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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII
RAF Shipdham, in Norfolk, opened in September 1942 was known as Station 115. It became home to the USAAF 44th Bomb Group, 'The Flying Eightballs' equipped with B-24s. The 44th flew 344 missions and lost 153 aircraft, the highest of all the B-24 units.
After the war the airfield was used for a short time as a repatriation centre for German POWs returning to Germany from the USA.
The land was returned to agricultural use with private flying taking place from 1970 onwards.
Most of the buildings remain in various states of decay, including the station headquarters close to the entrance, the control tower, MT sheds (motor transport), bomb store. The three original T.2 type Hangers are in use as warehouses. Part of the site is in use as an industrial estate. Several huts remain at the dispersal site to the south east (506th B.S.), there are two buildings remaining on the communal site, and the 14th CBW is almost intact, along with the 464th sub depot site.
The land is now privately owned and permission is required to visit the site.
A memorial to the 44th Bomb Group was erected in 1983 in the grounds of the parish church All Saints in the nearby village.
I was a pilot of a B-24 flying from Shipdam in 43-44. My last (28th) mission was memorable to me as we were shot down- with the White Cliffs of Dover shining like a beacon ahead.
Raymond C. Houghtby
My father was Lt. Harold Etheridge, Pilot, 44th Bomb Group, 66th Squadron. He was shot down on the mission to bomb Gotha, Germany, on 24 February, 1944 and was a POW until May, 1945. Thank you so much for the time you have spent creating and maintaining your website.
Orig combat crew 1943
- 2nd Lt Raymond C. Houghtby. Pilot 0-800541
- 2nd Lt Patrick W. Gallagher. Copilot 0-748620
- 2nd Lt George K. Ramsey. Nav 0-736027
- 2nd Lt Willian.C.K. Brown. Bomb 0-678407
- T/Sgt Wayne M. Warren. Engineer 35400551
- T/Sgt Frank P. Phillips. Radio 12083302
- S/Sgt Ladislao C. Castro. Waist Gun 16201801
- S/Sgt Norman Dye. Waist Gun 14158242
- S/Sgt Thomas L. Cannon. Tail Gun 34396263
- S/Sgt James W. Lewis. Ball Gun 32486667
Raymond C Houghtby.
My father was in the 506th. He was a radio operator and turret gunner on the T BAR which was shot down on March 18, 1944. The MACR # is 3404. He was a prisoner of war. His name is Frank P. Phillips. Any info on he and his crew would be greatly appreciated. He is now in a nursing home and his days in the Air Force is a subject he remains interested in. Thanks for any help.
I have recently been involved with a Mr. Edwards in the return of some lost dogtags to the daughter of a former late USAAF serviceman who was stationed at Shipdham during a part of WWII. His name was Charles C Mott of Florida. I discovered your site in an effort to send his daughter some UK nostalgic memorabilia. May be able to find out more about him for you. In the meantime i am taking the liberty of copying to you a letter from Jill to me containing info about her father. I am sure she won't mind you extracting anything useful for the site.
"Mr. Stanley - Thank you so much for e-mailing me.
My father's name was Charles Mott. I've been racking my brain and trying to remember all the tales he told about his military life, but unfortunately, I can remember only bits and pieces.
He did have the opportunity in 1993 to return for a short visit to England with my sister and her husband. He'd always wanted to see the airbase again. I still have quite a few snapshots he took while stationed there during the war and even some of his travels in other countries. He loved the fish and chips! Like many of the soldiers, it was the first time he'd ever left home and just having the opportunity to go to so many countries pleased him very much. He was a bombsite mechanic in the Army/AirCorp. but I think he always wished he'd been a pilot. He loved planes until the day he died. He was stationed in Shipdham. He traveled to Wales, the Isle of Mann, Greenland, Paris (once), and spent alot of time in North Africa (near Bengazi). On the return trip from Africa to England, the plane they were on had to make three or four emergency landings because of the terrible condition it was in. He said the last time he remembered seeing it was just a glimpse over his shoulder as they walked away, leaving it behind them. As a child, and one who thought she knew everything, I remember asking him why in the world he would have ever gotten back on the plane after the first emergency landing, much less three or four. Without batting an eye and without the least bit of apology in his voice he said - because he wanted to go home and that was the only way to get there.
He only visited in France once and he often laughed when he remembered that trip. As they struggled with the language barrier, one of the soldiers traveling with him was so impressed because EVEN THE CHILDREN OVER THERE COULD SPEAK FRENCH! That just goes to prove that a man's IQ didn't get him into or out of the military.
Eventually, he made it back to England and then back to the states. Once, however, he was reported missing in action (perhaps during the time I mentioned earlier) but fortunately for his family, he was able to send them a letter telling them he was okay even before the military back in the states had a chance to contact them. My aunt sent me that very letter about a year ago. Because of the extreme censorship on correspondence at that time the letter he wrote didn't seem to make any sense, but when finally contacted by the military, my grandparents showed them the letter and everyone was happy. When he first told me that story I cried. I said it made me sad to think he had been lost. As was the case with my father, he laughed. Then he told me that there had never been a moment that he hadn't known exactly where he was. He wasn't lost - everyone just thought he was.
