Marauder Memoirs - Bomber Legends Magazine

					Marauder Memoirs
       Submitted By Roy Bozych
Historian, 323rd Bomb Group/454th Bomb Squadron
                                                                                      To the left is
                                                                                      the insignia/
                                                                                      patch for the
                                                                                      322nd Bomb
                                                                                      Group 450th
                                                                                      Bomb Squadron
                                          WWII War Memoirs
                                                                                      It was designed
                                                                                      and drawn by
                                                 By Waldo Shows                       Walt Disney
                                  I entered the U.S. Army at Camp Shelby,
                              Mississippi, had my Air Force, combat crew radio
                              operator training at Scott Field, III, and Harlingen,
                              TX. My first assignment was to the 450th Bomb
                              Squadron of the 322nd Bomb Group. I considered
                              myself fortunate to have been assigned to a
                              combat crew, of a B-26 Medium Bomber, with pilot
                              Capt. Louis Sebille, and Navigator Lt. Ben Tillman.
                              Our Squadron left for overseas combat on January
                              1, 1943. After getting settled in metal “nessen huts”
                              near Bury St. Edmunds, we immediately started
                              training for combat at low level altitudes, treetop.
                              On one occasion the plane hit an invasion cable
                              that the English had put up to prevent German
                              gliders from landing. Ben Tillman was slightly
                              injured, and the Co-Pilot was badly shook up. We
                              had to make an emergency landing at an R.A.F        .
                              base.
                                   Our first combat mission was on May 14,
                              1943, the target was a power plant, in connection
                              with a sub base, at Ijmuiden, Holland. Ground fire
                              started hitting us before we reached land, tracer
                              and bullets crisscrossing from every direction.
                              We were hit several times, but not in vital areas.
                              We actually had to pull up in order to drop our
                              bombs, which seemed to hit the target. There were
                              no explosions, because we were dropping delayed
      WWII War Memoirs        fuse bombs. On our way back across the channel
        By Waldo Shows        the Navigator asked me to check the bomb bay
                              doors. I found a 500lb. bomb was on the catwalk
                              and the doors would not close. I braced myself and
It Wasn’t Piccadilly Circus
                              started pushing against the doors, finally the bomb
            By Roy Bozych     became loose and fell into the North Sea.That was
                              the first time that I thought about the delay fuses -
  The French Connections      30 minutes to one hour. Several planes in our flight
      Crash Investigation     were badly damaged, one crashed before it could
               Chronicle      be landed, with the loss of the pilot. The next day,
      By Claude Letellier     with a friend, we left on an unauthorized trip to


                                                                           Bomber Legends       27
                        London.We were gone two days, when we returned          what information I could. I was in the radio room
                        to hut #17, I asked where is everyone? I was told       still trying to find directions, I knew we were hit
                        that they went back to the very same target and         but did not know how badly, when the pilot rang
                        no one had returned, the Germans had wiped out          the bell and the bomb doors opened. I had on
                        every crew and plane. That was an awful feeling.        the parachute harness, the British type, buckled
                             After that disaster, we started training at        the parachute on and dove head first, because
                        altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet. At this altitude    I had seen this type of plane go down before. I
                        we had many successful missions with light losses.      could not find the ripcord, it was not there, it had
                        Most of the time we had fighter escorts, but the        broken loose at the chest but it was fastened at
                                                                                the shoulder. After I was able to pull the ripcord,
                                                                                it seemed that the chute would never open. I do
                                                                                not know how far I fell but it turned out for the
                                                                                best because the Germans were firing at me on the
                                                                                way down. As I got closer to the ground I could see
                                                                                French people looking up at me.


