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MACR: 03027 CR: 03027

Comments1: 6 MAR 44 BERLIN (MISSION 250) (EAC)




2nd Lt Thomas J. "Spike" Reilly                 P     CPT   4/3/44 BERLIN    (flew with make-up crew on this misison)
2nd Lt George E. "Feet" Kinsella               CP     KIA   6/3/44 BERLIN    (With D.L.Miner Crew)
2nd Lt Edward J. "Heat" Higham             NAV    CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK
2nd Lt Curtis V. "Bombs Away" Martin   BOM    CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK  
S/Sgt William H."The Trigger Boys" Ickes  WG    CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK (was original top turret, replaced when he could not switch fuel 
SSGT Tommy L Gribble                            BTG    CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK- The Trigger Boys
T/Sgt William R.Wilson                           TTE    CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK-The Trigger Boys
S/Sgt Charles H.Lottes                            WG   CPT 29/2/44 BRUNSWICK-The Trigger Boys
S/Sgt M. Rubinfeld                                  ROG   CPT  29/2/44 BRUNSWICK
S/Sgt E. Good                                         TG    RFS  5/11/43 GELSENKIRCHEN  (replaced by a S/Sgt  Jimison T.Pyles from original 
                                                                                        crew of Lt Alf) 

418th Sqdn.  Transferred to 100th BG from 94th Bomb Group in Oct. 1943  See p.38 SOC.
A/C "Reilly's Racehorse" #42-30062 LD-O. The aircraft was name after Pilot Tom Reilly commented the plane "flew like a race horse" That prompted Crew Chief Wally Jack to dub the plane with its third name.  There is photographic records of this being painted on the aircraft. Previous to that, the aircraft was called "Bastards Bungalow (was painted on aircraft) and Terry N' Ten (painted TNT).   

After Reilly's Racehorse was shot down on Feb 10, 1944, the crew flew different planes: 
Feb 13th, 1944- LIVOSSART & BOIS REMPRE (NOBALL) A/C# 231504 "Rosie's Riveters II LD-Q
Feb 15th, 1944- PRACTICE MISSION: A/C # 231800 no name LD-U
Feb 21st, 1944- BRUNSWICK, ALHORN, & VORDEN AF A/C # 231800 no name LD-U    

Reilly’s Racehorse
Dates and Incidents to Remember
August 27, 1943 to March 25, 1944
T/Sgt.  William R. Wilson
Top Turret Gunner and Flight Engineer
“Reilly’s Racehorse”
418th Sqdn., 100th Bomb Grp.
8th A.A.F.

August 27 – The day has finally arrived that we are to proceed to combat.  Leave Dyersburg, Tennessee and proceed to Scott Field, Illinois.  Not a bad place but were disappointed because they didn’t allow us a pass to St. Louis.

August 28 – Very pleasant surprise this morning as I was promoted to Technical Sgt.   Also start having our equipment checked and physical exam.  Our plane is supposed to be taken away from us.  Makes us very unhappy especially after taking such good care of it.

August 29 – Day started off with a lot of lectures.  Are told to start packing for “Port of Embarkation.”  Sent a number of things home including a few “special” tools.

August 30 – Were issued our bright new .45 pistols today.  Everyone is doing a lot of griping, wanting to get the hell out of here.  Camp is too strict to suit us.

August 31 – Received a partial payment of $50.00.  Everybody wants to go to town but “no soap”.  Sent Norma Jean an expansion bracelet.

September 1 – Are told today that we will be leaving for P.O.E. tomorrow.  Everyone writes last minute letters and are all packed.

September 2 – At the very last minute, our ship #534 is given back to us and the reshuffle takes place.  We “take-off”: for Bangor, Maine.  Trips take 6 hours but is very nice all the way.  Bangor is a very desolate place and immediately gives you that “jumping-off-place” feeling.

September 3 – Out of bed early, those who went to bed; I worked until 12:00 on the #2 engine. Repairing the cockpit heater.  Leave Bangor at 7:00 and arrive at Goose Bay, Labrador at 4:00, - 9 hours.  The country was getting very rough and our navigator was off course 30 miles. Made it O.K. though by radio.  Service plane and go to bed.

