Recorded memoir of Odell F. Dobson, part 1 of 2 (side A of cassette) (MC 371/882/32/1)
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Recorded memoir of Odell F. Dobson, part 1 of 2 (side A of cassette)


MC 371/882/32/1

1 side of audio cassette

31 Jan 1983

392nd Bomb Group

Odell Dobson

Address redacted at start of recording (0mn 36s to 0mn 46s).

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[00:00-05:00] Describes enlisting in aviation cadet programme, 9 August 1942, including having to gain weight to pass. Mentions newspaper report of Dieppe Raid, 19 August 1942. Comments on dropping out of pilot training and on radio school, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. [05:00-10:00] Describes enrolling for gunnery training, despite being over the six feet height restriction, and gunnery school, Harlingen, Texas. Comments on crew assignment, Salt Lake City, Utah, and flight training in Casper, Wyoming and McCook, Nebraska. Describes journey from Topeka, Kansas, via Bangor, Maine and Goose Bay, Labrador [Canada], to Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Wendling, Norfolk. Comments on assignment to 587th Squadron, June 1944, including feelings about his British and German ancestors. Remarks on his free time: cycling around Wendling; visits to London, including 'buzz bombs,' British defiance and his favourite pastimes. [10:00-15:00] London continued. Visit to Ely, Cambridgeshire, including story about meeting three fighter pilots. Comments on memorable missions: Kiel, Germany, and difficult formation in mist on another mission. Describes mission to Hanover, Germany, 11 September 1944: German fighter attack and damage to aeroplane, 'Ford's Folly.' [15:00-20:00] Continues about aeroplane crash and fates of crew members. [20:00-25:00] Describes bailing-out of aeroplane, landing in Tries, near Giessen, Germany, villagers taking him to jail and transfer to German army hospital, Giessen. Comments on his medical treatment, friendship with a German officer and considering escape. [25:00-30:00] Continues about medical treatment. Comments on his time in prisoner of war camp, Stalag Luft 4, and long road march of prisoners across Germany. Mentions post-war visit to the German officer and letters to an American colonel, who advised him not to escape, and Margaret Thatcher, concerning Falklands conflict. Names his crew: Charles R. Rudd (pilot); Robert J. Benson (co-pilot); William J. Spencer (bombardier); Jennings B. Dawson (navigator); Claiborne Maynard (upper-turret gunner and engineer); Richard Modlin (nose-gunner). [30:00-31:09] Crew continued: Harvey Hoganson (right waist-gunner); Robert Place (tail-gunner) and Roger Clapp (radio operator). For continuation recording, see MC 371/882/32/2.