                                                                                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     The following report was taken from the Official
                                                                                Journal of the 450th Sq. IX Bomber Command,
                                                                                dated April 13, 1943. --- Eight A/C of this squadron
                                                                                participated in an attack on oil tanks and gun
                                                                                installations at Le Havre. Twenty one planes out of
                                                                                36 dispatched from this field bombed the primary
                                                                                target through clouds with fair to good results.
Waldo is in the         flak was usually intense and accurate. We were          Clouds prevented a complete assessment of results.
front row, far right.
                        bombing such targets as air bases, railway yards        One plane was lost to flak, it was observed peeling
                        and buzz bomb launching pads. It looked good to         off from the formation at LeHavre. It was further
                        see direct hits on buildings and freight cars.          seen to climb and then fail off on it’s right wing
                             I had made 48 missions and had begun to            and drop through the clouds, and was last seen
                        think about being sent back to the States, a few        flying North at 2,000 feet. One crew reported the
                        of our original crews had already left with 50          aircraft last headed for France. Members of the lost
                        missions. I returned from leave, in London, one         ship were: 1st Lt. Alien K. McDonald, pilot, Everett,
                        morning, went by the operations shack and found         Washington; 1st Lt. Merlin E. Johnson, co-pilot,
                        that I was scheduled for a mission the next day         Fort Morgan, Colorado; T/Sgt James W. Galloway,
                        with a crew that I did not know, except for the Pilot   Nav/Bomb, Oxford, Michigan; S/Sgt Waldo Shows,
                        who had flown with us one time as co-pilot. Our         Radio/Gunner,Taylorsville, Mississippi; S/Sgt Frank
                        target for that mission was to be oil tanks and gun     W. LaLone, Engineer/Gunner, Ossian, Indiana; Sgt.
                        positions in the heavily fortified areas of LeHavre,    David G. Davis,Tail/Gunner, Lakewood, Ohio
                        France. It was a short flight with very heavy flak,          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        we were hit over the target, but managed to drop             I hit the ground in an open patch close to a
                        our bombs. Visibility became impossible, we had         wooded area, my hip was a little bruised, but I was
                        no navigator, just a bombardier. I kept trying to set   OK. I hid my chute the best I could and started for
                        a radio course back to England, and gave the pilot      the French people. I heard a motorcycle coming


28        Bomber Legends
and the people motioned for me to go the other          with another man who could speak English. He
way. I ran as fast as I could, found a ditch with       interrogated me to be sure that I was an American,
tall grass in it, and hid until the noise subsided. I   I am sure I passed. He then told me of two R.A.F      .
crawled for a good while, found a brush pile that       lads who parachuted into their area, the French
hid me, except for my boots, which were exposed.        picked them up to help them, it turned out that
A dog came and started barking, this brought the        they were Germans and the people who had
Germans. One of them urinated on the brush pile,        picked them up were taken off and never heard
I will never know why they did not see my boots.        from again. He returned in about a week with a
After dark, I started walking and running, I did see    car, on the windshield it had a sign “Officio’. I sure
two Germans and I wondered why they did not see         hated to leave John Paul, what he had done for me
me. Finally I came to a highway, could see lights       could have cost him his life. I never did learn the
up ahead they seemed to be stationary. When I           mans name, but he taught me a very good lesson
decided to cross the highway, they started toward       to start with. He had cigarettes, when I had finished
me, it was two Germans and they passed right by         one, I tossed the but out, he cautioned me never
me.This was the fourth time that I could have been      to do that because the French smoked them until
captured. I knew that I had to keep moving. I took to   only the paper stuck to their lips. We had driven
the fields for better cover but the hedgerows were      only about a mile when we came up on a large
tough and made the going very slow. It was a long       German convoy, he just waved at them and so
night. Just before morning I came to a cobblestone      did I. Several miles down the road, we turned in
road and could hear someone walking. I managed          a side road that led to a beautiful chateau. Inside
to get in front of this farm couple and by hand         we met a man, his wife and daughter. One of them
motions made them know that I was an American           handed me a mirror, I did not realize how much
flyer. They took me to their home and gave me a         my beard had grown. The wife and daughter were
glass of fresh milk, it was the first food that I had   very beautiful and I had started to tell myself, this
since leaving England. I asked about the Germans        is where I want to spend the duration.This was not
and they motioned all around.With a map, they did       to be because it was not long before the driver
show me about where we were. They took me to            along with this other man led me back out to the
the attic where I fell asleep. I awoke that afternoon   car. The three of us drove to another house not too
with the yard full of German soldiers, I later found    far from there, this was to be my home for the next
that they were there for butter, eggs and milk. His     several weeks. This mans name was Legiliard I do
name was John Paul Louis Dennebouy, and they            not recall her name, but he had a daughter named
lived near the little village of Columby. I was given   Simone and a son named Roger, they called it
a change of clothes and stayed with them for a day      “RoJay”. The children were grown and I thought
or two. I was then taken to a barn about a quarter      for a while that they were married, but I think
of a mile from the house where the loft became my       that they were stepchildren. They would all kiss at
home for the next three weeks. They would come          bedtime. I always slept on a cot in the horse barn
every day to bring me something to eat, one day         which was attached to the house. Mr. Legiliard
they were late and I only had apple cider, every        could understand some English and he would
time I would take a little drink of it I got a little   always want me to tell about coming down in the
hungrier. About four that afternoon a little woman      parachute, he got a big kick out of this. Then he
brought a wicker basket with potatoes, liver, onions    would get started on the Germans, get red faced
and that hard French bread, best food I ever had.       and mad, because he had faced them in WWI.
Time passed very slowly. One day John Paul came         Our routine there was for them to come get me in


