Recorded memoir of William H. Counts (MC 371/882/44)
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Recorded memoir of William H. Counts


MC 371/882/44

1 audio cassette

nd [c 1985]

467th Bomb Group

William H. Counts

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[00:00-05:00] Names his crew and dedicates memoir to the members killed in action, 29 June 1944: William Greble (co-pilot); James Robinson (bombardier); Donald Hudson (navigator); Robert Fisher (waist-gunner); Francis P. VanVeen (radio operator); John J. Murphy (waist-gunner); Joseph J. Kennedy (tail-gunner) and Harris P. Davis (engineer). Comments that Thomas Hansbury was the crew's usual tail-gunner but was not flying with them on 29 June 1944. Lists bomb groups he served in: 22nd, Langley Field, Virginia; 17th, Barksdale Field, Louisiana; 309th and 310th, Colombia, South Carolina. Describes training: joining Army Air Corps, Chanute Field, Illinois, as an aircraft mechanic; bombardier training, Langley Field and work as an instructor bombardier, Barksdale Field, until Autumn 1942. Describes joining air cadet programme and his pilot training: pre-flight, Santa Ana, California; primary, basic and advanced flight, Arizona; transition training in B-17s, Roswell, New Mexico and in B-24s, Casper, Wyoming. Comments on joining his crew, Peterson Field, Colorado, December 1943. [05:00-10:00] Comments on crew's formation training and flying B-24, 'Bird Dog' to Britain on southern route [usually via Trinidad; Brazil, South America; Dakar, Marrakech and Morocco, Africa, arriving in Scotland or Wales]: account of tropical storm and mentions sale of babies in Dakar. Remarks on leaving aeroplane in Ireland, first mission to marshalling yards, Neunkirchen, Germany, May [1944] and their accommodation at Rackheath. [10:00-15:00] Rackheath continued: good food. Anecdotes about bicycle rides in local area and trip to London, including heavy 'buzz bomb' raid. Comments on combat missions: shot down on fifteenth mission, Aschersleben, Germany; memorable missions including submarine pens at Lubeck in Germany and Paris airport. Describes fifteenth mission and quotes from official report of the crash. [15:00-20:00] Describes the crash: trapped in aircraft; thrown clear of aeroplane and landed in German field; hostile reception by civilians and taken to gaol by soldiers; other captives and his injuries. Comments on transfer to Dulag Luft. [20:00-25:00] Describes confinement at Dulag Luft, including evading his guard and friendship with Tommy Thompson. Comments on transfer to Stalag Luft 3, until January 1945. Describes long march of prisoners to Moosburg, Germany, and liberation, 29 April 1945, including searching for food. Comments on mission problems, 29 June 1944, journey back to the United States, his marriage and family. Ends with prayer for peace. Recorded on side A only.