September 4 – We left G.B. about 8:30 for Greenland.  Rather cold and country is really getting rugged.  Got to see lots of icebergs floating around.  Flew up a lonesome Fjord at about 50 feet but landed O.K. at Bluie W.I. at about 4:00 but it is almost dark already.

September 5 – The next entry will be skipped for some time.  At Bluie W.I.  The weather got bad and we layed around for a week.  When it did clear enough to take off we knocked a wing tip off on a B-25, on Sept 8th.  That made another delay as no repairs were available.  We didn’t mind so much though as the barracks were good, the eats, although dehydrated, were good.  Wrote everyone letters and received another partial payment.  Our new wing-tip still didn’t’ arrive so we go to work and repair the old one good enough to take off on.  On Sept 13th we taxi out and head for Iceland.  Visibility was almost zero upon arriving but our Navigator brought us right in on the field.  Took us about 8 hours to make the trip.

September 15 – Iceland is a lot worse than Greenland.  It kept raining all the time and the place was plenty sloppy.  The heat in the Nissen huts wasn’t too good, and the food was lousy.  We all hope we don’t have to stay too long but the weather wouldn’t permit us to leave until – 

September 16 – At 9:00 we take-off with Prestwick our destination.  Trip was uneventful and we land at 5:00 and have our first look at England.  We are restricted to camp so can’t tell yet.

September 17 – Leave Prestwick for a base called “little stone”.  Our plane is immediately taken when we land.  We then catch a train for Bovingdon where we expect to have some more training.

September 18 – We arrived at Bovingdon and start to school.  Rather a refresher on the things we had back in the states.  All restricted to camp.  This continues until Oct 2nd and I was sent to a gunnery school at “The Wash” and the crew was “split” temporarily.  After 8 days of continually firing on the target range, was sent to the 94th Bombardment Group and assembled with the rest of the crew.  After spending either 4 or 5 days there we were transferred again to the 100th Bomb Gp which had just been wiped out over Munster, Germany.  We trained continually until November the 3rd when we started out on our 1st raid.

November 3 – This is our first raid.  At briefing the target is to be Wilhelmshaven, Germany.  This is considered a pretty short trip.  5 ½ hours but it is cold as hell.  47 below zero.  The flak was fairly light (I later found out) and there were hardly any interceptors.  The entire crew reacted O.K., especially Reilly (pilot) who seems to be a natural born “Flak-Dodger”.

November 5 – Our second mission was to Gilsenkirchen, Germany in “Flak Valley” (Ruhr) which is truly named, since the ground barrage is very intense.  One of our engines was shot out and the fighters almost got us.  Another engine ran out of gas before getting back and we landed on two engines with 63 holes in our plane.  Our tail gunner, Sgt. Good of Miss. Was saved by his “Flak” suit.  (6 ½ hrs.)

November 7 – 3rd mission to Duren, Germany.  This was a very easy mission.  “Milk-Run”, no flak and very few fighters.  (6 ½ hrs.)

November 13 – 4th raid on Bremen, Germany.  This wasn’t bad on our group but the B-24s caught hell.   Saw 3 or 4 planes go down.  Flak was light and about 30 fighters against us.  (7 hrs.)

November 16 – Raid on Rjukan, Norway.  Very rough country.  Made Greenland look like a garden.  This was a very easy mission except for being so long.  The route was all the way across the North Sea.  (10 ½ hrs)

November 19 – Our sixth raid was on Gelsenkirchen again.  Did our bombing with the pathfinder.  Clouds were over the target.  Don’t know whether we hit the target or not.  Flak and fighters were light.  (7hrs)

November 26 – Our 7th mission was to Paris, France.  We didn’t drop our bombs as the target was cloudy.  Bombs are not dropped on occupied countries unless the target is clearly visible.  Got my first shot at a FW-190 but think I missed.  Flak was pretty heavy.  (5hrs).

