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Philip S Spofford

Military

Philip Spofford was born in Arlington, MA. and graduated from Arlington High School in 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps one month later completing his basic training at Fort Devens, MA. At a later date he completed Armament School at Lowery Field, Colorado and then Gunnery School in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Early, in 1943, Philip, now a member of the Eight Army Air Force, was assigned to 94th Bomb Group (H), 332nd Squadron. He and his crew were assigned to their first plane, a B-17 F bomber named "FIFI" , A/C # 42-29699. Philip's assigned position was "Ball Turret" Gunner.

In April, 1943 The FiFi and it's crew flew from Presque Isle, Maine to England. Upon arrival the Fifi and crew were initially attached to the 91st Bomber Group at Bassingbourm. In May, 1943, The FiFi and crew were transferred to Earls Colne. During this time The FiFi and crew had flown 5 missions.

During the FiFi's 4th mission, Flensburg, Germany, May 19th, the FiFI was badly damaged. The Bombardier was killed and Co-Pilot badly injured. Philip along with two other gunners managed to shoot down three enemy aircraft. As described by Philip the plane managed to keep flying with the Aid of two engines ( two having been disabled by enemy fire). Miraculously the FiFI, after losing a third engine, managed to make it home. The Capt., Urban S. Adams, received an award for bringing the plane and his crew home safely, according to Philip.

The FiFI was grounded for repair due to its extensive damage. Philip and his crew were assigned to another plane, "The HOUSE of LORDS" A/C # 42-5881. They flew one more mission (#5) from Earls Colne before being transferred to Rougham Air Field in Bury St. Edmunds, June 13th, 1943. From here the crew flew the rest of their missions.

Philip managed to complete his 25 missions without injury, flying his last mission on Nov. 5th, 1943 over Buer, Germany. On the same day he was made a member of the "Lucky Bastard Club". Philip was 20 years old when he arrived back home to the States. In 1944 he married his high school sweetheart. He remained in the Reserves and then re-enlisted during the Korean Conflict after which he remained in the Air Force, retiring after 27 years total of service.

Philip retired on Cape Cod in MA. and pursed his passions in life, which were his family, friends, golf, fishing, and hunting. He passed away on October 30, 2011 at the age of 88 leaving his wife, three sons, a daughter, 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

As his son I am proud to say he was my father and am especially proud of his service during a very important and without question a difficult time in our Nation's history.

Service

People

  • Urban Adams

    Military | Major | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    England Feb 1943--Feb 1944; completed 25 missions--last mission 5 Nov 1943. Further information in vertical file in 94th BG. Purple Heart, DFC; Air Medal w/3OLC

  • John Cassidy

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 94th Bomb Group

  • Albert Kleckner

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Gunner | 94th Bomb Group

  • Aloyse Krass

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Gunner | 94th Bomb Group

  • Andrew Loog

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 94th Bomb Group
    Shot down 13 June 1943 in B-17 #4229940. Plane crashed into Channel. Killed in Action (KIA). This officer's son, Andrew Loog Oldham (born 29 January 1944), became the manager of rock group The Rolling Stones in the 1960s.

  • Donald McVicar

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 94th Bomb Group

  • Norman Rowe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 94th Bomb Group

  • Charles Scott

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 94th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA). On mission to Flensburg, Germany. Killed when AC attacked by enemy fighter head on. PH

  • Norman Stone

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Armorer | 94th Bomb Group

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Units served with

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15-Jun-1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organisation and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29-Jun-1942; Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28-Aug-42 to 31-Oct-42 than at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas from...

  • 332nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-29699 Fifi, Old Battle Axe

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/2/43; 94th Bomb Group Pueblo 18/2/43; Salina 27/2/43; Brookley 19/3/43; Smoky Hill 23/3/43; Presque Is 9/4/43; Assigned 332nd Bomb Squadron/94th Bomb Group [XM-F] Earls Colne 12/5/43 named 'FIFI'; Rougham 13/6/43; transferred to...

