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Billy J Espich

Military

8th Air Force, 2nd Air Division, 20th Combat Wing, 448th BG, 712th BS
Original Crew #17 (Pilot- 1st Lt Robert K Winn) - A/C 42-52145
Billy flew no missions with his original crew. The pilot became sick and the crew was reassigned.
2nd Crew #18 (Pilot- 1st Lt Alan Teague)
Billy flew missions 1-2 with Crew #18. Beginning on 1944-Jan-04 to Kiel, Germany.
3rd Crew #16 (Pilot- 1st Lt Earle P Durley Jr)
Billy was reassigned to crew #16 after a smoke flare went off accidentally in the bomb bay of crew #16 on 1944-Jan-21. Four crewmen thought the plane was on fire and bailed out over France. Billy flew missions 3-27 as a replacement tail gunner with crew#16. Crew #16 was transferred to the 491st BG at Metfield from 1944-May-27 to 1944-Jun-13 as a lead crew and to provide training for the new Unit which arrived the middle of May 1944. 1st Lt. Durley finished his 30th mission on 1944-Jun-27. Billy flew his remaining missions, 28-30, as a replacement gunner to finished his 30 mission requirement. His last mission was 1944-Jul-11 to Munich, Germany.

Service

People

  • Lester Bise

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 448th Bomb Group

  • Richard Brady

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 389th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. On 5 Jan 1944 B-24 42-64451. Upon landing in poor visibility and ice on runway, A/C ran off runway and crashed. ...

  • Robert Cook

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 448th Bomb Group
    On 5 Jan 1944 B-24H #42-64451. Upon landing in poor visibility and ice on runway, A/C ran off runway and crashed.

  • Charlie Dugosh

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner ; Flight Engineer / Ball Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 712BS, 488BG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. On 5-Jan-44 B-24H 42-64451. Upon landing in poor visibility and ice on runway, A/C ran off runway and crashed. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Pforzheim in B-24 41-28763,...

  • Earle Durley

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 448th Bomb Group
    Capt Earle P Durley Jr went to England as a member of the 8th Air Force, 2nd Air division, 20th Combat Wing, 448th Bomb Group, 712th Bomb Squadron, Crew #16. They flew the Southern Route to England, leaving Harrington Airfield in Kansas on 15-Nov-1943...

  • Kenneth Dyer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 448th Bomb Group
    S/Sgt. Kenneth L. Dyer was born August 7, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He enlisted in Indianapolis on November 12, 1942. He was a Radio Operator while assigned to "Boomerang" (42-52132) Jan-Feb 1944, "Little Sheppard" (41-28711) Feb-Mar 1944 and ...

  • Robert Halloran

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 448th Bomb Group
    Copilot for 448th BG, 712th BS, Crew #16.

  • James Harmon

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 448th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt James H Harmon went to England as a member of the 8th Air Force, 2nd Air division, 20th Combat Wing, 448th Bomb Squadron, 712th Bomb Squadron, Crew #17. They flew the Southern Route to England, leaving Harrington Airfield in Kansas on 15-Nov...

  • Roy Maker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 448th Bomb Group
    Roy transferred from Crew #27 to Crew #16 to replace gunners who while on an operational mission to Cherbourg, FR on 21 Jan 1944 in B-24H #41-29208 a target marker went off in the a/c forcing four gunners to bail out and become prisoners of War (POW).

  • Edwin Pixley

    Military | Sergeant | Airplane Armorer-Gunner, Gunner | 448th Bomb Group
    Edwin transferred from Crew #17 to Crew #16 to replace gunners who while on an operational mission to Cherbourg, FR on 21 Jan 1944 in B-24H #41-29208 a target marker went off in the a/c forcing four gunners to bail out and become prisoners of War (POW).

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Units served with

  • 2nd Air Division

    2nd Air Division

    Division
    In December 1944, the 2nd Bomb Division was redesginated the 2nd Air Division.

  • 20th Combat Bomb Wing

    20th Combat Bomb Wing

    Wing
    Prewar bombardment wing in the northwest. Moved to England, May–June 1943, for duty with Eighth Air Force. Received its first groups in November 1943 and served in combat in the European theater from December 1943 until April 1945. Returned to the US...

  • 448th Bomb Group

    448th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 448th Bombardment Group was organized on 6 April 1943 and activated on 1 May 1943 at Gowen Field, near Boise, Idaho. The initial training of the air crews took place in Florida. The entire group was assembled Wendover Field, Utah. Both air and...

  • 491st Bomb Group

    491st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 491st Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators in bombing missions over northern France and Germany from June 1944 until April 1945. Missions over Germany included bombing the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen. The Group was awarded a DUC...

  • 712th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-28611 'Baby Shoes'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 712BS, 448BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Brandenburg, Germany. Last seen crossing the coast with one engine feathered 9-Mar-44, crashed Nth of Arendonk, Belgium. 1 x RTD, 9 x POW. MACR 3339.

  • 41-29191 Hello Natural

    B-24 Liberator
    Damaged in landing accident Seething, England 21 Jan 1944; damaged by flak over Berlin 6 March 1944 and landed in Sweden, crew interned. MACR 3548. Crew returned Jul - Sep 1944; aircraft returned to the US in 1945

  • 42-52118

    B-24 Liberator

  • 44-40099 TARFU II

    B-24 Liberator

  • 41-29208 "Shoo-Shoo Baby"

    B-24 Liberator
    Originally assigned to 448th Bomb Group, 712th Bomb Squadron before transfer to 44th Bomb Group, 66th Bomb Squadron. Nose turret removed and nose modified to incorporate a B-26 Bell power boost unit, top and ball turrets and other armor removed 14 Apr...

