Jack Fishman Stanley’s Flight Log
January 1945-April 1945
Eighth Air Force, 487th Bomb Group, 837th Squadron, 4th Wing, 3rd Division;
Lavenham, Suffolk England, about 35 miles east of Cambridge.
Jack Fishman’s Plane: B-17 - 44-8037
Combat Crew Training – Jack Fishman was a cadet at Minton Field, Bakersfield in 1942. He flew P-38s and was a flight instructor at Ardmore, Oklahoma. As a lead pilot, Jack flew B-17s, “Flying Fortresses,” out of Lavenham. He left Lavenham as a Captain in April 1945.
January 1, 1945 (Monday) – First day in the New Year. We test-hopped again. Went up to 22,000 feet in Micro-H, but did not work very well so we came down. Group went out on successful mission to Brunswick, Germany.
Time – 3:00 Altitude – 22,000
January 2, 1945 (Tuesday) – Test-hopped again. Made Micro-H runs at 15,000. Rusty Smith, Capt. (Group Bombardier), worked with us as our Bombardier. Klingensmith was taken off my crew due to inability to hit target on missions. Tough break, but you need the best man to do the job right.
Time – 3:15 Altitude – 15,000
January 3, 1945 (Wednesday) – Mission #20 to Aschaffenburg, Germany, located southeast of Frankfurt marshalling yard. Up at 3 a.m. for briefing. I flew lead in the low squadron and had our new C.O. Colonel Martin fly as Air Leader with me. He is a very nice fellow and I enjoyed his flight very much; easy to work with him. Our route took us over the North Sea across France into Germany. Weather was 10/0. We made a P.F.F. run on target, and it looked very good. Lead Squadron dropped on target of opportunity as they had a maladjustment on bomb run. No flak. Saw an X-2 take off again. Gave boys a good ride. We formed over Splasher (?) 7 in dark. Boys got together very nicely.
Cy Moreland and a lot of the old boys are back for their second tour. They were in the States for 30 days and are now back, poor boys.
Time – 9:10 Altitude – 22,000 Bombs – 12 – 500 pd. G.P., 2 Smoke
January 4, 1945 (Thursday) – Bad weather today. No flights for the entire 8th Force. Heavy frost over area. Weather very cold. Spent most of the day writing letters. Took workout and played tournament squash. Won my games. Very close match. Went to show and saw “Rainbow Island” (1944) with Eddie Bracken and Dotty Lamour. Just fair. Brought back a dog, but the cat didn’t get along so we let the dog go. No flight.
January 5, 1945 (Friday) – Awakened this morning and there was a heavy snow on the ground. Very cold last night. Wrote letters and went to bed early. No flight.
January 6, 1945 (Saturday) – Inspection morning. Went to the gym and played squash and worked out on weights. No flight.
January 7, 1945 (Sunday) – Mission #21 to Paderborn, Germany: marshalling yards. We led the group. Major Peck flew with me as Air Leader. I did all the flying. Up at 3 am for briefing. Took off in the dark and got the group assembled very well. Took off over North Sea, Zualli (?), Zuider Zee, Dunner Lake, Bielefeld, and target. Bombed P.F.F. No flak at target. Good fighter protection. Came back with group and let down through overcast individually.
Time – 8:30 Altitude – 23,000 Bombs – 6– 1,000, 2 Smoke
January 8, 1945 (Monday) – First pass in 7 weeks. Went to London and stayed at the Regent Palace. Very cold. Had to wait for train over two hours. Took haircut and manicure and went to sleep very early.
January 9, 1945 (Tuesday) – Up at 12. Went to the Grosvenor House for lunch. Ran into Lt. Marx (Ed Marx). I knew him from the States. Took Redhead to show and saw “Frenchmen’s Creek” with Joan Fontaine.
Took Redhead back to her hotel and went out with Lt. Marx. Went to bed around 11 pm.
January 10, 1945 (Wednesday) – Up at 10 a.m. Went to Officer’s P.X. and purchased overnight bag and some undershirts. Took train back at 2 p.m. and was back at Field by 10:30. Snowing very heavily.
January 11, 1945 (Thursday) – Up at 10 a.m. for test-hop. Took ship up to 21,000. Instruments all the way. Very heavy snowstorm before takeoff. Lt. Maduski flew with us as Bombardier.
Time – 2:30 Altitude – 21,000
January 12, 1945 (Friday) – Rained all morning and snow has turned into slush. Very nasty out. Supposed to fly, but called off due to weather conditions. Had a bad cold, so spent most of the afternoon writing letters. No flight.
January 13, 1945 (Saturday) – Boys went out today to fly. All came back safely. Weather very bad on landing and many of the ships just missed colliding by feet. I took in movie and saw “Bride by Mistake,” with Laraine Day. Very good. No flight. Went to dentist and had my teeth checked over and cleaned. No flight.
January 14, 1945 (Sunday) – Mission #22 to Magdeburg, Germany oil refineries. Up at 3 a.m. for briefing. Led low squadron. Had Capt. Reeder fly as Air Leader with me. Group formed at 5,000 feet and we took out over North Sea across Zuider Zee over Dummer Lake, S.W. of Hamburg and then 20 miles west of Berlin into target. Out by same route. Ran into flak at corridor near Cookehaven, but no damage. About 1 p.m., 50 miles from target, saw P-51s drop belly tanks and knew there were enemy fighters in the vicinity. Immediately closed formation and up ahead saw E/A going after 396th B.G. B-17s and fighters were going down in all directions, smoking, spinning, blowing up. It was fantastic. You could see the gun-fire from the bombers and E/A flashing red streaks across the zero cold skies. Kept praying that we wouldn’t be next. Looked out again and E/A were still attacking Group up in front. The whole low squadron had been shot down, and they were going after the high. Dog fights were in progress all over the sky. I looked down on my left and saw a single engine on fire flying straight along and then it blew up in a whitish cloud of smoke. We turned at our I.P. and headed for target, but the Lead group had gotten off course and we had to make several turns to get back on course. Finally headed back for target. Could see the Group up ahead; bomb and flak was fairly intense. We came in at Group formation and bombed on Lead Group. Bombs fell short. As bombs fell away, my engine #2 was shot out and we immediately feathered it. Kept on lead and #4 started smoking badly. Babied it all the way back to England where I finally feathered it and made a two-engine landing.