November 29 – Eighth mission to Bremen, Germany.  Missed another FW-190 due to frozen turret.  One of the Flying Circus boys too.  There were quite a few fighters but not much flak.  P-47 escort took care of all opposition nicely.  We dropped our bombs on the pathfinder but believe we missed the target.  (7 hrs.)

December 5 – Tenth mission to Bordeaux, France.  Saw the Pyrenees mountains in Spain.  Received an Oak Leaf Cluster for my Air Medal.  Trip was easy although long.  (9 hrs)

December 11 – Our eleventh mission the 11th day.  Went to the sub pens at Emden, Germany.  Weather was clear & cold, 47 below.  Fighters attacked head-on in groups of 6 to 15.  The attack wasn’t directly on us but the lead group was slashed up pretty badly.  We however expended plenty of ammunition and whipped the pants off of them.  Got 138 fighters.  Saw plenty of rocket ships.  (6 hrs).

December 13 – Awakened at 3:30 for our 12th mission to the sub pens at Kiel, Germany.  This was one of the toughest raids yet.  Never saw so much flak before.  Quite a few holes in our ship.  Have a little piece of it for a souvenir.  Though once we were going down.  Got a few shots at an ME-210 but don’t think I got him.  At least didn’t claim him.  Our losses were light for that kind a target.  (7 1.2 hrs)

December 14 – Got up at 2:30 and was briefed for Berlin.  It was called off at 5:30 though and rescheduled for Kiel.  Later, that was cancelled also.  Suited me O.K. because I could sleep all day and did.

December 16 – Our 13th raid to Bremen.  Flak was the worst I believe there ever was.  Supposed to have been 525 guns shooting at us and I believe it.  Saw one crippled Fortress knock down 4 FW-190s and still come home.  Fighters were in small force.  Approximately 1175 USAAF planes took part in the assault.  (7 hrs)

December 20 – Back to Bremen.  Flak still terrific.  The sky was very clear and we hit the target center.  The fighter support was very good and we should just about have all military installations wiped.  Our losses were approximately 25.  Was awarded the Air Medal tonight by Colonel Harding. (7 hrs)

December 22 – Munster, Germany here we come.  Ate breakfast at 5:00 briefed at 6:00.  This is the place that the 100th group was virtually wiped out before I came in.  We only lost one ship by flak, which was intense but nothing like Bremen.  Not many fighters (6 hrs)

December 24 – Christmas Eve.  We take off at 11:30 to bomb the rocket guns in France.  A “milk-run”.  No flak and few fighters.  Hope we get more of these kind.  (4 ½ hrs)

January 1, 1944 – Went to London on a 3 day pass the 30th and came back today.  Got to sweat out my first air raid by the Germans.  Very exciting but not good.

January 5 – Our 17th raid to Elberfeld, Germany (Neuse) in the Ruhr Valley.  Very heavy flak as usual but our escort took care of the fighters.  This was the target referred to in the newspapers as an accidental hit on a bolt and nut factory, but the weather was perfect for bombing and we know what we were doing.  (5 hrs)

January 11 – We embark to the coast of England (Bournemouth) for a 7 day rest.  This place wasn’t so good.  We discovered it was a good place to rest though.  We missed several raids including the tough one of Jan 11th.  Witnessed another air raid while coming back through London but not very heavy.  Received another Oak Leaf Cluster January 21st.

January 24 – Our 18th mission to Frankfurt, Germany.  Was recalled 20 minutes from the target.  Killed some more sharks in the channel.  Fighter support was perfect.  Not much flak but it was very accurate.  Saw on 17 get its tail shot off.  (Picture in back).  (6 hrs)

January 25 – From this date through the next five days we got up for a mission every morning at 3:30 but by 6:00 the weather was so bad we couldn’t take off.

