May 08, 2010
Volume II, Issue 7
VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY — May 8, 1945
GERMANY QUITS - Tall black headlines in the "Stars and Stripes" announced the end of hostilities in
Europe. In the background is a chart showing the operational record of the "Hell's Angels."
London Daily Mail - May 8, 1945
- click the newspaper pages to view them full sized -
Besieged on all fronts, representatives of Nazi Germany signed the surrender documents ending the greatest conflict ever to envelope Europe on May 7 in the French city of Reims. The fighting was to cease at 11:01 AM the next day. Six years of bloodshed were over.
Word of the anticipated surrender had been circling for days. There were two celebratory false starts – one on April 28, another on the morning of May 7. Finally, the official announcement of the cessation of fighting was broadcast on the evening of May 7 and the world erupted in spontaneous joy.
In London, the following day, the streets were filled with people and street parties. Bands played, flags flew and the air was filled with fireworks. At Buckingham Palace, Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared with the Royal Family on a balcony overlooking an ecstatic crowd that packed the square below. The city brimmed with unbridled joy.
Mollie Panter-Downes was an English novelist who wrote about life in London for the New Yorker Magazine. She filed this description of London celebrating the end of the war in Europe:
May 12, 1945
May 8, 1945 -- Members of the 303rd Bomb Group march in review during V-E Day Ceremonies.
V-E Day, May 8, 1945 -- 358th BS Ground Crewman relax and enjoy the day. (L-R) M/Sgt Raymond E. Holland,
Sgt Harry B. Neilson, Sgt Joseph L. Steen, unknown, unknown, unknown, Sgt Charles E. Williams.
(photo courtesy of Christ M. Christoff)
Though the Memories will Never Die . . .
(Back L-R) 1Lt Orville S. Witt (P)(KIA), 2Lt George C. Woodman (CP),
2Lt Donald H. Brightbill (N)(KIA), 2Lt Wilmer E. Dyar (B)(KIA)
(Front - not in order)
S/Sgt Lyle C. Woods (E)(KIA),
Cpl Edmund R. Thornton (R)(2nd from left),
303rd BG Mission #7, 20 December 1942:
In Memory of T/Sgt Thomas F. "Dude" Bachom
by Barry Udoff
Dude was tall and broad with meandering waves of red hair. Friends joked that his laugh could raise seismic rings in a cup of coffee. Dude and his older brother Jack were raised in Los Angeles, where their father worked for the phone company while their mother looked after the boys and her elderly parents. Two months after Pearl Harbor, Dude signed up with the Army Air Corps; Jack had joined the Navy the week before. Now a mother with two sons in service, a local veteran's group presented her with two 'Blue Star' flags to hang from her porch. A gold star replaced the blue when a family member was lost to the war.
Briggs Field lies near El Paso on the flat Texas border that seems to hold New Mexico on a shelf. Dude arrived at Briggs in August of 1942 to begin advanced training as a member of the 303 Bomb Group. Dude trained for 60 days learning to become a B-17 radio operator. It was a role that included the mastery of complicated aeronautic radio equipment, competency in air-to-ground photography and when necessary, the ability to fire the 50 Caliber machine gun mounted in the top turret aft of the cramped radio room.
The tail gunner's position on a B-17 isn't the safest seat in the house, but it does offer a spectacular view. It's a greenhouse with a gun, a perch to observe the awesome geometric formation of a 100 flying battleships sailing through a vast sea of sky. But the vista changes as the bombers approach their target. The sky begins to explode in black blooms of flak that can rattle a ship to its rivets and threaten to toss it from the air. Some airmen were more fearful of flak than the German fighters. Fighters could be fought off with their machine guns. Flak could not be shot down.
When the flak stopped, the Luftwaffe fighters took up the battle. They gathered in clusters ahead and behind the bombers and began their charges, aiming for front or tail shots, ripping the sky with their 20 MM machine guns at 15 rounds per second. Frontal attacks could shatter the flight deck killing both pilots, sending the bomber down in an uncontrolled spin. A few parachutes might pop out from the hatches or the bomb bay doors, but not often. Bailing out of a bomber in a tight spin must be like trying to crawl out of a rolling barrel.
