Recorded memoir of Thomas O. Owen (MC 371/882/39/1)
Recorded memoir of Thomas O. Owen
1 audio cassette (Memorex MRXI 60)
18 Feb 1986
453rd Bomb Group
Thomas O. Owen
[00:00-05:00] Summarizes his service in 453rd Bomb Group, Spring and Summer, 1944. Comments on joining Army Air Corps, Lexington, Kentucky. Describes his training: pilot training, San Antonio, Texas, October 1942; elimination and reclassification as navigator, graduating from San Marcos, Texas, December 1943; crew training, Casper Wyoming, December 1943-February 1944, and brief assignment to 492nd Bomb Group before further training, Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. Describes journey to England in B-24, flying the southern route [usually via Trinidad; Brazil, South America and Dakar, Marrakech and Morocco, Africa] arriving 17 April . Comments on meeting English people for the first time in Blackpool [Lancashire] and combat orientation training, Ireland. Mentions suspicion that some ammunition was taken by the IRA. Describes arriving at Old Buckenham, Norfolk, and facilities at the base, including travelling by bicycle and ice cold water for shaving. [05:00-10:00] Comments on need for oxygen on missions and seeing Jimmy [James] Stewart on base. Comments on missions: first, German airfield, Orleans, France, 23 May 1944 and last to aircraft engine plant, Dessau, Germany, 16 August 1944; flying their first aeroplane, 'Pay Day,' to Caen, France, on D-Day and mentions their second B-24 'Ohio Silver'; bombing results at Orly Airfield, Paris, 24 May and St Malo, France, 13 August ; difficult mission to oil installations, Politz [Poland], 20 June  and ball bearing plant, 21 June . Names his crew: Kenton W. Morris (pilot); Pershing Beechy (co-pilot); Bernard DeLancey (bombardier); himself (navigator); John Barney (engineer); Laverne Howe (radio operator); Jack McCutcheon (top-turret gunner); Walter Rash (nose-turret gunner); Morgan Folta (tail-turret gunner) and William Main (ball-turret gunner). Comments on heavy losses of 492nd Bomb Group and their assignment to carpetbagger duties dropping supplies. Remarks that he had little time to meet English people, sightseeing visits to London and Norwich and date with a British girl ?Billie Humphries serving in the Women's Air Force. [10:00-15:00] Describes visit to Southport on finishing combat missions and his post-war activities including retirement as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Recorded on side A only. For photograph, with list of crew members, found loosely inserted, see MC 371/882/39/2 and MC 371/882/39/3.