  • 41-29232 The Menace

    B-24 Liberator
    Severely damaged on landing Seething, England 23 July 1944

  • 42-100322 COME ALONG BOYS

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-109793

    B-24 Liberator
    July 2, 1944 after take-off on mission to Fiefs, France, B-24 #42-109793 lost the 3rd and then #4 propellor. Pilot Lt. B Blanton was advised by the tower to abandon the a/c and crew bailed out near Boreham, Essex. ...

  • 42-52606 Hello Natural II

    B-24 Liberator
    42-52606, "Hello Natural II", was salvaged after a runway accident with 42-51221 and 42-95169, "Betsy Jay" on 1944-Jul-16.

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 174

    4 January 1944
    The port area of Kiel, Germany and the railroad marshalling yards at Munster, Germany are the Primary targets of this Mission which is organised as two elements: one going to Kiel and the other to Munster. Roger A. Freeman begins to designate aircraft...

  • 8th Air Force 198

    29 January 1944
    The primary target for this mission was the railroad marshalling yards and industrial areas of Frankfurt, Germany. A combined force of 863 heavy bombers were despatched in three elements to make the attack. The combined bomber gunner claims on enemy...

  • 8th Air Force 212

    6 February 1944
    German airfields and V-Weapon sites in France are the primary targets of this mission. A combined force total of 642 heavy bombers are depatched from 8th Air Force 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions. The primary targets of 1st Bomb Division were the...

  • 8th Air Force 228 BIG WEEK - DAY 2

    21 February 1944
    Day 2 of BIG WEEK is another maximum effort by 8th Air Force to bomb 6 airfields in Germany as primary targets: Diepholz, Gütersloh, Lippstadt, Werl, Achmer and Handorf. In addition the industrial areas of Brunswick city are included as a primary...

  • 8th Air Force 233 BIG WEEK - DAY 5

    24 February 1944
    BIG WEEK resumes with full intensity against the German aircraft industry. Bomber tactics are changed slightly in that each Air Division will be directed at more widely dispersed primary targets whoch it is thought will frustrate concentration...

  • 8th Air Force 246

    3 March 1944
    A combined force of 748 heavy bombers are despatched to bomb the primary targets of Berlin, Erkner and Oranienburg, Germany, but weather and dense contrails forced most of the formations to turn back or seek Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 1st Combat...

  • 8th Air Force 257

    13 March 1944
    V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise area of France are the targets for this mission. All three Air Divisions despatch aircraft but the weather is so terrible that most could not bomb a target. Mission Summary follows: ...

  • 8th Air Force 264

    18 March 1944
    The German aircraft industries and aie depots are the main objectives of this mission. A combined total of 738 heavy bombers from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions are despatched to bomb the German aircraft industries at Oberpfaffenhofen and...

  • 8th Air Force 275

    23 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Brunswick, Munster, Osnabruck, and Achmer, Germany as well as the airfield at Handorf, Germany become the targets for a force of 768 heavy bombers despatched by all three Air Divisions. The bomber gunner claims on German...

  • 8th Air Force 280

    26 March 1944
    9 V-Weapon sites in the Pas-de-Calaise, France area and 7 V-Weapon sites in the Cherbourg, France area are the targets of this mission. A combined force of 573 heavy bombers from all three Air Divisions are despatched. Mission Summary follows: ...

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Associated Place

  • Seething

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1942-43 as an Eighth Air Force bomber base, Seething had three concrete runways, 51 hardstandings of both loop and 'frying-pan’ types, and two T2 hangars, one on each side of the airfield. It was home to the 448th Bomb Group, equipped with...

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2021 18:27:00 dwk1927 Changes to biography
Sources

Billy J Espich WWII Collection

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2021 18:16:59 dwk1927 Changes to highest rank, biography, person associations and unit associations
Sources

Billy J Espich WWII Collection

Date Contributor Update
02 March 2021 23:06:03 dwk1927 Changes to person associations
Sources

Special Order 307, Movement of 448th Bombardment Group (H), crew 17, from Sioux City, Iowa to Harrington, Kansas.

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 20:53:29 dwk1927 Changes to biography
Sources

Billy's Diary

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 20:48:55 dwk1927 Changes to nickname and biography
Sources

Billy's Diary

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 19:48:03 dwk1927 Changes to unit associations and aircraft associations
Sources

Billy's Diary

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 19:06:11 dwk1927 Changes to mission associations
Sources

From Billy's Diary.

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 16:28:20 dwk1927 Changes to biography
Sources

This information came from Billy's Diary that he kept in England.

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2021 16:16:20 dwk1927 Changes to biography and awards
Sources

This information came from Billy's Diary that he kept while in England.

Date Contributor Update
23 October 2020 00:26:45 dmccullo Changes to person associations
Sources

Updated connections.

Date Contributor Update
23 October 2020 00:18:33 dmccullo Changes to highest rank, role, person associations and media associations
Sources

Updated connections & key image.

Date Contributor Update
23 October 2020 00:06:32 dmccullo Changes to person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

Updated connections.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:04:40 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / SO#150, 6th Heavy Bomb.Proc HQ, Herington, Kansas 5 Nov 43

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