458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

W.L. Jackson Crew - Assigned 752nd Squadron - December 19, 1944

Standing: Crew Chief-Unk, William Jackson - P, Kenneth Kidd - CP, Bob Attenborough - N, James Hudson - G
Kneeling: Joe Schultz - E, Lew Hurtig - RO, Herman Harney - AG, Eugene Pitard - G, "Davey" Reid - G
Not Pictured: Albert Junes - B

(Photo: Cathy Jackson)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

Rank  Name  Serial #  Crew Pos Date Status  Comments
2Lt William L Jackson, Jr 0832149 Pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
2Lt Kenneth F Kidd 0768122 Co-Pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
2Lt Robert W Attenborough 02069904 Navigator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
2Lt Albert W Junes 0768966 Bombardier Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Cpl Lew S Hurtig 39211561 Radio Operator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Cpl Joseph S Schultz 12178063 Flight Engineer Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Sgt Herman I Harney 35137664 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Cpl James D Hudson 39143072 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Cpl Eugene M Pitard 14188596 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark
Cpl David S Reid 39215793 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Crew - Top O' The Mark

2Lt William L. Jackson, Jr and crew was assigned to the 752nd Squadron on December 19, 1944.  This was the same day that the crew of 2Lt William E. Jackson, Jr and crew was assigned to the same squadron.  [This has presented numerous issues 70+ years later trying to put together mission information on these two crews!]

Jackson's first mission was on January 13, 1945 to the marshalling yards in Kaiserlautern, Germany, and their last was on April 16, 1945 when the 458th hit another marshalling yard in Landshut, Germany.  The crew flew a total of 27 missions. The crew was forced to abort on two of their missions, the first of which occurred on February 22, 1945 during assembly.  They lost the #2 supercharger at 8,000 feet and by the time they reached 12,000 feet over Beacon #5 they were only pulling 30" of manifold pressure. They brought their bombs back to base.  The second abort occurred on February 28th, but this time they were almost into enemy territory when a gas leak forced them to turn around.  They were given credit for this mission. [See account below]

At this stage of the war, all of the targets that the crew went to were in Germany.  The sole exception was the mission to Point de Grave on April 14, 1945.  It was on this raid, in an attempt to dislodge the remaining German forces in France, that the Eighth Air Force experimented with the first use of Napalm.  The crew flew a variety of 752nd Squadron aircraft on their missions, but one B-24H25-DT 42-51110 7V M named Top O' The Mark seemed to be their favorite. They flew a total of 12 missions in this aircraft, including its 100th credited sortie on April 5, 1945 (see section below).

2Lt Albert Junes, bombardier, was transferred to the 755th (Lead) Squadron on March 27, 1945. He was transferred back to the 752nd on May 7, 1945.

