LT WILLLAM A. ROBERTS, JR.
8-20-44 ---- Left Kearney, Nebraska 0030hrs.Arrived Grenier Field, Mass.
8-21-44 ---- Left Grenier Field, Mass and shores of USA.
8-21-44 ---- Arrived at Goosebay, Labrador.
8-22-44 ---- Left Goosebay, flew over Greenland and landed in Iceland.
8-25-44 ---- Left Meeks Field, Iceland and arrived Valley Whales, Eng.
8-26-44 ---- Left Valley Whales, and landed Stone, England.
8-30-44 ---- Left Stone and arrived Bobbington for schooling.
9-9-44 ---- Left Bobbington arrived Sudbury. Assigned 486 Bomb Gp. 832 Bomb Sq.
9-11-44 ---- Rest of crew arrives from Washington State.
9-21-44 ---- 1st mission for Hunter. Lowe, and Addinnton.
9-25-44 ---- Ludwigshafen, Germany. 1st mission as a crew. PFF hit, marshalling yards. 500 demos.
9-27-44 ---- Bailed Out at 17 000 feet. In formation with full bomb load of incendiaries. Lt. Goodman's crew slid out of formation caught in our prop wash and lost control of plane. #3 prop cut our left horizontal and #4 prop cut our vertical stabilizer.
10-3-44 ---- Nürnberg Germany bombed airfield. Several flak holes- #1 oil line cut so feathered engine.
10-5-44 ---- Munster, Germany. Average flak, buzz bomb shook our hut tonight.
10-6-44 ---- Big-B- Berlin. Flak for 25 minutes. Hit depot for Me 109's and jets. #1 wouldn't pull its load. #2 dropped oil pressure, #4 ran away so feathered it. 17 B-17's went down in flames when hit by over 100 ME 109's.
10-9-44 ---- Mainz. Instrument take off and landing. Target was diesel engine factory. German ME 109's forming. Flak shot at chaff.
10-17-44 ---- Cologne 3 largest city in Germany. Happy Valley district. Bombed PFF without a PFF ship. Wesley Hull flew with Clinard.
10-1 9-44 ---- Mannheim. Target ordinance depot. 44 below zero. Bombed PFF. Air Medal Mission.
10-22-44 ---- Munster. Marshalling yards by PFF feathered #2 engine, changed amplifier on #1. Flak behind us.
10-24-44 ---- Night mission: practice night landing with minimum crew. Truck taking us into our squadron ran into a trailer of 250 lb fragmentation bombs. A 40-pound jar is supposed to set them off. Lt. Hull thrown from truck. Rest of crew tossed into front of truck together.
10-26-44 ---- Helgoland at 14,000 feet. Joining formation when #1 cylinder, #3 engine blew up and started a large fire and vibration. Lt. Roberts put out fire and dropped bombs in North Sea. #4 went out shortly afterwards.
11-2-44 ---- Merseburg. Gas cap on #3 leaking badly, could smell the fumes in radio room. Plane came up underneath us so co-pilot had to pull up in order to miss him. Went on to target, gas ran into #2 supercharger and almost caught fire. Continued but had to feather #2 ten minutes from target. #1 lost all power so had to feather it and salvo bombs and head for home. Tried to contact leader for fighter support but no success. Losing altitude at 250 ft. per minute and 800 miles away from England at 26,000 ft. Was off oxygen 30 minutes over Germany. Planned to make North Sea and ditch. Enemy fighters hit group but none hit us. Germans tried to get a fix them R.O. Fifteen minutes from England #3 went out. Plane maintained altitude on #4 and we landed at emergency base.
11-4-44 ---- Neunkirchen, Germany. Light flak.
11-6-44 ---- Neumunster, Germany. Lost #3 engine over target. No flak, one enemy fighter seen and fired at. Possible enemy down. Lost #1 engine later.
11-9-44 ---- Thionville, Germany. In support of Gen. Patton's 3" army. Started on primary target, mild flak, started on secondary but headed off by another group so went on primary. Tracking flak accurate. Didn't drop bombs.
11-16-44----Area #2 Duren. Support of ground troops, all Eighth, Ninth, and RAF hit target. Light but very accurate flak. Rapp's crew had two engines shot out so headed for lines and bailed out.
11-21-44 ---- Osnabruck. Take off at 0712 hrs, landed 1532 hrs. Target marshalling yards. Started for Merseburg but clouds were up to 33,000 ft. Tracking flak. Hit several flak areas and edge of Happy Valley. Good fighter support. 600 enemy fighters in area and lost 17 B-17's. McManus tail gunner credited with one kill.
11-25-44 ---- Merseburg. Took off in rain, good fighter support. Saw more flak than ever. Lost 12 bombers and 5 fighters. No enemy fighters came up. #4 went out over target, so feathered it. Had to salve bombs when hung up. Bombed PFF and came back alone. Sweated out a two hour chow line for hundred mission party, which was a flop.
