Personnel of the 323rd Bomb Group, including Flight Lieutenant Joe McCarthy, talk with RAF personnel under the tail of a B-26 Marauder (serial number 41-17750) in August 1943. Passed for publication 18 Aug 1943.
Printed caption on reverse: 'America's New Super Medium Bomber In Britain. 18.8.43. The U.S. Super Medium bomber, the "Marauder" is now operating from Britain after doing fine work in N. Africa and Sicily. It has a range of 2,000 miles, with a speed of 350 m.p.h. and a wing span of 65 ft., and carries one ton of bombs. Driven by two 2,000h.p. Pratt and Witney "Wasp" engines, armed with 8 of the famous "Calibre 50" machine guns, and carries a crew of 6, all of who wear "Flak" armour and steel hats. The picture shows:-'
Printed caption also attached: '37./38. Pilots and crews of the R.A.F. pay informal visits to U.S. Air fields in Britain and valuable working information is exchanged in this way.
The picture shows a R.A.F. Bomber crew with U.S. pilots at a "Marauder" Station.
The names (left to right) are:- Lt. John Helton (Clifton, Texas)., Sgt. Ronald Batson (Ferry Hill, Durham)., Flt. Sgt. Leonard Eaton (Manchester)., Pilot Officer Don MacLean (Toronto, Ontario)., Sgt. Len Johnson (Newark, Notts)., Lt. John Bull Sterling (Annapolis, Maryland)., Flt. Lt. Joe Macarthy (Long Island, New York)., Lt. Lawrence McNally (Bridgport, Conn)., Capt. Grover Willcox (Anahuac, Texas)., and Sgt. Bill Radcliffe (New Westminster, British Columbia).
Flt. Lt. Joe McCarthy, a Yank in the R.A.F. won the D.S.O. for his part in the famous Dam Busting raid and he and Lt. John Bull Stirling trained at the same flying school in Canada.'
On reverse: Central Press Photos Ltd., US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps]. Censor no: 279285.
Joe McCarthy was one of the 8,800 Americans who joined the RCAF before America entered the war. He became one of the most outstanding pilots in RAF Bomber Command, completing 67 operations before being taken off in July 1944. By then he had earned a DSO plus DFC and bar. His biographer says Joe and his 617 Squadron crew flew down to Earls Colne for the occasion recorded in this picture. Joe and his fellow American John Stirling had trained together at No 12 EFTS at Goderich, Ontario.
In a Canadian newspaper, the caption read - "Canadians, Yanks and Britishers are in this group as a crew of a Lancaster bomber visited the crew of a US Marauder in Britain". After the war, Joe McCarthy remained in the RCAF until 1968. He then retired to Virginia Beach, VA where he died on 6 September 1998
Earls Colne Airfield Dispersal Areas Aerial - War Time
The photograph has been annotated with the dispersal sites within view and certain building numbers, all but one of which are within Site No. 2 Communal. Please refer to the Earls Colne Site Plan - Schedule of Buildings for the legend, which is reproduced to the extent possible below.. Building 498 is likely the Nissen hut shared by Lts. Foster, Rush, Stirneman, Guldemond and Lemmon with their puppy, Burma.
SITE NO. 2 COMMUNAL
166 Picket Post
167 Grocery Store
168 Tank Tower
169 Ration Store
170 Breakroom Ration Store
171 Tailors and Barber Shop
172 Latrines Sergts.
173 Sergts. Showers
174 Sergts. Mess
175 A/IN’s Dining Room & ___
176 Post Office
177 Latrine Block A/IN’s
178 Showers & Ablut. A/IN’s
179 Fuel Compound
180 M & E Plinth
181 Stand-By Set House
182 Gymnasium & Chapel
184 Officers’ Bath House
185 -186 Officers’ Mess
187 Squash Racquet Court
188 C/O’s Quarters
SITE AREA NO. 3 COMUNAL
194 Picket Post
195 Sergts. Mess
196 Sergts. Showers
197 Officers’ Baths
198 Boiler House
199 Officers’ Mess
200 Latrine Block A/IN’s
201 – 202 Showers Blocks A/IN’s (2)
