Recorded memoir of Ben Johnson (MC 376/134)
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Recorded memoir of Ben Johnson


MC 376/134

1 audio cassette (Memorex mrX3 oxide 60)

nd [c 1985]

448th Bomb Group

Ben Johnson

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[00:00-05:00] Recording cuts in part way through inttroductiory remarks about his childhood and entering military service, Texas. Describes his training: basic, Sheppard Field, Texas; armament school, Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado; gunnery school, Harlingen, Texas; crew assignment, Lincoln, Nebraska and receiving new B-24 and equipment checks, Topeka, Kansas. [05:00-10:00] Describes journey to England: briefing; opening sealed mission orders; flying via Goose Bay, Labrador [Canada] and Iceland to Wales; tactical training in Ireland and journey to Seething, Norfolk. Remarks on his feelings about entering combat, the English people and his English parents. Mentions assignment to 448th Bomb Group and his pilot, Smith. [10:00-15:00] Comments on first mission, near Kiel, Germany, poor weather conditions for flying during the winter of 1944-1945 and a memorable mission flying in support of ground troops during the invasion of Holland (Netherlands) [1944]. Remarks on places he visited in Britain and the 2nd Air Division reunion, 1975. Comments on his crew: W. [William] D. Smith (pilot); Leon Lyons (co-pilot); Lewis R. Hyde (navigator); [Earl M.] Aspin (engineer); Cocchiola (bombardier); Chuck [Charles] Ellis (radio operator). [15:00-20:00] Crew continued: J. B. Malone and Frank Stemmochwoski (waist-gunners); Farnham (tail-gunner) and himself (nose-gunner). Remarks on the British people and their suffering during wartime, including food and clothing rations. Anecdote about finding out he would have to fly extra missions with new crews and his return to the United States (US) by ship, February 1945. Mentions submarine attacks. [20:00-25:00] Journey back to the US continued, meeting his new baby son for the first time and his discharge from military service. Comments on post-war work with the Gulf Oil Corporation and retirement, 1981. [25:00-30:00] Comments on his hobbies, wife, grandchildren, and service in the army reserves as a pipe fitter for the 476th engineering battalion. [30:00-35:00] Concluding remarks. Recorded on side A only.