While in Africa he became very ill with yellow-fever. He said almost everyone had it at one time or the other while they were there. The vaccine they gave him was actually contaminated which only added to his problems. He once told me me that if I ever decided to start smoking (I never did) then I'd have to wait until I was the same age he was when he started. He started while in Africa in the 40s during some of the spare time they always seemed to have on hand. Also - I think it was while in Africa - that he came into the possession of a German Luger. The soldiers weren't allowed to bring back any contraband but he desperately wanted to keep it. So he came up with his own "devious" plan. He dismantled it, wrapped up each piece in a separate package, and mailed it home to his mother. When he returned he asked her if she had received them. He was so excited to hear that she had but when he started reassembling it, the smallest piece, the one that holds it all together, was missing. After one more search of her bureau drawer, Grandma finally found it. I still have that weapon.
He came back to the states on the Queen Mary. During that voyage was the only meal during the entire war that he'd purposefully skipped. When he headed down the stairs to the dinning room (mess hall) the smell of mutton stopped him dead in his tracks and he turned around and went back to bed.
Perhaps because I was female, he never told me any of the typical "horror stories" that every soldier experiences. He truly loved the chance to travel but the only really heart-wrenching statement he ever made was once a week when the old television show Hogan's Heroes would go off the air. He would stare at the screen and shake his head and say, "I wish the Germans truly had been so stupid. They weren't. They almost won that war." Also, one night before a test at school he was trying to explain to me exactly why the "buz-bomb" got it's name. I remember asking him if he was afraid on those times he'd heard the sound. His response always stayed with me. He said it didn't frighten him at all to hear it because when it buzzed you could usually locate it. When he couldn't hear it was when he was scared. I'm sure that was true for so many during that time.
After returning to the states he and my mother married and he became a Chiropractor and practiced in Florida for almost forty-two years. He was a wonderful father and a very patriotic man and I've never known a man I admired more. He was good to my mother, to my sister and me, to my husband, and to our children.
He would be ecstatic to know that his dogtags were found and taken care of. I hope to be able to thank Mr. Edwards myself. Thank you again, Mr. Stanley.
Jill Mott Roberts
I have the crew list of the "Southern Comfort 2" including the Missing Air Crew Report (506th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, 14th BCW, 2nd Air Div, 8th AAF). They all served at Shipdham.
I'm also interested in info on 2LT William R. Lawson, ASN 0-685657. Lawson is mentioned in MACR 3848 as a witness to the "shoot down" of Southern Comfort 2. A relative of mine (S/Sgt Foster A. Blake, ASN 11055810, 506th BS, 44th BG was a member of Southern Comfort 2 crew. It was a B-24J S/N 42-7522 (tail 27522)).
The crash location was 2km north of Bernburg. The town is frequently mispelled.
Crew of B-24 (H) #42-7522, "Southern Comfort II", Assigned to 506th Bombardment Squadron, 44th Bombardment Group (H), 14th CBW, 2nd AD, 8th USAAF, Shipdham (Station 115).Lost: 11 April 1944 over Bernburg, Germany.Best, Byron Foster Blake Veteran / Pilot
- Pilot: 1LT John D. Money, ASN O-740104 (POW), St. Louis, MO
- Co-Pilot: 1LT Robert G. Stamos, ASN O-730646 (KIA), Danville, IL
- Navigator: 1LT Harold J. Wheatly, ASN O-675979 (KIA), Jefferson City, MO
- Nose Turret Gunner/Togglier: SSG Foster A. Blake, ASN 11055810 (KIA), Bradford, VT
- Engineer/Top Turret Gunner: TSGT Andrew C. Graff, ASN 37428100 (KIA), Geneva, IA
- Radio Operator: TSGT Edward A. Wernicki, ASN 32765359 (KIA), Jersey City, NJ
- Ball Turret Gunner: SSG Herbert S. Hill, Jr., ASN 11088586 (KIA), Revere, MA
- Right Waist Gunner: SSG Donald L. Young, ASN 19193283 (POW), Topeka, KS
- Left Waist Gunner: SSG Wallace E. Kirschner, ASN 12155416 (POW), Bronx, NY
- Tail Turret Gunner: SSG Eugene W. N. Roop, ASN 14158075 (KIA), Knoxville, TN
Sgt. Frank J. Hart of Monmouth, Illinois served in the 67th Bomb Sqdn, 44th Bomb Group at Station 115 in 1942-1943. He arrived in October 1942 as air gunner, assistant engineer in the B24D 'Suzy Q' commanded by Major Howard Moore. He flew 17 missions over France, Germany and the Mediterranean before being grounded due to inner ear problems.
Frank J Hart
Charles E. Hart, brother
PhotographsIf you have any Photographs you would like to share please get in touch.
List of those who served here.
