German Jets Versus the U.S Army Air Force by William N. Hess

“Even though the Mustangs had done a good job of downing the Me262s, the bombers had still taken losses. The 93rd Group (Hardwick) lost one Liberator, and the 448th lost three. The jets came in on the bombers while they flew between the Initial Point and the target. Captain John Ray’s Liberator blew up – no survivors. Lieutenant Bob Mains, of the 714th Squadron, and his crew bailed out*, and Lieutenant Shafer, also from the 714th Squadron, and his crew were last seen going down with two engines on fire. A fourth B-24 from the 448th limped home badly damaged.”

German Jets Versus the U.S Army Air Force” by William N. Hess, Speciality Press Publishers & Wholesalers, 1996

*Only one member of the Mains crew made it out alive. He was Charles Cupp and was incredibly lucky to be thrown from the aircraft as it plummeted to earth. The rest of the crew were all KIA.

Links to the book (U.K) (U.S)

James Stewart: Bomber Pilot

Arguably, the most famous name in the U.S Army Air Force was James Stewart. He was the genuine article; a God-fearing, American idol who was as earnest and unassuming as he was famous. A natural leader, Stewart applied the talents and personal qualities that made him a star of the silver screen to the pursuit of his pilot’s wings and a career in the Army Air Force. He excelled during training Stateside and wound-up as a flight instructor. But, he longed for combat and managed to convince his superiors that he should be deployed overseas. Continue reading

The Tail Gunner & The Jet Fighter

Edward Paretti of Dobbs Ferry and Hastings-on-Hudson, New York passed away in the summer of 2014, he was 93Mr. Paretti served as a tail gunner in the 448th BG. In 2007 I videotaped an interview with him in which he described a combat encounter with ME-262 jet fighters on 4th April 1945.

Me-262 attacked American B-24 Liberators

On that day Mr. Paretti witnessed the attack on the formation and the destruction of the aircraft nicknamed 'Red Bow' which was photographed by Lead Navigator and photographer, Harold Dorfman (also a New Yorker). Charlie Cupp was the only survivor from the crew of Red Bow and was miraculously thrown from the aircraft before it crashed to earth. The group were on their way to bomb jet airfields in the vicinty of Weisendorf, Germany.

Continue reading

Heritage League Visits Norwich!

It’s a warm evening and Norwich is a great city to stroll in. I’m making my way over cobbled streets towards Tombland, an ancient quarter and home to a popular collection of restaurants, bars and one wonderful old bookshop. The Heritage League has invited me to their Sunday night reception at the Maids Head. Continue reading

A Doomed Liberator and the Gratitude of the Kirby Kids

Hurtling down narrow roads and country lanes, I was on my way to Kirby Bedon, five miles south of Norwich, to learn about a crash-landing during the war that had left it’s mark on this small,
English village.

I’d met Janet Rush a few years earlier at an open day at the Seething Control Tower museum (one of my favourite places). She’d introduced herself and explained that, as a child, she witnessed a bomber crashing near her house. Continue reading