                                                                                                     Bomber Legends   29
             the morning, we had no breakfast, just what they        Spain. I was getting impatient and they would say
             called coffee made from parched barley. I cannot        “veneer beinto”, the Americans were coming. This
             remember what we had at noon, they brought me           escape plan was not to be because the very next
             a small lunch down in the storage room where I          Tuesday would be June 6, 1944.
             stayed most of the day. In this room they kept a keg         As I awoke on June 6th, there was more air
             or two of calvados, distilled apple cider, and it was   activity than usual. We could hear explosions in
             potent stuff, as I found out times. At night the menu   the distance and I did not have to be told to get
             never changed from potatoes, a boiled egg and           to the attic. The radio, between the mattresses, I
             that hard French bread. I wish I could find bread       turned on and found an English broadcast.General
             like that now, I think they owned the bakery. In the    Eisenhower had announced that Allied troops had
             attic of the main house, was room with windows          landed in Normandy. Just after that all electricity
             in front and back. I could see German soldiers          went off and I could get no further information.
             passing daily.                                          The landings had been made on the opposite
                  There also was a radio hidden between the          side of the peninsula from where I was. Roger and
             mattresses of a bed there. Sometimes I could            Mr. Laguillard came home and said the Germans
             pick up a little of an English broadcast, but not       were running in every direction, they must have
             enough to know what was going on. Time passed           really been taken by surprise. There was lots of air
             very slowly. On one occasion the mayor, who             activity and explosions in the distance, finally the
             was a collaborator came in. Had he seen me, it          artillery shells were getting closer, windows were
             could have cost the others their lives. One thing       broken in the house so we moved to a pit in the
             that I remember, while in the attic, I could see the    yard, five of us cramped into it. One of the shells
             strawberries begin to ripen in the garden, I was        exploded over the yard killing all of their rabbits
             looking forward to strawberries and cream. They         and a fine bull. I told Mr. Laguillard I was sorry
             finally served some, but without the cream, they        and he said Mr. Roosevelt would pay him. Finally
             put calvados on them. They also grew asparagus          it got so intense that we had to move, with other
             which we never had in Taylorsville. They served         Frenchmen, down to a gully in the woods, where
             it with sour cream, which was very good. Roger          we spent that night. When some Germans came
             would leave everyday on his bicycle, come back          and told them they would have to move further
             and give me a report on the war. In Italy, he would     into France, they asked about me and were told
             tell me, the Americans were moving very fast and        that I was shell shocked and could not talk. This is
             the British very slow. Simone milked the cows and       when I decided to split.
             possibly would have been nice looking except                 My target was Port Bail, a small village by the
             she never cleaned up, always had cow hair on her        sea. They gave me a bottle of calvados and some
             somewhere. One day when she came to escort me           potato croquettes. I could not expose myself by
             to the house, she said “Ecce” and pointed to a big      walking, so I had to crawl up a big hill, almost a
             tub of hot water. I cannot remember having a bath       mountain.When I got to the top, there was another
             before that time. I asked for a brush and something     valley and another mountain. I came across a herd
             to clean my teeth. Got a pretty good brush and          of sheep and they scattered. I could see a small
             some red powder, but it seemed to clean my teeth        place off to my right, I think it was an artillery
             great.                                                  spotter. I kept going until I could see this body of
                  One Sunday they came to make my picture            water that they told me about. They had told me
             for a passport. The plan was that I would go with a     that if I could get across it, I would be safe. I kept
             French girl, through the Pyrenees Mountains, into       going toward the water until I came to this huge


