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Percy Paget

Military

One mission as tail gunner; wounded. Twenty-eight missions as Bombardier. Shot down on 29th mission over Kassel, Germany. Prisoner of War for 60 days. Lost 35 pounds. B-17 42-97810.

Paget was to spend 30 months in the Air Corps, a period which 'impacted' his life for many years. He began his service at Miami Beach in March 1943, progressing to engineering and gunnery courses, before crewing up in Nebraska and moving on to Louisiana for combat training. The crew then shipped to England joining the 602nd Sqdn of the 398th BG at Nuthampstead. For the mission to Mannheim on 9th September 1944 he was assigned the tail gunner's position where - at 25,000 ft and well into Germany - he was wounded. He managed to crawl through to the radio and the flight engineer carried out preliminary first aid, applying bandages etc. On returning to base an ambulance took him to a hospital - already overwhelmed with casualties from France - where he stayed for three weeks. He re-joined his crew as togglier/ nose gunner on 5th November flying more missions, rarely returning to base without some damage and often having to divert because of poor weather conditions. His original crew completed their 30 missions but Paget, being behind in numbers, was then assigned to Bill Jacobs' crew. The mission to Kassel on 9th March 1945 proved to be his last. The plane lost an engine to heavy flak and the pilot was forced to land on a German farm, killing the navigator in the nose of the plane in the process. The rest of the crew managed to evacuate and were collected by a German army truck which deposited them at the local jail. Later as they were on a train heading for an interrogation centre the train was bombed by P-51's and the prisoners taken off and force-marched for two weeks to camp Stalag 7A. The camp -at this stage of the war - was massively overcrowded and poorly supplied; food was short and the situation chaotic. Fortunately not for long as Patton's tanks came through the gates one day and 'brought cheers from thousands of men who thought they would never see home again'.

PH/ WM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster/ WW II VM/ ETO w/ 3 battle stars/ POW

Service

Units served with

  • 398th Bomb Group

    398th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 398th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Nuthampstead, Hertfordshire on strategic bombing raids over Germany. The Group switched focus in the days before D-Day, when they targeted enemy positions on the Cherbourg peninsula. When the Allies...

  • 602nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-97810

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 4/3/44; Hunter 7/4/44; Dow Fd 21/4/44; Assigned 602BS/398BG [K8-S] Nuthampstead 3/5/44; with Shimek force landed continent on 8/1/45 and after repairs re-ass 2/3/45; (61m) Missing in Action Kassel 9/3/45 with Willard Jacobs, Bombardier...

Associated Place

  • Nuthampstead

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43, Nuthampstead was the nearest Eighth Air Force heavy bomber base to London. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied from September 1943 to April 1944 by the 55th...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Brooklyn, New York, USA
Prisoner of War (POW) Germany 9 March 1945

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2019 12:51:34 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography and events
Sources

Biography completed by historian Helen Millgate. Information sourced from correspondence files and articles related to the service of Percy Paget.

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

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 12962 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / self/ MACR 12962

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