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Mendlesham Memories - The Complete Collection

34th Bomb Group Association News Letters

About Mendlesham Memories

Mendlesham Memories was originally published by the members of the 34th Bomb Group (H) Association, Inc. for the information of its members. We are making this information available for historical and research purposes, and hope that it will be used to tell the story of and honor these World War II veterans. We request that if information from Mendlesham Memories is used, proper credit be given to the author (if any), and the publication itself.

Many hands went into the creation of this digital compilation of the Mendlesham Memories. First we want to thank all the members of the 34th Bomb group who served during WWII.

Mendlesham Memories was clearly a labor of love from the men who originally published it as a newsletter for the 34th Bomb Group (H) Association, Inc. Their tireless effort through the years is what has preserved these memories for future generations.   The original authors of Mendlesham Memories include:

To help preserve this excellent body of knowledge and to make it available to more people a group of descendents of the 34th Bomb Group collected copies of Mendlesham Memories, scanned them and assembled them into a digital collection for publication on the internet.  With the help of many supporters this team was primarily comprised of Scott Mackey from the Board of Directors of the Association, Terry Hutchings-Baker, and John Funk.  

Whether you are a descendent of a member of the 34th Bomb Group, a WWII historian, or someone whose world was shaped by the dedication and sacrifice of the men of the 34th, we hope the stories and information in this collection of Mendlesham Memories help preserve the memories of the men of 34th Bomb Group who served at RAF Mendlesham.


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To ensure this collection is preserved for future generations Mendlesham Memories is also now available on the following sites:



Comments from the Community:

Quick Note from John: Sorry, I had to shut down the ability to post comments, I was recieveing so much robot generated spam that filtering out real comments from the garbage became too much. I did appreciate hearing from everyone who wrote to me. I may find another way to setup a discussion mechanism in the future.

Bob Brooks 5/12/2012

For more information also visit the Eigth Airforce Historical Society at http://8thafhs.org/bomber/34bg.htm

Karen Mitchell 5/18/2012

Comment: I am writing to inform you of the passing of my father, Conrad L. Ricker, who flew 30 missions as radio operator on B-17 and B-24s from 1943-1945. Dad passed on July 27th, 2011; a month shy of his 88th birthday. Always proud of his service, Dad kept n touch with his crew over the years. Unfortunately, I believe Dad was the last surviving crew member. We found what is probably most every copy of Dad's Mendlesham Memories newsletters. Thanks for scanning them. What a wonderful resource for anyone researching this greatest of generation and WWII.

Rusty Rorke 5/28/2012

My Father ( James I Rorke Jr ) was in the 34th BG , 18th Sq. I would like to know if you have any photo's of B17's from the 18th ? My dad would not talk about the war and didn't keep very much of his papers and medals. Plus I have no pictures of him in England. I have some from the US before he went over. Any Help would be appreciated.

Rusty

Rusty: For most of my life my father did not talk much about the war either, but I am fortuate that my effort to scanning his old pictures got him to discuss it a bit with me. There are three very good websites I suggest to do more research:

John Funk

Al Israelsen (former President of the 34th Bomb Group Association) 5/26/2012

To Karen Mitchell, your father and I must have been on many of the same missions and I may have known his pilot. I was in the 4th Sq. Your father in the 18th. He probably was on a lead crew as he flew 30 missions, not 35. Maybe Rawl's, Dee's, or Lindsrtrom's crews?

To Rusty Rorke, Your father and I must have been on many missions also.

To John Funk, your web site it spectacular!!! The photo of Tommy Thumper II in flight is a first for me today. That new airplane from Ford's Willow Run factory was assigned to my 4th Squadron crew on March 2, 1944. We flew it on all of our training flights at Blythe and flew it on that wonderful series of flights to England arriving at Mendlesham on May 18. We then flew lead crew B-24s and our B-24 #4811 was reassigned to Pilot Warren Thrun's crew. They named it Tommy Thumper II--Tommy Thumper I was damaged beyond repair on a hard landing by another crew there at Mendlesham in mid-May. Thanks again John. I am so fortunate to reach 93 and still be able to get around and to all of this great stuff on the internet. You John & Scott Mackey & Dave Kiley have surely enriched these latar years when I am not longer able to talk to my 4th Sq friends Joe Marks, Bob Bice, Chas Barclay Bob Simpson, etc.