Upon landing we learned that Lt. Stemple and Capt. Reed, flying lead in the high, were missing. Also Lt. Kochczynski (Lee-Kachinsky), Lt. Nyland (Lee-on), and Lt. Callidad over target; they were in the High Group. They didn’t get back. Lt. Kochczynski (Lee-Kachinsky) was on his first mission on his second tour. We had quite a few flak holes in our left wing and stabilizer. Rough mission. Flak very accurate and moderately intense over target. Believe they were firing 105 m.m. Could see the red burst as they exploded. Navigator with Stemple was on his first mission on his second tour. Capt. Reeder’s first flight on his second tour; also Cy Moreland’s, my pin point navigator.
Time – 8:35 Altitude – 26,000 Bombs – 20 250s.
January 15, 1945 (Monday) – Boys went out today to Augsburg, Germany: marshalling yards. All came back. I went to the gym and played squash, and took it easy on workout. Cold still bothering me. Went to show and it was an oldie, with Victor Mature in “Captain Caution” (1940). Very bad. No flight.
January 16, 1945 (Tuesday) – Mission #23. Went to Dessau, Germany: jet plane factory, north of Merseburg. Up at 2 a.m. for briefing. Flew lead of Group with Major Dunn as Air Leader. Made night take-off and assembled at 12,000. Took off over North Sea to Holland across Zuider Zee to Dunner Lake, Munster, west of Berlin (20 miles) down to target. Cloud covered target area so we made a P.F.F. run with Low Squadron dropping on our Lead Ship. Good run and believe results were good as we could see black smoke coming off target. Going back, we came through Southern Germany past Schweinfurt and Strassbourg going through S. France up through Belgium and over N. Sea and home.
Over base we were diverted to another field due to weather conditions, but due to gas being low, I left formation and landed at Glatton 457th B.G. (Bomb Group). It was coincidental, as that was the base where Lt. W.A. Dawson, the boy I had instructed and came overseas with, had been stationed. He was shot down over Merseburg on Nov 2. No word about him as yet. Lt. Hendricks, Parker, and Lt. Dundas are at that base and have 24 missions. They are also lead crew pilots.
No. 3 and 4 engines kept cutting out. We were put up for the night in cold barracks, and I didn’t sleep very well. My cold kept bothering me, and I believe it got worse.
Time – 10:00 Altitude – 27,000 Bombs – 10-500s.
January 17, 1945 (Wednesday) – Up at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Went to ship and took off for home base. Landed at 11:30 and ate. Went to show and saw Joe E. Brown in the “Gladiator” (1938). Very good. Went to bed at 10 p.m. and was prepared for a good night’s sleep.
Flight time: 1:00 Altitude: 1,000 feet.
January 18, 1945 (Thursday) – Mission #24 to Kaiserslautern, Germany: to bomb marshalling yards. I led low squadron. Was very surprised when they awakened me at 3 a.m. for mission, as it wasn’t my turn to fly. Didn’t mind it too much as mission was just across the lines. We assembled at 9,000 and took course out over N. Sea through France and across lines to the target. Had to drop P.F.F. again, and made a good run. We fanned out in squadrons and all had same course. Lead squadron failed to drop and had to make the second run. We picked them up near I.P. (?) and continued on course home. Near Paris we received message to land Group at airfields in France due to bad weather. We ended above clouds at 10,000 awaiting our chance to drop down over Splasher (?) for instrument let down to airfield, which was below. Broke out of overcast at 500 feet over ground. Air was very turbulent, and I had a very hard time controlling ship. Saw field and made one turn but couldn’t get in. We were directed to another field, and finally got down. Ships were coming down from all directions, and had a 90º crosswind in landing. Field was near Lyon (?), France. It was just a landing strip being used by B-26s and P-51s for over the line missions and the field was in very bad shape. It had previously been occupied by the Germans and had been bombed very much when in their hands. When the Americans took it over, the Germans burnt the barracks and most of the permanent buildings. The boys line in tents and some shelters that they have erected. We were put up for the night and fed. They treated us very nicely and I really slept.
Flight time: 9:30 Altitude: 23,000 feet Bombs: 12-500s
January 19, 1945 (Friday) – Up at 7 a.m. for breakfast. We were driven out to our ships and on our way out could see unused German bombs, guns, etc. that were left at the Field. We gassed up and took out for home. Flew about 1,000 feet over ground and got a very good picture of France. Could see many places, many areas that had been heavily bombed.
Our #2 engine started smoking so I feathered some and we came across the channel over the White Cliffs of Dover over England and home. Just after landing, a terrific snowstorm came up and the field clouded in; not all the boys are back as yet. Got word from the Flight Surgeon that we are going on Flak Leave Tuesday. I am ready, as I need a rest and some good food. No word on Lt. Stemple, Capt. Reed or the other three ships that collided on run on mission to Magdeburg.
Went to show tonight and saw “Dragon Seed” with Katherine Hepburn (1944). Fair picture. Wrote some letters, and to bed.
