ATTLEBRIDGE VISITOR CENTER
EARL WASSOM BIOGRAPHY
Earl Wassom has written and published a biography and family history. It's a very limited edition and Earl paid for the publishing.
It is a large volume with his own personal history including detailed accounts of his WWII service and his association with the 8th Air Force Historical Society and the 466th Bomb Group Association. It is very entertaining and very easy to read.
Any serious 466th Bomb Group History buff should have it!
We will be making them available to 466th Bomb Group members (not cheap) but but well under sticker price of $90.
Anyone interested in a copy should contact Bill Curtis for details.
AVAILABLE by mail
email@example.com Tele: (785)766-3351
The Mundsley Flak house overlooks the north sea close to the area that the 466th used as an assembly point toget into their flying formation for each mission. The lead airplane would fly counter clockwise in a large elliptical circle and as the bombers got up to altitude they would fly through the circle to line up behind the lead plane. The operation would generally take 90 minutes. .
New Attlebridge Video in Post Production
Video shooting has been completed in England with a few more interviews to get in the states over the summer. Post production (Editing) will start in October with a target of completion in November.
DVD'copies will be made available in both the US and the UK we're hoping for broadcast on local public television stations.
Bill Curtis is producing the video with local Norfolk historian and jeep driver Paul Hindle and his lovely wife Eileen. They were joined by Pauline and Kenny Souther, from Massachusetts who were pressed into service as grips. Pauline and Kenny are active in the 466th BGA and Pauline grew up in the nearby village of Hockering. She even was interviewed for the video. Paul has been able to get permission to take a metal detector and dig up a number of artifacts on the old base property. He's still looking for a fabled buried jeep. He shared his finds on camera. Paul had 15 people lined up to be interviewed about their war memories. As children most thought it was great fun to have all these new faces in town and the American boys had an endless supply of "sweets".
Paul had two friends who generously volunteered their services with two drones and took incredible aerial video footage for the project.
On VE Day We braved the cold wind to visit the Cambridge American Cemetery and took both still photos and video on each 466th Bomb Group Honor Roll graves and each name on the Wall of the Missing. The photographing and video shooting took the whole day. This footage will probably be used for a separate video featuring those of the 466th in England and Europe whose remains were never returned to the United States
The 466th Bomb Group Association generously offered to cover some of the travel expenses and Sir John White BT of Salle generously provided us room and board.
466TH BGA TO DONATE BOOKS
Copies of "Attlebridge Arsenal" will be donated to over 50 air museums around the U.S. to be available for research purposes. We have a list of museums that we are working from. If you know of a genuine research library we should send one to, please let us know.
Yes, we still have copies for sale!
466th Bomb Group Association News
A Visit to a Father's Duty Station
Notes from Members
Restoration Project at Weston-Longville
Veteran Photo & Memorabilia Collections
466th Q & A
Formation (Assembly) Ship "Ready & Willing"
Memorials & Honor Roll Graves in the Netherlands
466th Memorial Museum
Martin B. Bruckner Crew # 352 (785th Sq.)
Received the following photo from Richard Dondes, East Brunswick, New Jersey
Attached is the crew photo of my father's B-24 crew on 4 Dec 1944 at Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson. This was just before going overseas to Attlebridge via the Isle de France ship.
Standing, Left to Right: Charles Dondes - Navigator, Cody Hall - Co-pilot, Charlie Felts - Command Pilot, Edwin Kimmel - Bombardier
Kneeling, Left to Right: Ed Weidner - Left Waist Gunner, Martin Tarlosky - nose gunner, Merritt McLaughlin - Flight Engineer & Top Turret Gunner, Clint Swanson - Tail gunner, Harry Bender - Right waist gunner, Marv Allard, Radio Operator/Gunner
The crew completed 17 combat missions. February 9, 1945- Wars end. All are deceased now.
