312||Aerial Gunner||09-Apr-45||POW||Shot down - Abramowitz Crew|
At the beginning of the New Year, co-pilot 2Lt Jack O’Regan was promoted to pilot and given a crew of his own. The only record available shows that several of the men on this crew had been ground men and were reclassified as gunners. Two of the men were from crews that had been lost to accident and enemy action. O’Regan completed 22 missions as an aircraft commander. His mission list is below.
Meanwhile, Craven and crew were able to complete half of their required 35 missions by the first part of February 1945. Whether they received a permanent replacement or flew with several fill-in co-pilots for the remainder of their tour is unknown. Most of the crew finished their combat tour on April 5, 1945.
Three crew members, for reasons unknown, continued to fly. T/Sgt John R. Barillaro (E), and S/Sgts Walter H. Freeman (G) and Jack H. Zimpleman (G) were shot down on April 9, 1945 while on a mission to Lechfeld, Germany. The pilot, 2Lt Leonard Abramowitz, was with a scratch crew on this date. They received a direct flak hit over the target setting an engine on fire. The crew were forced to bail out with eight men becoming POWs and one man, Sgt Allen C. Rupp (G) was KIA. This was the last 458BG aircraft lost to enemy action in the war.
Missions - Lt Paul Craven, Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|28-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR11||--||42-7562||C||445BG||T4||BETTY||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|29-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR12||--||42-100404||S+||445BG||T7||THE GRIM REAPER||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|07-Oct-44||MAGDEBURG||130||1||42-100407||R||J3||51||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|15-Oct-44||MONHEIM||134||ABT||42-109812||V||7V||--||UNKNOWN 016||#2 ENG FLAMES - FEATHERED|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||7||42-51206||S||7V||18||THE PIED PIPER||POSSIBLE A/C NOT ATTKG|
|16-Nov-44||ESCHWEILER||147||8||41-29567||G||7V||4||MY BUNNIE / BAMBI|
|04-Dec-44||BEBRA||152||10||42-95050||J||7V||59||GAS HOUSE MOUSE|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||44-40475||D||7V||--||JOLLY ROGER||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|28-Dec-44||ST. WENDEL||160||12||42-52457||Q||7V||73||FINAL APPROACH|
|08-Feb-45||RHEINE M/Y||REC||--||42-95316||H||7V||--||PRINCESS PAT||RECALL - WEATHER|
|17-Feb-45||ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y||REC||--||42-51110||P||7V||--||TOP O' THE MARK||RECALL - WEATHER|
|25-Mar-45||HITZACKER||214||30||44-10487||R||7V||50||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|31-Mar-45||BRUNSWICK||216||31||42-51206||S||7V||54||THE PIED PIPER|
|02-Apr-45||TIRSTROP||ABN||--||42-51206||S||7V||--||THE PIED PIPER||ABANDONED|
|04-Apr-45||PERLEBERG||217||32||42-51206||S||7V||55||THE PIED PIPER||BATTLE DAMAGE|
|05-Apr-45||PLAUEN||218||33||42-51514||B||7V||33||BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER|
Lt Jack O'Reagan, Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|08-Jan-45||STADTKYLL||167||1||41-29340||N||7V||59||YANKEE BUZZ BOMB|
|17-Jan-45||HARBURG||172||3||42-50768||Y||J4||24||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|31-Jan-45||BRUNSWICK||176||4||42-95179||X||7V||76||HERE I GO AGAIN||LAND, BRIDLINGTON|
|09-Feb-45||MAGDEBURG||179||5||42-51110||M||7V||68||TOP O' THE MARK||LAND, RACKHEATH|
|08-Feb-45||RHEINE M/Y||REC||--||42-51110||P||7V||--||TOP O' THE MARK||RECALL - WEATHER|
|15-Feb-45||MAGDEBURG||182||6||42-51270||A||7V||9||MY BUNNIE II|
|17-Feb-45||ASCHAFFENBURG||REC||--||42-51270||A||7V||--||MY BUNNIE II||RECALL - WEATHER|
|22-Feb-45||PEINE-HILDESHEIM||186||7||42-51514||B||7V||14||BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER|
|24-Feb-45||BIELEFELD||188||9||42-51110||M||7V||76||TOP O' THE MARK|
