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358th J.P. Watson Crew
John P. Watson, Pilot
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JOHN P. WATSON CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 25 Apr 1944 - photo: USA, April 1944)

(Back L-R) 2Lt Glenn H. Neely (CP), 1Lt John P. Watson (P),
1Lt Charles F. Coe (N), 1Lt John E. Borg (B)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Paul J. Kapes (E), Sgt William C. Byerly (WG),
S/Sgt James E. Cummings (TG), S/Sgt Robert G. Hollifield (WG),
S/Sgt Wallace Goldfarb (BT), T/Sgt John H. White (R)

[photo courtesy of Charles F. Coe]



JOHN P. WATSON CREW - 358th BS
B-17G #42-107022 Mairzy Doats 358BS (VK-A)
(photo: 6 May 1944)

(Back L-R) 2Lt RA Knight (orientation pilot), 1Lt John P. Watson (P),
1Lt John E. Borg (B), 1Lt Charles F. Coe (N)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt James E. Cummings (TG), S/Sgt Wallace Goldfarb (BT),
S/Sgt Robert G. Hollifield (WG), S/Sgt Paul J. Kapes (E), T/Sgt John H. White (R)

(Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission.)

Thirty -four dispatched (32 credited) combat missions of 1Lt John P. Watson:
146 (7 May 1944), 147, 153, 155, 158, 159, 163(FTO), 164, 165, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176(A), 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 189(AS), 192, 193, 194(A), 196, 197, 198, 199, 200 (9 July 1944)
(A) Non-Credited aborted mission -- (AS) Credited abortive Sortie
(FTO) Non-Credited Failed to Take Off. For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Crew Notes:

  • 1Lt John P. Watson (P) - Watson became ill after their B-17 was ferried from the USA to Scotland. He arrived at Molesworth a few days after the other members of the crew had been assigned to the 358th BS. Flew on 32 credited combat missions. First three missions (146, 147, 153) flown as CoPilot with combat orientation Pilots. Other missions flown as First Pilot. Last mission flown on 9 July 1944 (Mission 200).
  • 2Lt Glenn H. Neely (CP) - Flew on 29 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Watson (28 credited missions. Stood down on five missions 146, 147, 153, 176(A), 177. Flew on all other 1Lt Watson missions.); With another Pilot (1 mission - 253). Last mission flown on 9 July 1944 (Mission 200).
  • 1Lt Charles E. Coe (N) - Flew on 30 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Watson (23 credited missions. Did not fly with 1Lt Watson on 9 of his missions (165, 170, 180, 182, 189, 197, 198, 199, 200); With other Pilots (7 missions - 163, 165, 169, 170, 182, 189 [Lead Crew] & 190). Last mission flown on 6 July 1944 (Mission 197).
  • 1Lt John E. Borg (B) - Flew on 31 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Watson (29 credited missions. Did not fly with 1Lt Watson on 8 of his missions (182, 184, 194(A), 196, 197, 198, 199, 200); With other Pilots (2 missions - 182 & 194).
  • S/Sgt Paul J. Kapes (E), T/Sgt John H. White (R), S/Sgt Wallace Goldfarb (BT), S/Sgt Robert G. Hollifield (WG) - Credited missions flown: S/Sgt Kapes - 32; Others - 31. Flew on all of the 1Lt Watson missions except for mission 200. S/Sgt Kapes flew on one mission with another Pilot (168). Last missions flown on 8 July 1944 (Mission 199).
  • Sgt William C. Byerly (WG/TG) - Flew on 26 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Watson (25 credited missions (As Waist Gunner - 20 credited missions [146, 147, 153, 155, 158, 159, 164, 175, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176(A), 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183]. As Tail Gunner - 5 credited missions [185, 189, 197, 198, 199]; With another Pilot (1 mission - 211). The 1Lt Watson crew flew with one Waist Gunner after mission 183. Last mission flown on 14 July 1944 (Mission 211).
  • S/Sgt James E. Cummings (TG) - Flew on 27 credited missions: With 1Lt Watson (24 credited missions - 146, 147, 153, 155, 158, 159, 164, 165, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176(A), 177, 178, 179, 182, 183, 184, 186, 187, 192, 193, 194(A), 196); With other Pilots (3 missions - 206, 227, 229). Last mission flown on 15 Aug 1944 (Mission 229).
Mission Note: by 1Lt Charles F. Coe (N):
The Taste Test went wrong - Mission 165, 30 May 1944, to Halberstadt, Germany
Took a major hit in the #1 engine. It threw a piston and lost oil pressure so that the prop couldn't be feathered. Because of the windmilling prop, we couldn't keep up with the formation or maintain altitude. We hoped that we could make it back as far as the English Channel and then expected to ditch the B-17.

Everything loose was thrown overboard to lighten the load. Fortunately, we had personal fighter protection back to the coast. We were flying so slow that the escorting fighters had put flaps and wheels down to stay with us. We appreciated the P-38's because they would fly closer to us than other fighters.

The #1 engine and left wing vibrated so violently that the engine cowling fell of and many rivets popped in the wing. As we approached the English Coast, fuel gages registered empty. We discussed the option of ditching, but all favored a try at a dry landing. Fortunately, John Watson, our Pilot, was able to stretch our approach to a landing at a fighter base that I located near the coast.

During the channel cross Bombardier John Borg, taste-tested some yellow fluid dripping from the tubing on the bulkhead in front of the Pilots, thinking he should report a hydraulic fluid leak. I'll never forget the expression on his face when he discovered that the fluid was urine. Watson and CoPilot Glen Neely were so busy keeping the aircraft under control that, thinking the airplane was going to be ditched anyway, the Pilot didn't bother to use the relief tube. (HANL February 1999, p.13 Molesworth Diary).

[photo courtesy of the Irue Ferguson Family]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]