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 James Brady, Togglier on the Samuel Barrick crew. Photo taken in Rattvik Sweden in late March or early April, 1944. (Photo courtesy of William Dixon) Barrick crew information 

SERIAL #: 32400076 STATUS: INT
MACR: 03031 CR: 03031







Mission List for Robert Wolff & Crew from Form 5

July  27, 1943 Orientation,                                   5hrs 15 min
July  28, 1943 OSCHERSLEBEN, AC FACTORY          5hrs 35 minutes  believe Lt Robert Wolff was CoPilot on Capt Knox (mpf) 
Aug 14, 1943 DIVERSION MISSION                        6hrs
Aug 15, 1945 MERVILLE, AF & LILLE AC FACTORY   5hrs            flew 230061 WOLFF PACK
Aug 17, 1943 REGENSBURG (DOUBLE STIKE)        10hrs 10min,  flew 230061 WOLFF PACK  Left plane in Africa and returned to England by Air Transport Command ATC in a Gernerals Plane.
Aug 31, 1943 MEULAN LES MERUEAUX, AC REPAIR  5hrs 35 mins
Sept 3, 1943 PARIS,BEAUMONT le ROGER, AF (S.T.)                 flew 230064 WILD CARGO
Sept 15, 1943 PARIS, AC FACTORY (RENAULT)                        flew 230064 WILD CARGO
Sept 16, 1943 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC & La PALLICE (ST)           flew 230064 WILD CARGO 

Eyewitness: Capt. Thomas Murphy"One B-17…#3 position, second element. Low squadron (#064) feathered #3 engine before Bordeaux. Under control. Two fighters on tail. Headed NW."Lt. William McDonald"Left fromation (#064) headed for low cloud. Two E/A on tail. Tail Gunner shot one down and the other broke off attack."
(Aircraft was #42-30064 named "Wild Cargo" and was flown overseas  by  Curtis Biddick…pw)

S/Sgt James D. Brady was original TTE on Lt Robert Wolff Crew. He did not fly the 16/9/43 mission due to a bout of Pneumonia. His place on the crew was taken by T/Sgt Carl T. Simon from Lt Robert Knox Crew. S/Sgt Brady was flying as a Toggolier with the Crew of Lt Sam Barrick on March 6, 1944 (Berlin), when their severly damaged aircraft crashed in Sweden and the crew was interned.

 "The following members of my crew are not listed in Taps
James D Brady, 1994: 
Willis F. Brown,1997 
Alfred M. Clark, 1981. 
Jim Brady was our TTG, but was not on our last mission due to a bout with Pneumonia. He flew again, but went down on a Berlin mission on Sam Barrick's crew as a TOG.  We joined the 100th in July '43. One more - The spelling of Browny's name is WILLIS. 
OK, enuf is enough! Sorry to bend your ear, thanks for everything". 
Bob Wolff  (2001)

2051 Greencastle Way,
Oxnard, CA 93035

Chronicle added to file of Lt. Robert Wolff of the 418th in October, 1994….pw

Mr. Paul West
Rt. 2, Box 402
Valley View, TX 76272

Dear Paul:

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with you at the reunion and it was nice being there and seeing some old friends.

The painting turned out to be pretty darn good and I thank you for your part in the project. Barbara and I enjoyed seeing the Airshow and Odessa. We look forward to seeing all of you next year.

As far as my 'war story' for your records, last year I completed a short autobiography, sort of a family tradition. Part of the history includes my war years, so I am enclosing a copy of that portion which I hope will be OK. Any questions, please call.

Again, thank you and we will see you next year.

Sincerely .

Robert H. Wolff 

As follows:

The war that we were expecting to engulf the U.S. came in an unexpected way, Pearl Harbor. All of us age 18 and over had signed up for the draft, but as time went on I did not want to be drafted, so in March of 1942 I enlisted as Private in the Army Air Corps (my draft notice arrived a few week later). The following paragraphs go into more detail than most of this story, but perhaps it will be of some interest………

I was called to active duty in April and sent as an Aviation Cadet to the Santa Ana Training Center. After six weeks of marching. KP (kitchen police) and other Army indoctrination, I was sent to Thunderbird Field at Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix (temperature about 110 degrees in June and July), to learn how to fly and aircraft, learn some navigation, weather and the other requirements of an Air Corps pilot. By the way it was the Army Air Corps in those days, it became the U.S. Air Force in 1947. At Thunderbird, which was a very deluxe primary flying school, we flew the Stearman PT-17, a fabric covered biplane. It was, and still is, a simple and reliable aircraft, many are still flying. It was a real thrill learning to fly, it was something I had always wanted to do.

Just because we were learning to fly, did not mean we did not march, we did. We also had ground school for more courses on weather, navigation, physical education, etc., etc. Any infraction (foulups), and we 'walked the ramp' to think about what we had done. The 'walk' consisted of one to five times around the perimeter of the field, with a seat chute on. The chute, as you walked, hit you on the back of the thighs with each step, few of us fouled up more than once.

I ground looped a plane once (dragged a wingtip), shortly after I had soloed, but because there were gusty winds (and after a flight review), I was allowed to go on. It was a tense time, as washed out flying cadets went to bombardier or navigator school, or became buck privates. I still recall the number of that plane - 44.

Two months later, I was stationed at Minter Field near Bakersfield, not as deluxe as Thunderbird, more like a regular Army base, but the food was excellent. I was learning to fly the Vultee BT-13, a low wing all-metal aircraft (we called the ("Vultee Vibrator", and it sure did). The plane had flaps, a variable pitch propeller and other 'modern' improvements to aircraft. It went faster and had more of a 'big' plane feel. We learned more aerobatics, began formation flying and night flying. One night our instructor took another cadet and I on a low level formation flight over the city of Bakersfield. There was a lot static about that flight, but I don't believe they every found out who did it - 'till now. We still marched, had KP and other Army routines, including cleaning the latrines. That's how I spent my 21st birthday. I was able to get leave almost every weekend and by car, bus or commercial plane got to L.A. to see Barbara.