February 3 – Back to Wilhelmshaven, Germany.  They need another little dose of what we gave them just 3 months ago today.  Flak was pretty heavy but no fighters.  A rather easy mission although nerve shattering.  Bombing was done by pathfinders.  (7 hrs)

February 6 – We didn’t fly today but another crew took our ship and were shot down.  Another crew’s ship, who stay in our barracks, was shot down also.  Rosie’s Riveters.  This was the only crew that survived the Munster raid.
[NOTE:  Wilson’s ship was “Reilly’s Racehorse” (42-30062) was flown by the Arthur Scoggins Crew on 10 Feb 1944 and was shot down.  “Rosie’s Riveters” (42-30758) was renamed “Satcha Lass” by the Ross McPhee crew and was shot down with this crew aboard on 4 Feb 1944.]

February 13 – 20th mission to Rocket Gun coast of France.  Another pretty easy mission.  Flew low altitude 12,000 ft.  Ipswich underwent a pretty heavy bombing tonight.  We had a good ringside seat as it is 15 miles from here.  (4 hrs.)

February 21 – Our 21st sortie to Brunswick.  Took off at 8:30.  The weather turned bad and we were recalled just 15 minutes from the target.  Bombed a couple of airfields and came back.  Lots of flak and lots of fighters but our group wasn’t bothered.  Had good fighter support also.  (7 ½ hrs.)

February 24 – Our 22nd raid to a town in Poland but target wasn’t clear so we bombed Rostock, Germany.  The longest trip yet and fighters attacked continually for 4 hours.  Losses were light despite heavy flak and fighters.  Expended 300 rounds of ammo but didn’t claim any fighters.  Saw Sweden and the Baltic Sea for the first time.  (11 hrs.)

February 25 – 23rd sortie to Regensburg.  Another long haul.  Had quite a few fighters but escort was pretty good.  Flak was heavy but some of the ships that were hit went to Switzerland which was in sight.  Very clear weather and the 15th AAF from Africa hit the target just before we did.  The target was blasted off the map.  It was located in a bend of the Danube River and we could see it clearly.  (10 hrs.)

February 28 – Another milk-run to Pas-De-Calais on the coast of France.   Rocket installations.  Not much flak and no fighters.  Easy.  (5 hrs.)

February 29 – 25th mission to Brunswick, Germany.  We thought this would be a very tough mission as this is where the big battle of Jan 11th came off but the fighters have moved back toward Berlin, if there are any left.  Very happy to get back.  Brunswick is only 52 miles from Berlin.  (6 ½ hrs.)

March 6 – Started to work as Turret Instructor for Major Cohen.  They promise to let us go home in from 3 to 6 weeks.  Hope so anyway.

March 23 – Left 100th Bomb Group at 5:00pm for 12th R.C.D. to get ready to go home.  Had two day pass which we used looking around London.  The rest of the boys have been at 12 R.C.D. for 10 days.

March 25 – Arrived at 12th R.C.D. Saturday night about 7:30.  camp seemed to be fairly nice.  Will begin getting ready for return journey.  Am fully ready right now.

T/Sgt.  William R. Wilson
Top Turret Gunner and Flight Engineer
“Reilly’s Racehorse”
418th Sqdn., 100th Bomb Grp.
8th A.A.F.