Seven days after their final mission the crew went on Rest Home leave.  Two days later the Eighth Air Force ceased bombing operations over Europe, and on May 8, 1945 the war in the ETO came to an end.  Many of the crews who had not completed a combat tour were assigned to ferry the group's B-24 Liberators back to the Zone of the Interior.  Jackson's crew, along with several ground men, departed Horsham St. Faith in mid-June 1945, flying Top O' The Mark back to the States.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
08-Jan-45 STADTKYLL 167 1 44-40475 D 7V 19 JOLLY ROGER  
13-Jan-45 KAISERLAUTERN 169 2 42-50502 E 7V 24 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
28-Jan-45 DORTMUND 174 3 42-95179 X 7V 75 HERE I GO AGAIN  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 4 42-51206 S 7V 32 THE PIED PIPER  
15-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 182 5 42-51206 S 7V 34 THE PIED PIPER  
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE 184 6 42-51110 M 7V 72 TOP O' THE MARK  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 7 42-51514 B 7V 15 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 8 41-29340 N 7V 63 YANKEE BUZZ BOMB GROUP 200TH MISSION
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 9 42-51110 M 7V 81 TOP O' THE MARK  
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 10 44-40475 D 7V 29 JOLLY ROGER  
05-Mar-45 HARBURG 197 11 42-51110 M 7V 84 TOP O' THE MARK  
09-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 200 12 44-40475 D 7V 32 JOLLY ROGER  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 13 42-51270 A 7V 22 MY BUNNIE II  
15-Mar-45 ZOSSEN 204 14 42-51270 A 7V 24 MY BUNNIE II  
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM 207 15 41-29567 G 7V 17 MY BUNNIE / BAMBI  
21-Mar-45 HESEPE 209 16 44-10487 R 7V 46 Girl on surfboard (no name)  
24-Mar-45 KIRKOFF 213 17 42-51110 M 7V 96 TOP O' THE MARK  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 18 42-51110 M 7V 97 TOP O' THE MARK DROP 12mi OFF TGT
31-Mar-45 BRUNSWICK 216 19 42-51110 M 7V 99 TOP O' THE MARK  
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 20 42-51270 A 7V 33 MY BUNNIE II  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 21 42-51110 M 7V 100 TOP O' THE MARK  
06-Apr-45 HALLE 219 22 42-51110 M 7V 101 TOP O' THE MARK  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 23 42-100425 O 7V 80 THE BIRD  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 24 42-51110 M 7V 102 TOP O' THE MARK  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 25 42-51110 M 7V 103 TOP O' THE MARK  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 26 42-51110 M 7V 104 TOP O' THE MARK  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 27 42-51110 M 7V 105 TOP O' THE MARK

Mission Abort - Sortie Credit

I'LL BE BACK with unknown ground crew in July 1944

On February 28, 1945, Jackson and crew were assigned to fly B-24H-10-CF 41-29305 7V N HYPOCHONDRIAC to Bielefeld, Germany.  This aircraft was an original 458th Liberator flown to England in January 1944.  At that time it was a brand new ship belonging to the 754th Squadron named I'LL BE BACK and was painted olive drab.  At some point the plane was stripped of its OD paint and renamed.  On this particular mission the aircraft gave the crew a difficult time with leaking fuel tanks forcing them to abort. The crew did receive credit for this mission.

Original Report

February 28, 1945
SUBJECT: Abortion of A/C 305 N
TO: Group Operations

We had a gas leak to [sic] develop soon after we began to transfer fuel to #3 tank.  We immediately changed to #4 tank, but the gas leak continued.  We quit transferring fuel thinking the tanks were too full, and that the leak would stop after using some of the fuel.  The Waist Gunner and Tail Gunner complained about gas fumes and after a while reported that they were getting worse.  We had started climbing by this time, so I thought that maybe this too would keep the gas leaking if the tanks were too full.  The gas leak continued throughout the climb.  I had had the crew chief crack the bomb bay doors about 6 or 8 inches when the gunners reported the fumes.  I called the Lincoln Red Leader and reported the trouble.  He called back and said act at my own discretion.  I called him back and said I would stay with the formation until we leveled off and see if it would stop.

When we leveled off we were almost in enemy territory.  I called my Waist Gunners and asked about the leak to see if it had stopped and he reported it wasn't doing any better.  About ten minutes later I asked him again and he said the gas was still coming out and the ship still had fumes in the Waist Section.  I called the Lincoln Red Leader and reported this, and asked permission to leave the formation, drop my bombs and return to base.  He called back and said to fly the same heading as the formation and out to the side, drop my bombs and return to base.  We pulled out of formation, to the right side and flew straight ahead for about three minutes.  We saw a town through a hole in the clouds which my Navigator identified as St. Goar.  We tried to drop our bombs on this town.  The left bomb bay doors would not open so we dropped them thru the doors.  We didn't see the bomb bursts because of the cloud coverage.  I don't know whether we hit the town or not.  We had no bomb sight installed.  According to the Navigator we were approximately 15 miles southeast of Coblenz, flying a heading of about 110 degrees when we dropped our bombs.  After we dropped our bombs we turned to a heading of 270 degrees until we got back across the lines, and then we headed home.  The gas leak continued until we reduced our power settings to start our let down.
2 Lt., A.C. 75nd Sq.