|28-Feb-45||BIELEFELD||192||10||42-51206||S||7V||44||THE PIED PIPER|
|03-Mar-45||NIENBURG||195||11||41-29567||G||7V||13||MY BUNNIE / BAMBI|
|04-Mar-45||STUTTGART||196||12||42-51206||S||7V||46||THE PIED PIPER|
|08-Mar-45||DILLENBURG||199||14||44-10487||R||7V||39||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|21-Mar-45||HESEPE||209||16||41-29340||N||7V||72||YANKEE BUZZ BOMB|
|22-Mar-45||KITZINGEN||210||17||41-29567||G||7V||18||MY BUNNIE / BAMBI|
|24-Mar-45||KIRKOFF||213||18||44-10487||R||7V||49||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|25-Mar-45||HITZACKER||214||19||42-51270||A||7V||31||MY BUNNIE II||DROPPED 12mi OFF TGT|
|31-Mar-45||BRUNSWICK||216||20||44-10487||R||7V||52||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|02-Apr-45||TIRSTROP||ABN||WTHR||42-51514||B||7V||--||BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER||752 WEATHER SHIP|
|16-Apr-45||LANDSHUT||227||21||42-51514||B||7V||38||BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER|
|18-Apr-45||PASSAU||228||22||42-51110||M||7V||106||TOP O' THE MARK|
January 31, 1945 - O'Regan Crew
1Lt Arlin W. Hargreaves - Letters
Sept. 4, 1944 - Dear Mom and Dad, We have some rain today so cannot fly. Not that we don't fly in bad weather, but this is a little to rough. I think it has rained pert near every day since I got in England. I almost think it is winter time in Redwood Valley. I don't think I will be able to see any of our relations as I am stationed quite some distance away. This place is not bad but it still is not the states. We expect to get a pass soon. We will go to London as we all want to see what the place looks like. Most of the towns are very old, narrow street, and very dark. You should try to find your way in the black out. It like being in a cave with a hundred different passages
Sept. 15, 1944 - Dear Honey, This is just a note to let you know I am in England. I don't have much time as I have to meet a formation. We came over by boat. Hit some rough weather but didn't get sick. If I get a chance too I will try to find some of our relatives. Say hello to the rest of the folks for me and I will write more later. It is time to go. Write often
Sept. 18, 1944 - We have been on the move again. I am not in England at the present time but expect to return. We will go to school before we return. My mail hasn't caught up with me yet but I should get some soon. I was out on pass the other night. I like the country but the towns are so old with nothing to do. If a house is 100 years old it is a new house. Talk about rain. I have seen enough to last a life time. Believe it or not I saw the sun about a week ago.
Sept. 22, 1944 - Here is my address 2nd Lt. A.W. Hargreaves 02056587, 752nd Sq. 458th Gr., APO 558 c/o Post Master N.Y. N.Y. This will be my permanent address while I am in England. I got a letter from you dated Sept. 1st. Also one from Dad the same date. Dad wrote that Harry Williamson would like to sell the rifle again so please buy it for me and I will send some extra money as I have a little saved. This is a good group I am with. They have a very fine record with few planes shot down. The camp is one of the best in England so you can see I will be O.K. They keep us on the run with flying, ground school and sleep if you can find time.
Sept. 30, 1944 - I received one more letter dated Sept. 7. I am glad to hear that you sent for our things. Have you heard from your Mother? I hope she will be able to come down. It will make me feel better. I am not on a combat ship at the present time. The bombardier and myself went to see a play in town last night. It was about an R.A.F. base. I enjoyed it a lot. I still have quite a bit of ground school. I have reached the point where I don't want to see any more school for some time. They keep us on the move with out much time for sleep but I guess it is good for us.
