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LT  Ralph H. BRADLEY

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BOM

 Lt. Ralph Bradley, Bombardier on the Harold H. Sherrard crew. Sherrard crew information. Photo courtesy of Ralph Bradley 

SERIAL #: O-777300 STATUS: CPT
MACR:

Comments1: 10 MAR 45 DORTMUND

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1st Lt Harold H.Sherrard          P   CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY SN# O-791975
2nd Lt William J.Cully            CP  CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY SN# O-775816
2nd Lt Aldo C.DiMascio       NAV CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY TAPS: 25 OCT 1986
2nd Lt Ralph H.Bradley      BOM  CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY SN# O-777300
   Cpl Melvin E.Caughlin        ROG  NOC                                SN# 13110845
   Cpl John M.Owens            TTE CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY SN# 16153632  TAPS: 27 SEP 1989
   Cpl John A.Crouch          BTG  CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY
   Cpl Raymond C.Reddy        WG  CPT   10/3/45 DORTMUND, MY SN# 12179112
 T/Sgt Theodore P.Cross       WG  NOC  Crew reduced to 9 men, went into spare gunner pool
   Sgt Martin F. DeLao          TG  CPT   10/3/45 SN# 18060615

351st Sqdn.  Crew,as above,jolned the 100th  Group on 23/9/44.  Crew assigned more than one aircraft but finished up in 
"All American Girl".  Lt Cully missed 3 of the 4 last missions with Crew. Original WG Pfc. Charles O. Mathews sn#34853958, may not have made it overseas with crew. 

Memories of Lt Sherrard: "I was assigned as truck officer for the 200th Mission Party.  We visited local communities and picked up a load of young ladies.  My truck was stolen from the guarded Motor pool that night.  Every two weeks were were given passes to leave the base and normally went to London.  My crew was fortunate to be sent for a weeks R&R over near Oxford in the Midlands.  On mornings that we were going on rough missions, we had fresh eggs for breakfast. Finally, "I had the best Crew in the Group and enjoyed flying with each of them"    (mpf 2001)


 MISSIONS OF 1ST LT HAROLD SHERRARD (later CAPT.)