Flight time: 3:00 Altitude: 2,500 feet
January 20, 1945 (Saturday) – Mission #25: Alerted again for mission to Heilbronn, Germany: marshalling yards. Led low squadron at 11,000 and took off over Felixstaue (?) across Channel. While climbing, #2 engine began smoking and throwing oil. Kept position in formation and tried to keep climbing but engine kept getting worse. At 22,000 feet, oil pressure suddenly dropped and I tried to feather engine but all oil had gone out. #3 engine was only drawing 35” so I decided to abort and we turned around and came back. Decided to drop bombs over Channel and Andy salvoed them. Couldn’t open close bomb-bay doors so we had to crank them up manually. Ship began to vibrate very badly due to #2 engine and I was worried that she would tear loose. We made it back just in time as vibration became so bad that ship was difficult to control. Engine was a total loss. I was glad to get back, but sorry I had to abort; first one in 25 missions. Got back around 11:30. Took off at 7 a.m.
Total Time – 4:30 Altitude – 22,000 Bombs: 12-500s
January 21, 1945 (Sunday) – Mission #25: to Mannheim, Germany: marshalling yards. Up at 3 a.m. for briefing. Took off at 7 a.m. Led low. We flew as a composite group with the 447th. Proceeded out over the Channel from France. Weather very bad and as we climbed from 11,000 we ran into clouds and I had to take squadron up on instruments; controls were very heavy and it added to difficulty of climb. We broke out at 24,000 and groups and ships were scattered all over skies. We lost our group, but picked them up deep in France and proceeded into target. Controls were dense and persistent. Windshield and side windows were iced up so very badly that the co-pilot had to scrape the ice off as I couldn’t see. Temperature was 55º below zero. We made I.P. good and fanned out for run. Flak was moderate and fairly accurate. I did evasive action and we leveled off for run. Bombardier’s sight froze up and we dropped on P.F.F. instruments. Believe we had a good run. We were in flak for almost 10 minutes. No damage. All came back safely. Good weather on landing.
Total time: 8:30 Altitude: 26,500 Bombs: 12-500
January 22, 1945 (Monday) – Group stood down. Went down to find out about Flak Leave and we leave tomorrow for Oxford. Holliday’s birthday is today. He is 23 years old. Found out I was in for D.F.C. award for coming back on two engines.
Went to show and saw “Laura,” with Gene Tierney. Not too bad. Got second Oak Leaf cluster award. Also took workout. No flight.
January 23, 1945 (Tuesday) – Left for Rest Home with my crew. We go to Eynsham Hall, ten miles east of Oxford. My enlisted men went to Hall. Stayed overnight in London and played the field. Stayed at Jules Red Cross Club for night.
Eynsham Hall, Oxford England
January 24, 1945 (Wednesday) – Took morning train for Oxford and arrived at Oxford at 2:30 where we had a truck from Rest Home pick us up. I was very impressed by Eynsham Hall. It belonged to the Honorable Mr. Mason and Lady Mason. It has 60 rooms with much of the original furnishings and paintings still in the house. The Estate has a large lake and facilities for all types of recreation. The Rest Home accommodated 50 officers and we were free to do as we pleased. We were given civilian clothes and my officers and I shared one of the large guest bedrooms. I enjoyed taking hot baths again and took one almost every day. Went to sleep early as I was very tired.
January 25, 1945 (Thursday) – Up at 9:30 for breakfast. Read, played the piano, and ate lunch at 12:30. Read and relaxed till tea and cake at 4 p.m. Relaxed till 6:00 when I bathed and dressed for dinner, which was served at 7:30. Played cards with the boys and lost one pound.
January 26, 1945 (Friday) – Same schedule as previous day. Played badminton in the gym. Snowed night before, so outdoor activities were culminated. Very cold outside. Saw movie called “Till We Meet Again,” with Ray Milland; an old picture (1944), but entertaining.
Ray Milland and Barbara Britton,
“Till We Meet Again” (1944).
January 27, 1945 (Saturday) – Getting into the swing of things, and really getting lazy. They have five Red Cross girls to keep the boys entertained and they are very nice. Their names are Sue, Mary, Jean, Barbara, and Frenchy. [Blank] Hall had a dance that night and the girls were from Oxford.
January 28, 1945 (Sunday) – Took things easy. Slept till 12:00. Played Gin Rummy most of the afternoon. Met two boys who had gone through Williams Field on 43-H, when I was instructing there. They are flying P-38 Photo Reconnaissance.
January 29, 1945 (Monday) – Times goes fast. Still relaxing. Going into town tonight with Mike, a bombardier from the 94th. Nice fellow. Took girls from Keehle (?) College at Oxford out for a short beer.
January 30, 1945 (Tuesday) – More Gin Rummy, badminton, and poker where I won 7 pounds, and so to bed.
January 31, 1945 (Wednesday) – Leaving for London, as we have to be back at the base by Thursday. Spent night in London.
February 1, 1945 (Thursday) – Took afternoon train back to base. Bumped into a nice blonde by the name of Dotty Walter, who is a Red Cross girl at Thatford Airfield. After dinner at Bury Red Cross, took in a movie and saw “Leaders of Courage,” a “C” picture of the W.A.F.T.S. Back at the field by midnight.
February 2, 1945 (Friday) – Up for test-hop today. Dropped five bombs out in channel to test racks. Capt. Filippone is my new bombardier. Weather not too hot.
Time – 2:30 Altitude – 2,000
February 3, 1945 (Saturday) – Boys went to Berlin today and all got back safely. Very little flak encountered. We went up on camera bombing airspeed calibration practice bombing.
Time – 5:00 Altitude – 10,000
February 4, 1945 (Sunday) – Up again today on form practice flight. I led group. We assimilated dropping bombs as we had some new boys out for first time. Weather bumpy. Made three bomb runs.
Time – 4:15 Altitude – 20,000
Saw “Kismet” with Ronald Coleman and Marlene Dietrich (1944). Technicolor. Very good. We were up for mission, but weather cancelled it last night. Rained most of night.
