Andrew L Anderson

media-53449.jpeg UPL 53449 F/O Andrew L Anderson, 98BG.


Object Number - UPL 53449 - F/O Andrew L Anderson, 98BG.

Assigned to 345BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Flew the 1-Aug-43 Ploesti mission in B-24 42-40663 'Maternity Ward'. Survived the ditching and 15 x days in a dingy with pilot John V Ward. Washed up on Italian held isaland Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 224

Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

"On August 1, 1943 my 23 year old father, Lt. Andrew L (Andy) Anderson, pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber named "Maternity Ward" and along with 1,728 other crewmen in 178 bombers, took off from an airfield in Benghazi, Libya on a mission called Operation Tidal Wave, to destroy the Nazi's massive oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania.

Losses were heavy: 54 planes were shot down, my father's included, and 514 airmen, most of them between 18-26 years old, gave their lives that day in what the American Air College described as "One of the bloodiest and most heroic battles of WWII." Every one of the 1,728 crewmen received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and more Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded that day (five) than in any other battle...including D-Day.

I have vivid memories of my father describing the battle in conversations after of three young sons enraptured by what happened on the mission...their 24's flying so low they clipped the tops of the corn fields, and manoeuvring the huge planes between the smokestacks of the refinery.

While listening to my father describe the battle from a first-person perspective certainly did trigger images in my mind of what happened, a couple of years ago I was introduced to a screenwriter who wrote a screenplay and a 2 minute movie "pitch" about Operation Tidal Wave, from the perspective of two other pilots. The clip completely blew me away because it was 100% true to everything my father described to us as children. And to this day I simply cannot fathom the bravery that these kids showed. The screenplay's title is "Day of Valor" and no matter how many times I watch it, it always gives me the chills knowing my father was in one of those planes:"


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Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Squadron
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
Three airmen of the 389th Bomb Group stand with a B-24 Liberator used as a Flight Assembly Ship. Image via Tim Bivens. Handwritten caption from Bivens: 'My friend remembers it being named "Bucksheesh Benny" that it was used to fly Jack Benny around USA shows. Says it flew in North Africa with Benny and was eventually assigned to 389th as a hack and later as a form-up ship. He thinks it was originally with another group (possibly 376th or 98th).' Handwritten caption on reverse: '389th BG Form-up ship.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot


  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Maternity Ward
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force



  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Soluch Airfield
  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Dulag Luft Grosstychow Dulag 12
  • Site type: Prisoner of war camp
  • Known as: Stalag 7a, Moosburg


Event Location Date Description


New Jersey 21 June 1919 Son of Elizabeth L Anderson.


Shot Down

Ionian Sea 1 August 1943 Co Pilot B-24 of 42-40663 'Maternity Ward' lost on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, shot down by enemy fighters over Ionian Sea on return flight. Pilot John V Ward. 8 MIA/KIA 2 POW. MACR 224.


Prisoner Of War POW

Cythera, Greece 15 August 1943 Survived A/C ditching in Ionian Sea along with pilot John V Ward, adrift in dingy for 15 days and finally landed on Cythera island occupied by Italians and were made POW's. Eventually held at Stalag Luft VIIa Moosburg.


23 January 1992


Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego, San Diego County, CA 27 January 1992 Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego, San Diego County, California



Benina 1 August 1943 Assigned to 345BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF.


Date23 Nov 2021 14:02:42
ChangesChanges to nickname, service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations and place associations
Date12 May 2017 00:26:35
ChangesChanges to biography and events
Date28 Mar 2015 09:31:12
ChangesChanges to highest rank
Date28 Mar 2015 09:28:12
ChangesChanges to events
Date27 Mar 2015 18:48:23
ChangesCreated entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Andrew L Anderson: Gallery (2 items)