Stephen Poulous 5/29/2012

Comment: My father was a belly turret gunner in the 34th. I looking for pictures of his B-17 "My Heartbeat"

great web site very happy to have found it

Hugh Bode 6/9/2012

I am building a model of B-17G "Bottoms Up" for bombadier 1st Lt. William Jaqua. I have the seriel no. 44-8320. Can anyone provide the correct tail no.? Would 48320 be correct.

Ray Rogers 6/23/2012

My father, Evan Y. "Rog" Rogers passed away in Tucson, AZ on June 1, 2012 at age 94. He was with the 34th Bomb Group, 7th Squadron and flew 34 missions during 1944 and 1945 as bombardier.

Bill Bresnan 8/13/2012

My uncle Tom was a member of the 34th. His name was Tom Mullin and he was an aircraft commander. He was a career Air Force pilot and retired as a Col. He passed away about five years ago. He was a very fine and humble man. Wondered if anyone remembered him or any old pictures.

Patricia T. Morse 8/28/2012

My father was a navigator on the "Mooley Cow" First Lt. Matthew M. Terrell Sometime between Jan. 1944 and August 1944 he received the DFC for "extraordinary achievement, cool courage and devotion to duty during Eighth Air force bombing attacks on military and industrial targets in Germany and Nazi occupied Europe." A member of the 34th bombardier group.

I have forgotten the number of missions he flew on, but I seem to remember it was 35 or 37.

I wondered if anyone had any other information concerning the "Mooley Cow". I have a newspaper clipping from when he was awarded the DFC and also a picture of him and "the crew" but that picture I am told is in front of a B-24. But the "Mooley Cow" was a B-17. He was stationed in England and in Africa during 1943-1945.

Art 9/29/2012

My father was with the 34th BG but his crew arrived in January of 45 and so he only flew Chowhound drops and POW returns, then went on to Templehoff to fly C-47's. By one of the links here I saw he flew three Chowhound food drops. Does anyone have any more info or links. I have here Jeffery Ethell's book Bomber Command with some nice color photos of 34thBG planes returning from a Chowhound mission There is a video I recently found on Youtube with a 34th 17 dropping the ten in one rations. Thanks

Sandra Miller-Long 11/15/2012

My dad was Sgt Charles W. Long, (known as Chick.) He was with the 34th BG, 4th Squadron. MOS 911 Airplane Armorer. Trained at At Blythe Airfield in CA, he was stationed at Mendelsham, England. This is about all the information I have on his military service during the war. I wish I had the opportunity to learn more before he passed away in 1987.

As a side note, in 1993 I did my solo cross-country flight in a Cessna 172 from Gillespie Field in El Cajon CA, to Yuma AZ. During that flight I landed at Blythe Airfield. Of course, by then the field was deserted, yet I could almost imagine the airfield as my father would have seen it back in 1943. (BTW, it was my best landing ever.)

Lauren Cotton 11/27/2012

My father, Eli Baldea, was one of the original authors of Mendlesham Memories. He was its editor for 12 years, and it truly was a labor of love. Sadly, my dad passed away in 2002. For all of his adult life, he was a devoted father and patriot, and is greatly missed by his loving family.

A little background on dad's involvement with the war: He was sent to Mendlesham in April, 1944, and initially flew in the 34th Bomb Group, 7th Squadron, as navigator in a B-24 named "Captain John Silver". Other members of dad's crew were:

Dad's nickname was "Baldy".

Sometime in June, their group was told that they would thereafter be flying B-17's, and dad's plane was named "Lili Marlene". On October 17, 1944, my dad was on his 24th mission (out of 25 required for officers), when his plane was shot down over Cologne, Germany. He spent the last months of the war in a POW camp. His group was liberated by General Patton's 14th Armored Division in April, 1945.

If anyone is passing through Savannah, Georgia on I-95 (exit 102), there is a wonderful museum that preserves the artifacts, oral histories, and memories that honor the men and women of the 8th Army Air Force. It is called the "Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum", and their website is www.mightyeighth.org. They also have an active research center, so if you are looking for something specific, you can contact their research center director.

Thank you, John, for continuing to pass along the precious histories of these brave individuals. Without preservation by dedicated people like yourself, their memories would be lost.

Marianne Baldea McCombs 11/27/2012

Thanks for posting this site. I thought I saw it a while back and my brother just sent me he link again. I am going to copy and paste the link on my Facebook page. Does the 34th have a Facebook page? Would be interesting to see how it has evolved since it was the Army Air corp.