There are three official versions of the Zombie's last minutes in the air. One pilot wrote: "B-17 went down apparently under reasonable control…Part of # 2 motor shot away."
From a different witness, "…B-17 circling near coast of France…being attacked by several enemy aircraft." And another "…saw this ship go down--5 chutes seen to open." This was a wishful report, none of the Zombie's crew survived.
There's a tail gunner's account that doesn't appear in the official records. It was written in a letter to Dude's niece, 60 years after the Zombie was lost. He wrote, "I knew your Uncle Dude, he was the squad comedian, he kept everybody laughing ...When the Zombie was hit, I followed it down to the water. When it ditched I think the top turret gunner was still firing." The flier who had taken the picture of Dude in his Mohawk wrote the letter.
On December 25th, a War Department telegram arrived informing his family that Dude was 'Missing in Action'. As terrible as it sounded, the phrase conveyed a hope that the words, 'Killed in Action' would have obliterated. Dude's mother clung to this distinction, awaiting news from the Red Cross that her son had been captured or found wounded in some remote French village. This news never came, yet she continued to believe that Dude would come home. Her hope persisted beyond the end of the war, beyond any reasonable chance of his return and beyond the birth of her first granddaughter on October 14, 1948.
On this day, she visited the Bulocks Department store on Wilshire Blvd. She chose a silver rattle and had it engraved with her granddaughter's name, the date of her birth and the name of the man who would give it as a gift. It was from her Uncle Dude, a gift from the uncle she never had.
A mother can give her child life only once. And so to deny the death of her son was the only means she had to protect him from harm. The intractable terms of her refusal were engraved in graceful script on a silver rattle. It didn't bring Dude back to life, but it kept him in memory and brought him back from the missing. Today, his niece keeps the rattle near the framed photo of her 'Uncle Dude' in the Mohawk hair cut.
Then and Now
358th Bomb Squadron Brothers-In-Arms at Molesworth with a P-47
(L-R) Sgt William R. Weaver (Ground Crew),
T/Sgt James R. Welch (Flight Engineer), Sgt James E. Wylde (Squadron Operations)
(photo courtesy of the James E. Wylde Family)
WWII Brothers-In-Arms Visit the WWII Memorial
(L-R) Henry Keding (US Army Artillery),
Al Dussliere (USAAF, 303rd BG, 427th BS), Dale Scott (US Navy Submarine Service)
(photo courtesy of Al Dussliere)
On April 24, 2010, 303rd Bomb Group veteran Al Dussliere (center) enjoyed an "Honor Flight" to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington DC, along with about 100 other WWII veterans from the Quad City area of Illinois and Iowa. With Al are veterans Henry Keding and Dale Scott. Al's son Phil volunteered as their guardian for the trip. Al writes, "WOW, what an experience. The most humbling part was the crowds of people at our send-off and return. Even at Dulles there was a crowd of greeters. In Washington, men, women and children stopped us to shake hands and thank us for our service. It was nearly overwhelming and many in our group replied, 'We were just doing our job.' If any of our 303rd men have not gone on one of these flights, they should." Information on "Honor Flights" can be found here: http://www.honorflight.org/
Artist's Rendition of the Memorial Wall and Fountain Area
Gowen Field Memorial Park, Boise, Idaho
The Purpose of the Gowen Field Memorial Park is "To plan, build, and maintain a memorial to honor Idaho's military veterans and families whose units’ lineage traces their unit to the Idaho National Guard or Gowen Field. To honor their duty, loyalty, service, and commitment with the utmost dignity, gratitude, remembrance and reflection deserving of the men and women who, throughout Idaho's history, gave so much and asked for so little in return." The project is undertaken in cooperation with the Idaho Military Historical Society.The description above is from the Gowen Field Memorial Park website here:
http://museum.mil.idaho.gov/GFMemorial/index.htm The website has much more information about the project. As a fund raising effort, commemorative coins and etched commemorative bricks are available for purchase.
