Recorded memoirs of Charles Domek, part one of four (side A of first cassette) (MC 376/221/1)
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Recorded memoirs of Charles Domek, part one of four (side A of first cassette)


MC 376/221/1

1 side of audio cassette

13 Dec 1995

458th Bomb Group

Charles Domek

Address at start of recording has been redacted (0mn 44s to 0mn 55s).

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[00:00-05:00] Introductory remarks about making the recording. Comments on the welcome he received in Norwich from local people, his background and education. Describes entering the Air Force, November 1943, and his training: basic, Keesler Field, Mississippi; gunnery school, Panama City, Florida; describes gunnery training in detail and crew training, Boise, Idaho. [05:00-10:00] Comments on and names crew: E. B. Besten, 'ace' (pilot); W.M. Taff (co-pilot); Edgar ?O'Souder (navigator); Arthur ?Cruger (bombardier); Frederick ?Firman (radio operator); Edgar L. ?Kingsboro (nose-gunner); George F. Spencer (tail-gunner); himself (waist-gunner); John R. ?McQuerry (armourer-gunner) and ?Christianson (engineer). [10:00-15:00] Describes crew training: emergency procedures and close formation flying. Describes journey in B-24 from Topeka, Kansas, to Northern Ireland: via Goose Bay, Labrador [Canada]; Greenland and Iceland, July 1944. Comments on hazardous weather conditions and loss of one crew. [15:00-20:00] Describes training in Northern Ireland and assignment to 458th Bomb Group, 754th Squadron, August 1944. Describes practice missions and difficulties they encountered when flying: low air pressure; extreme cold and their heated suits and other equipment; discomfort of wearing oxygen masks; heavy flak from anti-aircraft guns; mechanical and weather problems. [20:00-25:00] Summarizes his missions: final mission, 8 March 1945; the weight of bombs carried; flying fuel to General Patton's troops in France and flying time ranging from five to nine hours. Describes his feelings on completing combat tour and return journey to United States (US) including destroyer escort and U-boat threat, April 1945. Comments on his service as a clerk until discharge, his post-war education and work running his family's decorating shop. [25:00-30:00] Comments on his family. Describes combat missions: first, aircraft factory, Lubeck, Germany, 25 August 1944. [30:00-35:00] First mission continued, including escape and evasion instructions if they landed in Denmark. Describes second mission to oil reserve, Dulmen, Germany and third mission, Finow airfield, Germany. [35:00-40:00] Third mission continued. Remarks on practice missions, 30 August and 3 September [1944] and reports on B-24s captured by the Germans. Describes fourth mission, marshalling yards, Karlsruhe, Germany, 5 September 1944, supporting General Patton's army. Describes mission to the same target, 8 September 1944, and its strategic importance feeding section of the Siegfried Line. [40:00-45:00] Mission continued. Describes fifth mission, marshalling yards, Mainz, Germany. See MC 376/221/2 for continuation recording. For tape insert, see MC 376/431/14.