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Charles Samuel Dondes

Military

March 12, 1945. Entire crew bailed out of B=24 Liberator #4440357 over Valkenburg, Holland after returning from raid on Friedberg, Ger. Returned 50 year later for a reunion. , Was member of Charlie Felts crew. The pilot's window in its metal frame was donated to the 8th AF Museum in a ceremony at the museum. Charles Dondes-Crew 784 Navigator tells of the plight of the Felts crew:'At 1105 hours, while on a Mag. heading of 094 degrees our #1 engine leaked oil. The oil piled up and froze and the engine was feathered at 1202. Were then at 51-52N and 08-12E. We had to strain the remaining engines to keep up and at some point we lost a second engine-perhaps from flak, perhaps from strain. At 1239 our bombs were 'away' on target at 50-20N and 80-46E. At this time we were at 20,100 feet with an indicated airspeed of 155 knots. ''From then until we bailed out, a third engine started to give trouble. At 1350, some 71 minutes later, the whole crew bailed out. We were at 13,500 feet at 1320 and on a Mag. heading of 290 degrees. I have no record of the altitude or the heading for the last 30 minutes. The pilot and I were operating very verbally and he had extreme difficulty in holding the plane on any heading for any duration. ''When the pilot gave the bail out command, all crew members except the pilot and the copilot went to the bomb bay. I left first. All was business-like at the time, as it had been all along. ''We all parachuted within sight of each other over Valkenburg, Holland and were escorted by American burial personnel to a headquarters, for we had landed near a cemetery (probably Margraten). The a/c went into a flat spin and had a pancake landing (at Sibbe). ''Either that day or the next we were put up a rest and relaxation center used by U. S. ground troops. I do not remember its distance from our landing spot or its designation. ''We were there for five or so days without any apparent awareness by our home base. No one, it seems, initiated any action. I hitchhiked to Liege and negotiated our return to home base. ''I think we left Liege for our base some two days later. After our arrival at Attlebridge we were sent to an AAF rest center in South West Central England for some seven days-circa 21 March 1945. It was a mansion. It had spacious grounds. '

Air Medal

Service

People

  • Charles Felts

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 466th Bomb Group
    Mar 12 '45: entire crew bailed out of B-24 #4440357 over Valkenburg, Holland after returning from raid on Friedberg, Ger. Returned 50 year later for a reunion. The pilot's window in its metal frame was donated to the 8th AF museum in a ceremony at the...

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Units served with

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

  • 787th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...

Events

Event Location Date
Born New York City, New York 25 August 1919
Enlisted Fort Dix, NJ, USA 12 February 1942
Died Annapolis, MD, USA 18 July 2002
Buried Falls Church, VA, USA 21 July 2002

King David Memorial Gardens
Falls Church
Fairfax County
Virginia, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 September 2015 02:29:39 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, service number, events, person associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:05:21 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Son: richard Dondes

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