February 5, 1945 (Monday) – Mission #26 to Munich, scrubbed. We were awakened at 3 a.m. for mission, and learned it was to be Munich. Every ship in the 8th Air Force was to go there and paralyze this city in the same way that Berlin had been paralyzed Saturday. We started our engines and had taxied to take-off line when a red flare from the tower informed us the mission had been scrubbed. Went back to bed and slept till noon. Went to show in afternoon and saw Jeanne Craine in “In the meantime, Darling” (1944). Amusing. No flight.
February 6, 1945 (Tuesday) – Mission #26 to Chemnity, Germany at 2:30 a.m. and went down to briefing where I was confronted with Plan “B” – an attack on Berlin, and Plan “A” – an attack on our old friend Merseburg oil refinery at Bohlen. Secondary was to hit Dresden with last resort at Chemnity – large industrial city near Czechoslovakian border. Weather was very bad on forming and after I had climbed to 17,000, I was informed to drop down to 5,000 to get my squadron together. I was leading the high with Capt. Shilling as Air Leader. We got our Group formed and joined the Bomber Stream over the N. Sea, over Holland, Zuider Zee, into Germany down towards Merseburg where we were informed that due to heavy clouds over target we were to proceed to last resort.
We made the I.P. good and formed out and bombed P.F.F. by Squadrons. We had a good run and our bombs were dropped parallel to other smoke bombs of proceeding groups. We came off target and joined up with Group at rally point, and then we started a sight-seeing tour of Germany. Report came in to change route back. The Lead Groups became confused and our Group Lead’s “mickey” set went out. Our X.H.F. went out so the Low took over and after much twisting and turning over every flak area in Germany, where we were shot at by practically every Flak Battery in Germany, we got across the lines with comparative safety.
The weather was getting fairly bad so we took the boys down to about 500 feet off the ground and came back over Belgium, practically on the house tops. At the base, we were forced down to 200 feet over the ground with a heavy rain and ground mist, making landing very difficult. We peeled off our Squadron and got in O.K. The rest of the Squadron had quite a time getting in. One ship pilot, Lt. Portsch, landed long and ran off the runway, where he hit a cement mixer and washed out the ship. Lt. Brandenburg hauled out with his crew over the Coast of England. Reason unknown as yet. Lt. Goodenough, Lt. Parker (who is in our barracks), Lt. Valentine, and Lt. Muhlmeister are unaccounted for. Probably landed on Continent.
Our flight took us over seven countries: England, Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Quite a trip. Coming back over the Channel, we were 200 feet over water the whole way, running in and out of rain squalls. Flak at target very light. Ran into moderate flak coming over Rhine. On takeoff, two ships ran off the runway, holding up six other ships.
Time – 10:00 Altitude – 26,000 Bombs: 10-500s, 2 Icano, 2 smoke bombs.
February 7, 1945 (Wednesday) – Slept 15 hours; up at 12 noon. Was called up for practice flight but, due to engine trouble on #4 engine, we cancelled flight. Was put in for second D.F.C. on air leadership qualities. Lt. Parker still unaccounted for; Lt. Valentine and Lt. Muhlmeister got back OK.
February 8, 1945 (Thursday) – Up for Mission #27 to Lutzhendorf, Germany. Alerted and up at 3 a.m. Target was oil refineries in the Merseberg area again. However, it was scrubbed just as truck was taking us out to my ship. Went back to barracks and slept till noon. Went to movie and saw Bob Hope in “The Princess and the Pirate” (1944). Very funny. No flight.
February 9, 1945 (Friday) – Mission #27 to Weimar, Germany. We had two targets. One was Bollen (oil refinery in Merseberg) and secondary was Weimar (armament factory). I led the low squadron with Capt. Pete Riegal as Air Leader.
Up at 3 a.m. and we took off at 8 a.m. Route was over North Sea across Belgium, north of Frankfort into Germany. About 30 minutes from target we were jumped by 5 ME-262 jet-propelled E/A that made a pass and came around in front. P-51’s jumped that 262 and started firing. Dog fight over on our left was going on. I closed up my squadron with lead squadron and just then another jet came whipping by our Group. P-51s took after him. Some of the boys in our group took some shots, but didn’t hit.
We made I.P. and came in on our run. We bombed off Lead Squadron due to our mikey set going out. Encountered light but very accurate flak. We dropped on Lead and target was visual. We got good results. Lt. Shepard, in the lead flying #5, was hit and seen to go down. Lt. Wertz, #13 in my squadron, lost an engine and his ship was badly hit. He crash landed the ship in France after five of his boys had bailed out. They were not injured. Lt. Parker is definitely listed as M.I.A. They picked up his crews’ clothes in our barracks. His navigator, Tom Floyd, was married and had a child. Lt. Winter, the co-pilot, was single. Lt. Parker is married. Tough! Got boys home OK. We had fairly nice weather coming home.
Time – 8:45 Altitude – 26,000 Bombs: 10-500s, 2 Icano, 2 smoke bombs.
February 10, 1945 (Saturday) – Up for practice flight to drop bombs and calibrate air speed. Air too rough and too cloudy. Flew around for a few hours and came back to base. Went to movie and saw Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper in “Saratoga Trunk” (1945). Excellent picture.
Time – 2:30 Altitude – 500
February 11, 1945 (Sunday) – Up at 6:30 for another practice flight. Got out to ship and bombs for mission that had been scrubbed were still in ship. We took off at 9 a.m. and tried to bomb. Weather becoming quite overcast. Forced down to 2,500 feet. Finally after dropping three bombs with poor results, we came home. Spent afternoon reading a book, “The Robe” (1942) written by Lloyd C. Douglas. Very interesting story of Romans and results of crucifixion of Christ. Received quite a few letters today and also yesterday.
