Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Paul W Perry

Military

The Paul W. Perry crew were put together at the 1st BCRD, Westover Field, Massachusetts, in early March, 1944. On 27 May, 1944, they landed at Nutts Corner, Scotland, to begin their European tour. The crew were first assigned to the 445th Bomb Group, but while enroute to Tibenham were transferred to the 857th Squadron, 492nd Bomb Group on 21 June, probably due to high losses experienced by the Group and the urgent need for replacement crews.
After flying 13 missions, the crew were transferred to the 785th Bomb Squadron, 466th Bomb Group on 12 August, 1944, when the 492nd was transferred "less planes and personnel" to the 801st Bomb Squadron (Provisional). They later flew with the 784th Squadron of the 466th as a lead crew.
Seven of the 10 crew members flew their entire 30-mission tour together, finishing on 29 December, 1944. Upon the transfer to the 466th, however, Bento and Randolph were assigned to A.T.C. and were replaced by Glass and Krushynski. When Krushynski broke his collarbone, Bento returned for the last two missions flown by the original crew, but had fallen behind and did not finish his tour at that time. A third crew member, Towner, was wounded on one mission and fell one behind during his recovery. He finished his 30th mission two days after the rest of the crew.
After the war, Captain Perry remained in the Air Force as in instructor. While we have very little information regarding his post-war Air Force career, there are at least four photographs of him with various B-29's and crews. One of his instrument pilot's certificates shows that he was assigned to the 72nd Rcn. Sq. (VLR) for a period of time. At the time of his discharge on September 30, 1950, Captain Perry was assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron of the Fifth Air Base Group, Strategic Command. In addition to the Air Medal mentioned in the diary, Captain Perry was awarded four oak leaf clusters to the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After his separation from the Air Force, Captain Perry began a long career in civil aviation. His nascent commercial career was nearly cut short, however, in an inadvertent wheels-up landing. Apparently, he was able to get enough letters of recommendation to rescue his license.
After a short stint with a small carrier, he became a pilot with Flying Tiger Airlines. His time at Flying Tigers included flying near the Arctic Circle, aiding in the construction of the DEW line. One of his co-pilots at the time was Elgen Long. Mr. Long stated to this writer, "He taught me everything I knew about flying off snow and frozen lakes." Captain Long put these skills to good use in 1971, when he became the first-and only, I believe-pilot to solo circumnavigate the globe flying over the poles.
During the mid-sixties, Captain Perry flew Canadair "swing-tail" cargo planes into areas of Viet Nam, including the Air Force base at Danang. During these flights, they often came under small arms fire while landing. Standard procedure was to check the plane for bullet holes upon landing. Later, when Flying Tigers switched to "stretch" DC-10's, some of the older pilots were told they would not be flying the new planes. Instead, the younger pilots were the only ones to be checked out on the jets. The error of this decision soon became apparent, and the "old guard" resumed flights into Danang in the new aircraft. It seems that being under fire from small arms was not a big issue for the guys who flown through flak in Europe and the Pacific.
We believe - as family would - that Uncle Paul was a great pilot. That he and his crew were selected to fly lead, as discussed in the diary, is some proof of this. The following story, appearing in the "Boston Post" sometime in 1953, tells a little more of the tale.

Fliers Uninjured in Crash at Logan

While several hundred spectators watched, a Flying Tiger ace made a breathtaking crash-landing on one wheel at Logan International Airport today and stepped out of the cockpit of his cargo-laden plane with his co-pilot, both unhurt.
Capt. Paul Perry, Chicago, and his flying partner, George Collins, Salt Lake City, Utah, walked away from the C-46 twin-engine craft with only a shaking up.
The crew discovered, after leaving Hartford for Boston, that one wheel would not lock in place. Enroute, they secured the general cargo and made for Logan and radioed their trouble to the control tower. Word spread like wildfire and a crowd gathered.
Perry and his flying pal made two passes at the strip to "get the feel." Using the wind as a buffer, they touched the craft down twice easing the weight onto the defective wheel in an effort to jar it into locked position. Each time this maneuver failed and they zoomed into the air.
They finally informed the tower they were "coming in." Crash equipment, fire apparatus, and ambulances were raced onto the field. Perry eased his big ship down, checking his speed just before he touched down the good wheel.
While the crowd gasped, the plane shot along about 1500 feet and then did a ground loop and skidded to a halt. The only apparent damage was to the landing gear and a wingtip which scraped the strip. The cargo was intact.
After interviewing the pilots in the Flying Tiger hangar, Frank Sweeney, an inspector for the State Civil Aeronautics Commission, praised the landing as a "wonderful piece of flying."

Service

People

  • William Bento

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator | 466th Bomb Group
    Transferred Air Transport Command

  • Arel Bye

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Tail Gunner | 466th Bomb Group
    Transferred 466th BG.

