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Hugh R McLaren

Military

Drafted into AAF in 1942 at age 20 while living in Gary, Ind. Assigned to Eighth Air Force. Assigned as gunner to B-24 crew headed by pilot Joseph H. Hardison while training at Tucson, Ariz. Later transferred to 389th Bomb Group, 565th Bomb Squadron as part of B-24 crew led by pilot Harold L. James for training at El Paso, Texas. Arrived at assigned airfield, RAF Hethel, in England in mid June 1943.

In early July went with crew to fly bombing missions out of Benghazi, Libya, on detached service as 389th joined one other Eighth AF group and three from the Ninth. Flew on three missions while there: 9 July to Crete (Maleme airdrome) and 16 July to airdrome at Bari, Italy; and to Ploesti, Romania, on 1 August as part of Operation Tidal Wave when 389th's target was the Steau Romana oil refinery at nearby Campina, in HEAVEN CAN WAIT (B-24D, 42-40744).

Flew the Crete and Bari missions as ball-turret gunner and the Ploesti as left waist gunner. Perhaps one of his most unforgettable bombing experiences was the Bari when, according to pilot Harold James, as the plane fled the bombing site he spoke over the intercom from the claustrophic confines of the ball turret: "Don't forget about me."

Also flew in B-24s 42-40687 and 42-40171.

Low on fuel after the low-level Campina strike, the plane landed in Turkey, a neutral country where the plane and crew were indefinitely interned among about 79 Tidal Wave airmen and their several bombers.

After returning to England, McLaren, having been interned, was thus eligible to be exempted from additional bombing missions. Chose to do so and served out remainder of war assigned to a ground crew.

Service

People

  • Max Cavey

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Luxembourg, Belgium on a mission to Gotha, GR on 24 Feb 1944 in B-24 #42-100280 'Lil Audrey'. Prisoner of War (POW). Also took part in Ploesti raid on 8/1/43 while on TDY to 9thAF and interned in Turkey plane was ...

  • Ernest Cox

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Flew as a tail gunner on the famous Ploesti raid of 1 Aug 43. The plane, The Little Gramper, barely made it back to its base at Benghazi, Libya, with one of its engines hit by ground fire.

  • Grover Edmiston

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Bombardier; Togglier | 389th Bomb Group
    Joined 44th BG 10 April 1942. Flew 12 missions. Transferred to 389th BG 15 June 1943. Shot down by fighters and crashed near Luxembourg, Belgium on a mission to Gotha, GR on 24 Feb 1944 in B-24 #42-100280 'Lil Audrey'. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • William Gilliat

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 389th Bomb Group
    INT on 8/1/43 while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in plane # 4240744 'Heaven Can Wait' was interned in Turkey. Shot down by fighters and crashed near Luxembourg, Belgium on a mission to Gotha, GR on 24 Feb 1944 in B-24 #42-100280 'Lil Audrey'....

  • Robert Hamilton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    INT in Turkey while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid on 8/1/43 in B-24 'Heaven Can Wait' #4240744. Earlier June 25, 1943 on training mission, B24 42-40774 collided with another ac

  • Joseph Hardison

    Military | First Lieutenant | 34th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 6 June 1944

  • Donald Hickey

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    On 28 Jan 1944 on a local training flight, an explosion in B-24J #42-100001 'Drawers' caused smoke to fill the cabin and crew was ordered to bale out. RTD. Earlier on June 25, 1943 on training mission, B24 42-40774 collided with another ac

  • Robert Hyde

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 389th Bomb Group
    He was the bombardier on The Little Gramper on the attack on the Ploesti oil fields on Black Sunday, 1 August 1943.

  • Harold James

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    James was piloting B-24 42-40774 "Heaven Can Wait"on a training flight on 25 June 1943 when he was involved in a mid-air-collision with B-24 42-40687 piloted by 1st Lt Edward Foble. James managed to land the aircraft at Hethel, but his navigator 2nd Lt...

  • Beverly McLellan

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Pilot of B-24D 42-72833 'Torney' reported rear of a/c on fire from unknown causes and crashed into channel on mission to Frankfurt on 29 Jan 1944. Killed in Action (KIA).

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Units served with

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 565th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-40744

    B-24 Liberator
    Crew interned in Turkey. ...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B...

Associated Place

  • Hethel

    Military site : airfield
    Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 June 2019 23:27:13 1922LetterMan Changes to biography
Sources

6-16-19: Corrected Evansville to Gary, Indiana, on advice of McLaren's son Hugh.

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 22:02:19 Dieterle Changes to place associations
Sources

Richard Dieterle.

Date Contributor Update
28 December 2018 22:33:26 1922LetterMan Changes to biography
Sources

389th BG sortie reports; USAAF special movement orders, 3 March 1943 and 11 June 1943; personal communication with Hugh McLaren, son of AAF veteran Hugh R. McLaren

Date Contributor Update
28 December 2018 21:00:24 1922LetterMan Changes to biography
Sources

389th BG sortie reports; AAF special movement orders; personal communication with Hugh McLaren, son of AAF veteran Hugh R. McLaren

Date Contributor Update
28 December 2018 18:15:06 1922LetterMan Changes to surname, service number, highest rank, role, person associations, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

389th BG mission reports; AAF movement orders 3 March 1943 (Tucson, Ariz.) and 11 June 1943 (Lincoln, Neb.); personal communication with Hugh McLaren, son of AAF veteran Hugh McLaren.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:13:24 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 243

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