Time – 2:30 Altitude – 7,000
February 12, 1945 (Monday) – Slept till noon. Weather very bad for flying. Took it easy most of day. We had a new crew move in our barracks to replace Lt. Parker and crew, who is still M.I.A. The new boys are Lt. Luch from San Francisco, Lt. O’ Brien from Kansas, Lt. Hutchinson from San Francisco and Lt. Davidson from Massachusetts. They came over on the boat named “The Manhattan”. Lt. Whitehall also decided to move in after all these months. No flight.
February 13, 1945 (Tuesday) – Up at 10 a.m. for Link and had to lead practice formation again. We assembled at 16,000 but could only get four ships in our Squadron. Went on briefed course and made practice run on target and finally picked up low squadron after climbing up through overcast to 21,000. We had a head wind of 90 knots at this altitude. Finally decided to call it a day and came home. The regular mission scrubbed due to bad weather. It was to have been just over the lines.
Time – 4:30 Altitude – 21,000
February 14, 1945 (Wednesday) – Up at 6 a.m. for practice bombing. Waited till regular mission took off. They went to the Rhine Valley (Wesel). We climbed up to 10,000 and dropped 10 bombs. Made 20 runs, including three camera runs. Decided to go to show and see “Rhapsody in Blue” (1945) but show was too long (2 hours, 15 minutes) and I went to bed early.
Flight Time – 5:00 Altitude – 10,000
Oh, boys all got back, but were pretty badly shot up. Seems the Lead Squadron received the heaviest damage. Eight ships were out with major battle damage. Capt. Timko, the lead for the group, had over 60 holes in his ship. Group lost one ship. No word on it as yet. Capt. Filippone, my bombardier, made major.
February 15, 1945 (Thursday) – Up at 7:30 for practice hop. We were to have made a Micro-H run on Coventry at 18,000 but were unable to contact ground station. We then came back to triangular range and dropped three practice bombs at 10,000. Came back home before mission. They went on a deep raid on the other side of Dresden to Ruhlen. Crossed into Czechoslovakia after dropping on a secondary target. Little flak and no fighters. All got back OK. Nine and ½ hour mission.
I was informed by Major Herman that my Captaincy came through February 9, 1945. I really had been sweating it out. Capt. Shilling from the 838th was promoted to Major and also Capt. Stanek is a Major. Capt. Reed and Capt. Burt (?), both lead pilots, have finished up. Most of the lead pilots who started with me are practically all finishing up.
Flight Time – 4:30 Altitude – 18,000
February 16, 1945 (Friday) – Mission #28 to Hamm, Germany. Up at 6 a.m. for briefing. Latest I have ever been awakened for a mission. We had a 10 0’clock takeoff, and I flew Lead of the low with the 94th group over Channel, across Holland into Germany. We broke off into 6 ship elements and bombed marshalling yards with very good results. We could see smoke billowing off the target and my co-pilot could see bursts of explosions probably caused by an ammo train exploding. As we turned off target towards R.P., I looked up and saw a B-17 blow up in a blackish cloud of smoke and followed the parts of the plane spinning down in a white-reddish plume. Flak very accurate and kept bursting very close on run. I could see them tracking elements ahead of me. Gunners were doing some very tight tracking on squadrons going into target. They picked us up and the flak was right in front of us and followed us through the target and on to the rally point. Report cane through that there were bandits in the area and we really had to pull the R.P.M. and M.P. to catch up to the Lead Squadron.
The High Squadron picked up quite a bit of battle damage and one of the waist gunners was wounded by a flak burst that hit him in the head. My squadron came through in good shape and we landed at 3 p.m. Shortest mission I have flown for a long time.
Time – 6:45 Altitude – 23,500 Bombs: 12-500s, 2 smoke bombs.
February 17, 1945 (Saturday) – No inspection; really surprised us. Anyways, went up on a test-hop to check the C-1. Weather was very bad and low ceiling necessitated my going around after missing the runway the first pass. Got in O.K. the second time and greased one in.
Went to movie and saw Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “To Have or Have Not” (1944). Quite a picture with the oomph on the new “sex” type, meaning Lauren Bacall. Her singing was the bad part of the picture.
Time – 2:00 Altitude – 2,000
February 18, 1945 (Sunday) – Slept till 11 a.m. and then went on pass to London. On the train, just outside of Cambridge, I met a very nice young blonde, and took her out to dinner and then to a drinking club called the Brayhouse located at Yorktown. Had a nice time. Made a date with her for the following day.
February 19, 1945 (Monday) – Met Capt. Cleaves at the Jules Club. He was with me at Ardmore, and came over with us. He is all finished and is waiting orders to go home. He was lead crew also. We decided to take in a London musical called, “Strike it Again,” with Sid Field, England’s outstanding comedian. It was very good and I really enjoyed myself. I picked up my date and decided to see another musical called, “Panama Hattie,” with Bebe Daniels. Very dull and I practically fell asleep. Old Bebe tried to sing and dance; terrible and about the second act she was so exhausted she could hardly drag herself out for the finale. Went back to the drinking club and then to bed at the Jules Club. I am picking up a cold.
February 20, 1945 (Tuesday) – Went to see “Up in Arms,” with Danny Kaye (and Dinah Shore, Dana Andrews, and Virginia Mayo). Very good. Took my blonde out to eat at the Jr. Officer’s Club, where I bumped into a Red Cross girl who was in my public speaking class at U.C. (Berkeley). Her name was Betty. Moreland and Whitenall were up there and joined us for dinner. Back to the Club, and then to a Newsreel Theater and then to bed.
Danny Kaye in “Up in Arms” (1945)
February 21, 1945 (Wednesday) – Back on the noon train to Bury where I met Andrew and Holliday at the Red Cross Club and then to the Field where I find out we are up for tomorrow’s mission. Not much rest. My cold is very bad. Had a hard time sleeping with my coughing and sneezing. Got some cough medicine from the infirmary to help me, but not much help.