 1.   7/10/44 BOHLEN Oil Refinery, heavy flak (8hrs)
 2.   9/10/44 MAINZ  Ordnance (6:30hrs)
 3. 15/10/44 COLOGNE MY, Hydraulic system shot out and directed to land at Woodbridge, Eng. (7:25hrs)
 4. 17/10/44 COLOGNE MY, Navigators oxygen froze up and he passed out until emergency oxygen provided.(7hrs)
 5. 18/01/44 KASSEL Engine Works (8:25hrs)
 6. 26/10/44 HANOVER Tank Factory (6:55hrs)
 7. 30/10/44 MERSBURG Recall (5:25hrs)
 8.   5/11/44 LUDWIGSHAVEN  Chemical Factory, accurate flak, Hopkins beacons recovery to base due to weather
 9.   9/11/44 SAARBRUCKEN, MY
10. 21/11/44 OSNABRUCK Salvo bombs over Germany.  Lost oil to number 2 engine prop and was unable to feather.
     English direction finding station properly identified itself and told us, after we had flown on 
     western heading, that we were over friendly territory and safe to let down. We were having 
     trouble maintaining altitude with the #2 prop that could not be feathered.  When we broke out
     of the clouds, we were over the Rhure Valley and every German gun must have fired on us.
     Two P-51's followed us and we landed at the American fighter base near St Trond, Belgium.
     We had lost all engine instruments, radios, and airspeed. (7hrs)
11. 11/12/44 KOBLENZ MY, Mission SNAFU (7:25hrs)
12. 12/12/44 DARMSTADT Chemical Factory, (8hrs)
13. 24/12/44 BIBLIS  Airfield, Largest heavy bomber raid up to that point.100thBG flew every aircraft on the base
     plus launched another Groups Squadron. This was the first time we had weather forecast
      that would permit the 8th AF to support the ground forces fighting the Battle of the Bulge (9hrs)
14. 25/12/44 KAISERLAUTERN  Medical Factory, At 5 degrees, 38 minutes we lost #2 engine and ordered to land at the
     briefed alternative recovery base at Lyon, France (5:30hrs)
15.  3/01/45  FULDA  Ran out of fuel on two engines on final approach
16.  5/01/45  FRANKFURT Lost #4 engine when 5 degrees 45 minute. (8:15hrs)
17.  6/01/45  ANNWEILER (7:30hrs)
      Formation broken up when Lt Colonel Price aborted.  Joined another Group as High High Squadron
18.  7/01/45  COLOGNE MY, Milk Run, (8:10hrs)
19. 10/01/45 DUISBURG Bridge, Took a beating due to lots of flak (6:55hrs)
20. 17/01/45 HAMBURG Oil Refinery, Lots of Flak, (7:55hrs)
21. 20/01/45 HEILBRON MY (7:40hrs)
22. 21/01/45 MANNHEIM MY (7:20hrs)
23. 29/01/45 KASSEL Locomotive Shops (7:20hrs)
24.  9/02/45  WEIMAR Aeronautical works (7:55hrs)
25. 15/02/45 COTTBUS MY, Expensive (9:25hrs)
26. 17/02/45 FRANKFURT MY, Lead aborted (7:50hrs) (MISSION LISTED AS GOING TO GEISSEN)
27. 19/02/45 OSNABRUCK MY,  (5:50hrs)
28. 23/02/45 TREUCHTLINGEN  MY, Bombing altitude was 14,000 feet.  We made two bomb runs (9:25hrs)
329. 25/02/45 MUNICH MY, Lots of Flak (9:15hrs)
30. 26/02/45 BERLIN  MY, Milk Run.  Bombs hung up at release point. Ralph Bradley released them one at a time.
     It was a night recovery at Thorpe Abbotts.  British night missions were airborne and someone
     called out bandits over the radio and all aircraft turned off all running and formation lights.
     I started an immediate climb to higher altitiude and waited for things to settle down before
     making approach to Thorpe Abbotts.(8:50hrs)
31. 28/02/45 KASSEL MY, Lots of Flak (7:50hrs)
32.   2/03/45 DRESDEN/RUHLAND Milk Run, My CP Lt Cully was out sick (9hrs)
33.   7/03/45 SIEGEN MY, Lt Stiller was my CP as Lt Cully still sick (8hrs)
34.   8/03/45 GIESSEN MY,  Poor Lead, Lt Cully still out sick (7:45hrs)
35. 10/03/45 DORTMUND MY, Last Mission (7:30hrs)

*Mission 10 Osnabruck: While this is the target listed on my records, Osnabruck is not the case for my crew.  The 100th was to go Merseburg.  The mission plan was for the bomber stream to go into Germany over Holland, hit Merseburg and then return via France with a low level flight over Paris-a morale booster for the French. So much for the plan as far as the crew of Sherrard was concerned.
About 20 minurtes before bombs away, No 1 engine on B-17 #812 blew.  It happened but  seconds after our waist gunner S/Sgt Ray Reddy warned our Pilot 1st Lt Harold Sherrard that the engine was throwing oil.  Sherrard and co-pilot 2nd Lt William Cully tried vainly to feather ther propeller.  The vibration of the wind-milling prop was terrible and I am sure tha there were others who feared the plane would come apart.
 As the Bombardier, I salvoed the 12-500lb bombs on board and Sherrard dove the plane to squelch any fire that might happen in the engine, since it was trailing smoke. And then, we were alone as the bomber stream passed on high over us.  The question was: How do we get back safely?  We knew that the fate of crippled B-17's alone over Germany was iffy.  Our navigator 2nd Lt Aldo DiMascio gave Sharrard a heading toward Allied Occupied territory.  There we were, stooging along at about 115 indicated air speed-a speed 812 seemed to tolerate with its wind-milling prop.  We were at about 15,000 feet, with every crew member scanning the sky for German fighters.  I don't remember how long we did this-it seemed as if it were a very long time.  Then came word over the radio that we could let down.
 We eased (as only a B-17 at 115 could do) through a light undercast-right over the Rhine.  We were at about 12,000 feet when
all hell broke loose, Flak was close and intense.  Shrapnel make a sieve out of 812 (later we counted 200 holes-and stopped counting) and I got a piece of flak out of a flak suit.  Sherrard and Cully horsed the plane back into the cover of the clouds and we continued on until a P-51 came to lead us to a safe area.  My feeling over the years is that we had been give directions by Germans.  We put down in crash fashion (all crew members in radio room except Pilot, Co-Pilot) with wheels down on a matted field used by fight-bombers at St Trond, Belgium.  Sherrard taxied the plane off the mat into the mud and let it set-holes and all.  I wrote on my Bomb pin tag that "812 will never fly again".  I was wrong, it did
 On of the more reassuring moments during the ordeal came as I checked all crew postions after the Rhine encounter.  Unbelieveably, no one was hit.  But tail gunner S/Sgt Marin DiLao calmly answered "I'm fine--just brushing flak off my suit".
We learned when we returned to the 100th four days later that 812 and its crew had gone down.  We were reported as Missing In Action a cable back home calmed a lot of reactions.
                                                         (from Ralph Bradley 1/13/2001 mpf)


