Recorded memoir of Wilbur Lee Clingan (MC 371/882/63)
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Recorded memoir of Wilbur Lee Clingan


MC 371/882/63

1 audio cassette

nd [c 1985]

453rd Bomb Group

Wilbur Lee Clingan

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[00:00-05:00] Introduction: date and place of birth and details of enlisting in the Army Air Force, 2 January 1942, Jefferson, Missouri. Describes training as a pilot at bases in Texas and California, following enrolment on the aviation cadet programme, 20 April 1942, Indiana. Describes assignments after qualifying as a pilot, 4 January 1943, including as co-pilot in 34th Bomb Group, Blyth, California. Names his crew: Harold Russell (pilot); Chadwick (navigator) and ?Loveless (bombardier). Lists assignments after becoming pilot of his own crew, including transfer to 453rd Bomb Group, 25 August 1943. Lists crew: ?Ferguson (co-pilot); Howard Cole (navigator); Saywer (bombardier); Conway (engineer); McKinney (radio operator) and Grady, Laux, McClure and ?Dumont (gunners). [05:00-10:00] Comments on crew changes: ?Dumont replaced by ?Heskell. Remarks on flying as an instructor pilot and assignment to 753rd Squadron as an operations officer. Lists Squadron and Group commanding officers. Comments on changes to his original crew: Tilton made co-pilot and later replaced by Munsey, September 1943. Describes journey to England as passenger in B-24, flown by Wattenbergers' crew, on southern route [usually via Trinidad; Brazil, South America and Dakar, Marrakech and Morocco, Africa] arriving in Prestwick, Scotland, 18 January 1944. Comments on his first mission, Gilze, Holland [Netherlands], and role flying as a leader on missions and as a Squadron Operations Officer. Mentions other Squadron Operations Officers including Jimmy [James] Stewart and Andrew Low. Lists places he visited in England and his impression of English people. [10:00-15:00] Comments on memorable missions to Germany: Berlin; Hamm, 22 April 1944, when enemy fighters infiltrated their formations on return to base; Rhine crossing; D-Day mission; Hamburg and Munich. Comments on leading division on mission to the north Scandinavian coast and last mission to Rechlin, Germany, when he landed on the continent and returned to England via Antwerp [Belgium]. Describes memorable events during training, Boise, Idaho: checked and qualified by Jimmy Stewart and stationed at Blyth at the same time as Clark Gable. Describes training facilities and bases. [15:00-20:00] Training bases continued. Comments on his post-war life in California, discharge from active service, remaining in the Air Force reserves and retirement as a Colonel. Recorded on side A only.