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William W Donohoe Jr

Military

Service

Units served with

Associated Place

  • Winkton

    Military site : airfield
    Prepared as an RAF Advanced Landing Ground in 1943, the land was released for grazing before it was again selected for aircraft use, and improved for the Ninth Air Force in 1944. Used briefly by the 404th Fighter Group, it was then abandoned,...

  • Juvincourt

    Military site : airfield

  • Chipelle

    Military site : airfield

  • St Trond

    Military site : airfield

  • Bretigny

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Lived in Beechhurst, New York 1943

1428 156th Street

Bailed Out/Returned to Ops Normandy, France 17 July 1944

Returning from the third mission, Flight Officer Bill Donohoe of the 508th was forced to bail out of his plane when flak apparently broke his fuel line, and gasoline and fumes permeated his cockpit. The plane crashed about 2,000 yards inside the American lines in a small field surrounded by personnel foxholes and half tracks, burying itself nose first, up to the tail assembly. General Rose, commanding officer of the Second Armored Division, was having his hair trimmed in a building a few hundred yards away. He had a "close shave", but congratulated Donohoe on his escape.

Said Bill: "I was at about 8,000 feet when gasoline started leaking into the cockpit. I lost altitude to about 2,500 feet as I tried to get behind our lines. I turned the plane over on its back to bail out, but was so dazed and weak from the fumes I could only get my head and arm out of the cockpit. I reached back and kicked the stick forward and it pitched me out. I got quite a jerk when the chute opened, but otherwise wasn't hurt a bit. I had a few anxious moments as flak opened up on the plane and small arms fire came up at me from our lines, as they couldn't tell whether or not I was a Hun. I landed about 500 yards away from where the plane crashed.

"They took me in to see the general. It was funny seeing him sitting there getting a haircut. He said he was glad I got down all right, and arranged for transportation to get back to my base."

Crash Landed/Escaped north of Aachen, Germany 14 October 1944

The downed pilot was Bill Donohoe, who already had been shot down once in Normandy. He was hit while working over a half-track with Doc Williams, and his plane began to burn. He managed to gain some altitude, got set for a crash-landing, and brought his ship in just behind the enemy lines north of Aachen. Immediately he ran to a nearby field and hid.

In a short time, seven SS troopers came to his wrecked plane and started hunting around for the pilot. However they apparently thought he had been killed in the crash, for they soon left. Donohoe hid for two nights around a German farmhouse until he was spied by the farmer. But his luck was still good. To his surprise, the German took him in and fed him, and on the next day an American infantry patrol came along and rescued him.

Crash Landed St. Truiden, Belgium 17 December 1944

The downed pilot was Bill Donohoe, who already had been shot down once in Normandy. He was hit while working over a half-track with Doc Williams, and his plane began to burn. He managed to gain some altitude, got set for a crash-landing, and brought his ship in just behind the enemy lines north of Aachen. Immediately he ran to a nearby field and hid.

In a short time, seven SS troopers came to his wrecked plane and started hunting around for the pilot. However they apparently thought he had been killed in the crash, for they soon left. Donohoe hid for two nights around a German farmhouse until he was spied by the farmer. But his luck was still good. To his surprise, the German took him in and fed him, and on the next day an American infantry patrol came along and rescued him.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 May 2019 01:24:20 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.winkton.net/Leap%20Off/LeapOffPdf3.pdf
http://www.winkton.net/pages/Claude%20O'Brien.htm

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