MEMORIAL GIFTS to the 466th BGA
Special thanks to Pauline and Kenny Souther for their Memorial gift in honor of William Campbell and
Margaret Caldero for her Memorial gift in honor of John Horan
Ed O'Brien for his Memorial Gift in Honor of the Clinton H. Caverne Crew lost 9 April 1944
Jim Haseman for his special gift in support of education projects
"OLE Tom Cat" was the B-24 flown by the Clinton H. Caverne Crew when they were lost in the North Sea on the return from their first bombing mission on April 9, 1944
466th Bomb Group
Crew Collections and
Airmen's Diaries and Shared Photos
These items do belong to veteran families
and we ask that they not be copied for other purposes.
James L. Bruner
was Co-Pilot on the Wallace Clay crew who flew 32 combat missions between May and September, 1947. His collection includes photos and newspaper clippings, as well as a mission list. (More to Come)
W. Robert Wagner
was navigator on the John Garison Crew # 543 and #467. He kept a handwritten notebook with a short description of each mission and also kept newspaper clippings from Stars & Stripes:
JACK DOUGHERTY CREW COLLECTION
The Dougherty Crew arrived in May of 1944 and completed 32 missions by mid-October, 1944. Jack Dougherty took a number of photos and gave copies to his crew members. They flew "Dirty Gertie" with the 786th Squadron.
JOIN the 466th BGA!!!!
We're looking for a few good men, women, grandchildren-
sons, daughters, nieces, nephews,
people who are interested in keeping the history of the
466th Bomb Group Veterans and the 8th Air Force going!
Send your request with your name address, e-mail, and your connection to the 466th Bomb Group or why are you interested in joining- to the address below and include your tax-deductible non-dues contribution.
(Contributions are not Required)
2017 466th Bomb Group Association "Non-Dues" can be mailed to Bill Curtis-Treasurer, 466th Bomb Group Association, 515 West Ariel Avenue, Foley Alabama 36535. All donations are tax deductible and used for preserving the wonderful history of the veterans who served, and the memory of our Honor Roll of the 466th Bomb Group
Q & A
I had an question sent from LIZ:
I am trying to find any information on a particular mission- 27 March 1944 - where a/c was misloaded with multiple 100# bombs and several hung up and did not release. This happened on my father's crew and they had to be removed and repositioned by hand onto another shackle so they could be safely individually dropped. Did this happen to anyone else?
I put out the question on our Facebook site & the Army Air Forces Forum and Ralph Lynn replied:
"Bill,It was not uncommon for bombs to hang up. I think frigid temperatures was one reason. It happened at least once on our plane. Crew members would kick the bombs loose. Others would use a screwdriver to pry the bomb loose from the offending shackle. Sometimes the pilot would try to shake the bomb loose. However, I never heard of moving a bomb from one shackle to another. And as you noted, Bill, crew members had to try the various methods of dislodging bombs sans parachutes ---- no room for a parachute when you work from a catwalk and narrow spaces between bomb racks.
Another Reply from the Army Air Forces 466th Bomb Group Forum:
I can't imagine why they would do this (or even how they would do it). There are 4 bomb racks in a B-24, a pair in the front bomb bay and and 2nd pair in the back bomb bay. The each bomb hooked by two lugs to a bomb shackle and the shackle is hung from two hooks on the "outside" of the bomb rack. When you are standing on the catwalk, say at the front bomb rack, the bomb shackles would be on the "outside" of each rack. For 100 lb bombs, each rack would contain 5 bombs for a total bomb load of 20. If the bottom bomb in the rack did not release, I suppose it is possible that a bomb above it could land on it and not fall. But if you could somehow pull that bomb off the hung bomb, I would think you would just take step our two along the catwalk and then drop it out the bomb bay . Even easier, because of the small size of 100 lb bombs, I would think you could just push the loose bomb off the hung bomb and there would be enough clearance that the bomb would fall free and not hit the outside of the ship. (When a man was working on a hung bomb the bomb bay doors would be open. )
As mentioned above for the hung bomb, I think they would try to kick or pry it free of the shackle and let it fall.
The 466th Bomb Group
and Squadron Patches
History of the FLYING DECK
"Attlebridge Diaries" records that in December of 1943 at Alamogordo where the Bomb Group was assembled, there was a contest to come up with a name for the 466th Bomb Group. The $10 prize went to M/Sgt Gerrard Dieffenbach, who was in the Intelligence Branch. He came up with the Group Name "The Flying Deck' with each squadron being named for a suit. 784th- Clubs, 785th Diamonds, 786th-Hearts, 787th-Spades. In addition the crews would be numbered with the numbers of their suit, For instance Crew 715 from the 787th would have a ten and a five of spades-. The group name The Flying Deck was popular but crew designations were never used.