12-13-44 ---- Took a plane up for a slow time of 5 hours. Landed at a P-47 base. #2 engine lost all oil pressure so feathered it and took off with three engines.
12-23-44 ---- Homburg. Marshalling yards. Visual, Instrument take off and landing. Fighters hit group. Three shot down.
12-28-44 ---- Koblenz. No flak. Plane came up underneath us and missed us by inches. Pilot had to pull up three times and finally had to peel off.
12-29-44 ----- Aschaffenburg. Pilot got hit by flak. On way over #4 engine shot out, over 100 holes in plane. Found target of opportunity (autobahn) and dropped bombs. Were under another formation's primary target so had bombs dropping all around us. Instrument take off and landing. Doors stuck.
12-31-44 ---- Navigator put on lead crew.
1-3-45 ---- Aschaffenburg. Vernon and I were only ones who flew. Lt. Hull in hospital. Chowning joined crew.
1-7-45 ---- Hamm. Flak was above us. Heavy clouds to 27,000 ft.
1-8-45 ---- Frankfurt. Lots of flak. Had to crank doors. 54 degrees below. Piece of metal came through doors when cranking.
1-l0-45 ---- Karlsruhe. Snowing hard all the way over and back. Brought bombs back.
1-13-45 ---- Mainz. Ten hour mission. Lots of guns and heavy flak. Two planes ran together in the clouds just ahead of us. Just missed one.
1-14-45 ---- Hallendorf. Skirted Berlin. Fighters hit us for 30 minutes. Lowe _got one. Vernon a possible. Had to crank bomb bay doors during the attack. Losses 21 bombers, 35 fighters. German's lost 183 fighters.
1-18-45 ---- Kaiserlautern. No flak. Clouds and plane got so bad you couldn't see planes near you so came back alone. Storm at base so bad it almost threw as over during landing. Temperature 55 degrees below. Blackie didn't fly.
1-20-45 ---- Heilbronn. Clouds up to 27,000 R. 45 degrees below. Visual 500 yards.
1-21-45 ---- Mannheim. Much flak. Clouds up to 27,000 ft. Couldn't find our formation so bombed with another group.
1-28-45 ---- Hohenbudberg. Yards near Duisberg. Accurate flak.
2-1-45 ---- Wessel. Bombed a bridge. A milk run, 20 guns.
2-3-45 ---- Berlin, IP center of city. Hit Gestapo. Propaganda and Air Ministry. Destruction 1 mile wide, 2 miles long. Cloud's crew had fire in waist and went down.
2-6-45 ---- Chemnitz. Marshalling yard. Had heavy flak at Belgium coast when at 15,000 ft. Light flak at Donor Lake. Heavy at target, and again on our way back. Mission 10 hours, 20 minutes. Ran out of oxygen. All but three crews landed in Belgium. Ours only one that made a good landing. Evans ran into ground and the other came in on its belly.
2-9-45 ---- Weimar, Town and small arms factory. Flak not accurate. Visual target. Fighters came up in force but P-51's broke them up. Enemy 2108's and jet 262's attacked. 41 enemy fighters shot down.
2-14-45 ---- Chemnitz. In support of Russian army. Heavy clouds all the way. Light flak. Saw one B-17 go down over lines. Felt explosion of 2 boats in Austong Harbor when at 7,000 ft.
2-15-45 ---- Rheine. Primary Wessel. Light flak. Bombed PFF.
2-1 7-45 ---- Frankfurt. Hull's last mission. Marshalling yard. Solid cloud except for target. Lots of accurate flak. Saw two B-17's blow up over target. 50 cal. Bullet hit #3 prop.
2-21-45 ---- Nürnberg, crews last mission: Flak not accurate. Visual target and a good ride home.
2-28-45 ---- Left Sudbury, arrived in London for four days. 3-2-45 ---- Arrived in Chorley and transferred to Bamber Bridge. 3-6-45 ---- Left Bamber Bridge transferred to Chorley.
3-21-45 ---- Left Chorley to Scotland and onto boat (USS Westpoint).
3-28-45 ---- Arrived USA, Newport News Virginia to Patrick Henry, Va.
3-29-45 ---- Left Patrick Henry, Va. To Fort Leavenworth, Ka.
3-31-45 ---- Left Fort Leavenworth Kan. to Kearney, Nebraska.
The following chronological list of important dates and times was compiled by William Andrew Roberts Jr. He was in the USAAF during World War II and flew B-17's as both a co-pilot and pilot. He flew out of England and into Germany on 37 missions. He was the oldest man on his crew (age 26) and was called "Pops" by his men. Most of his nine-man crew were 20-21 years old. As a crew they received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal twice, for courageous actions taken during extremely difficult missions. His crewman shot down at least 4 confirmed enemy fighters and another 2 as possibles.
- Bill Roberts, son of William.
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