The 303rd Bombardment Group (H) was constituted on January 28, 1942 at Savannah, Georgia. They received their initial staff and training at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho from February to June of 1942. In 1992 the 303rd Bomb Group Association placed a Memorial at Gowen Field, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 303rd BG's service there. The 303rd BG Memorial, currently located near the new park, will soon be moved to a prominent place in the WWII section of the new park.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on May 27, 2010 at 10:15 AM with the Governor of Idaho in attendance. The Gowan Field Memorial Park is just south of the Boise Air Terminal at the intersection of South Farman Street and West Guard Street. Any 303rd Bomb Group veterans, family or friends would be most welcome at the ceremony.
Memorial Day – May 31, 2010
As you visit the graves of our veterans, or attend any of the hundreds of Memorial Day Ceremonies, please take some photographs and send them to me. I'll include them in a future issue of "The Molesworth Pilot."
Eighth Air Force Reunion – Tucson, Arizona – July 21-25, 2010
Registration is now underway for the 2010 8th Air Force Reunion this July in Tucson, Arizona. Registration information is in the March 2010 issue of the 8th AF News or online here: http://www.8thafhs.org/reunions.htm. We're looking for a good turnout from our 303rd Bomb Group veterans, families and friends.
"Thunder over Michigan"
The Largest Gathering of Heavy Bombers in the World
The 8th Air Force Historical Society is hosting veterans, family members, and their guests at the Willow Run Air Show, located just outside Detroit, August 5 thru 8, 2010. The Air Show organizers are expecting 8 to 10 B-17's to attend , 2 B-24's, 12 P-51's, the usual cadre of other WWII aircraft, as well as a flying ME-262 and an ME-109. More information is available here: http://www.8thafhs.org/detroit.htm
Charles Robert "Chuck" Terry, 88, Rapid City, SD, died Saturday, April 24, 2010, at the Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care Center at Fort Meade. Chuck was born Sept. 24, 1921, at Rochester, N.Y., to Burt Snyder and Frances Allison (Metzgar) Terry. He grew up in Dryden, N.Y., and graduated from high school in Rochester.
Following graduation, Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his county in the Army Air Corps. He was assigned to the 303 Bomb Group in Molesworth, England, as a radio operator and gunner on a B-17. After 26 successful missions and a Distinguished Flying Cross, he returned to the States where he was an instructor trainer at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Chuck met Dorthy Lange and the couple wed on April 16, 1945 in Deadwood.
Chuck worked as a repo man for Commercial Credit until he started working for First Federal Savings and Loan. After 30 years of service he retired as a branch manager and loan officer. Dottie and Chuck enjoyed traveling, especially cruises. Chuck was an avid sportsman and enjoyed many hunts. He loved a good game of cards whether it was cribbage or poker. He also liked a trip to Deadwood. Chuck was a member of Kiwanis and the American Legion. Survivors include his son, Glen and Nancy Terry, Gillette, Wyo.; daughter Carol and Ron Spielmann, Sioux Falls; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren; and special friend, Doris Wagner, Parachute, Colo. He was preceded in death by his wife Dorthy in 1992; one son, Bruce; one brother, Don; and two sisters, Lucille and Jane. Visitation will be from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, with the family present from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis. Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the chapel, with Pastor Denzel Nonhof officiating. Burial will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, with military honors by the Belle Fourche Veteran's Honor Guard.
On Mission #74, October 4, 1944, their B-17 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. It was last seen flying under control on three engines about 12 miles South of Achen. The crewmen had tossed out their guns and one had hit the #3 engine propeller. The crew parachuted from the damaged B-17 southwest of Achen, close to the Belgian lines. All ten crewmen were captured and made POWs.
Survivors include his wife; son, Roger Wolford and his wife, Kay, of Kearney; daughter, Janet Pohlman and her husband, Dale, of Kearney; brother, Wayne Wolford of Cozad; daughter-in-law, Jill Johnson and her husband, Keith, of Kearney; brother-in-law, Wayne Olson of Minden; sister-in-law, Mary Snyder of Kearney; grandchildren, Camie West of Elm Creek, Julie Keaschall of Pleasanton, Holly Thyne, Jenny Wolford, Gail Whalen and Geri Jasnoch, all of Kearney, Brian Wolford of Lincoln, Shari Wolford of New York City, Gina Gerlach of Omaha and Glen Wolford of Beebe, Ark.; 22 great-grandchildren; stepson, Kevin Hendrickson and his wife, Connie, of Denver; stepdaughter, Kathleen Colburn of Phoenix; four stepgrandchildren; and six stepgreat-grandchildren.