30   Bomber Legends
stone. I looked all around and felt that I had almost   that made no difference to them, they invited me
made it. They had warned me that there might be         in for a good hot bath and gave me a change of
mines around the water. I met three Frenchmen           military clothes, even a raincoat. I was then taken
that were running as I was, then motioned that we       by jeep to Allied Headquarters in downtown
needed to go across the water, and I would follow       London. One more time I was interrogated, and
them. The tide was out and we did not have to           was told that someone from my Squadron would
swim as much as I thought. When we got to the           have to come identify me. I was hoping it would be
village on the other side, it was deserted. All along   Capt. Sebille but after about a week our First/Sgt.
the road people were leaving. Finally we came           Howry O. Stepp arrived to identify me. He offered
upon three or four American Soldiers. I explained       to loan me money and I cannot remember if I took
to them that I was an American flyer, they said that    it or not.
they believed me but could take no chances, they             For the very first time,I felt like a free man again.
marched us back to counter intelligence corp.           I rented a cab to go the St. Regis Hotel where our
They put me in a jeep and drove me from one post        Squadron usually visited when in London.The war
to another. We traveled all night. We finally came      was brought back to me in a hurry because before
to what was my last interrogation, I was getting a      we arrived at the hotel a buzz bomb hit it and
little weary. I finally came before a Col. Smith who    knocked out one wing of the hotel. I had been told
was from Greenville, Mississippi, he knew where         to report back to Ninth Air Force Headquarters, the
Taylorsville, Mississippi was and I had no trouble      train made a stop at the little village of Rayne, near
convincing him as to who I was. He even offered         our base, so I got off there and went to old hut #17.
to contact my parents and let them know that I          All the original crews and friends that I came over
was OK.                                                 with had completed 50 missions and had been
      I do not remember where I spent the rest of       sent home on leave. I managed to find out that
that night, the next day I was with a lot of ground     they were due back today, so I went back to our hut
troops. Someone finally took me in a jeep to a          to wait for them. I had only been there about two
fighter base with a metal landing strip. Everyone       hours when I could hear them arriving. I climbed
there seemed to be Capts., Majors and Col.., but        into the bunk where I had always slept, pulled the
they were all very nice to me. They invited me to       cover over my head and waited.They came in and
come have something to eat with them, a Major           one of them said “who is this in Show’s old bed”?
helped to fix a plate. They had taken a jeep to         It was Harold Earls from Oklahoma, I pulled the
Cherbourg where they found a large cache of fine        cover back and he jumped like he was shot, they
liquors. We had several drinks and they insisted        could not believe that I had made it back. Another
that I take a bottle with me, I will never forget how   old friend who lived in Dayton, Ohio said “While
nice they were to me.                                   on leave I went down to Taylorsville, Mississippi to
     Note: I did not know what had happened             visit your family.”He told me my Mom and Dad were
to the rest of the crew that I was flying with. I       OK, I found that my brother Bob had been killed
understand that four of them were taken prisoners.      on Anzio Beach Head in Italy. This upset me and
The bombardier, in the nose cone, was probably          put a damper on our reunion, but I did appreciate
shot or went down with the plane.                       him going all the way down to Mississippi to visit
     I was given a ride across the channel in a C-      my family. He also told me that he had visited with
47 cargo plane carrying a lot of nurses and high        his old pilot Capt. Rolland Scott in Georgia. Capt.
ranking officers. We landed at an air base near         Scott had been seriously wounded on our very
London. The quarters there were for officers only,      first mission in May.


