Edward Field served as a navigator with the 384th Bomb Group, flying missions out of Grafton Underwood. On 3 February 1945, he was flying in B-17 'The Challenger' #42-102501 when the pilots were forced to ditch it in the North Sea. Field was one of six crew who were rescued and returned to duty. Three of the crew did not survive. Field would fly 27 missions over occupied Europe.
After the war, Edward became a poet and author, and lived in New York during its bohemian heyday. He has written a memoir called 'The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag And Other Intimate Portraits of the Bohemian Era' (2005). He wrote 'the Village was the first taste of relaxing and just being myself that I had ever known - the need to hide being gay unnecessary - and it was exhilarating.'
Read more about his life and the people met here:
Sometimes he wrote about his wartime experiences, and about surviving in the freezing cold North Sea. You can read one of his poems here: https://thearrowheadclub.com/2016/11/30/edward-field/
On 10 July 2017, he became the 146th 384th Bomb Group veteran to sign the Association's commemorative wing panel.
Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 384th Bomb Group
Crashed into North Sea in Plane 'The Challenger #42-102501. He used his legs to act as a propeller to get the raft with most of crew moved over to the one with the pilot in it. However before the British rescued them he died. Through his efforts he...
Military | Ground officer | 491st Bomb Group
Coman Leavenworth was a published poet before the war. He had studied at Columbia University. During the war he met airman Edward Field, who later became a poet.
Units served with
The 384th Bomb Group flew B-17s from Grafton Underwood, Northamptonshire, between May 1943 and June 1945. They were engaged in daylight bombing missions over Germany as part of the Allies' efforts to destroy the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe by...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Cheyenne 9/3/44; Gr Island 11/4/44; Dowe Fd 28/4/44; Assigned 546BS/384BG [BK-H] Grafton Underwood 12/5/44; Missing in Action Berlin 3/2/45 with Robert Clax Long, Frederick Arnold Maki, Jack Coleman Cook (3 Killed in Action); Ralph John Vrana...
Military site : airfield
Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...
||Grafton Underwood NN14, UK
||9 January 1945
Assigned to the 384th Bombardment Group, 546th Bombardment Squadron on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #8 dated 9 January 1945, Robert Clax Long Crew. 27 combat missions.
|Survived aircraft ditching in the North Sea
||3 February 1945
||New York, NY, USA
Studied at NYU on the GI Bill