Subj: Re: Reilly's Racehorse - Thomas Reilly's plane  
Date: 9/30/2003 12:44:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
I have information that I received in 1993 from Charles Lottes regarding crew members of the Thomas J. Reilly crew (Reilly's Racehorse) not identified in the photos submitted by Dwight Patrick.
This ID is for the first picture, the one with thirteen people, and was the 25th mission for most of the crew, the Brunswick mission on 29 February, 1944.  That is why there were so many people in the picture, and why there were so many smiles - 
First row, L to R:  G. Kinsella; T. Reilly; Squadron CO Col. Ev. Blakely; C.V. Martin; E. Higham, and; Earl Richardson.  
Back row, L to R:  C. Lottes; W. Ickes; W. Wilson; M. Rubinfeld; J.T.Pyles (replacement for original TG  E.Good); T. Gribble; and the crew chief, Wally Jack.
The ones not identified previously included Rubinfeld, who was Jewish and from the Bronx.  You know what would have happened to him if he had been captured.  The other was Pyle, and I don't have anything on him.  The original TG was a kid from Mississippi named E. Good.  
The second photo shown is the crew's second mission, to Gilsenkirchen 5 November, 1943 when they nearly didn't make it back.  The Racehorse was shot up pretty badly, especially the rear and tail, (63 holes) and Reilly landed the plane on two engines.  Good's flak suit saved him.  Not many smiles in this photo.
Back Row, L to R:  M. Rubinfeld; T Gribble; E. Good; C.Lottes; W. Ickes; W. Wilson.
Front Row, L to R:  C.V. Martin; T. Reilly; G Kinsella; E. Higham.     
I have another photo of this crew in August, 1943 just before they left Dyersberg, Tenn. For deployment, with these same crewmen.  Remarkably, this crew stayed intact with few exceptions through their 25 missions.  The only crewman not finishing 29 February was Good, and for whatever reason the pilot and co-pilot, Reilly and Kinsella.       
Richardson was an extra on the 29 February mission, and was later shot down 6 March, 1944 over Berlin and a POW while flying with the D.L. Miner crew.  Reilly apparently completed his tour on 4 March, and then Kinsella was shot down and KIA 6 March, 1944, in the same plane and on the same mission as Richardson.  I have a letter from Richardson that he flew with Reilly on 4 March, 1944, Reilly's 25th mission.  It makes me wonder if the plane that Miner was flying was the same plane, "Reilly's Racehorse," with a different crew. Since at least 2 crewmen from that plane went down 6 March.
I wish more could have been published about this crew earlier.  I noted that you said in the crew's bio that not much is known about them.  Of interest is my dad's journal entry that on  6 February, 1944 "We didn't fly today but another crew took our plane and were shot down.  Another crew's ship, who stay on our barracks, was shot down also.  Rosie's Riveters.  This was the only crew that survived the Munster raid."

Subj: Re: Reilly's Racehorse - Thomas Reilly's plane  
Date: 9/22/2003 8:40:49 PM Pacific Daylight Time 

Bill Wilson  wrote: 
Dear Dwight and Michael,  I am the son of William R. Wilson, the top gunner on this craft. Yes, I am a "Jr."  I just now saw your posts on the message board from back in May, sorry I didn't check sooner.  Tommy Gribble was my dad's best friend on the Racehorse, and when I was in college we even visited Tommy once in Houston, probably about 1965. 
We lost track of Tommy and could never contact him in later years. A real shame.
Dad died January 1, 1992 here in Coalgate, OK, his home town that he returned to after the war and where he raised 4 kids. I am the only one still living here. Soon after his death, I sent in an article for Taps to the Splasher Six, and also sent a copy of his journal of his 25 missions, but I never got an acknowledgement back. I have a lot of stuff of Dad's, but I could never figure out the numbers for this plane.  LD something, but I do not have the numbers on the tail.  I would like to have them since I want to build an authentic model of Reilly's Racehorse, just for me.
We talked to Lottes the summer after dad died, just called him up from information in Washington state and had a good conversation.  I sent him a copy of the journal as well, since he was trying to put together something for his memorabilia.  According to Dad's journal, his 25th mission was completed on Leap Year Day, February 29, 1994, but some Major sent in a pic of the Racehorse that was published in the mid-90s, saying he was on board for the March 6 mission to Berlin, but dad said the Major was just along for a milkrun and that was not Berlin.  I don't know who is right.  I will bet on my Dad.
I would really like to hear from Dwight.
Bill Wilson, RR 4 Box 1430, Coalgate OK 74538-9649, phone (580) 927-3179