                                                                                                       Bomber Legends   31
                 I reported to General Anderson at Ninth Air          number 41-31968. Radio call sign ER-J.
             Force Headquarters. He was a very nice person,                On Thursday morning, April 13th, 1944 in
             congratulated me on getting out of France, and           preparation for the D-day invasion, the 322nd Bomb
             told me that if all were like me the war would           Group was sending thirty-seven Marauders to
             already be over. He sent me to London where I            bomb oil tanks and gun installations at harbor
             caught a C-54 plane to New York City. I reported to      facilities in Le Havre, France. They all returned
             some Air Base and was again interrogated. I was          except one from the 450th Bomb Squadron,“Hearse
             then sent to Washington, D.C. and the Pentagon,          II + 6”.
             where everyone except me seemed to be lost, it                Twenty-four hours earlier Waldo Shows
             was a huge place. I was interrogated again and           had been on leave in London. Returning to
             had to sign papers that I would tell no one what         his squadron late Wednesday night. Waldo saw
             had happened to me -- no media.                          his name posted on the bulletin board for the
                  My last train ride was to Camp Shelby,              morning mission to Le Havre as a replacement
             Mississippi by way of Chicago. The Democratic            radioman/gunner. This would be his first time
             Convention was just ending and all the delegates         flying with Lt. McDonald’s crew. As a rule he flew
             were going back home. Mississippi Gov. Mike              with Lt. Louis Sebille and his crew. Lt. Sebille later
             Conner was on our train and I had a nice visit           would go on to be awarded The Congressional
             with him. I was to report to Camp Shelby but when        Medal of Honor posthumously while flying a F-51
             the train arrived in Jackson, I got off and caught a     during the Korean Conflict
             bus to Taylorsville. My people were not expecting             After completing the mission, at approximately
             me but when I got off the bus I heard Mr. Mosey          0920 “Hearse II + 6” was hit by flak. Peeling off to
             Lancaster say “there is Waldo now”. My papa was          the left and rapidly losing altitude 41-31968 was
             there along with Mr. Jones and others that I knew.       finally able to level off around 7,000 feet. This is
             It was a great reunion and many people came to           the last anyone from the 450th saw of the Marauder
             see me that Sunday. Mama had fresh butter beans,         as it disappeared into the clouds.
             tomatoes and fried chicken, first time that I had             Inside 41-31968, the pilot Lt. Allen McDonald
             food like that in years.                                 and the co-pilot Lt. Merlin Johnson were struggling
                                                                      to maintain control of the stricken aircraft. Sgt.
               It Wasn’t Piccadilly Circus                            Waldo Shows was by his radio trying to get a fix
                                                                      back to England. Seeing that the situation was
                            Roy Bozych, Historian                     becoming hopeless, Lt. McDonald sounded the
                           323rd Bomb Group/454th Bomb Squadron
                                                                      bail out alarm and opened up the bomb bay
                                                                      doors ordering everyone out of the aircraft. Six
                  It all started with a metal plaque discovered
                                                                      men disappeared into the clouds leaving 41-31968
             by Claude Letellier in a farm field in Normandy
                                                                      behind to her fate.
             France. Claude lives in the area and has a passion
                                                                           This is the last Sgt. Shows saw of 41-31968,
             for WWII history. His free time is spent researching
                                                                      Lt. Allen McDonald, Lt. Merlin Johnson, the
             WWII events that occurred in the locale and
                                                                      bombardier Sgt. James Galloway, flight engineer
             looking for WWII artifacts.His find,on this particular
                                                                      Sgt. Frank LaLone and tail gunner Sgt. Nathan
             day, would connect him to incident that transpired
                                                                      Davis. The Germans were waiting for them as they
             almost sixty years ago on April 13th, 1944.
                                                                      reach the ground. The five of them spent the rest
                  It turned out that the metal plaque was
                                                                      of the war as guests of the Luftwaffe in various
             knocked out by flak from the bomb bay of a B-
                                                                      POW camps.
             26 Martin Marauder called “Hearse II + 6” serial


32   Bomber Legends
    Well, Waldo was on the ground again, and this
definitely wasn’t Piccadilly Circus! But his luck was
better than the other five. Emil Lagillard, a French
farmer and a member of the French Underground
found him before the Germans did.
    Waldo Shows is 86 years old now and living
in Mississippi. I have not been able to locate any
other members of Lt. McDonalds crew.