The Bomb Group emblem was later designed in England after another contest was held on base. Fourteen ideas had been submitted and Corporal Ernest Ender's design was chosen.The designs ended up being painted on walls at the base. I don't believe the Flying Deck was made into a patch until post war. The only patches for the squadrons were found after the war 1950's and according to my expert Ralph Lynn, (Co-Pilot, Hayes Crew) who saw one once, were kind of flimsy and it turned out they came from Hollywood and were made for some war movie.
FORMATION ( ASSEMBLY )
This was the "formation ship" for the 466th Bomb Group known as the "Ready and Willing". Some crews jokingly called it the "Striped Ass Ape". It was a war weary B-24D that was stripped down of all armor and weapons, and then painted to be easily recognized in the air. Each of the 2nd Division Bomb Groups had its own assembly ship. When the 466th bomb group left on a mission they would fly north to Cromer, along the coastline to an area over the North Sea that was designated "Splasher Five". The Group would fly counter-clockwise in a large circle to get into their bombing formation. The Formation Ship was at the front of the line and all the other B-24's formed up behind. The process took about 90-minutes. At the same time a number of other bomb groups were forming on their own assembly ships in close proximity. There were a number of mid-air crashes during this process. Once the airplanes were all in their formation, The Assembly ships would peel off and return to their bases and the formation would continue on to their target.
Ready & Willing was used for a number of special assignments. It was used to haul the instruments and Glenn Miller's band to Attlebridge for their "100th Mission Party". See photo and the story of that trip below.
According to James Sharp " A great many of these assembly ships were originally with the 93rd bomb group who were the first B 24 group to arrive in England. After being deemed battle weary these B24s became assembly ships throughout southern England"
This particular aircraft was flown out of North Africa on the historic "Ploesti Oil Fields Raid" and survived that costly mission.
Above was the original paint scheme for Ready & Willing but the tail markings were probably changed two weeks after the 466th's first mission on April 6, 1944. On April 15 all 466th B-24's had the outer tail fins painted red with a white horizontal stripe. The big letter L for the 466th then was painted over the star on the fuselage on the formation ship and was probably lighted to allow identification in the dark early mornings of winter when the red striping could not be seen. All 466th aircraft also had the Circle "L" on the top end of the starboard wing. On the middle of the white stripe of the tail was the red letter "Q" which was part of the radio call sign. Ready & Willing'c radio call sign was "109Q". The SN# of the airplane was 42-14109.
Glenn Miller Band unloading instruments for 100th Mission Party at Attlebridge - photo: Jack Dougherty
From "ATTLEBRIDGE DIARIES" 'Fred McConnell remembers that we flew (the Formation Ship and two other airplanes) down to a fighter strip with 4000 foot runways to bring back Glenn Miller's Band for the party. "We took parachutes and strapped one on each one of the eighteen musicians. We put 6 or 8 on the cat walk (of course we didn't close the doors all the way- they needed air) and my engineer and radio operator carried on about not being able to get off on that short runway. You can imagine with this buildup what happened- A short field take-off with full throttles, straining the brakes. Needless to say we had an excess of flying speed when the Engineer yelled "Oh My Gosh, we ain't going to make it"! About that time the grass went under their feet. The way that B-24 climbed would have done any fighter credit. Had to give one of the trumpet players first aid!'"
ELMO FLEW IT!!
Recently I spoke to Elmo Maiden in at the reunion in October, 2016 (Pilot Crew 664) and he said "You know I flew that airplane." He had flown it on several hops to go and see his brother, Clint, who flew B-17's at another base in the area. (BC)
have released a 1:72 scale model B-24-D kit The box cover artwork is the above print by Bill Curtis. The kit includes all the striping decals for the 466th Assembly Ship- "Ready & Willing" Models can be purchased now at Hobby Lobby and other hobby shops.
( Signed Photo Prints Are Available from (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sizes: 8x12 13x18 16x24
New Model box design