B-24D Liberator - #42-40738 - 'The Oklahoman' and Crew :
Standing L- R
S/Sgt. George "The Greek" Triantafillos - Tail Turret Gunner - S/Sgt. George B. "Doc" Farrell - Radio Operator, replaced Sgt. Flatter - T/Sgt. C. Lowell Vick - Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner - S/Sgt. Wiley C. Windham - Right Waist Gunner - S/Sgt. Bernard H. Shelley - Ball Turret Gunner - S/Sgt. William L. Wilhelm - Left Waist Gunner
Kneeling L-R :
Lt. Robert C. "Bob" Schroeder - Bombardier - Lt. Eldon N. "Neil" Colby - Co-Pilot Neil got his own crew and was shot down in late December, 1943, shortly after this photo was taken. He spent the remainder of the war as a POW - Lt. John C. "Jack" Martin - Pilot - Lt. Walter J. "Stabo" Stabrowski - Navigator
B-24D Liberator, SN # 42-40738, 'The Oklahoman', in the 566th Bomb Squadron, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 8th Air Force, and crew, flew on the Ploesti raid. Aug 1, 1943.
Lt. Robert C. Schroeder - Bombardier
Major Tom Conroy - 566th Squadron C/O
Lt. Walter J. Stabrowski - Navigator
Tech/Sgt. C. Lowell Vick - Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
566th's Flight Surgeon
S/Sgt. Wiley C. Windham - Right Waist Gunner
S/Sgt. William L. Wilhem - Left Waist Gunner
S/Sgt. Gus Triantaffillos - Tail Turret Gunner (replaced the original Tail Turret Gunner, Albert Bailey, who was shot down over Ploesti with Lt. Neef's crew)
Lt. Eldon N. Colby - Co-Pilot - standing third from left with big smile !
Lt. John C. Martin - Pilot
Kneeling (L-R) :-
Bernard H. Shelly - Ball Turret Gunner,
S/Sgt. Flatter - Radio Operator;
? - Ground Crewman,;
? - Ground Crewman
B 24H - 'HEAVY DATE' - Pilot 1st Lt. Eldon Neil Colby - Standing on wing - Far Right - Aircraft lost - Shot down by German ME-110 fighters on a bombing mission to Ludwigshafen, Germany. Lt. Colby survived crash and was captured. POW. Dec. 30, 1943 - Released 1945. MACR 1974
1st. Lt. Eldon Neil Colby flew the B-24D, 'TOUCH OF TEXAS' - 8th AF - 389th BG - 566th BS, on his first mission as a Pilot, after being the CoPilot on his original aircraft 'THE OKLAHOMAN' - # 42-40738. He was flying alongside 'THE OKLAHOMAN' in 'TOUCH OF TEXAS' when 'THE OKLAHOMAN' was hit by a direct burst of flak, carrying the Harley Mason Crew, who normally flew in 'FIGHTIN' SAM - # 42-40506). 'THE OKLAHOMAN' was blown apart, with Lt. Harley Mason being the sole survivor (POW). Dec 5, 1943.
Lt. Eldon Colby was shot down in the B-24D, #42-7766, Prisoner of War (POW). December 30, 1943.
Pilot : 1st Lt. Eldon N. Colby, POW
Squadron: 566th Bomb Squadron - 389th Bomb Group - 8th Air Force
POW Stalagluft 1 in Barth, Germany, until liberated in 1945.
Target: Ludwigshafen, Germany
Missing Air Crew Report Details
USAAF MACR#: 1974
Date Lost: Dec-30-1943
Serial Number: 42-7766
Aircraft Model B-24H-5-FO
Aircraft Letter: H+
Aircraft Name: 'HEAVY DATE'
Location: Crashed near Charleville France.
Cause: German Fighters 2 EVD, 1 KIA, 7 POW
Pilot 1st Lt. Eldon Neil Colby flew the B-24H Liberator, 'HEAVY DATE', on 8 missions including his final mission to Ludwigshaven, Germany. Colby's ship failed to return, shot down by German fighters. He had left his formation to return to Hethel, Britain. The 389th Bomb Group lost two aircraft on this day. Colby survived and was taken prisoner POW. MACR 1974. Dec 30, 1943 - Liberated 1945.
Units served with
The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...
Constituted 566th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 Dec. 1942. Activated on 24 Dec. 1942. Inactivated on 13 Sept. 1945. Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air...
The B-24 Liberator bomber, SN #42-40738, named 'The Oklahoman' was in the 566th Bomb Squadron, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 8th Air Force from Britain. The pilot, Lt. Jack Martin, who named 'The Oklahoman', was, appropriately, from Tosamingo,...
Shown with 1st Lt. Eldon Neil Colby (Pilot - standing far right), who flew this aircraft on 8 missions, including the one he was shot down in by ME-110's near the France/German border, on a raid to Ludwigshafenon, Dec 30, 1943. CoPilot Taylor was KIA,...
B-24 Liberator #42-40751 later named 'Touch of Texas' 567th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF, flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by William J Denton, returning safely to Libya.
|Prisoner of War (POW)
||30 December 1943