      The French Connections
   Crash Investigation Chronicle

                  Claude Letellier                                            1

     I went to Négreville to find some information
about the B-26 wreckage. For 3 hours I walked
around the probable crash site and asking people
if they saw a B-26 shot down during the spring
1944.
     Number 1 on the map (Mrs. Blandamour is 80
years old).
     Then I went to “Hameau de Rotz”. I went to
an old house, and an old lady with his brother give
me a lot of information about a plane crashed in
“Grandcamp”.                                                                          2
     Mrs. Blandamour: “5 or 6 paratroopers with
a white parachute jumped from the plane. The                              3
plane lost a piece of his wing in a grove near my
home and I picked it up. Later I dismantled it to       parents. The plane was burning.”
have the bolts and the screws. I had another piece           He then called Jean Cauvin and Clément to get
of the plane in my barn but I threw it out 20 years     more information. “I remember where the plane
ago. The plane crashed in Grandcamp, I’m sure           was. I can show you. He crashed in the field of
about it”                                               Marie Dorange” (she was the elementary school
     So, I went to Grandcamp and asked a man            teacher in l’Etang Bertrand).
there if he knows anybody who can tell me                    We went to the crash site.
more about the plane crash in Grandcamp. He                  “The plane crashed between two fields, and
told me to see Mr.Victor Millet.                        there were some parts in the surrounding fields.”
     Number 3 on the map “Grandcamp”, Town                   I saw a field with corn and another with wheat
of L’Etang Bertrand (house of Mr. Millet, 66 years      inside. I asked to Mr. Millet who is the owner of the
old)                                                    fields and was informed that it was Jean Cauvin.
     Mr. Millet: “When I was 6, I remember              Number 2 on the map “(house of Jean Cauvin, 75
a plane crashed near the home of my                     years old)


                                                                                                   Bomber Legends   33
                                                      Plaque of B-26




                                                                       but the Germans found them and they were made
                  Mr. Cauvin: “The field belongs to Emanuel            POWs.”
             Marguerie, a farmer. I saw the plane in Spring                 Just one last thing to tell you: Mrs.
             1944, it was in the morning. It was flying around         Blandamour told me that somebody called
             the town and then I saw two soldiers jumping              Mr. Paul Dennebouy met her and has some
             with their parachutes. The plane had two engines          information about the plane crash in Grandcamp.
             like in the photo (I showed him a picture of              He told her that his father hid an American
             a B-26 Marauder). Then the plane crashed in               paratrooper or pilot during the WWII.
             the field of Marie Dorange. It was burning and                 Maybe this Mr. Dennebouy is the son of
             there were lots of German soldiers around the             John Paul Louis Dennebouy from the
             wreckage. I remember that some of the crew hid            Waldo’s memories of war?


34   Bomber Legends
     I found the B-26 ID plaque in the “Hameau
Brisset” at the top of the map. First, I thought
that the plane crashed near the number 1 but it
crashed on the town of l’Etang Bertrand (number
2).
     My best friend told me a little story about the
crash of the B-26. His mother was born in L’Etang




                                                       tain of Roule. Flak carry on firing
                                                       thanks to the sound of the plane which
                                                       is flying above (upper) the clouds.
                                                       Probably hit, the plane is flying more
                                                       and more lower in the direction of
                                                       hinterland     and    crashed      near    l’Etang
Bertrand. On the 13 April 1944 she was milking a       Bertrand. Five crew members jump with
cow and a man fell above her. It was a member of       their parachutes and they made POW.”
the crew. She helped him to find a place to hide            On Wednesday, I will meet Mr. Dennebouy the
but Germans saw him. I don’t know the name of          grandson of the man who helped Waldo. He gave
this man. Incredible!                                  me the pictures of Waldo that you can see below.
     A man (Mr.Cauvin) who saw the plane crashed       On the picture of the crew I sent to you, Waldo is
said to me: “I saw an American, he was with the        on the right and
German but when he saw me and my family, he            he’s sitting down.
made the V of victory sign”.                           On the picture of
     I also have a little document written by          Waldo in his chair
René Salle (1951) called, “Our diary of                you can see the
Cherbourg’s alarm.” Rene Salle is a                    clothes that Mr.
French civilian. He wrote every day what               Dennebouy gives
happened in Cherbourg and the surrounding vil-         to Waldo during
lages. I found this inside: “Thursday 13th of April    WWII. Mr Shows
1944 - Cloudy - 9 AM - Flak on a plane (bomber)        kept the clothes
flying in the direction of the moun-                   since 1944!


                                                                                                Bomber Legends   35
36   Bomber Legends

				
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