Mission#58 December 24, 1943 – Target: Pas de Calais

Date: Dec 24, 43

Dispatched: 45 Aborts: 2

Mission: Patrol Area ‘E’ Eye Que Support to 3 composite Bomb Wings

Target: Pas des Calais Field Order: 209

Time Up/Down: 12:08 hrs 15:52 hrs Leader: Major Bailey

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

Group made L/F between Calais and Gravelines at 13:05 hrs, 24,000ft. Flew course arriving Amiens 13:20 hrs (5 mins early) 25,000ft, so complete orbit over area was made letting down to planned altitudes of 18,000ft, 20,000ft and 22,000ft at 13:25 hrs. Patrolled planned area in figure 8 pattern starting from the SW to NE to SE to NW in order to take advantage of the Sun’s position. During patrol many boxes of bombers in 65 and 125 seen in distance on way out. One box of B-17s seen approximately 14:30 hrs with 4 P-51s as escort at 14,000ft. Passed over one area on way out that had the appearance of having been effectively bombed, looked like block houses. Haze layer made ground observation difficult. Patrols were met at both ends of assigned area and another group seen to the south at 26,000ft. Large explosion seen immediately north of Hesdin believed to be a B-17. As no e/a were seen in this area at this time, this might have been due to flak. Accurate flak Calais. 5 to 6 salvos of flak seen in distance probably coming from Cambrai. No e/a seen. No reception from Parker. Fighter intercom satisfactory but usual whine. L/F out Le Crotoy at 14:40 hrs, 17,000ft. Lt. Thistlethwaite and Lt. Herfurth of Group participated.

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 12:20 hrs. T/D 15:35 hrs. Total flight time 3:15 hrs. Squadron entered continental coast at Calais at 22,500ft, 5 minutes early, where heavy accurate flak was encountered. Proceeded on course to Glisy at 27,000ft, where area allotted was covered in figure 8 pattern. Area covered at 22,000ft. Contrails noticed at east end of area each time covered. No e/a. Came out at Estuary north of Cayeaux at 14:35 hrs. Shipping: Nil R/T whine. Weather: Clear slightly puffing overcast low scud over Channel and coast. Very clear over area. Persistent contrails at altitude. Air to air and air to ground visibility excellent over area.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John Zolner
2nd Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt John Sullivan (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt William W. Odom (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo
1st Lt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
2nd Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt John L. Devane

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 12:10 hrs. T/D 15:30 hrs. Total flight time 3:20 hrs. Route: In Gravelines, patrolled area from Amiens to Cambrai, out at Berck. Squadron made landfall at Gravelines at 24,000ft at 13:03 hrs. Proceeded on course as planned to assigned patrol area. Left enemy coast at Berck at 14:34 hrs, 18-19,000ft. Large explosion reported over St. Pal area, cause undetermined because no planes were seen in this area at the time, and it looked too big to be flak. No E/A seen. R/T was same as usual. One pilot, Capt. Leatherman, landed at Manston.

Major Walter c. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr)
F/O Joseph E. Wood
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
1st Lt George N. Ahles
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite (Gp HQ)
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter
1st Lt Francis N. King
1st Lt David C. Kenney

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 12:16 hrs. T/D 15:20 hrs. Total flight time 3:04 hrs. Squadron took off as scheduled. Made L/F at 24,000ft, approximately on course, at 13:03 five minutes early. Magnetic course to Glisy as briefed would have taken us somewhat to W of Glisy so heading was altered. Reached Glisy at 13:21 hrs and patrolled assigned area uneventfully until 14:27 and left French coast at 14:40 a few miles to N of estuary at Cayeux. Other patrols were met at both ends of the patrol area. Large explosion seen immediately N of Hesdin believed to be a Fortress. Four warning bursts of flak fired from Thames Estuary at three planes of Blue flight on return to base. R/T clear, whine less noticeable than usual. 10/10 overcast on East-West line from Ramsey vicinity southward. 2/10 scattered cumulus over enemy territory that we covered. Moderate contrails from 25,000ft. Lt. Schillinger down Framlingham and Lt. Gonnam down Halesworth. [Two aborts listed in Squadron records Lt Dustin – oil leak covered windshield and Lt. Burlingame as escort.]

Major William B. Bailey (Gp & Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Herman Herfurth (Gp HQ)
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz
2nd Lt William S. Marchant
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison

Group Aborts:

42-8379 ABT oil   leak YJ-H Lt.   Dustin?
42-7972 ABT gas   fumes YJ-P
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