Recorded memoir of Lloyd West (MC 371/882/36)
Recorded memoir of Lloyd West
1 audio cassette (Maxell LN90)
nd [c 1985]
389th Bomb Group
[00:00-05:00] Summarizes training: drafted, March 1941; basic training, Wyoming; assignment to heavy maintenance company, Oklahoma; transfer to Fort Lewis, Washington, December 1941, and training for duty in Pacific; acceptance into Army Air Force flying cadet school, March 1942 and graduating as pilot, 2nd Lieutenant, March 1943. Anecdotes about advanced training: ground looping Cessna aeroplane and difficulty finding base in bad weather. Mentions assignment to 389th Bomb Group as co-pilot, May 1943. Describes journey to United Kingdom in B-24 and facilities at Hethel airbase, Norfolk. [05:00-10:00] Remarks on bicycles as transport on base and cycling accidents. Comments on visits to Norwich, including Americans giving sweets, nylons and cigarettes to local people. Gives his general impressions of English people. Describes visits to London, including Piccadilly during blackout and 'V-bomb' attack. Mentions trips to Liverpool and Glasgow and learning to appreciate different customs, food and English tea. Comments on combat: assignment to Lt Frank Ellis's crew; completing thirty missions and first mission to Maleme, Crete, 9 July 1943. Describes conditions when stationed at Benghazi [Africa], including problems with scorpions and training for mission to Ploesti, Romania, Summer 1943. [10:00-15:00] Describes fourth mission, Messina, Sicily, including damage to aeroplane, emergency landing in Malta and comments that he was unable to go to Ploesti as there were no spare aeroplanes. Comments on Lt Lloyd Hughes's crew. Comments on return to Hethel and his aeroplane 'Liberty Belle.' Mentions preparation for D-Day and mission to Hamm, Germany, when German fighters followed them back to base. Comments on: Ellis's crew broken up, June 1944; his assignment as assistant operations officer, 564th Squadron; flying as squadron flight leader; last mission, ?Tutow, Germany and medals he received. Remarks: return to United States, October 1944; flying as check pilot, Lowry field, until discharge, December 1945; returning to his family's farm and current role as Vice-President of 389th Bomb Group, 2nd Air Division Association. Recorded on side A only. For tape insert, see MC 376/431/5.