Jim Pratt 12/3/2012

Thank you for posting this wonderful body of work. My dad was stationed at Mendlesham - May to October 1944. He was a co-pilot with Walt Bower's crew (Crew #67 as I remember). They flew B24's for about one-half their rotation, and finished in B17's.

Their plane was named Small Change. My dad was a banker (before and after the war), and senior member of the crew at age 25 / 26 - and I think he got "dibs" on picking the name.

He always looked forward to receiving the copies of Mendlesham Memories. He didn't talk much about his experiences during the war, but reading MM always got him to open up a bit.

After he passed away in 1998, I tried to re-subscribe, but couldn't connect with the right parties. I think the editor's job (membership) was changing hands at the time. Glad to see it continued for another decade.

Thanks again.

Ray Baskin 12/9/2012

Navigator 7th & 4th Sqdns. Sep 44-Jun 45. Pilot-Alling. Alling-Baskin-Wright (bombadier) got together 1997 --our first contact since Jun 45. We wrote a book that was published in 2001. Alling is the author-Wright and I contributed our views. Wright has passed away. Alling and I are the only crew living. Alling is 91 and I'm 88. The book is "A Mighty Fortress" by Charles Alling.

We went to lead crew sq (4th) in Dec 44--flew 27 missions. I returned to AF in 47 went to Korea-went to inactive 53. Numerous short AD during Nam. Love to hear from 34th troops.

David Basinger 12/19/2012

Thank you for preserving this great history of our fathers. My dad James A. Basinger Jr. flew with the 34th BG,391 BS, and was stationed in Mendlesham also. I'am hoping to find more information and possibly pictures of his plane "Dallas Doll", pilot John Livingston. Also, if anyone may have a copy of their "lucky bastards" certificate I would enjoy seeing that also. He also flew on "Gumbah". Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your hard work.

Bob Gross- 7th Sqrdn 12/19/2012

Member of two crews. 1- Misery Agent which crashed on 6-6- 44 at Corfe Castle with all KIA , I NOT FLYING THAT DAY.2- flew with Alexander on Belching Bessie 30 missions and returned to states in Oct.44 Living in West Hartfo4: Ct.

Gordon Breeding 1/3/2013

The name of A/C was DUGAN WAGON 42 94757 18th Sqd 34th bomb G roup Flew 27 missions The last 4 was in B-17s AS of this date Only two are left Walter Sturdivan and I Gordon Breeding Walter was Radio op. I was nose Gunner. 1 3 2013 [89 years]Live in Holly,Mich. With my wife of 4 months. DUGAN WAGON Was B-24-H

Adam Massey Feb 2,2013

Mr. Israelsen,

My name is Adam Massey and I am the proud grandson of Hubert "Mac" Massey of Toccoa, Georgia. My Grandfather was a member of the 34th BG and stationed at Mendlesham Field. Growing up I knew he had been in the war however; it was something that he was never willing to discuss. I asked my dad many times and I was always advised not to ask about his time in service. Unfortunately, I had written off hope of ever understanding the full scope of his service to this country. When he passed in 2003 at age 78, all that changed. While cleaning the house we found a suitcase full of pictures and artifacts that had probably been untouched for 50 years or more tucked gently away in the deepest corner of the basement. Through those treasures, I have been able to piece together a general background of his service to our country. I have been doing research off and on since his passing with little luck. I have service records and such but it seems his crew has passed on and I have not found anyone who remembers him. When I saw your post on this site, I had to try to reach out to you. It is my hope that you see this message or that it somehow finds its way to you. I am curious if by chance you might be able to shed some light upon the research I have done and fill holes in my understanding of my hero. Please allow me to share what I know.

Cpl./Sgt. Hubert "Mac" Massey (AG) SN 34826210 From what I can gather Crew #16; 4th Squadron From Valor to Victory I have learned he flew with the following men:

I was also able to find that he flew in the following missions (assuming that he was with Lt Benedict on these flights as I am lead to understand):

I am admittedly a novice at this and still do not understand what the H/A, H/H, and so forth mean after the serial number. Nor can I find the names or records of the serial numbers on the internet to track their missions. I would love to know more.

This is the only information that I can gather. If you or someone you know could help me to learn more about my grandfather I would be ever grateful. I have bookmarked this site and will check it frequently in hopes you see this. If you do I would like to speak with you if you know him. Thank you for all of your sacrifices and your time reading this request.