February 22, 1945 (Thursday) – Mission #29 to Cheb, Czechoslovakia to bomb a marshalling yard to help the Russian offensive. We were part of the largest air offensive ever put out over Germany – 6,000 planes. I led our group and we assembled at 6,000 feet and then out over the Channel to Ostend Belgium, across Belgium, then over down through France, across Luxembourg, across S. Rhine into Germany, crossing 30 miles from N. Switzerland where I could see the snow covered Alps jutting through the clouds. North of Nuremberg to I.P. where due to 10/10 over target we decided to bomb last resort. On route in we climbed to 20,000 feet till we crossed the Rhine and then let down to 12,000, at which altitude we were to bomb. About 150 miles from target, we ran into new bad weather and our Group became separated. We proceeded on to main target, but due to bad visibility, went back to last resort. We climbed back up to 20,000 feet to get over the clouds, and had a rough time getting out of the way of other bombers coming in to bomb the same area. We finally picked up our course and dragged our bombs by 1º F.F. We turned back on course and were joined by the high and the low squadrons. The high dropped on a target of opportunity. Joined the bomber stream and let down to 2,000 feet, where we crossed back over France and across the Channel back to the base.
Longest mission to date. No flak or fighters. Lt. Holliday, my co-pilot, finished up today as he had flown two missions with Capt. Remakclus when his co-pilot was in the hospital. Andy has two to go, and Klingensmith has five to go. My gunners all have two to go. Our target was Orsbach, Germany marshalling yards. We probably leveled the town. Three ships landed in France due to gas shortage.
Time – 10:15 Altitude – 12,000-20,000 Bombs: 12-500s, 2 smoke bombs.
February 23, 1945 (Friday) – Slept till 10 a.m. and then up for another test-hop. Used Lt. Reed, Capt. Timko as co-pilot, and let him fly from the left seat. We took off with a 600 foot ceiling and climbed through a solid overcast to 14,000 before we broke out. We checked the P.F.F. and C-1 equipment and then let down by instruments. We broke out at 400 feet and landed. The boys were just getting back from a long mission to Nuremberg, where they bombed visually with excellent results. All came back safely. It was a nine and one-half hour mission.
Time – 3:00 Altitude – 15,000
February 24, 1945 (Saturday) – Mission #30 to Bremen, Germany. My last mission and I took it as a matter of course. Up for briefing at 2:30 a.m. Target was the submarine and shipyard building industries in a heavily defended area. Bremen was supposed to have over 300 guns. We left English Coast across North Sea, into Holland, over Zuider Zee into Germany and target. We reached I.P. and turned left, where we peeled off in squadrons and made run into target. Target was partially obscured by clouds and we made a run on P.F.F. equipment. Could see flak tracking ships up ahead and I would judge it was moderate to intense and fairly accurate. Flak bursts were at our level, and we dropped our bombs and made our turn off target. High and low squadrons had a little rougher time and received quite a few flak hits among them. No fatalities. I flew the lead for the group and we gave them a good lead.
Coming back, I gave the Field a good buzz job with a violent display of flares as we flew across the Field. Major Eberhart flew as Air Leader with us. Didn’t care too much for him as he makes his decisions too late. I don’t think his judgment is too sharp. We formed at 20,000. Lost Lt. McCollough on his 13th mission.
Andy and my enlisted men have one more mission to go. They will probably finish up tomorrow. Received congratulations from all the boys and Group Staff on the conclusion of my tour. Feel lost on not having to fly anymore.
Time – 7:30 Altitude – 25,000 Bombs: 12-500s, 2 smoke bombs.
February 25, 1945 (Sunday) – Slept till 12 noon and took it easy all the day. Andy, Joe, and Rector (?) finished up. The boys bombed a target north of Munich. I went down to Wormingford to see about getting into P-51s. Saw Major Jager and Capt. Unger who came over from Ardmore with me. Had a reconnaissance car. Lt. Luch and Lt. Hutchinson came with me.
February 26, 1945 (Monday) – Took it easy again and got ready to go to London for a few days. Andy and Bob went on pass today.
February 27, 1945 (Tuesday) – Off to London. Met Doris at 4:30. Went to Jr. Officer’s Club for dinner and then to St. James’ Court.
February 28, 1945 (Wednesday) – Took Red Cross girl to lunch and show. Her name was Diane. She was born in Paris. She was too young. I didn’t care much for her. Met Doris at 5:00 pm and we ate at the St. James’ Court. Met Lt. Russell, who I knew at Ardmore.
March 1, 1945 (Thursday) – Back to the Field. I checked out Lt. Hutchinson and crew on night transition. They made five landings. Not too bad. Time 2:30.
March 2, 1945 (Friday) – Flew with Lt. Scales and his crew at night again. Not too hot. Flew down to Meadowchurch and dropped Capt. Casey off who is going home after his second tour. Shot five landings at night.
Total time 5:00
March 3, 1945 (Saturday) – Went to Bury St. Edmunds, where Doris came down to see me. We took in movie and stayed at Angel Hotel. That night, enemy aircraft came over and strafed town and killed two persons. They dropped bombs on 94th at Ruffin. I heard the alert signal but went back to sleep.
March 4, 1945 (Sunday) – Saw Doris off on the 4 p.m. train and came back to the Field. Went to sleep very early.
March 5, 1945 (Monday) – Flew Andy, Bob and Capt. Mellon down to Warton. They are going to Steve and Charlie awaiting transportation back home. Capt. Reeder flew with us. He almost flew us into the ground letting down through the overcast. We pulled up with just inches to spare. Very close. I flew back. I inquired about testing ships and it sounds like a good job.
