As we head towards 2016, here is a seasonal photo from the Roger Freeman Collection which recently caught the team’s attention.
These lieutenants are posing in their underwear, flying helmets and parachute harnesses, which makes this a fairly unusual crew picture, but it captures a moment of light relief for the three young men. Allen Bryson, Sol Greenberg and Albert Gehrt were the pilot, navigator and bombardier of B-24 Liberator ‘The Gypsy Queen’. By Christmas 1944, they had completed 21 missions together, flying over France and Germany from their base at Old Buckenham, Norfolk as part of the 453rd Bomb Group.
Greenberg described his crew’s penultimate mission to bomb the bridge at Remagen, Germany on 29 December as particularly depressing: ‘I am as miserable as I physically can be. Al Gehrt comes by, kicks me in the foot and advises me that the birds are walking, so how can we possibly fly, I assume this is one of his bad jokes, but Al is from Kansas and knows a lot about birds.’
Despite the foreboding, Bryson, Greenberg and Gehrt completed their tour of duty on 31 December, and returned home to the United States.
Their story is one of those featured in a collection of photographs from the Freeman Collection which IWM will be publishing in the spring. We’ll update you on this when it comes out.
For the American Air Museum team, this next few months will be a busy period. The new exhibition will open to visitors on 19 March 2016.
Happy 2016 to all our readers and to everyone who has posted on this site over the last year.