203 M & E Plinth
204 Dining Room
205 Institute & W.A.A.E.T.
206 Education Block
207 Local Produce Store
208 Ration Store
209 Fuel Compound
SITE NO. 4 QUARTERS
215 Picket Post
216 - 219 A/IN’s Barracks (4)
220 A/IN’s Latrines
221 Sergts. & A/IN’s Dining Room
222 Sergts. & A/INS Ablutions
223 A/IN’s Barracks
224 Fuel Compound
225 A/IN’s Latrines
226 - 231 A/IN’s Barracks (4)
SITE NO. 5 QUARTERS
237 Picket Post
238 Officers’ Quarters
239 Officers’ Ablutions & Latrines
240 - 342 Officers’ Quarters (3)
243 A/IN’s Barracks
244 -245 Sergts. Quarters (2)
246 Sergts. Latrines & Dining Room
247 – 249 Sergts. Quarters (3)
250 Sergts. Latrines & Dining Room
251 Sergts. Ablutions
252 Sergts. Latrines & Dining Room
253 - 257 Sergts. Quarters (5)
258 Sergts. A/IN’s Ablutions
259 M & E Plinth
260 – 262 A/IN’s Barracks (3)
263 A/IN’S Latrines & Dining Room
264 - 259 A/IN’s Barracks (6)
270 M & E Plinth
272 – 277 A/IN’S Barracks (7)
SITE No. 6 QUARTERS
282 Picket Post
283 A/IN’s Barracks
284 Officer’s Quarters
285 Static Water Tank
286 – 287 Officers’ Latrines & Ablutions (2)
288 – 294 Officers’ Quarters (7)
295 M & E Plinth
296 – 297 Sergts. Lat. & Dining Room (2)
298 – 302 Sergts. Quarters (5)
303 A/IN’s Barracks
304 Sergts. Barracks
305 Sergts. & A/IN’s Ablutions
306 – 307 A/IN’S Lat. & Dining Room (2)
308 – 310 A/IN’S Quarters (3)
311 A/IN’S Latrines & Dining Room
312 – 317 A/IN’S Barracks (4)
SITE NO. 7 QUARTERS
323 Picket Post
324 – 327 Officers’ Quarters (4)
328 Sergts. Dining Room
329 – 324 Sergts. Quarters (5)
325 Sergts. Latrines
326 -527 Sergts. Lat. & Dining Room (2)
328 - 230 Sergts. Quarters (3)
331 - 332 A/IN’S Latrines (2)
332 -351 A/IN’S Barracks (20)
352 A/IN’s Latrines & Dining Room
353 Sergts. & A/IN’S Ablutions
354 -358 A/IN’S Barracks (5)
359 A/IN’s Latrines & Dining Room
360 Officers’ Latrines & Ablutions
361 Sergts. Ablutions
SITE NO. 8 W.A.A.F.
265 Picket Post & Reception Room
368 Static Water Tank
369 Sergts. Mess & A/IN Dining Hall
370 Sick Quarters (6 Bed)
371 Officers’ Mess w/ Show. & Ablu.
372 – 375 A/IN’s Barracks (w/o Lat.) (4)
376 – 377 Sergts. & A/IN’s Barr. (w/ Lat. & Baths) (2)
378 Sergts. & A/IN’s Baths & Decontam.
379 Sergts. & A/IN’s Lat. & Ablutions
380 – 386 A/IN’S Barr. (w/ Lat. & Baths (7)
SITE No. 9 W.A.A.F.