*************************************************************************************************************

Bradley, Ralph H.
Jun 22, 1924 - Jun 28, 2010
Omaha. Bradley was born in Creve Coere, MO to Edgar and Mary Bradley but spent virtually all of his life in Omaha. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara Jean Bradley, and two sons, Ralph of Grand Island and David of Charlotte, NC. Mr. Bradley has four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Mr. Bradley attended the Omaha Public Schools and is a graduate of Benson High School (where he is in the school's Hall of Fame). He attended the University of Nebraska on a Regent's Scholarship but his school work was interrupted by World War II. He was very proud of his military service as a B-17 bombardier. He completed his quota of 31 missions, including a forced landing in Belgium when his plane took heavy flak damage during a bombing run over Germany. He received several medals for service and valor. (He later retired as a Lt. Col. in the Air Force Reserve and also served as president of the 100th Bomb Group.) He later graduated from Creighton University. His professional life was related largely to journalism and communications; he worked at newspapers in Ida Grove, IA and Sundance, WY and was the editor of the Sun Newspapers in Omaha. He was Director of Public Information at the University of Omaha then became the Corporation Secretary for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He returned to Omaha as Director of Public Information for the Omaha Public Schools and did so until his retirement. He was an active member of the Omaha Quad Club. He was a member of the Masonic Order. He enjoyed gardening, golf, his friends and St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
A VISITATION will be held Wednesday, June 30th from 5-7pm at Roeder Funeral Home on 108th Street north of Blondo. A MEMORIAL SERVICE is scheduled for Thursday, July 1st at 11am at Dundee Presbyterian Church where the Bradleys were long time members. The family will greet and welcome friends of their husband-father-grandfather at a lunch following the service. Memorials may be sent to Dundee Presbyterian in lieu of flowers to a scholarship fund in the name of Barbara and Ralph Bradley. Dundee Presbyterian is located at 5312 Underwood Avenue, Omaha, NE 68132-2148. ROEDER MORTUARY
2727 North 108th St. 496-9000

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 The Harold H. Sherrard crew. Kneeling: John Crouch-BTG, Ray Reddy-WG, Harold Sherrard-P. Standing: Ralph Bradley-BOM, Bill Cully-CP, Aldo DiMascio-NAV, Melvin Caughlin-ROG. Link to Sherrard crew. Photo courtesy of Ralph Bradley 

 The Harold H. Sherrard crew: Kneeling (Left to Right) William J. Cully, Harold H. Sherrard, Ralph H. Bradley and Aldo C. Dimasico; Standing Melvin E. Caughlin, Charles Matthews, John A. Crouch, John M. Owens, Raymond C. Reddy and Martin F. Delao. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 494