  • Gerald Camp

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Flight Engineer | 466th Bomb Group

  • John Durtsche

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Ball Turret Gunner | 466th Bomb Group

  • Benjamin Glass

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 466th Bomb Group

  • Joseph Kelly

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 466th Bomb Group

  • Lloyd Randolph

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 466th Bomb Group
    Transferred Air Transport Command.

  • Oliver Rauch

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 466th Bomb Group
    Transferred 466th BG

  • Jack Towner

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Nose Gunner/Waist Gunner | 466th Bomb Group

  • Robert Traeger

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Waist Gunner | 466th Bomb Group
    http://www.492ndbombgroup.com/stories/R-21-Traeger-01.html

Show more

Units served with

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

  • 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)

    Group
    The 492nd Bomb Group were assigned to the 8th Air Force in April 1944. They flew 60 missions over occupied Europe from 11 May 1944 until 7 August 1944. ...

  • 784th Bomb Squadron
  • 785th Bomb Squadron
  • 857th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-95023

    B-24 Liberator
    This aircraft transferred to the 392nd Bomb Group (H) from the 492nd Bomb Group (H) after the mission on 6th August 1944. The 492nd, based at North Pickenham, had suffered heavy losses and was effectively wound down after 6th August '44, with remaining...

  • 42-95592 Black Cat

    B-24 Liberator
    On 21 April 1945 B-24 Liberator "Black Cat" became the last heavy bomber to be shot down in the European Theatre of Operations. ...

  • 44-40158 Tinker Belle

    B-24 Liberator
    Transferred to the 44th BG 13 Aug 44. ...

  • 42-52527 Reliable Babe

    B-24 Liberator

  • 44-40173 Our Baby

    B-24 Liberator
    Few 20 missions with the 492nd BG Flew 80+ missions with the 453rd BG Operation Home Run #35 (466th BG) May have been named "Ernie's Beavers" with the 492nd BG, however no photographic proof of this has yet been found.

Missions

  • 681

    17 October 1944

  • 685

    22 October 1944

  • 731

    30 November 1944

Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...

  • Cluntoe

    Military site : airfield
    Cluntoe was built for the RAF in 1940-42, before being handed obver to the Eighth Air Force. It was used as a Combat Crew Replacement Centre for the training of crews, and was also home to the 311th Ferrying Squadron. It was closed after being handed...

  • North Pickenham

    Military site : airfield
    Built comparatively late during 1943-44 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, North Pickenham was rather cramped as an airfield site so the main runway was shorter than typical. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2...

  • Nutts Corner

    Military site : airfield
    RAF station which was allocated to the USAAF. Part of the trans-Atlantic supply route.

Events

Event Location Date
Lived in Bakersfield, CA, USA 1942
Crew Formed Westover Air Reserve Base, Chicopee, MA 01022, USA March 1944
Based Cluntoe, Stewartstown, Dungannon, Cookstown BT71 5BS, UK 8 June 1944 – 19 June 1944

Combat school

War Diary Entry King's Lynn, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE30, UK 2 July 1944

"For three days straight we have been stood down on a mission. Maybe tomorrow we will finally get our first mission in. After we stood down yesterday, Rauch, Randy, and Kelly all went into King's Lynn and took our clothes to the cleaners. I went to the barbershop and in the meantime they schedule a formation training flight, but didn't think to look down there for me, so we missed it. Went on a low level flight today with a full group formation. Got along pretty good. Still no mail since being here. Pretty strong rumor that the whole group (492nd BG) is going to be transferred to India, but it's still just a rumor."

Transferred to the 466th BG Attlebridge, Norwich, Norfolk NR9, UK 11 August 1944
14th Combat Mission 30629 Misburg, Germany 24 August 1944

14th combat mission, 1st with the 466th BG. "Was married 4 years and 8 months ago today. I celebrated by dropping 20 x 250 lbs GP bombs on Misburg, Germany. We were awakened at 0345, briefing at 0445. This was our first mission with this group and for Glass the first mission he had been on at all. Don't think briefing was as good as at North Pickenham. Didn't have any trouble getting into formation however, in spite of the messed up way they take off around here. These planes still have the ball turrets in them so they don't fly as nice as the ones at the 492nd. The bombs hit all over instead of on the target. Time: 7:00 hours

16th Combat Mission 48249 Dülmen, Germany 26 August 1944

"West over Germany for the 13th time today for a total of 16 missions. Flew as element lead in the slot of the lead squadron. The target was Dulmen, Germany and we carried 8 x 1000 lbs. GP bombs to try to knock out an underground oil storage facility. We hit just at the head of Happy Valley (the Ruhr Valley) but we stayed on course all the way and we weren't fired upon at anytime. Not even over the target. Take off this morning was delayed twice for a total of two hours. Reason unknown. We are not alerted for tomorrow."

