This Day In History: December 20th, 1944

Discussion in 'History' started by Mad Scientist, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    On this day 67 years ago my Grandfather, 1st Lt. Donald Bone and his crew went down while on a mission to Skoda Works, Pilsen Germany. This is the plane he flew that day.

    He's in the middle of the back row.

    [​IMG]

    The crew lost control of the #4 engine when the prop governor stopped working. They turned back to base but were unable to maintain altitude with only three engines and had to bail out.

    The Co-Pilot, Lt. Batham was captured by a Nazi patrol and I have the actual translated report of that. It basically reads like this; "American Flyer, captured near the town of (something). Refuses to say anything but his serial number". That always chokes me up when I read that. He spent the rest of the war in a Nazi prison camp. The rest of the crew made it back to their base in Italy 8 days later with the help of people, mostly farmers, on the ground in the occupied territories. All ten crew members surviving a bailout of any bomber was a very rare occurrence during the war.

    My Grandfather flew B-24's for the 304th Bomb Wing, 455th Bomb Group, 741st Squadron "Vulgar Vultures" out of San Giovanni Italy from August of 1944 to February of 1945. He flew 38 missions in total and was awarded the Air Medal 4 times and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    I contacted the tail gunner on that mission about a year ago, he said I was the only person to contact him about that mission in the last 66 years! He said that was only his second mission and was his 19th birthday! Amazingly, he said he never had to fire a single shot from his tail gunner position on any mission! He stayed in the service and retired from the A.F. in 1966 as a MSgt.

    This is the B-24 my Grandfather trained in while stateside. That's my Grandmother immortalized on the side in all her natural glory. She was really angry when she found out about this but as her grand children say when they see this; "Wow! Grandma was hot!". :D

    [​IMG]

    "Miss-I-Hope" was assigned to a different Squadron than my Grandfather was and interestingly, made it all the was through the war in one piece only to be ferried back to the states and scrapped in Arizona. :frown:

    My Grandmother died in 1984 and is buried in California, my Grandfather passed way in 1987 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Swagger
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    Swagger Gold Member

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    Thanks for sharing that with us, MS.

    My grandfather was an airman, too. He flew a de Havilland Mosquito. I think I've already recounted one or two of the stories he told us. Interestingly, I saw an old interview from the '70s of an Australian cricketer. During the interview they asked him what the most stressful event of his sporting career was. He looked at the interviewer (Michael Parkinson, I think) very seriously and said something along the lines of: 'Stressful? There's nothing stressful about playing cricket. There is, however, an acute sense of stress that comes with having a Messerschmitt stuck to your arse.' The interviewer joined in the audience's laugther, but from the look on the cricketer/ex-fighter pilot's face, he hadn't been joking.
     
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  3. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The Mosquito is one of my favorite British planes from WWII, next to the later model Spitfires with the 5 bladed Rotol propellers. I think the "Mossie" looks the coolest with Invasion Stripes. I was really a surprised when I found out they were made of wood!:

    [​IMG]

    *Thank You to the Mod who removed the offending post!
     
  4. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    Kind of hard to think of one's grandma as concentrated hotness.

    Thanks for the really cool posting
     
  5. jozeP
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    jozeP Rookie

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    Dear Ron Paul!

    Greetings from Slovenia and Europe. My name is Joze Povsic.

    20th December 1944, from 67 years ago, your grandfather Donald Bone and his crew flew the B-24 Liberator on a mission from Cerignola Italy into Hitler's Germany that bombed Skoda Works in Pilsen city.

    For you I have one very interesting piece of news. For more than 20 years looking for data and information about the bomber crash. I have almost all the information about the overthrow of the bomber B-24 Liberator, with the title "Rosalie Mae" which is on Wednesday 20th December 1944 crash in Slovenia, near the village of my birth. The crew jumped with parachutes from a height of 5000 meters. Bomber crashed in the wine houses, which were surrounded by vineyards. Bomber has crashed in an accident. I have parts of the bomber: engine parts, weapons parts and aluminum parts of the body.

    Please contact us at my e-mail: joze.povsic @ amis.net

    I expect your answer and your nice welcome!

    Joze Povsic, Slovenia, Europe
     
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  6. FuelRod
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    FuelRod Gold Member

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    They never paint ugly chicks on planes.
     
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  7. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Wow I can't believe this! I'll contact this guy immediately and if legit (and it looks like it) I'll post all the info!

    Amazing! :happy-1:
     
  8. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    That would be so cool if real. Keep us posted
     
  9. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I e-mailed back and forth a few times with Mr. Povzic and he sent me some pictures I'd never thought I'd see.

    The actual crash site in Slovenia:

    [​IMG]

    Mr. Jozef Povzic, who saw the bomber crash. He said all four engines were "howling" as the bomber reached terminal velocity:

    [​IMG]

    Mrs. Marija Kocjan who saw the bomber burning on the ground and remembers seeing the crew! All of whom had bailed out safely but as the Tail Gunner, Sgt Boyd told me about a year ago: "Your Grandfather twisted his ankle on landing so we had to carry him back on a hay cart". A Nazi Patrol was just 2 kilometers away and as the crew made their escape the co-pilot, Lt. Batham, was captured.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  10. Crackerjack
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    Crackerjack Too sick for a cure

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    Very cool. I wonder what the odds of you two making contact were?

    Did you end up with any of your grandfather's stuff from the war? I'm asking because I obtained almost everything from one of my grandfathers and I can't figure out what to do with it.
     

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