Harvey S Stamper

Military

Object Number - UPL 5490 - A Bomber crew of the 466th Bomb Group with their B-24 Liberator. Handwritten on image: 'RG Gordon 279-55.' The crew went down over Belgium on...

On February 20th 1945 our target was Nuremberg, Germany, though we never made it. Shortly after making the Belgian coast we hit heavy clouds. A recall message was sent but before we could decode the message our aileron controls went out. The waist gunner Aloysius McCloskey and Dick Przybylski, ball turret gunner Al McKloskey and I bailed out when we heard the bell ring.
I found out later that when the bombardier tried to open the nose wheel door, so the crew could bail out, the door would not unlatch. The bombardier, Hank Wynia, dived through the tunnel connecting the bomb bay and nose, where he bailed out. The radio operator Sam Kessler, flight engineer Barney Fisher and co-pilot Jack Campbell also went out the bomb bay.
The plane went into a spin before the armorer/nose gunner, Harold Hendrickson, the navigator Fred Kjar and the pilot Bob Gordon could get out of the plane and were killed in the crash. As I came down near the ground I saw a wood I was going to land in or on. I crossed my legs, put my left arm across my face and tried to look down. Before I could see the ground I hit it, but even with my legs crossed I was ok. Hank Wynia made a text book landing approach and broke his leg.
I did not know where I was, so I balled up my parachute and hid in a rack of long poles that were shaped like a tepee. Soon I heard the familiar sound of a jeep. I moved toward the sound, up a small hill and peeked over the edge. It was a jeep but I could see no one around. I decided if it had German equipment aboard I might steel it and head back towards Belgium or France.
However, it did have a British MP armband and some leggings on the seat. So I sat down until a Brit and a Belgian civilian, who had been looking for me, came along and took me into town. On the way we stopped and they introduced me to my first drink of calvados. Burned all the way down (good tho’).
The saviours spent several hours in a local hospital, St. Marie, in Remaix (or Ronse), Belgium and then we went by truck to Lille, France and to Armentieres, where we boarded a B-17 for the flight back to England. Our radio operator told me that it took 20 plus minutes to come down in the ‘chute. After that, the gunners in the crew spent a week in rest home (or Flak Home) in the Pangbourne House in Berkshire country, England. Then returned to Attlebridge and were assigned as spare crew.

Connections

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Units served with

Three little girls hold up a balloon celebrating the 100th mission of the 466th Bomb Group in front of a B-24 Liberator (serial number 42-95592) nicknamed "Black Cat". Handwritten caption on reverse: 'On our 100 Mission party Day- 18 Aug 1944, Attlebridge, 466th- wouldn't it be something if we could identify these girls? How could I do it?'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Pale Ale
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 784th Bomb Squadron 786th Bomb Squadron

Places

Aerial photograph of Attlebridge airfield, looking north, the fuel store and a T2 hangar are in the upper centre, 31 January 1946. Photograph taken by No. 90 Squadron, sortie number RAF/3G/TUD/UK/51. English Heritage (RAF Photography).
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Attlebridge Arsenal, Station 120

Revisions

Date1 Dec 2014 00:03:13
Contributor466thHistorian
Sources

466th BG Archives

Date9 Oct 2014 08:18:59
ContributorEmily
Sources

Self, via AAM Memory Bank

Date27 Sep 2014 18:12:33
ContributorAAM
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit roster in the book ATTLEBRIDGE ARSENAL by Wassom & Brassfield, page 351

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