October 12, 1944: I will write a few lines before I go to bed. I have not received a letter for a few days. The last one I got was still written to my old address. When will your Mother come down. Be sure and send her some money to pay her expenses. What did the Doc have to say. I have some missions in but still have plenty to go. Any time I send a clipping home please keep it for me. I will try to write an air mail letter in the next day or two.
October 13, 1944: This is my birthday and believe it or not we have a day off. Yes we still have the same crew. I room with Jack O'Reagan the co-pilot. You should see our room, lots of pin up girls without to much on. Jim and Paul have the room next to ours. We lost one of the enlisted men as we fly with nine men in place of ten over here. He will fill in on some other crew. Did the bank receive the $150.00 for Sept? Also did you get the $200.00 I sent you from here.
for me to write and as I don't want to spoil you I will close.
places. We don't know how well off we are not to have such places in the U.S. It must have been Hell when the Germans were coming over. Now it is hell over there. Merry Christmas and I will be thinking of you and home.
It is evening just after dinner. We come out of the mess hall and stop to look at the bulletin board. Crew No._ , which is ours, is alerted for a combat mission. Our name is well up on the list, so we know if a mission goes out, we will fly. Jack and I stay over to see the show while Jim and Paul return to the room. Jim has a book to read while Paul writes a letter to his wife. The only thing I remember is the news reel. It was on an air battle in the South Pacific. After the show we returned to the room where we had a little to eat and then to bed. I just got to sleep, or so it seemed, when I heard a voice say, "sign here please." I slowly opened my eye into the electric light to see what it was all about. Paul signed the roster to the effect that we were awake. Paul asked the bomb and gas load. The answer was not encouraging. The gas load was heavy, which would mean deep into Germany. From the bomb load we knew the target would most likely be an oil refinery. The Germans need oil. For some reason a lot of it has been destroyed. What they have left is well protected which means lots of flak.
We roll out of bed and it is cold in the room. I can see my breath as I jump into my clothes. We step outside and there is frost with a thin sheet of ice on the puddles. Jack is in the lead with a flashlight as we start for the mess hall. There are fresh eggs on the table in place of the usual powdered ones. As you look about the room it is hard to realize that these men are going out to fight. There is laughter and jokes. This is just another day's work to be done. They have done the same thing many times before and will do it again. Paul looks at his watch and says "briefing in ten minutes." I drink the last of my coffee and we start for the briefing hut. We are checked as we enter. They make sure only the officers who will fly are entering that room. We all glance at the map as we enter but the curtain is still drawn. We will have to wait a few minutes before we know our target. There are some good natured ribs and jokes as we wait for briefing to start. The C.O. enters, along with two other officers. The time has come as the Sergeant rolls up the curtain.
A low sound is heard as the men see our target for the day. A sound is the only way I can describe it. It is involuntary, more an escape of breath than a noise. We had been right - we were going deep into Germany. A Captain tells us the importance of our target. How much oil it is producing and how necessary it is for us to destroy it in order to cut the oil supply in Germany. He next tells us where we would encounter flak and where the German fighters are most likely to jump our formation. We are shown a picture of the target and a large scale map of the target area. We were then briefed on the weather and the best way to get out of Germany in case we had to bail out over enemy territory. The C.O. gave us a short pep talk. I don't know if anyone heard what he said but we sat in silence. It was now time for the Chaplain. There is no place quite as appropriate for a Chaplain as this. A great church may have a holy atmosphere, but in this room, men sat in respectful silence, each waiting to hear those few words of prayer.