392 Fuel Compound
393 Ablutions Block
394 Latrine & Bath Block
395 Sergts. Quarters (w/ Latrine)
396 Static Water Tank
397 – 400 A/IN’s Quarters (w/ Lat.) (4)
401 M & E Plinth
403 – 405 A/IN’s Quarters (w/ Lat.) (4)
SITE No. 10 Sick QUARTERS
412 Picket Post
413 M & E Plinth
414 Sergts. A/IN’s Quarters
415 Sergts. & IN’s Lat. & Dining Hall
416 Ambulance Garage & Mortuary
417 Static Water Tank
418 Sick Quarters
419 Sick Quarters Amen.
420 Pump House
421 L. C. Reservoir & Suction Tank
SITE No. 11 QUARTERS
427 Picket Post
428 Static Water Tank
429 – 430 A/IN’s Barracks (w/ Lat.) (2)
431 – 432 A/IN’s Latrine & Dining Room
433 Sergts. & A/IN’s Ablutions
434 A/IN’s Barracks
435 - 440 A/IN’s Barr. (1 w/ Lat. & 4 w/o Lat.)
SITE No. 12 QUARTERS
446 Picket Post
447 Officers’ Latrines & Ablutions
448 – 452 Officers’ Quarters (5)
454 Officers’ Latrines
455 – 456 Sergts. Quarters (2)
457 – 461 A/IN’s Barracks (5)
462 A/IN’s Latrines & Dining Room
463 – 464 Sergts. Lat. & Dining Room (2)
465 Sergts. Quarters
466 Sergts. Latrines
467 Sergts. Dining Room
468 Sergts. Ablutions
469 – 474 Sergts. Quarters (14)
475 A/IN’s Barracks
476 Sergts. & A/IN’s Ablutions
477 M & E. Plinth
478 – 481 A/IN’s Barracks (4)
482 A/In’s Latrines & Dining Room
483 A/I’S Latrines
484 - 488 A/IN’S Barracks (5)
448 Static Water Tank
490 Fuel Compound
SITE No. 13 QUARTERS
496 Picket Post
497 - 503 Officers’ Quarters (6)
504 Officers’ Ablutions & Latrines
506 – 510 Sergts. Quarters (5)
511 – 512 Sergts. Lat. & Dining Room (2)
513 Sergts. Dining Room
514 – 515 Sergts. Quarters (2)
516 Sergts. Ablutions
517 – 518 Sergts. Quarters (2)
520 – 521 Officers’ Quarters (2)
522 Airmen’s Latrines
523 – 528 A/IN’s Barracks (6)
529 A/IN’s Barracks
530 – 531 A/IN’s Lat. & Dining Room (2)
532 A/IN’s Barracks
533 – 539 A/IN’s Barracks (7)
540 A/IN’s Barracks
SITE No. 14 SEWAGE DISPOSAL
446 Sewage Drain Beds
447 Pool House
448 Sequestr. Tanks (_ Compartmt.)
449 Dosing Chamber
550 Percolating Filters (2)
551 Holding Tanks (2)
JD Helton was from the Waco, Texas area and served as a B-26 Marauder pilot during the Second World War. He was part of the original Myrtle Beach contingent that comprised the 456th BS.
On May 29, 1944, Lt. Helton flew with Lt. Paul Watson-N, Lt. Walt Foster-B and crew to the Beauvoir Highway Bridge in the Lead Window Aircraft. They preceded the group of 36 323rd BG aircraft into the heavily defended target area, dropping either narrow strips of metal or nickels (5 cent coins) to interfered with the Luftwaffe's radar assisted 88-MM heavy flak gun batteries defending the Bevoir HW bridge. They were in "The Gremlin II" and sustained Class A battle damage from heavy flak thrown up by the Germans.
The Helton crew flew to Caen Road Junctions C-1 and C-2 over the Orne River on the last mission of the day on D-Day; this appears to have been Helton's 71st mission based on informaiton in Marauder Men. Critical Past footage shows the Helton crew flying in WT-B "The Gremlin II" on that mission as they are about to make landfall on the French Coast; just before they are depicted in the footage, the Battle ship Texas fires a broadside at the Normandy cliffs. The silhouettes of Helton and Foster can be seen in the stills, one of which is in the group of photos above.