17th Combat Mission 62390 Villers-l'Hôpital, France 30 August 1944

"Today we were supposed to have a short mission. It ended up being six hours though. We hit or attempted to hit, a No-Ball target at Villers, France. In the Pas de Calais area. We got up at 0445 and briefed at 0600. When we took off at 0830 it was misting some, but we climbed out of it at around 12,000 feet. I flew lead of the high right element in the lead squadron today. I don't think I did too bad for my first attempt. We formed at 17,000 feet, then climbed n formation to 23,000 feet before leaving the English coast. Due to clouds we were forced down to 21,000 feet at the IP. We bombed from the same altitude. The formation was very poor over the target and in fact most of the rest of the time. My right wingman had to abort, so on the bomb run the other wingman shifted to the right wing and bombed from there. We didn't get any flak till over the target and then not much after that, but what we got was very accurate. I hard at least two bursts explode & Kelly said he heard about four explosions. Our wingman had to feather an engine and had another one smoking badly, but when we landed we heard he had landed okay at another base. We received quite a few holes around the left waist window, one in the left flap, one in the right rudder and four in the left engine - one of them putting quite a nick in the prop blade. The other three were about spent and didn't do any damage. Treager lost his flak helmet out the waist window. We are alerted again for tomorrow."

18th Combat Mission Karlsruhe, Germany 5 September 1944

"After an apparently clear and beautiful evening, they pulled us out of our nice warm sacks at 0300 for a 0400 briefing. At 0630 we were in the plane taxiing out for takeoff on mission #18 to Karsruhe, Germany. The front that was giving us so much bad weather yesterday here in England had moved over France. We were supposed to fly at 22,000 feet but we had to go to 26,000 feet to get over the front. We dropped back down to 22,500 feet for the bomb run. Flak over the target was only moderate, but the accuracy was terrific. We got peppered and Towner is due a Purple Heart. Nothing serious, thank goodness, but gave us a bad moment or two till we found out how bad it was. Aster leaving the target we started out climb back to 26,000 feet to get back over the front and get back home. WE had one plane feather an engine and leave us about 30 minutes or so after the target. It was the #3 man (Duane) Kinsey. Later on another one had to pull out too.
Towner has been hit in the head by a piece of flak. Fortunately the flak helmet had turned it so all he had was a cut or two around the eye caused by plexi-glass from the window where the flak came in. I was worried that h might have some in his eye, though he felt ok. So at the English coast I got permission to leave the formation and take off straight for the base.
While we were still over France, we had about two hours to go and the gas gauge showed only 50 gallons in one tank and about 40 in the other. The gauges must have been wrong because we didn't run out. The Doc put Towner to bed after x-raying his eye. Find out tomorrow if there is any glass in there. The gave us a 24 hour pass so I am going to town and stay tonight."

19th Combat Mission 49661 Cloppenburg, Germany 12 October 1944

Today I flew my first mission as squadron lead. Makes a total of 19 missions. We were supposed to hit an airfield north of Cloppenburg, Germany. When we got there the clouds were pretty thick so we hit the marshaling yards at Osnabruck via PFF instead.
I had hoped they would give me a command pilot as I had never had any experience as squadron lead, but they didn't. It didn't go too bad though considering everything. At least I kept the squadron further forward than the 458th BG most of the time.
No flak at our squadron, but the lead squadron got hit pretty hard. I saw the #6 ship in the lead squadron go down. One second they were flying along, the next second they were a mass of flames from the leading edge of the wing back to the tail. The wing came off and the plane nosed over into a spin and then the tail broke off at the rear bomb bay. I don't think anyone could have possibly gotten out unless maybe the navigator did. It looked like flames might have been in the cockpit as well. Maybe it's not so bad to get knocked down if you have a chance to bail out, but those boys had no chance. Most of them had been burned to death before they knew what hit them..
Stood down for tomorrow but a practice mission is scheduled."

466th BG Historian note - The plane that was shot down was flown by the Quentin Bailey Crew of the 786th BS. Unfortunately Perry was right. All ten crew were KIA.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2020 21:34:22 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

466th BG Archives - Report on Mission No. 146, Neunkirchen, Germany - 30 Nov 1944
NARA Research provided by Brad Sullivan

Date Contributor Update
07 April 2020 01:38:16 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

466th BG Archive - Mission Report for 22 October 1944
NARA research provided by Brad Sullivan

Date Contributor Update
29 May 2016 03:18:00 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Paul W. Perry war diary
466th BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
26 May 2016 22:25:43 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Paul W. Perry war diary
466th BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
09 May 2016 03:05:11 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Paul W. Perry Diary in the 466th BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
12 November 2015 04:02:38 466thHistorian Changes to events and place associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
15 May 2015 00:05:40 466thHistorian Changes to service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:20 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit roster in the book ATTLEBRIDGE DIARY by Wassom & Brassfield, page 349

Share