Boys ran into fighters Saturday and lost Lt. Wahl (?); Lt. McCollough blew up on Bremen Raid. They were attacked by five twin-engine E/A jets.
March 6, 1945 (Tuesday) – Went up on SC-551 instruments check. Flew with Capt. Van Epps. Went to Cambridge, London, and back to Field where I shot two landings.
March 7, 1945 (Wednesday) – Wrote letters all day. No flying. Chuck, my bombardier, finished his tour by flying to Dusseldorf. He is very happy. No flight for me. All came back.
March 8, 1945 (Thursday) – Checked out Lt. Parkhurst on day and night flying. He is getting his own crew. He didn’t do too badly. Our last night landing, the tail pinsheared off. We quit after that one. The boys went to Frankfurt today. All came back.
Total Time 6:00
March 9, 1945 (Friday) – Went to London. Met Doris at Club. We ate and danced. Chuck also went down with me.
March 10-11, 1945 (Saturday and Sunday) – Took in two shows, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and “Keys to the Kingdom” with Gregory Peck. Very good.
March 12, 1945 (Monday) – Back to base. Played doubles handball with Lt. Tepper, Lt. Wilson, and Capt. Winston Rogers. Was to have flown, but flight called off.
March 13, 1945 (Tuesday) – Checked out four pilots on SC-551 at Bury St. Edmunds. Was to have flown again at night, but had trouble getting a ship and flight was called off.
March 14, 1945 (Wednesday) – Checked out Lt. Scales and Lt. Pratt on night flying. Quite a few of the boys are finishing up. The Group lost Lt. Sugarman on a mission to Hamburg. Direct flak hit and he was blown up.
Total Time 3:00
March 15, 1945 (Thursday) – Group had another bad day. Mission to Berlin cost us Lt. Conwill, Capt. Reeder, Lt. Moderski and Lt. Deppo. It was Conwill’s first mission as Lead Crew. Capt. Reeder was flying as Air Leader on his 10th mission of his second tour. He had flown with me many times. Lt. Moderski was on his first flight since he bailed out two months ago. It was his second tour. The report said that a direct hit on their ship blew the nose off. Don’t think they had much of a chance. Lt. Deppo was on his 22nd mission. He was Capt. Van Epps Mickey Operator. That’s the way it goes. Lt. Sylvernal and crew were also shot down. Major Avery and Lt. Miller were last seen heading for Poland after losing a couple of engines to flak. Target was hit, but flak was extremely heavy and accurate.
March 16, 1945 (Friday) – Flew with Lt. Churchen (?) p.m., a night check and on third takeoff we had left tire blow out. We were going at 90 m.p.h. and ended up in the center of the grass. Left tire completely off and supercharger damaged. No one hurt. That ended our night flying for the time being.
Total Time 3:00
March 17-18, 1945 (Saturday and Sunday) – Doris came to Bury and we spent the weekend together. Back to the base Sunday evening.
March 19, 1945 (Monday) – Group lost two more ships in a mid-air collision over France. Lt. Virgin and Lt. Smoke were the pilots. Reports stated that Lt. Smoke, with four mission, lost control and crashed into Lt. Virgin’s ship. Lt. Virgin was on his last mission. He was formerly co-pilot on Lt. Reeds’ crew, and had bailed out on Dec. 24th. He was then co-pilot on Capt. Richard’s crew. He was then given his own crew. No one seen to get out of either ship. More reports later.
March 20, 1945 (Tuesday) – Made a broadcast for B.B.C. with Major Filippone, Capt. Edwards, and Capt. Keith on our most exciting experience. The broadcast was put on a transcription to be sent to the U.S. over the French Broadcasting System. It was handled by two French War Correspondents, who I took for a ride in a B-17 later in the day. Their names were Jack Derreaux (Devereaux ?) and Guy.
Time 3:00 Ship: 836th
March 21, 1945 (Wednesday) – Went up for one hour flight to check airplane with Col. Fisher.
March 22, 1945 (Thursday) – Played handball and took it easy most of the day. No flights.
March 23, 1945 (Friday) – Flew Klingensmith down to Wharton. He is on his way home. Navigator got us off course about 50 miles. Finally found field. Flew with Lt. Parkhurst to check him out. Took Cub up for 2:00 later in evening.
March 24, 1945 (Saturday) – Took up P.F.F. ship to calibrate range to check air speed.
March 25, 1945 (Sunday) – Checked out Lt. Parkhurst and crew on instruments, take-offs and co-pilot landings.
March 26, 1945 (Monday) – Rained all day. Went to show and saw Alan Ladd and Loretta Young in, “And Now Tomorrow” (1944). No flight. Lt. Virgin and his crew all bailed out successfully. Lt. Smoke spun in. Lt. Althouse came back with his entire vertical fin chewed off. Two ships from another group collided. Seemed as if #11 ship was hit by flak, lost control, and come over on Althouse’s ship and then collided with #12. Both spun in. They were from the 486th Group.
March 27, 1945 (Tuesday) – Weather better. Went down to Wing, where I was presented my D.F.C. Bumped into Capt. Fred Gunn. He was at Ardmore with me. He has flown 52 missions. Went to evening show and saw “Dark Waters” (1944) with Merle Oberon and Frenchot Tone.
March 28, 1945 (Wednesday) – Wrote and read letters most of the day. Played handball. We are now on top of ladder in the doubles tournament. Received 12 letters today.
March 29, 1945 (Thursday) – Flew down to Wormingford to check on getting into P-51 Godack (?) deal. Papers will come through in about a week. Checked out 50 caliber machine gun blanks for camera gunnery.
March 30, 1945 (Friday) – Went to London today and met Doris. We ate at Officer’s Club.
