I was the engineer on 2nd Lt. James M. Sibley's Aircrew in the 578th Bomb Squadron, 392nd Bomb Group stationed at Wendling, Norfolk, England.
I was inducted at Syracuse, New York on October 10,1942 and sent to Ft. Niagara for processing, after the processing I was sent to Atlantic City, New Jersey for basic training and aptitude test. From there I was sent to Seymour Johnson Field at Goldsboro, North Carolina to attend Aircraft Mechanics School to learn about the workings of the B-24 Bomber. After finishing the course there I was sent to Aircraft Gunnery School at Buckingham Army Air Base at Ft. Meyers, Florida. Upon finishing that course I was sent to Salt Lake City, Utah for crew assignment.
From there I was sent to Davis Monthan Air Force Base at Tucson, Arizona and was assigned to the James M. Sibley crew as the assistant engineer. We flew several trips out of Davis Monthan familiarizing us about the plane.
We were then sent to Salinas, California to be trained but due to weather and grounding of all planes we were furloughed and reassigned to the Tavasti Provisional Group at Blythe, California where we had several night missions to Muroc for night bombing and in daylight we would fly formation flights for familiarizing the pilots on formation flying. Upon the finish there we were sent to Lincoln, Nebraska for overseas assignment and to pick up a new B-24 for flight overseas.
Orders were to be opened after take-off in late October for the base assignment. We flew to Boca Raton, Florida, and from there to Puerto Rico and on to Georgetown, British Guiana and there was grounded for a few days due to a hurricane.
After that we flew to Belem, Brazil and then to Natal, Brazil. We flew a night mission to Dakkar, French West Africa, then on to Marrakech, Morocco. After spending a few days there we were sent on a night flight to LANDS END, England, then a final flight to WENDLING, ENGLAND, where we turned in our plane to be modified. After we had several flights for training and other processing at Wendling I was awakened on the morning of December 13th, 1943 for an assignment to fly the engineers position with another crew. We flew to Kiel, Germany and bombed the submarine pens, and on the return from Kiel I was called by the pilot that they couldn't get the bombay doors to close, as I was in the waste gun position I had to crawl through the open bombay and get into the nose wheel compartment to reset a slide mechanism and then close the doors. A very harrowing position to be in.
On the 30th of December 1943 we were awakened and briefed to fly a mission to Ludswigshaffen, Germany, we took off from Wendling with the Group and flew on our mission. During the outbound flight over France we had flak and lost our #2 engine. We flew on with the Group to the target area and lost our #1 engine, I asked Lt. Sibley if he could fly on the two port engines and his reply was "We are going to try" We dropped the bombs over the target and was on our return to England. We began by transferring our fuel and discarding all our loose equipment but to no avail. We had to bail out as we would have had to ditch in the channel off the French Coast. All the crew members escaped okay and landed South East of Rouen, France. a short way from where the plane crashed.
We were picked up by the French Underground and hidden for about two weeks in separate farms and had our photo's taken for the French passports. The person who had the passport information was an escaped German prisoner and he had all the information on him when he was recaptured by the Germans. Therefore we were picked up by the Gestapo and taken to Paris for interrogation, we spent about two weeks in a single cell at the Fresnes Prison and individually questioned on what and when, where and how many? This information was not new to them as the person who interviewed me was a Syracuse University graduate then returned to Germany. We were there about two weeks and sent to Frankfurt under shackles and guards to another Gestapo Prison where we were separated and put in isolation. I sat there for about two weeks folding paper for making grocery bags for the Germans. From there I was sent to another prison compound which was an old wooden building with no heat or beds, just a plain room with a single electric light that never turned off. After two days there I was sent to a shower building and had a hot shower and issued new GI clothing and put into another compound for prisoners to wait for transport.
A large group of U S prisoners were put into box cars and after many days we arrived at Stalag Luft VI at Heydekrug, East Prussia. When the Germans moved out of Stalag VI they put us in box cars again and took us to Memel, Lithuania.
We were then put into the hold of an old German coal freighter called the "INSTERBURG" and we enjoyed a three day tour of the Baltic's to the port of Swienamundie, What a mess we were from that cruise. Again it was the box cars and train ride to Stalag Luft IV at GROSTYCHOW, Pomerania.
I was one of the fortunate ones who had the so-called "HYDAKRUG RUN" there we stayed until that camp was vacated by forced march across NORTHERN GERMANY and SOUTH into CENTRAL GERMANY where we were liberated by AMERICAN FORCES at HALLE, Germany on APRIL 28th 1945. From there it was CAMP LUCKIE STRIKE and sent to SYRACUSE AIR BASE until discharged at Rome Army Depot on NOVEMBER 11th, 1945.
My air crew upon bail out was 2nd Lt. James M. Sibley,Pilot 2nd Lt. Leonard (NMI)Volet,Copilot**2ndLt. William L.Olsen, Navigator**2ndLt. Edward W. Boyle,Bombardier**S/Sgt.Peter (NMI)Garris,Radio**Sgt.Everett F.Satterly,Jr.,engineer** Sgt.Nicholas M.Carusone,TTGun.**S/Sgt..Fredri.ck M.Wald,WGun. Sgt.John L.Sullivan,Jr.BGun.**Sgt.Fred T.Schmitt,TGun.