The time has come for special briefing. We separate to our different places. I received my times, route, etc. that are necessary for navigation. It is now time to get dressed. This is quite a process. When I finish dressing, I feel like a carpetbagger. Besides my flying clothes, there is a brief case, parachute, oxygen mask, shoes in case we have to fly in and walk out, a bag with maps and some odds and ends of equipment. I load up and struggle out to our ship. Each crew member is checking over his equipment. The guns are installed and we make sure there is plenty of ammunition. Although this has taken about three hours, it is still dark. A few of the planes have started their engines and you can see the red of their exhausts. Paul calls "everybody in" and we take our places. "Clear three" is heard and our first engine starts with a roar.
As we take off, the first signs of day are showing in the East. We climb to 10,000 feet which is the assemble altitude. I look out the side window to see hundreds of ships flying in a great circle. We find our place and wait for the time of departure. At last we circle for the last time and start on our course for Germany. I give a call to the crew, "Navigator to Crew - we are now leaving England. We will enter Germany in forty-two minutes." As we pass a point in the channel, I give the O.K. to test fire. The ship trembles as the guns spit lead into the sea. We are now at 14,000 feet and time to go on oxygen. In a few minutes the enemy coast comes into view. It looks peaceful and quiet with the sea breaking on the beach. It is hard to believe that we are entering Germany. Suddenly this dream is shattered as flak bursts off our right wing. This is a lone gun and we soon pass out of range. Intelligence has planned a good course. We twist and turn but miss almost all the flak as we fly into the target. We hit prop-wash and I hear Paul say "You son-of-a-bitch, get
over" as a plane drops in front of us. One wing stalls out as Paul and Jack fight the controls. We fall off in a start of a spin but they pull it out nicely and rejoin the formation. The questions then start to come my way. "Waist to Navigator." "Navigator to Waist - go ahead." "Pop , where are we?" "How long to the IP?" "Is it time to throw chaff?" "Shall we put on our flak suits?" And so it goes as we approach the target.
Jim calls and says the toggle switch is out in the turret. I will have to toggle the bombs when the lead ship drops. Fifteen minutes to the target and we get our flak suits on. "Bomb bay doors open," and we are on the bomb run. I start to call off the minutes until bombs away. Seven minutes, five - four - three - two minutes. Boom, and the ship jumps as we get a hit under the bomb bay. Then it seems as if the whole ship falls on me. "Bombs away," and I hit the toggle switch. "Pilot to Navigator, Pilot to Navigator." As I hear this, I realize I have been out and wonder for how long. I answer "Navigator O.K." and start to move around to see if I am. I cut in pure oxygen to clear my head as I start to pick up some of the trouble from the interphone. Number four engine on fire, gas lines hit in the bomb bay, number two engine throwing oil, half the instruments gone, control cable cut on left rudder and the whole plane was full of holes. Jack got the fire out in number four engine and feathered the engine. Our engineer fixed up the gas line and we were back in
formation. I checked on the crew and no one was hurt. I looked at my flak suit where three pieces had ripped holes. My helmet was gone so I looked under my table. There was a tear along one side and I knew the reason for my short sleep. The trip back across Germany was the longest I ever made. Would number two engine hold out? If it was to go, we wouldn't be able to hold formation. If you drop out of formation in the heart of Germany, you are duck soup for the German fighters. Yes, it held out. After we got out of German fighter territory, we dropped out of the formation and came back alone to save gas and our engines. The questions were coming again. "Pop, how long will we be in Germany?" "Pop, where are we?" "How long to the coast?" And thank God I could answer them. We were soon out over the water on the last leg home. Number two was almost out of oil but we could go the rest of the way on two engines. What a sight was the English coast! A good ship and a swell crew were coming back. It would take a lot to knock them out. I never hope to fly with a better group of men. It was a tired bunch of boys in the mess hall that night. As we came out we once more looked at the bulletin board. Crew No. _ ,our crew, was to fly in the morning. I woke up at the same time. Yes, the same bomb and gas load. Fresh eggs for breakfast and when we walked into briefing, the same target.
