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Trying to find info on my dads b24 that was shot down on 4/4/44 on a mission

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Conrad Leo, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  2. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Romanian Prison Camps
     

    Attached Files:

  3. mcoffee

    mcoffee Member

    The personnel in the attached documents are mostly members of the 449th lost on the 4/4/44 mission, but several members of the Brown crew of the 376th are included (Brown is not on this list). The 449th lost 7 aircraft on the mission and received their first PUC for the mission. These prisoners were taken to the Romanian POW camp at Bucharest.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Conrad Leo

    Conrad Leo New Member

    any idea what camp they were at and its location
     
  5. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Conrad, there are some clues in this link: https://alianta.org/Pages/Articles/1944/AsociationEmails.html



    "My Dad was a pilot on the 1st 1944 raid to Bucharest (the "4-4-44" bombing of the marshalling yards at Gard de Nord). The 15th AF received their first Presidential Unit Citation for that mission. He was originally held in the Iron Guard Barracks until they opened up the camp at the schoolhouse .... and eventually they separated the officers from the enlisted men - the NCO's were marched to the maternity ward of the hospital where they stayed until they were rescued.

    My Dad said most of the men in your photo were from his room as well as the room across from his on the 2nd floor of the schoolhouse. It's the only "known" photo of the POWs from the schoolhouse. The airman talking with the Romanian guards is John Chonka -- the only American who could speak Romanian. My Dad is assuming that since 1) they all are smiling; 2) they are posing OUTSIDE the schoolhouse; & 3) that the group were roommates, that the photo must have been taken relatively soon if not immediately after they were told of the impending rescue. Shortly afterward, the POWs were taken by truck outside of the city for their own safety (since the Germans were now bombing Bucharest) and somewhat hidden until they were trucked to the airfield to load the B-17s."


    The schoolhouse mentioned is also described in this link: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com...100038_1_prisoners-simonson-american-soldiers

    "The prisoners were housed in a three-story schoolhouse in the middle of Bucharest and got news of the war from a radio they hid from their German guards. American and British pilots, unaware of the location of the prisoners, kept bombing the city helter-skelter. ''It's a miracle we never got hit,'' he said."

    The Iron Guard Barracks were for the Romanian National Guard and were apparently outside or just outside of Bucharest.
    The description of the enlisted men in the maternity ward said they were "near the marshalling yard".


    Starting on page 7 of this pdf is a description by a POW.

    http://www.2ndbombgroup.org/TSWF/Second Was First 10 - Chapter 10 - Operations- May June 1944.pdf
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  6. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Conrad, here is a photo of the school, St Catherine's School for Girls. The first photo shows the POWs, probably all officers, outside the school. Maybe your father is in the photo? The last photo ( Timisul de Jos ) was the original camp in Romania. Your father was never in that camp.

    https://alianta.org/Pages/Articles/1944/BucharestPrison.html
     
  7. mcoffee

    mcoffee Member

    Email sent with POW lists from above. Also I have the contact information for the author of the emails in the link above provided by RSwank. She is involved with the Association of Former Prisoners of War in Romania and should be able to help with POW information. Also the contact info for the 376th BG Historian.
     
  8. Conrad Leo

    Conrad Leo New Member

    Also we have been searching for a picture of the plane. I understand that each unit had a photographer assigned and those pictures are saved in some us air force archive, any leads on that would be greatly appreciated
     
  9. Parker

    Parker Member

    In general the photographer was mostly involved in taking pictures of crews, not aircraft. Usually numerous crews would have their picture taken in front of a single conveniently located plane not necessarily one on which the actually flew.
     
  10. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  11. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Conrad,

    The school was located at 4 Strada Sfanta Ecaterina. The entrance where the POW photo was taken is not the front entrance but a side (or end) entrance. This link is a Google Street view looking right toward that side entrance, shown undergoing renovation. You can zoom the view toward the side entrance and see the 4 "ringed"columns, two are mostly blocked because of the angle from which we are viewing. Past the entrance is the much smaller building with the window which shows up in the 2nd photo of the building shown in post 26. (Look over the top of the red car in the street view.)

    https://www.google.com/maps/@44.424...4!1suLJRC46oM3uXDa4-PiZPvw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    The side entrance is at 44.424793, 26.101175 (you can copy paste these into Google Earth or Google Maps). The other end of the building has an entrance with the same design ( 4 ringed columns) but I "think" we are at the correct end. The building is quite large and could probably be treated as 3 or 4 buildings "stuck together", each with a different use. You get a good idea of the size of the building via "satellite view" using Google Maps.

    The same part that was used as a POW prison for allied airmen was later used to hold German POWs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  12. mcoffee

    mcoffee Member

    Each Squadron had several combat photographers. Their official duty was taking strike photo during bombing missions. Strike photos can sometimes be found in the mission folders. The photographers would also take 'candids' around the base but those photos are not part of any archive that I'm aware of. Most 'official' crew photos were taken in the States prior to overseas movement. Most in-theater nose art photos were taken by the combat photographers and copies were freely shared with members of the group. I have many instances where I've gotten the exact same photo from multiple sources. Most of the nose art photos are from private collections (i.e. brought back by veterans) and since the 376th doesn't have one of "Black Sunday" on their website, they most likely do not have a photo.
     
  13. Conrad Leo

    Conrad Leo New Member

    Again thanks for the info I am going to keep looking who knows....
     
  14. Conrad Leo

    Conrad Leo New Member

    Just found out some interesting info hope you guys can add to it. My dads plane may have had 2 names. I have been in contact with a gentleman whose dad had over 15k nose art pictures. The one that appears with 42-40661 was called Gentle Annie. If anybody has any info on that name please let me know
     
  15. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  16. Parker

    Parker Member

    Sounds like you've stumbled on to Wallace Forman's son. Yes, his B-24 Nose Art Directory does list Gentle Annie as 42-40661, also says he has a picture of her. Perhaps ask if he will provide you with a copy. Since Wallace died 12 years ago his son appears to have taken a low profile with his collection. Too bad, he had put many years work into it.

    And no, it was not unusual for a plane to have more than one name. Sometimes a new crew would want their own name.

    The photos shown on B24bestweb are of a different plane. their picture says 42-78078
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  17. mcoffee

    mcoffee Member

    There are also misidentifications in the Forman list so use caution regarding the Gentle Annie name for 42-40661. If the photo is available, it may contain enough identification points to either verify the possibility or rule it out.
     
  18. Conrad Leo

    Conrad Leo New Member

    I have some pictures he sent me any idea how I verify?
     
  19. Parker

    Parker Member

    Please scan your photos and post them here. Surely someone here can help you to identify them.
     

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