Subj: Re: Reilly's Racehorse - Thomas Reilly's plane  
Date: 10/2/2003 3:47:08 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
Thanks for the information on Pyles.  I had no idea on that, since I am relying on Charles Lottes' notes from 10 years ago.  You are right on Rubinfeld, but Lottes spelled it both ways and I guessed wrong.  I just now checked my dad's notes, and it is spelled Rubinfeld, so you are right.  I have a few old addresses, but none of them except for Lottes have panned out:    Reilly's was 106 Enola Drive, Enola, PA;    Rubinfeld was 1439 W Ave., New York 62, NY (Bronx);    Lottes was 2680 North Court, Madison 4, Wisconsin, but I have a newer address in Washington;  Ickes was 719 W. Bancroft St., Toledo OH;  Gribble was 6327 Belmont Ave., Dallas TX.   These addresses are old, old, old, probably going back to 1945.   As I said earlier, we visited Gribble in Houston in about 1965.  Also, we did talk to Lottes by phone in March, 1992, and his address then was Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Lottes, 30642-4th Pl. South, Federal Way, WA 98003.  His phone number was (206) 839-0140.  I plan to call that number this weekend, after I return from a 2-day business trip, and see if it is still a working number.  I think the reason Good was replaced was that after the Gelsenkirchen raid when the plane, especially the tail section was shot up, and Good's flak jacket saved him, he flipped out.  Dad said, "flak happy," but as I remember he had to be replaced, I guess by Pyles since Good stayed on the intercom all the time screaming.  Probably not uncommon at all, but sad just the same.  This is my faulty memory of what Dad said years ago, so it might not be exactly correct.  Hearsay, to be sure.  Have no idea when the switch was made, it's not in the notes but probably in November 43.  I think Lottes actually took over the TG position afterwards, as I remember.   Thanks, more later.   Bill Wilson



LT HERBERT A. ALF                  CP POW      28 APR 44 SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)

418th Sqdn.  Letter from Bertholf 8/Sep/88 : Crew joined the 100th in Sept.1943….jb 
Flying a/c 42-38059 LD-A.  This A/C was leading the high squadron when attacked by fighters.The nose was shot away and other damage 
occurred. It was Richardson's belief that as the ship wildly manuevered, Jones slipped or was thrown from the 
nose without his chute. Malcuit & Pry both suffered burns about the face and eyes."

Lt Alf was replaced for this mission of 6/3/44 by Lt George E.Kinsella from the T.J.Reilly crew. 
Kinsella was KIA.  Lt.Alf was flying with Col.Kelly and Capt.Lakin when he became a POW
Alf had arrived at the 100th Group as pilot with his own crew on 1/12/43.

Letter from E.L.Rlchardson dated 8/4/86 says that "Miner's crew was on its 25 misslon. And that he was"flying 
as replacement for D.Berthlof,Bom. Who was ill with a sinus infection"

Missions of Capt. David Miner (from Bill Thompson's MACR Reports, missing 4 missions from this crew…mpf 2002)

1.  2/10/43  EMDEN
2.  4/10/43  HANAU
3.  8/10/43  BREMEN
4.  9/10/43  MARIENBURG
5.  5/11/43  GELSENKIRCHEN
6. 11/11/43 MUNSTER
7. 26/11/43 PARIS
8. 30/11/43 SOLINGEN
9.   5/12/43 BORDEAUX
10. 11/12/43 EMDEN
11. 13/12/43 KIEL
12. 16/12/43 BREMEN
13. 20/12/43 BREMEN
14. 22/12/43 MUNSTER
15.   1/01/44 PARIS
16. 30/01/44 BRUNSWICK
17. 10/02/44 BRUNSWICK
18. 24/02/44 ROSTOCK
19. 25/02/44 REGENSBURG
20.    3/04/44   BERLIN
21.  6/03/44 BERLIN

David L. Miner temp promotion to Captain on Feb 11, 1944   0-797577



TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-03-06  
AIRCRAFT: (42-38059) CAUSE: EAC  




Thomas J. Reilly crew after the 25th mission for most of the crew to Brunswick on 29 Feburary 1944. Kneeling from left to right; George E. Kinsella, Thomas J. Reilly - squadron commander, Everett Blakely ( Sqdn CO) Curtis V. Martin, Edward J. Higham and Earl Richardson 

Standing; Charles H. Lottes, William H. Ickes, William R. Wilson, M. Rubinfeld, J. T. Pyles (replacement for original E. Good), Thomas L. Gribble and the crew chief, Wally Jack. Detailed Information Photo courtesy of Dwight Patrick (son of Tommy Gribble) Identification courtesy of William R. Wilson, Jr. (son of W. R. Wilson)  



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2815