March 31-April 2, 1945 (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) – Took in three shows. Saw Deana Durbin in “Can’t Help Singing (1944),” “Hangover Square (1945),” with Laird Cregar, and Bing Crosby in “Here Come the Waves” (1944).
Can’t Help Singing Hangover Square
April 3, 1945 (Tuesday) – Flew down to Prestwick, Scotland. Very nice country. Took Lt. and crew to flak home. Flew through snowstorm.
April 4, 1945 (Wednesday) – Went to movie on Base and saw “Guest in the House,” with Anne Baxter and Ralph Bellamy.
Was also informed that my second D.F.C. came through. I am going down Friday to receive it.
April 5, 1945 (Thursday) – Flew some boys down to Church Broughton. They are going home to Stone (?). Also checked out Capt. Roth.
April 10, 1945 (Tuesday) – Our group was hit hard and lost six ships: three to M.E.-262 (jet planes) and three to flak. Those down are: Lt. Hammer (safe), Lt. McGuiness, Major Richmond (Lead Crew, 2nd mission as lead), Lt. Sell (I checked him out), Lt. Hauenstein (safe), Lt. Althouse (35th mission; survived narrow escape in accident a week ago when his tail was chewed off by another plane that collided and went down, and Lt. Terry J. Orchard (25 missions).
Names Mentioned in Journal
Capt. Al Filippone (bombardier). (Made major on 2/14/45).
Capt. Rusty Smith (Group Bombardier).
(James) Chuck Klingensmith
C.O. William K Colonel Martin (28 Dec. 1944 - May 1945)
Walter “Cy” Moreland - pin point navigator (went missing 1/14/45)
Major Fred R. Peck (Air Leader in Mission #21)
Lt. Maduski (Bombardier).
Capt. Robert Reeder (Air Leader)
Lt. Omar Stemple (went missing 1/14/45)
Lt. Kachinsky (went missing 1/14/45)
Lt. Nyland (went missing 1/14/45)
Lt. Callidad (went missing 1/14/45)
Major Raymond B. Dunn (Air Leader)
Capt. Mayfield R. Shilling (Air Leader) (from the 838th)
(promoted to Major 2/9/45)
Lt. Robert H. Portsch
Lt. Robert Goodenough
Lt. Parker (pilot, in Dad’s barracks) (MIA on Feb. 6, 1945)
Lt. Thomas C. Valentine
Lt. Joseph G. Muhlmeister (Pilot)
Capt. Pete Riegel (Air Leader) (President of the 487th Bomb Group Association 1969-2004; Now it is Roy Wickerham of Tucson, Ariz)
Tom Floyd (navigator) (MIA on Feb. 6, 1945)
Lt. Lawrence F. Winters (co-pilot) (MIA on Feb. 6, 1945)
Lt. Luch (Luchan?)(from San Francisco)*
Lt. O’ Brien (from Kansas)*
Lt. Hutchinson (from San Francisco)*
Lt. Davidson (from Massachusetts)*
Lt. John Timko (pilot)
Major Lawrence A. Herman
Capt. Bernard Stanek
Capt. James W. Burt
Lt. Bob Holliday (co-pilot)
Lt./Capt. Theobold G. Remaklus (pilot)
Major Francis G. Eberhart
Norman K. Andrew, “Andy”
Lt. McCollough (KIA on his 13th mission)
Capt. Unger (trained with Dad at Ardmore, Oklahoma)
Lt. Russell (trained with Dad at Ardmore, Oklahoma)
Lt. Leonard H. Scales
Capt. Riggs Mellen
Capt. Van Epps
Lt. Benjamin B. Tepper
Capt. Winston Rogers
Lt. John C. Pratt
Lt. Joseph M. Sugarman
Lt. John R. Virgin
Lt. Daniel C. Smoke (KIA)
Lt. Joseph D. Conwill
Lt. Jerome D. Moderski
Lt. William C. Sylvernal
Major Lyndon J. Avery
Capt. John H. Edwards (lead pilot)
Capt. George V. Keith (bombardier)
Col. Russell F. Fisher
Lt. Lawrence H. McGinnes
Major George M. Richmond
Lt. Edward L. Sell
Lt. Richard L. Althouse
Lt. Terry J. Orchard
* They came over on the boat named “The Manhattan” and replaced Lt. Parker’s MIA crew on Feb. 12.
Mission #20 to Aschaffenburg, Germany (marshalling yard). – Jan. 3, 1945
Mission #21 to Paderborn, Germany (marshalling yards). – Jan. 7, 1945
Mission #22 to Magdeburg, Germany (oil refineries). - Jan. 14, 1945
Mission #23 to Dessau, Germany (jet plane factory) – Jan. 16, 1945
Mission #24 to Kaiserlauten , Germany (marshalling yards) – Jan. 18, 1945
Mission #25 to Mannheim, Germany (marshalling yards) – Jan. 21, 1945
Mission #26 to Chemnity, Germany – Feb. 6, 1945
Mission #27 to Weimar, Germany. (Two targets: Bollen oil refinery in Merseberg; armament factory in Weimar). – Feb. 9, 1945
Mission #28 to Hamm, Germany – February 16, 1945
Mission #29 to Cheb, Czech (marshalling yard) – February 22, 1945
Mission #30 to Bremen, Germany - February 24, 1945
Transcribed by: Laura D. Stanley
 Lt. Fishman, received a Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.
 E/A = Enemy aircraft.
 The mission that Dawson was flying when he went missing is discussed in detail on the following link: http://www.457thbombgroup.org/FATE/RLF076.HTML. Dawson was taken as a POW, along with eight others.
 Note that the Mission he flew on January 21 is also entitled, “Mission #25”. Perhaps this is because he had to abort the mission on January 20?
 Lt. Fishman earned his second D.F.C. for this mission.
 Lt. Jack R. Fishman received his first Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.
 Lt. Jack R. Fishman received his second Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission.