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Gerald George Gille

Military

Assigned to 506BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Brunswick mission 8-Apr-44 in B-24 42-7767 'Shack Rabbit'; Volunteered to crew on 67BS A/C. Shot down by fighters, baled out at low level. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 3849

Awards: PH, BS, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

In his own words; - “On the early morning of April 8th, 1944 I was awakened and asked if I would like to volunteer for the navigator’s; job, flying with the ‘foreign’ 67th Squadron. Being one mission behind my regular crew, I consented, and found myself with Lt Thom’s crew after breakfast. Our mission was to Brunswick with a direct route through ‘Flak Alley’.
“After assembly in the air, and crossing the European coast, I noticed we were having trouble keeping in formation. I always thought we should have aborted, but Lt. Thom was making every effort to keep up. Upon entering Germany, we were straggling badly, and sure enough, Me 109 enemy aircraft were attacking between eleven and one o’clock, high.
“It seemed as though they were about 10 abreast. The first pass they crippled two of our engines. Now we were really far behind our formation. On the second pass, they shot out the far left (#1) engine and our electrical system, and the remaining left engine, #2, was smoking. A 20-mm shell exploded just under the nose turret and blew out the nose wheel tire and covering. The bombsight also got a direct hit, saving my life, I believe, as only my right ankle caught the fragments.
“This all started at approximately 21,000 feet. After helping to get the bombardier (Alcott) out of the nose turret, I stood up and looked out the astrodome to see Lt. Thom motioning for us to bailout. We were in a flat spin, and after watching the altimeter slowly winding down, I checked my chute straps, zipped my leather jacket closed, after making sure I had escape rations. I decided to forget about my flight cap, checked the altimeter again – it was at 6,000 feet – stood up and looked out the nose astrodome again and saw no one left, and got ready to jump. The last reading on the altimeter was 1500 feet when I dived out the missing nose door head first.
“We were in the suburbs of Hannover when the plane crashed and exploded. (So the MACR data was incorrect) I found myself landing in a two acre ploughed field with a sprained, wounded right ankle, with blood running out of my G.I. boot. I was gathering my parachute together when a German soldier on a motorcycle came to me off the road, into the field where I was. He jumped off his motorcycle and pointed his rifle at me, yelling, ‘Pistol? Pistol?’ I said ‘Nein’ and offered him some chewing gum, which he declined.
“I tried to explain to him about my damaged ankle and that it was hard for me to walk. But he
forced me to carry my gathered parachute down the road approximately one-half a mile to a flak tower. Then I was able to sit down on the mound levee around the flak gun. Several of our crew’s sergeants soon were captured and brought to this same assemblage where I found out all of the crew got out safely!”

Service

People

  • George Thom

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. 24 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) Brunswick mission 8-Apr-44 in B-24 42-7767 'Shack Rabbit'; Shot down by fighters, remained with A/C as crew baled out, following them at extreme low level. Seemingly he...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 506th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-7767 'Shack Rabbit'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Brunswick mission 8-Apr-44; Shot down by fighters, crew baled out at low level. 10 x POW. MACR 3849 ...

Missions

Associated Place

  • Shipdham

    Military site : airfield
    Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...

  • Dulag Luft 12

    Other location

Events

Event Location Date
Born Quincy, Illinois, USA 22 August 1920

Son of Harry Edward and Gladys A [L] Gille.

Enlisted Peoria, IL 1 March 1942
Based Shipdham 1944 – 8 April 1944

Assigned to 506BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF.

Prisoner of War (POW) Wetzlar, Germany 8 April 1944 – April 1945

Prisoner of War (POW). Adjutant Dulag Luft 2.

Baled out POW Hanover, Germany 8 April 1944

Failed to Return (FTR) Brunswick mission 8-Apr-44 in B-24 42-7767 'Shack Rabbit'; Shot down by fighters, baled out at low level. POW. MACR 3849

Discharged USAAF 13 November 1945

Honourable discharge.

Died Springfield, OH 7 July 2000
Buried Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery, Dayton, OH 10 July 2000

Dayton Memorial Park Cemetery
Dayton,
Montgomery County, OH
Plot 14 400 6

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 April 2019 10:53:02 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, events and unit associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/29627742

Date Contributor Update
04 April 2019 20:52:21 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/29627742
https://www.fold3.com/image/32018931
https://www.fold3.com/image/654724973
https://www.fold3.com/record/39696695-gerald-g-gille
https://www.fold3.com/record/84386643-gerald-g-gille
https://www.fold3.com/image/97279848?rec=98742404
https://www.fold3.com/record/624355936-gerald-gille-1920
http://users.psln.com/~pete/pow_george_thom.htm
https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/357446
http://greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROHA44.pdf
http://www.486th.org/Photos/Stammlager/KU3738/DulagLuft2.htm
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/139654379/gerald-g_-gille

Date Contributor Update
04 April 2019 20:31:43 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/29627742
https://www.fold3.com/image/654724973
https://www.fold3.com/record/39696695-gerald-g-gille
https://www.fold3.com/record/84386643-gerald-g-gille
https://www.fold3.com/image/97279848?rec=98742404
https://www.fold3.com/record/624355936-gerald-gille-1920
http://users.psln.com/~pete/pow_george_thom.htm
https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/357446
http://greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROHA44.pdf
http://www.486th.org/Photos/Stammlager/KU3738/DulagLuft2.htm
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/139654379/gerald-g_-gille

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:21 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3849 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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