Recorded memoir of Russell Hayes (MC 371/882/62)
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Recorded memoir of Russell Hayes


MC 371/882/62

1 audio cassette (Maxwell UPS-I90)

nd [c 1985]

389th Bomb Group

Russell Hayes

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[00:00-05:00] Summarizes his service in 566th Squadron, June 1943-4: joining-up, Fort Des Moines, Iowa and lists some of the thirty-nine bases he trained on, including Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona. Anecdotes: at gunnery school, Las Vegas, Nevada, when Ronald Regan made army film, 'Aerial Gunner'; sent from Topeka, Kansas, flying a B-17, to look for Japanese submarine after attack on Vancouver and describes aeroplane crashes at Alamogordo base and Sierra Blanca Mountains, New Mexico. [05:00-10:00] Story about transition flying, Topeka: taking Col ?Chestley Peterson, commanding officer of Eagles Squadron [an American group flying Spitfires in England] as a passenger. Describes base at ?Pio, Texas and hunting rattlesnakes. Describes crew formation: Jack Dieterle (pilot); Thomas ? (co-pilot); Tom Campbell; Robert ?Hide [?bombardier]; Marcus D. ? Camp/Kemp (engineer); Arthur J. Marsh (radio operator); Leonard Boisclair (right-gunner); Charles B. Cavage (left-gunner); himself (ball/top-turret gunner) and Jack Cox (tail-gunner). Mentions crew changes from sixth mission: Ben Walsh (pilot) and Sam Blessing (co-pilot). Remarks on being reviewed by President Roosevelt and Gen. Arnold, Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado. [10:00-15:00] Describes flying to England via Bangor, Maine, and anecdote about guarding aeroplane. Mentions first encounter with British people, Prestwick, Scotland and journey to Hethel, Norfolk, via base at Carlisle [Cumbria]. [15:00-20:00] Describes Hethel barracks, living conditions in Libyan Desert, Catholic Padre, Fr Gerald Beck, including his jeep 'Hellzappopen,' and missions flown from Benghazi, Africa, to Reggio and Bari, Italy, and Messina, Sicily. [20:00-25:00] Describes mission to rail targets, Rome and fifth mission to oil fields, Ploesti, Romania: mission brief; low level flying through villages and oil fields; oil tank exploding; types of bombs used and aeroplanes crashing including Lt. Horton. [25:00-30:00] Ploesti continued: seeing Lt ?Neef, Hughes and ?Frank Keys of O'Reilly's crew crash; German fighter attacks; difficulty gaining altitude; scattered group return due to mistake at target and landing in Benghazi with no fuel left. [30:00-35:00] Mentions missions flown from Africa: to Vienna, Austria; Foggia and Naples, Italy and anecdote about journey back to England, including soldiers and Fr Beck arrested for being out of uniform in Oran, Africa. Describes missions flow from England including St Omer, France, including injury to crew's bombardier. Mentions missions flown from Africa, including covering invasion of Italy. Lists missions flown from England including: Oslo, Norway; Bremen, Kiel and Frankfurt, Germany; Abbeville, France and finishing missions on 13 February 1944. Anecdote about crew photograph. Describes transfer to Horsham St Faith, Norfolk, as gunnery instructor and aeroplane crash destroying houses near base. Describes visits to London and names girls he met at Victory Club, Marble Arch, and in Norwich. [35:00-40:00] Describes sightseeing in London and watching an air raid in Hyde Park, where women operated [anti-aircraft] guns. Describes pubs and clubs visited in Norwich and Wymondham, Norfolk, including the 'Wagon and Horses', run by Ronnie Wilson, and learning to dance at the Samson and Hercules, Norwich. Mentions good relations with English people, anecdotes about returning from nights out and his crew's name, 'Little Gramper'. Recorded on side A only.