- Albert Abercrombie,( Armor Gunner "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Alberts (Pilot )
- Capt. Allison (doctor)
- Thomas G. Barber(Air Gunner d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. James J. Barry (bombardier)
- P. F. Baum, (Bombardier "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Baykin, (navigator)
- Theodore Bessen, (Radio Operator d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- S/Sgt Foster A. Blake. 506th Bomb Squadron, 44th Bomb Group. Southern Comfort 2
- Sgt. Jim "Jimmy" Bolger, (Flt engineer )
- Sgt. Bolton (radio operator)
- Lt. "Boogy" Boumbicka. (bombardier)
- Lt. Brown (pilot)
- Lt. Burns (pilot)
- Ladislao “L. C.” Castro (Air gunner, “T-Bar” “Flying Eightballs.") Read his story
- Lt. Chandler (pilot)
- Sgt. Clarno (radio operator)
- SSgt. Andrew T. Clarke (Air gunner)
- Lt. Clements (Pilot )
- Lt. Confer (pilot)
- Sgt. John Coyne (Flt engineer )
- Lt. Davis (co-pilot)
- A. C. Diaz (d. on Ops 27 Mar 1945)
- Lt. Dines (pilot)
- Lt. Durett. (pilot)
- Lt. Dyer (navigator)
- Sgt. Elliott, (Airgunner)
- Lt. Harold Etheridge. pilot. 44th Bomb Group, 66th Squadron. Read his Story
- Glenn Folsom (Pilot "Wasps Nest")
- Eugene Gilligan, (Engineer d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Capt. Gossett (pilot)
- TSGT Andrew C. Graff. Eng, Air Gnr. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr 8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
- Lt. Grow (Pilot )
- Sgt. Rex Hagner, (Airgunner)
- Sgt. Frank J. Hart
- Hazen Emery Hawkes, Jr. (Air Gunr d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest") 66th Squadron 44th Bombardment GroupRead his story
- Sgt. Heger (Airgunner)
- SSG Herbert S. Hill. Air Gnr. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr 8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
- Sgt. Claude "Little Joe" Horner, (Airgunner)
- Raymond C. Houghtby Read his Story
- t Sgt. Huggins (Airgunner)
- Bill Jangl (Airgunner) 66 Sq
- Lt. Johnson (Pilot )
- John Kennedy (engineer)
- Capt. Kimbel (pilot)
- SSG Wallace E. Kirschner. Air Gnr. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr 8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
- Lt. Kodia, (co-pilot)
- Lt. Kyes (pilot)
- Lt. Landahl (pilot)
- Ed Lawrence (Assistant Engineer d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Lawson (bombardier)
- Sgt. Litras (Airgunner)
- Lt. Lowe (pilot)
- Lt. Lucas. (Pilot )
- Capt. Mack (pilot)
- Charles Mauk, (Navigator d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Middleton
- Lt. Miller (Pilot )
- Capt. Minor (Engineering Officer)
- 1LT John D. Money. Pilot. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr(H) 8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
- Major Howard Moore. (Pilot)
- Charles C Mott. Bombsite Mechanic.
- SSgt. Parko(engineer)
- Sgt William J. Mulholland (Airgunner) Read his Combat Diary
- John Parlapiano, (Engineer d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Petersen (co-pilot)
- Frank P. Phillips. Radio Op/Air gunner. 506th Bomb Sqd.
- Paul Purdue, (Co-pilot d. 7 Mar 1944 "Wasps Nest")
- Lt. Ray. (bombardier)
- Repetsky (charge of quarters)
- Sgt. Romeo (d. 27 June 1944)
- SSG Eugene W. N. Roop. Air Gnr. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
- Sgt. Richardson (Airgunner)
- Lt. Rigger (navigator)
- Sgt. Rizzo (Airgunner)
- Lt. Rockman (pilot)
- Lt. Ryan (pilot)
- Lt. Scuddy (pilot)
- Sgt. Carl Shook, (radio operator)
- L. A. Smith. (engineer)
- Lt. T. L. Smith. (pilot)
- Lt. Stone. (pilot)
- Tuffy Strange
- Sgt. "Lefty" Tiemier, (Airgunner)
- Sgt. Thompson (Airgunner)
- "Big Tom"
- Wally Truslow (Air gunner)
- Alfred Truono
- Lt. Wallace (pilot)
- TSGT Edward A. Wernicki. Radio Op. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr 8th USAAF
- Lt. Westcott (Pilot "My Everlovin' Gal" shot down over Magdeburg 29 Jun 1944)
- Mike Whalen (radio operator)
- 1LT Harold J. Wheatly. Nav.506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr/ 8th USAAF
- Capt. Will (pilot)
- Sgt. Williams, (engineer)
- SSG Donald L. "Dan" Young. Air Gnr. 506th Bomb Sqd. 44th BGr. 8th USAAF (d. 11 apr 1944 on ops to Bauanburg "Southern Comfort II")
If you have any names to add to this list, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.
If you have a story which you would like to share, or a website dedicated to an airfield or aircrew, please get in touch.
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