William Jefferson Terry


Object Number - UPL 22687 - 2LT William Jefferson Terry Pilot - Crew #612 466th BG - 786th BS KIA on his and the 466th BG's first mission, 22 March 1944

B-24H #41-29434 'Terry and the Pirates' was involved in a mid-air collision after the other a/c was hit by flak over the target of Berlin and crashed W of Oranienburg, GR on 22 Mar 1944. Killed in Action (KIA). Terry earned the Air Medal and the Purple Heart for his service.


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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


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 37652358
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 31304703
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Top Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 13092380
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: waist gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 19139967
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade)
  • Role/Job: Ball Turret Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-698451
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Navigator


  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Terry & The Pirates
  • Unit: 466th Bomb Group 786th Bomb Squadron



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


Event Location Date Description


Plainview, Texas, USA 27 December 1920 born in Plainview, Hale Co., TX, son of Elliot Edward and Nannie Mae (DUNNAWAY) TERRY. Mother died in childbirth. Only child.


No Known Grave Tablets of The Missing Netherlands American Cemetery. Memorial marker in Plainview Cemetery, Plainview, Hale Co., TX.


Killed in Action (KIA)

Malz, Oranienburg, Germany 22 March 1944 The aircraft collided on 22 March 1944 about 1330 hours with B-24H / AF# 41-29416, nickname "Rebbel Gal", 2nd Lt Gilley T. Brand crew of 466th Bomber Group, Heavy, 15 seconds for "Bombs away" over Berlin, Germany. AF# 41-29416 Crashed near Malz, Schweinerhütte, 5 miles NorthEast of Oranienburg, NorthNorthWest of Berlin. Exerpt from the book "B-24 Liberator Units of the Eight Air Force", by Robert F. Dorr: B-24H 41-29434 Terry and the Pirates, piloted by 2nd Lt William Terry, was suddenly flying upside down over the target. A crew member on another Liberator 'wondered what the heck he was doing in that attitude'. Another crew member sayd, 'Suddenly I saw directly ahead and below a bomber with one tail missing. Mid-air collision! It was trying desperately to stay upright, but finaly it slid off to the left and slowly turned belly up with its bomb bay open, the bombs still in the racks. Then it went into a helpless spin. The realisation struck me that a bomber could spin easely as a single seater'.


Date22 Feb 2019 05:11:36

Corrected Melnyk errors. - Please post links to your reference material

Date17 Feb 2019 03:03:20

US Federal Census records (NARA): Enlistment record (NARA): Plainview, Hale Co., TX birth certificate.

Date21 Mar 2018 03:14:20

Terry and Pirates loss B-24 bomber shot down at Berlin March 22, 1944. Crew members lost: William J. Terry, Clifford L. Joubert, Robert W. Gregory, William E. Lunsford and Roland H. Erdman. Survivors: Louis Loevsky and Len Smith. Members of 466th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force. Losses from adjacent B-24: Gilley T. Brand, Paul Brill, Glenn W. Morris Jr., Earl K. Lankford, Paul J. Strickler, Grover L. Handy, Frank D. Pfeiffer and Kenneth Cassada. A survivor is Wayne Beigel.
Memorial ceremonies for William J. Terry of Plainview: 2 p.m. Monday at Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial, 82nd Street and Nashville avenue. Public invited.
Christell Sealy of Lubbock, a cousin of Terry's, remembers how impressive he appeared as a young airman when she was a child.
"I just remember him in my grandmother's living room, and how handsome he was in his uniform," she said. "They wore those floppy hats to keep their earphones on, and to me as a little girl of 12, that was amazing and so handsome."
Loevsky and Terry, friends from their close service together, were en route from a base in England to bomb the German BMW aircraft engine manufacturing plant March 22, 1944. Their B-24 bomber was named Terry and the Pirates for a comic strip of the time, and for Terry and his crew.

"As we neared Berlin, we were on initial point," Loevsky said during a phone interview. "When you're on the IP, you may not deviate from your path you fly the straight and narrow and drop your bombs."
A sudden burst of flak destroyed an engine of the bomber. In the shock of the explosion, the plane careened into another B-24, disabling engines 2 and 3, and knocking the other bomber from the sky.
Loevsky, the navigator, was able to help nose gunner Len Smith semiconscious because of injuries and lack of oxygen from the forward turret and get him out of the plane for the parachute ride down.
"The pilot, Bill Terry, was standing at the control column, making final adjustments as the plane was going earthward," Loevsky said. "He yelled, 'Hey, Lou, wait for me!' So, I waited until he left the control column and started across the flight deck, and I bailed out."

Loevsky was well aware of the World War II Germans' penchant for shooting airmen drifting helplessly down after leaving a disabled plane, so he chose to free fall until the last possible second to escape the gunners.
He said he saw Terry's chute open above him. Terry had deployed his chute while Loevsky was still falling.
In those seconds of free fall, with adrenalin pumping and thoughts flashing through his mind, Loevsky considered whether to leave on his dog tags tags with an H for Hebrew or to rip them off.
It was an enigma for a Jew parachuting into World War II Berlin.
"I had gone to temple occasionally for a wedding, bar mitzvah or funeral I'm not a religious person but I was brought up as a Jew, so there's an H on the dog tags. The purpose is so they can give the proper burial," he explained.
"I thought, if I leave it on and fall into the hands of the Gestapo, I'm not a POW, I'm a KIA killed in action. But if I rip them off and throw them away, I'm not a POW, I'm a spy. Without dog tags you risk being killed as a spy. So, I left them on."
After his chute opened and he was still heading downward at inordinate speed, he remembers picking a tree to try to slow his rapid descent. By then, he already was attracting rifle fire from a nearby army camp.
"Fortunately, I crashed the branches clean off one side of the tree as I came down. The chute caught on top of the tree, my feet whipped over my head, and I blacked out briefly. When I came to, I had a back injury and a gun in my ribs."
Regular German soldiers won an argument with SS troopers over Loevsky's custody, and he was taken to prison camp.
He never saw Terry again. Loevsky can still see every detail of his own capture, though. "The troops were marching me through the streets of Berlin to headquarters, and the civilian crowds were getting bigger and uglier," he said. "They wanted to have a necktie party." He figures they had seen John Wayne movies. "In perfect American not perfect English, perfect American they said 'String him up! Hang him, lynch him!' So, the two troops, one on each side of me, had to draw their side arms to keep the civilians at bay." A body that German officials said was that of Terry, was shown unmistakably to be false by dental records. Sealey said research her son has done produced a German document that said Terry was found in a park about 200 yards from the crashed plane. She doesn't like to talk about the paper because it is stamped with a Nazi swastika. Loevsky, who is 84 and began searching for his buddies when he was 64, thinks civilians may have been involved in Terry's disappearance. "There is the possibility that the civilians got hold of him and did a number on him," he said. "I think it would have been embarrassing to the German government to turn over his actual body. That's my opinion."

Date27 Sep 2014 18:28:23

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3492 / MACR 3492, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

William Jefferson Terry: Gallery (2 items)