Adam Massey

Adam: I will pass your message along to Mr. Israelsen. Also I am happy to collaborate with you to learn more and to help you preserve your father's pictures. I will contact you directly. Thanks for this post.

John Funk

Anna Beatrice Williams 2/12/2013

My late husband's father was Sgt. Donald L. Williams of the 34th BG who lived and flew out of Blythe, CA between 1943-1944. He was from Wisconsin. Donald married Mae Marie Ellington on January 4, 1944 in Quartzsite, AZ before leaving with the 34th BG, 4th Squadron in April 1944. I would like to know if anyone knew Donald (Lee) Williams or might have a photo of him. His grandchildren and great grandchildren would like to know more about him. He was divorced in 1952 from Marie (died 1984) and his son had never seen him again. My husband Donald Lee. Williams Jr. was born in Blythe on February 21, 1944 and died on July 17, 1996 in Connecticut. Don and I were unable to find his father, Donald L. Williams, Sr. Any information would be greatly appreciated by our family.

Anna Beatrice Williams

N. Killoren 2/13/2013

I am writing request information on my great uncle, Eugene ' The Jeep' R. Killoren, navigator with the 34th BG 7th Squadron on air craft 43-38265. He was shot down on October 2nd 1944, the only plane lost that day with the 7th. I would like to share any information or pictures you may have with family. I will check back here often in hopes that someone may have more information. Thank you for your time and Help.

I do not have any additional information at this time. However, there is a little informaiton about the crash of air craft 43-38265 the Valor To Victory site at http://valortovictory.tripod.com/crews/McCage.htm

John Funk

Richard Costello 5/3/2013

Looking for pictures of the crew and B17 called 'Old Times'. Hugo Costello was my father. Also,any information about what happened to the plane. It said it was salvaged after crashing in Poland. I did see one picture in the Mendlesham Memories collection. Thank you for the information in the collection.

I don't have any additional information on that aircraft. However, there is a little informaiton about air craft 43-38912 'Old Times' on the Valor To Victory site at http://valortovictory.tripod.com/b17s/43-38912.htm and http://valortovictory.tripod.com/crews/Myers.htm

John Funk

Jesse Wayne Scott 5/4/2013

My dad Willard W. Scott who was in the 34th bomb group. I did not get to know my father as my parents split in 47 the year I was born. I have tried to find his records but was told they were burned in st. louis fire. Do any of your members know him? The only records I have are birth and death, and a news paper clip that said he was the highest non com and that he recieved his sixth oak leaf cluster hat was dated Dec. 29, 1944, Spokane Daily Cronical. Any information that I can pas on to my children would wonderful thank you

Jesse W Scott

With some searching of my usual resources, I did find two pieces of information that may be relevant. The Valor to Victory site lists a M/Sgt Willard W. Scott as a crew member at http://valortovictory.tripod.com/crews/Blair.htm. I also found a listing for M/Sgt Willard Wayne Scott at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Scott&GSfn=Willard+&GSmn=W&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=71826619&df=all&. I hope those two hints give you something more to go on. Good luck in your research.

John Funk
Al Israelsen 5/24/2013

John, your work is great, one of the photos of your father's taken on the Nov 5, 44 mission to Ludwigshaven is just as I remember. Your help in these comments is great too. I may have known Willard Scott at Blythe. Have been looking back through these pages remembering that first mission 69 years ago yesterday!

Irwin Meltz 5/27/2013

Thank you for all the information re; B 17 G 43-38402. My father was KIA in the March 1945 collision. This is the first time I have found this site...and on Veteran's Day. Many Thanks. I would love to be in touch with any others who lost their fathers on this mission. Many thanks once again.

Ellen (Terrell) Garrard 6/14/2013

My father, Matthew Terrell, was the navigator on the B17 Flying Fortress, Mooly Cow which flew in bombardment missions in the European theater. I would love to hear from anyone that might have know him.

Mike Hughes 7/1/2013

I have an original document, a war dept memorandum pickup slip for a new B-17 complete (has list of gear added etc) from Blythe, Ca. A guy (must have been a pilot) named Paul O'Neil picked it up and I asume it ended up with the 8th in England. Is dated May 17, 1943 ser# 42-5324, I think it was a G model, built by Boeing, was cut up and scrapped by RFC in Albuquerque in '45, but I don't what its role was between then. Thanks if you have any ideas. Mike


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