Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mission#69 January 25, 1944 – Target: Leeuwarden Airfield, Thunder Bombing

Date: Jan 25, 44

Dispatched: 47 Aborts: 2

Mission: Thunder Bombing    Field Order: 40 (wg)

Time Up/Down: 14:21 hrs     16:40 hrs Leader: Major Beckham

Target: Leeuwarden Airfield

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

Group made L/F north of Egmond 23,000ft, 15:04 hrs. L/F out north of Egmond 22,000ft, 15:42 hrs. Cloud layer obscured target area on approach so left orbit made and when southern edge of airfield cleared 351st lead Squadron made bomb run 15:23 hrs. Group completed bombing and set course for home 15:35 hrs. The 358th Group gave area cover during bomb runs of second two Squadrons. No E/A seen. Four bursts seen on airfield with smoke rising. Accuracy believed good but altitude and cloud made observation difficult. 44 500lb GP bombs fused 1/10 sec nose, 1/100 sec tail dropped. Lead Squadron made vertical dive from 20,000ft. One bomb brought back to base – failure release mechanism. One bomb jettisoned in Channel. No ground fire encountered in target area. Capt. Stafford and Lt. Herfurth of Group HQ participated.

350th: Capt. Pidduck. T/U 14:27 hrs. T/D 16:15 hrs. Total flight time 1:48 hrs. L/F in on course 15:04 hrs, 20,000ft. Left coast on course, 20,000ft. One explosion between NS runway and NE dispersal. Weather: Broken overcast target area. Fusing nose 1/10 Tail 1/100 All bombs away and all arming wires brought back.

Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Charles W. Dinse (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Wilford F. Hurst (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt William J. Price
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John L. Devane
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Capt Robert E. Fortier
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 14:20 hrs. T/D 16:35 hrs Total flight time 2:15 hrs. Route: Landfall over Egmond. Proceeded to target which was Leeuwarden airdrome. South of Den Helder at 15:04 hrs at 22,000ft. 358th Group seen 35 to 45 miles SSW of target. South of Den Helder at 15:43 hrs, 20,000ft. Three hits SE dispersal. Two smoke smudges center of airfield; also two more smoke smudges seen in SW corner of field (just outside of perimeter track). Fourteen bombs dropped. One bomb brought back to base, one bomb jettisoned in Channel. All 500 lb GP bombs.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-S
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-D
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
1st Lt William J. Maguire (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
2nd Lt Edgar J. Albert YJ-U
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-W
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-K
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-F
1st Lt Harry F. Hunter YJ-H
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell YJ-V

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 14:27 hrs. T/D 16:27 hrs. Total flight time 2:00 hrs. Course: Landfall, end of causeway, Leeuwarden (target), airdrome, home. On course and on time, altitude 23,000ft. 358th Group seen far to south of our target. Immediately s of Den Helder, 23,000ft, 15:46 hrs. Meager, inaccurate heavy flak at Ijmuiden. 14 bombs dropped from the general NW direction. Dive angle 60 degrees. 1 bomb brought back to base failure of release mechanism [Major Bailey]. 2 hits observed in SE building area. 1 hit observed in SW building area. Overcast with breaks over Continent, tops 12,000ft.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-K
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Y
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam SX-U
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-X
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty (Flt Ldr) SX-O
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-R
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry SX-E
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr) SX-S
1st Lt Herman Herfurth SX-J
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-M
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-T
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-I

Group Aborts:

42-22466 Smoke   in cockpit SX-E Lt.   Sperry flying*
42-8379 ERTN   fuel pressure loss YJ-H Lt.   Thornell flying**

*In 352nd records as an abort, but not in Wing records.

**Wing abort records may be incorrect here as the Squadron mission roster lists Thornell as flying YJ-V (42-7958).

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Harold “Harry” C. Brown, 350th Fighter Squadron June 6, 1924 – October 26, 2013

It is with great sadness that I report that my friend and former 350th pilot Harold C. Brown passed away October 26, 2013 aged 89. I first met Harry when he returned to Raydon in 1990 and enjoyed many subsequent reunions in the United States with him and his wife Lois. Harry was one of the real characters of the Group and Squadron and will be missed.

Lt. Harold C. Brown (0-695032) receives an award from Lt. Col Rimerman at Raydon July 1944. Note Harry's non-standard footwear. He was about to head down to London for a night out.

Lt. Harold C. Brown (0-695032) receives an award from Lt. Col Rimerman at Raydon July 1944. Note Harry’s non-standard footwear. He was about to head down to London for a night out.

In one of his last letters to me (he was still writing until quite recently) Harry told how Charles Lindberg had visited his hometown when Harry was five years old. Lindberg shook his hand and gave Harry the aviation bug for life.

After his eighteenth birthday in June 1942 Harry enlisted in the Army Air Force to become a pilot and attended basic training at San Antonio, Texas and then primary at St. Louis, Missouri, basic  at Garden City, Kansas and advanced at Eagle Pass, Texas. Harry earned his wings and headed to fighter school Tampa, Florida – despite being, at 6 feet, above regulation height for a fighter pilot.

At fighter school he met three friends who would all be posted to the 350th (these were Martin D. Coffey, John J. Phelan and Edwin H. Peters). Coffey was three years older than Harry and was a multi-millionaire’s son with a $750 per month “fun” allowance. The two became firm friends with Coffey acting like an older brother to Harry.

Harry trained on the P-51 Mustang, but when he and his three friends reached England in April 1944 they were posted to the 353rd operating Thunderbolts. Undaunted, Harry began training on May 4 and flew his first operational mission on May 21. D-Day was fast approaching and Harry and his friends had been sent as replacements for the crucial battles ahead. D-Day itself was his twentieth birthday and in another letter to me Harry related how in the early morning briefing Col. Duncan  singled him out and said “Brown, I hear you have a party planned for the officers club – well not tonight.” Duncan then proceeded to detail the operations for the day.

The losses suffered by the 350th at this time were tragically high. Coffey was killed on June 10 and Phelan two days later on the June 12 “disaster.” Harry barely made it back that day while Peters was forced to bail out over the Channel and lost a leg in the process. These losses, and particularly that of Coffey, left deep and painful scars on Harry that remained with him. Harry flew his sixty-seventh and last mission of the war September 3, 1944.

This brief post is to the memory of Harry Brown. My thoughts are with Lois and family at this time…

Harry Brown June 6, 1924 - October 26, 2013

Harry Brown June 6, 1924 – October 26, 2013

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