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Andrew L Anderson

Military

Assigned to 345BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF. Flew the 1-Aug-43 Ploesti mission in B-24 42-40663 'Maternity Ward'. Survived the ditching and 15 x days in a dingy with pilot John V Ward. Washed up on Italian held isaland Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 224

Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

"On August 1, 1943 my 23 year old father, Lt. Andrew L (Andy) Anderson, pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber named "Maternity Ward" and along with 1,728 other crewmen in 178 bombers, took off from an airfield in Benghazi, Libya on a mission called Operation Tidal Wave, to destroy the Nazi's massive oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania.
Losses were heavy: 54 planes were shot down, my father's included, and 514 airmen, most of them between 18-26 years old, gave their lives that day in what the American Air College described as "One of the bloodiest and most heroic battles of WWII." Every one of the 1,728 crewmen received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and more Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded that day (five) than in any other battle...including D-Day.
I have vivid memories of my father describing the battle in conversations after dinner...one of three young sons enraptured by what happened on the mission...their 24's flying so low they clipped the tops of the corn fields, and manoeuvring the huge planes between the smokestacks of the refinery.
While listening to my father describe the battle from a first-person perspective certainly did trigger images in my mind of what happened, a couple of years ago I was introduced to a screenwriter who wrote a screenplay and a 2 minute movie "pitch" about Operation Tidal Wave, from the perspective of two other pilots. The clip completely blew me away because it was 100% true to everything my father described to us as children. And to this day I simply cannot fathom the bravery that these kids showed. The screenplay's title is "Day of Valor" and no matter how many times I watch it, it always gives me the chills knowing my father was in one of those planes:
https://youtu.be/GBXNOcVCRZE"

Service

People

  • John Ward

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot
    Pilot of B-24 of #4240663 'Maternity Ward' lost on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, shot down by enemy fighters over Ionian Sea on return flight. Pilot John V Ward. 8 MIA/KIA 2 POW. MACR 224. ...

Units served with

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 345th Bomb Squadron

    345th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic...

Aircraft

  • 42-40663 'Maternity Ward'

    B-24 Liberator
    Failed to return from 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, shot down by enemy fighters over Ionian Sea on return flight. Pilot John V Ward. 8 MIA/KIA 2 POW. MACR 224.

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B-24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57...

Associated Place

Events

Event Location Date
Born New Jersey 21 June 1919

Son of Elizabeth L Anderson.

Based Benina 1943 – 1 August 1943

Assigned to 345BS, 98BG, 9AF USAAF.

Shot Down Ionian Sea 1 August 1943

Co Pilot B-24 of 42-40663 'Maternity Ward' lost on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, shot down by enemy fighters over Ionian Sea on return flight. Pilot John V Ward. 8 MIA/KIA 2 POW. MACR 224.

Prisoner Of War POW Cythera, Greece 15 August 1943

Survived A/C ditching in Ionian Sea along with pilot John V Ward, adrift in dingy for 15 days and finally landed on Cythera island occupied by Italians and were made POW's. Eventually held at Stalag Luft VIIa Moosburg.

Died 23 January 1992
Buried Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego, San Diego County, CA 27 January 1992

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego, San Diego County, California

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2021 14:02:42 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname, service number, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, person associations, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/29418729
https://www.fold3.com/image/29418727
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/48118383/andrew-l-anderson

Date Contributor Update
12 May 2017 00:26:35 Smyles Changes to biography and events
Sources

http://mydadsstory.com

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2015 09:31:12 Al_Skiff Changes to highest rank
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
28 March 2015 09:28:12 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

http://www.worldwar2.ro

Date Contributor Update
27 March 2015 18:48:23 Al_Skiff Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

http://www.worldwar2.ro

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