On June 10, the same crew flew a flight lead to the secondary target of Viaduc de Clecy where their flight so six aircraft scored at least two direct hits on the RR bridge and numerous direct hits on the highway underpass, thereby frustrating the movement of German reinforcements and supplies to the battlefront. THis appears to have been Helton's 73rd mission. Footage of the bombs of Helton crew's flight of six aircraft scoring direct hits on the railroad bridge over the viaduct near Clecy and the underpass is part of the Critical Past Collection Footage of one of the 323rd's other flight of six that preceeded the Helton led six breaking away from the target is also featured twice in the History Channel's Battle Stations episode on the B-26 Marauder. On the mission to Clecy, the Helton crew were in WT-A "Ole 33 Gal" (a Critical Past still captures them mid-flight) in which their good friend, Dale Rush, and the Tailgunner on Dale's crew had been killed over Dieppe three weeks earlier on May 20.
On June 13, 1844, Lt. Helton raised his hand and asked the visiting Generals Marshall, Arnold and Anderson how many missions he had to fly before he could go back to the States. Gen. Marshall had been prepared to announce during the visit that the B-26 tour of duty would have no limit. According to Moench, Lt. Helton informed the Generals that he had flown 75 missions as of that date and presented the case for a limited tour of duty, and his argument carried the day. The Generals were so impressed by Lt. Helton's composure, they requested a photograph with him. For his advocacy and leadership, Lt. Helton earned the respect and appreciation of his colleagues. Most Marauder combat crews understood that an unlimited tour of duty meant they likely would be killed in action. Morale was suffering under the threat. As a high mission airman, no doubt Lt. Helton knew as well as anyone that survival was largely a numbers game. The Marauder Men who were able to return to the States after completing the 65-mission tour of duty had Lt. Helton and luck or divine grace to thank.
On June 15, the Helton crew flew to the Valognes Fuel Dump. This was considered to be a "hot target". "The Gremlin II", having to penetrate the heavy defenses with the rest of the formation, sustained Class A battle damage. Following this mission, Lt. Helton was able to go home with what appears to have been 76 missions to his credit.
On October 8, Lt. Helton had returned from his much-deserved furlough to the 456th, which was then stationed at Chartes, and was on the loading list to fly with Lt. Smith - Co-P, Lt. Burgmeier-N, and Lt. Foster -B, with each of whom he had flown many missions.
Lt. Helton married and had one son following the war. He passed away in the late 1990's, at about 80 years of age, in the area near Waco, Texas.
Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator - B-26 Marauder | 323rd Bomb Group
Lt. Burgmeier grew up in Upstate New York. He married his wife, Tedi, in July 1943, just days before he left for his tour of duty as a navigator for the 323rd Bombardment Group. He kept a diary, which has been invaluable to historians studying the...
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier | 323rd Bomb Group
Lt. Walt Foster was a navigator and bombardier from Upstate New York who served with the 456th BS during the Second World War. His first combat mission was flown from Earls Colne Airfield on February 3, 1944 to the Ruisseville "No Balls” secret weapon...
Military | Pilot | 323rd Bomb Group
Lt. Smith flew as Co-Pilot in "The Gremlin II" WT-B with Capt. JD Helton -Pilot (who had returned from leave), Lt. Frank Burgmeier - N, Lt. Walt Foster - B from Chartes on October 8, 1944 to the Eskirchen Supply Depot, Holland.
Units served with
The 323rd Bombardment Group operated with B-26 Marauders, American medium bombers. They were the first Eighth Air Force Group to fly a medium level bombing mission with this aircraft on 16 July 1943. After flying a total of 33 missions with the Eighth,...
Selected Bibliography of Publications:
The Gremlin II took part in a D-Day Mission to Caen Road Junctions with crew Lt. John D. " JD" Helton - Pilot, Lt. Watson - Navigator and Lt. Walt Foster - Bombardier.