  • 42-5881

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 17/4/43; Smoky Hill 28/4/43; Tinker 6/5/43; Lincoln 18/5/43; Dow Fd 23/5/43; Assigned 332BS/94BG [XM-GH] Earls Colne 27/5/43; Rougham 13/6/43; Returned to the USA Grenier 23/12/44; Patterson 16/3/45; Reconstruction Finance...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 56

    14 May 1943
    Today's operations will be the most extensive yet mounted by VIII Bomber Command. The operations call for a "maximum effort". Whereas in the past a single target or those close together have been chosen, today's effort is against widley separated...

  • VIII Bomber Command 57

    15 May 1943
    The missions of VIII Bomber Command are becoming more sophisticated. The primary stratgic target for today is the U-Boat pens, marshalling yards and Luftwaffe airfield at Emden, Germany. The resistance of Luftwaffe fighters is a primary concern for the...

  • VIII Bomber Command 58

    17 May 1943
    VIII Bomber Command launches another operation against German U-Boat facilities with three elements. The first element is a formation of 100 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (24); 92BG (10); 303BG (21); 305BG (21) and 306BG (24) to attack the German U-Boat...

  • VIII Bomber Command 59

    19 May 1943
    The German naval bases at Kiel and Flensburg, Germany are the two primary targets for this mission. A force of 123 B-17s is despatched from: 91BG (19); 92BG (10); 303BG (27); 305BG (22); 306BG (24) and 351BG (21) to bomb the naval facilities at Kiel,...

  • VIII Bomber Command 61

    29 May 1943
    Three primary targets are selected for this mission. The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are selected as the target for a force of 169 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (23); 92BG (22), 303BG (30); 305BG (25) 306BG (24); 351BG (21) and 379BG (24). This is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 63

    13 June 1943
    German naval facilities and port areas at Bremen, Germany and Kiel, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A formation of 151 B-17s despatched from: 91BG (21); 92BG (17); 303BG (27); 305BG (24); 306BG (28); 351BG (21); and 379BG (13) are to...

  • VIII Bomber Command 67

    25 June 1943
    This mission was intended to be the first major attack on the industrial area of Hamburg, Germany but weather and contrails made fromation flying too difficult and dangerous. As a result, the main formation 197 B-17s from: 91BG (18); 92BG (23); 303BG ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 70

    29 June 1943
    1st Bomb Wing despatches two formations: one has the air depot at Villacoublay, France as their primary; and one has the Luftwaffe airfield at Tricqueville, France as their primary. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 71

    4 July 1943
    The aircraft factories at Le Mans and Nantes, France and the lock gates and harbour facilities at La Pallice, France are the primary targets for this mission. The mission is comprised of three elements: ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 72

    10 July 1943
    German airfields at Caen, Abbeville, and Le Bourget at Paris, France are the primary targets for this mission. 112 B-17s form a combined force from 91BG; 92BG; 305BG; 306BG; 351BG and 381BG to bomb the German airfield (Carpiquet) at Caen, France. Cloud...

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Associated Place

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...

  • Earls Colne

    Military site : airfield
    Earls Colne was built in 1941 as an airfield for No.3 Group, RAF Bomber Command, although never used as such. Assigned to the US Eighth Air Force (as Station 358) in 1942, its 36 hardstands were increased to 50, bringing the airfield up to Air Ministry...

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 June 2015 02:08:32 jspoff Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Personal records, photographs.

Date Contributor Update
19 June 2015 21:40:15 jspoff Changes to awards
Sources

Military records.

Date Contributor Update
18 June 2015 04:36:48 jspoff Changes to biography
Sources

First hand knowledge, military records and documents, photographs, Raid log book, and newspaper articles collected during the war.

Date Contributor Update
17 June 2015 03:48:59 jspoff Changes to person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

All info is from personal recollections from Phil Spofford, millitary records, photographs, Bomb Raid Log Book, and newspaper articles collected by Mrs Spofford and Phil's Mother and Father . All materials has been saved and organized in book form and is in the possession of the Spofford Family.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:30 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

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