I hope you enjoyed this description and don't take it too much to heart as they don't all come like that. This has been a long letter for me to write, so will sign off and give you a chance to answer.
they have one or two that interest me I will take them. They should know by the end of next week what they will be. How did Norma do in her Christmas part?
February 2, 1945: I just wrote a V-mail to Mom & Dad so will do the same for my girls. I am duty navigator tonight which means I will be up most if not all night. Jim is with me and is reading a book as I write this letter. If the information is not to late he will help draw up the maps. If it's late he will go back to the house and get some sleep. I know what I would do if he was duty navigator. He would have to do all the work at this time of the night. I am so sleepy now I don't know how I will keep my eyes open in a few more hr. Say hello to your mother for me. I hope she had a good trip on her way to Ukiah.
March 9, 1945: Yes the sun was out today. What do you think of that? It was the first time in so long that I cann't remember the last time. We didn't even fly. Jim and I went to town this afternoon. I had to get some 1st Lt. bars as I have been wearing my old ones. I got my first on March the 4th. We have seven days off starting the 15th. I will try to find some of our relations. I expect Jim will go with me and after we visit them we will take a trip on into Scotland. We hear a lot about it so this will be our chance to see it first hand.
March 16, 1945: I wrote a V-mail today but have some time before bed so will try to say a few more things before lights go out. Jim Paul and I were in London on the 14th. We met a major Proctor who has been a member of Parliament for 14 yr. He took us through the House of Commons and the House of Parliament. We also visited the Supreme Court. You have seen pictures of Judges with their wigs. It is still true that they wear them. Maj. Proctor called Scotland Yard with the result that I spent my afternoon with one of the chief inspectors. We compared methods of police work in Eng. & in the states. Went over some of their cases and saw their system of work. It is one afternoon I will remember for a long time. If I am able to return to London I have an invitation to see what is called the Black Museum. It is a collection of articles such as guns, knives etc that have been used by criminals in England. Very few people have been admitted to view this. It is known all over the world but almost impossible to see. If I can I will sure try to see it. We will have seven days at the Flak House. I expected to see our relatives but since we have been sent here I don't know if I will ever be able to or not. I have 30 missions at the present time so it should not be to long until I will finish up. I don't know as yet if I will be able to come home at once or not. Some times the Nav. get held over to work in the office. Just keep your fingers crossed so I can start back after I finish my tour. I will not receive any mail while I am here so should have a good deal when we get back. I don't know just why but for the last month the mail has been very slow. I am tired tonight as I have done a little of everything today. We started out with some skeet then got out the bow and arrows, after that we had lunch. We started the afternoon with a ball game after which Jim and I had a game of horse shoes. We were still going strong so we had a game of batmin and closed the afternoon with table tennis. We got cleaned up and had a nice supper. How is that for a full day? You would never think it was a rest home the way we get our rest. Oh
yes we have orange juice in bed at 8:30 in the morning. What is the Army coming to? This letter has lasted longer than I expected so I will better stop before I spoil my honey.
April 7, 1945 WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM: =HAVE FINISHED MISSIONS HOPE TO BE HOME SOON LOVE =ARLIN W HARGREAVES.
April 4, 1945
"On April 4th, AP 42-51206 [The Pied Piper] suffered unusual battle damage when the left vertical stabilizer, rudder and elevator were extensively damaged. With the tail turret plexiglas broken and flak holes causing considerable damage throughout the ship, it was miraculous that none of the crew was injured. The airplane returned to the field under the skillful manipulation of the pilot, 1st Lt Paul M. Craven."
T/Sgt John R. Barillaro - Flight Engineer
John Barillaro completed most of his missions with Paul Craven. He flew on April 9, 1945 and was shot down with 2Lt Leonard Abramowitz as pilot. He spent the remaining few weeks of the war as a POW.
(Photo courtesy: Laura Barillaro)