His mother died and he was raised by his father and stepmother, Leanda, on their farm east of Kearney. He attended Stone School and graduated from Kearney High School in 1939. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for two years.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Sept. 19, 1942, and served until Oct. 1, 1945. While in the Army, he trained as a B-17 pilot and served during World War II in England. He was honorably discharged as a second lieutenant. After the service, he farmed east of Kearney for 42 years and moved in to Kearney in 1988.
He served on a rural school board, worked on Gateway Farm Expo and was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee. From 1973 to 1978, he served on the Federal Land Bank Board of Directors. He was on the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for three years.
Beginning in 1978, he served 14 years on the First National Bank Board of Directors. He also served on the First Commerce Bank board. From 1976 to 1982, he served as chairman of the Good Samaritan Hospital Board of Directors and served on the Health Systems Board and Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation.
He was a member of First Christian Church, Kearney American Legion Post 52 and Kearney VFW Post 759. He was able to be part of the Hero Flight to Washington, D.C., in May 2008.
Vincent was always involved in local organizations centered on cattle and farming. His joy in life was his family, the farm and many friends. Following his move to town, he would drive to the farm daily to see the men and the work going on that day.
Harvie was born on October 29, 1919, in Etowah, Arkansas, to the late Gordie and Julia Veach Collins. He and the former Lela Mae Barker of Milligan Ridge, AR, were married March 30, 1944. He served our country in the 8th Air Force from 1941-1962, retiring after 21 years. He served during W.W. II in England, making the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. He lived much of his life after retiring from the Air Force in Huntsville, AL.
In civilian life, Harvie worked for the Space Division of Chrysler Corporation in Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville on the Saturn I missile. He also worked for Barber Colman Company from 1969-1982. The next ten years of his life were spent in Florida doing volunteer work for Word of Life Fellowship. The last years of his life were spent gardening and fishing in Alabama and his final four years were spent living in St. Bernard’s Village in Jonesboro, AR. Harvie was preceded in death by 4 sisters and 9 brothers.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Lela M. Collins of St. Bernard’s Village; 1 daughter, Patty (Highland) Goodman of Buffalo, Minnesota; 2 sons, Donny (Cooky) Collins of Jonesboro, AR and David (Jeanie) Collins of Huntsville, AL; 8 grandchildren: Julie (Dan) Orlando of Ramsey, MN, Spring (Keith) Sneed of Caraway, AR, Phil (Rachel) Goodman of Redmond, WA, Summer Collins of Caraway, AR, Sonny Collins of Caraway, AR, Chris Collins of Huntsville, Al, Kyle Dowless of Caraway, AR, and Shane (Sherry) Dowless of Jonesboro, AR.; and 8 great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and many friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at 11:30 in Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL with Pastor Ron Madison and Mr. Highland Goodman officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Zion Cemetery with Emerson Funeral Home of Jonesboro in charge of arrangements. Visitation will be held Saturday from 10:00 until service time at the church.
I love getting the newsletter. My father is listed with photos on your site, Charles L. Gould, POW at Stalag Luft 1, shot down on Sept. 28, 1944. He died in 1974 when I was only 19 years old. I never appreciated what he went through in the war and he wouldn't talk about it very much. My brothers and I cherish what few photos, his journal, medals etc. he left behind. We've been to the museum in Pooler and placed a memorial stone there and have taken my 87 year old mom there twice but it is too difficult for her now that she is in assisted living. Anyway, thank you so much for your years of dedication to this web site and all the families who connect through it, especially the grand children and great-grand children who never knew what heroes they were. Patricia GouldThe Molesworth Pilot is in need of 303rd BG related stories and articles for future issues. If you have an article, or would like to write an article, please contact me.
Keeping the Legacy Alive,