B-24H-25-DT 42-51110 7V M  Top O' The Mark - 100th Mission*

Top O' The Mark was assigned to the 458th in May 1944, flew its first mission on May 13th, and, by the end of the war, had racked up over 100 missions*.  The aircraft had quite an interesting career, and was directly and indirectly involved in the group's two instances where War Crimes were committed on members of two crews, four airmen being murdered by German officials.  On June 29, 1944 752nd Squadron pilot 1Lt Kenneth M. Gorrell took the aircraft on its 20th mission to Aschersleben.  He returned minus two of his crew who had bailed out over Germany [See "Murder Unresolved" on the stories page].  The ship was also used as the backdrop for a crew picture by the 2Lt William A. Duke crew whose tenure with the 754th Squadron came to a tragic end on February 22, 1945. Starting out in the 752nd Squadron, the aircraft carried the 7V squadron code and was assigned the call letter 'P'.  In August 1944 it was transferred to the 754th Squadron (Z5).  In October the aircraft went back to the 752nd and was assigned the call letter 'M'.  William L. Jackson and crew, who flew no less than 12 of their 27 missions in Top O' The Mark, ferried the aircraft back to the U.S.A. in June 1945.

*Note on credited sorties:  Working with 70 year old records is sometimes difficult at the best of times.  Typos, errors and omissions, even the quality of these documents present many challenges to get things right.  While the mission list  (compiled from 458th formation plans and operational records) for this aircraft shows the 100th mission occurring on April 5, 1945, this does not appear to be accurate.  Photograph notations and the pilot's log book clearly shows the 100th mission to have taken place on March 28, 1945.  Over its 100+ mission career, the aircraft was forced to abort six times, only one of which was credited as a sortie (this was the February 28, 1945 mission described above).  Of the five remaining aborts, three are listed as "No Sortie" and the other two do not state whether mission credit was given or withheld.  This aircraft was also assigned as a "Spare" on seven occasions.  There is nothing in the records to say whether or not it was ever used in place of an aircraft that was scratched from flying due to mechanical difficulties on these "spare" dates. I have left the crew's mission list "as is" for now.  If more detailed records are located in the future, this list will be updated.

Sgt. Edward C. Scheller - Crew Chief

(Photo: Justin Scheller)

"Just Back from Germany"

W.L. Jackson Crew in an undated photo (L-R)

Standing: William Jackson, Lew Hurtig, Herman Harney, David Reid, James Hudson, Robert Attenborough
Kneeling: Joe Schultz, Kenneth Kidd, Eugene Pitard

(Photo: Cathy Jackson)

1Lt William L. Jackson

An airman's mode of transportation.
At the "flak shack" (rest home).
Squadron Jeep
Reading mail before a mission


Kenneth Kidd - Co-pilot

Robert Attenborough - Navigator

Albert Junes - Bombardier

Enlisted Men

Lew Hurtig - Radio Operator
Joseph Schultz - Flight Engineer
Eugene Pitard - Nose Turret Gunner
David Reid - Tail Turret Gunner
(Photos: Cathy Jackson)

"On the Skeet Range"

Standing: William Jackson (cut off), David Reid, James Hudson, Eugene Pitard, Kenneth Kidd, Robert Attenborough
Kneeling: Herman Harney, Albert Junes, Lew Hurtig, Joseph Schultz

(Photo: Cathy Jackson)

Escape Photos

William Jackson, Albert Junes, Bob Attenborough, Herman Harney and Kenneth Kidd

(Photos: Cathy Jackson)

Ferry Crew - June 1945

Back Row: Unknown, William Jackson, Kenneth Kidd, Robert Attenborough
Middle Row: (#3) Eugene Pitard, (#8) Joseph Schultz, (#9) Ed Scheller - Crew Chief
Front Row: (#3) David Reid

(Photo: Fold3)