Leaving Bakersfield, I was sent to Roswell, New Mexico for advanced training in a twin engine Cessna AT-17, called the Bobcat, a wood frame, fabric covered aircraft. It was a good plane, but one day two of us were flying and discovered that the cap had come off one of the wing tanks and gas was flowing out. We alerted the tower to land and  - the wheels would not come down! As I was co-pilot that day, it was my job to crank the wheels down. During the cranking process, we 'buzzed' the tower a few times so they could be sure the wheels were in the proper position (that was fun). We also did a lot of night flying here, and one night, while flying over El Paso, we were fired on by anti-aircraft guns, fortunately, they missed.

We still went through the usual Army routines, though, we learned a lot that helped us the future flying. After the training, and when we graduated, I was appointed a Second Lieutenant and an ' Officer and a Gentleman' on January 4, 1943. Mom was there to pin on my wings, taking time off from the Red Cross, Dad was on active duty with the Navy, a Lt. Commander, and could not be there.

Some of the graduates went to twin-engine bombers, most of us were sent to four engine training bases, I was sent to Gowen Air Base at Boise, Idaho for training in a B-17. In those days it was one of the biggest aircraft flying and it seemed huge. It was cold there in the winter and I leaned to intensely dislike long underwear, even if it did keep me warm.

After training with a crew as co-pilot on a B-17 for two months, I was assigned my own crew and we trained for two more months, navigation, formation flying, flying blind (hood in the cockpit) and more. We then went to Casper, Wyoming for more advanced training. Long distance navigation, high altitude formation flying, low level gunnery practice were just some of the routines. One thing, we didn't have any KP. In a few weeks, we were ready to go overseas and were given leave.

A few words about our crew. Our co-pilot was Charles Sturart, about my age and from Louisiana, later would be in the glass and paint business. Larry McDonnel, navigator, was from Seattle and was an engineer, but after the war became an attorney. He passed on in 1986. Fredric "Buzz" White was out bombardier, he had been in law enforcement and stayed in the service after the war. Ira Bardman, a Pennsylvanian was out radioman. Willis Brown, assistant engineer and gunner also stayed in the service and retired, now he makes wooden toys. William "Casey" Casebolt, was out ball turret gunner and is living in Ohio. Alfred Clark and A.H. Eggleston, gunner and assistant radio, are the only two of our crew that have not surfaced, but they may show up, one of these days. Last but not least, was our engineer and top turret gunner, James D. Brady. Jim was oldest on our crew, about 33 at the time and 6 to 12 years older than the rest of us. He had to argue and fight the U.S. Army to be accepted as an aircrewman, but he was equipped for that kind of thing, he had been in the complaint department at Macy's in New York before the war. After the war he was ship's steward on a cruise ship, met a German girl in Hamburg, married her and they now live in New York. More about Jim, later on.

At home, Mom and Dad had moved to Palos Verdes, and Dad was now a Commander in the Navy Supply Corp. I didn't spent much time in P.V., most of it was in Los Angeles with Barbara. I asked Barbara to marry me, she accepted and I was approved by her Mother and Dad. At that point I did not need  an aircraft to fly. We planned to marry after the war.

With my leave over, I was sent to Kearney, Nebraska for final training, long distance flights to Mississippi (three of us flew at an altitude of fifty feet over the entire state, though it was NOT on the approved list of exercises) and a more normal flight to Florida, little did I know how handy that low level flying experience would be.

After this final training, we were then given a B-17 to fly overseas. It was brand new and flew like a dream, we loaded the bomb bay with all out gear and headed for Bangor, Maine. After refueling, we left for Newfoundland and out destination was Glasgow, Scotland. A most interesting night flight, the green of Ireland was a welcome sight the next morning. We had to leave the plane in Scotland and were sent by train to Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk, England and the 100th Bomb Group, 418th Squadron. More training and my first combat mission.

This mission was as co-pilot, with another crew, to see what combat was like and get some experience. I believe the target was the north German coast.  There was, within me, a lot of tension, but the mission didn't seem too bad, a little flak, a couple of fighter attacks, no one hurt, no damage, so what's the big deal about combat? Boy was I naïve.

With that 'experience' behind me, which was NOT typical, I took my own crew on seven more missions over France, Holland, Germany and Italy. I'll eliminate most of the details of what happens on a mission, there has been a lot of movies and TV that shows what it was like. Sufficient to say that the enemy aircraft is shooting real bullets and the flak has real danger, so that damage, injury and death does occur, it's not all glamour or glory. I've seen planes explode, burn and be torn apart, and all of them had young healthy, living, breathing men in them. When I hear politicians and other 'know nothing' talk about going to war to 'help others' and 'save the world', it makes me sick!

The two greatest dangers we faced, were fighters and flak. The fighters we could see and the crew could fire back at them, the flak was something else, you couldn't see it coming and all of a sudden, it was there. When the shells exploded, they looked like a head with two arms and two legs. We called them the "Little Men."  If the flak gunner could get a shells to explode at the right altitude and miss by only a hundred feet or so, tremendous damage was done. Once, flying out of France, with a hundred mile headwind, our ground speed was only 55 miles an hour. We were great targets. I happened to glance down and saw four tiny flashes on the ground. I knew that four shells were on the way up and as we were at 20,000 feet, I glanced at the clock and marked off twenty seconds. Sure enough, four shells exploded abut 300 feet off our left wing. We lost a landing light and received a few holes. We were very lucky during our combat tour, no injuries.

On one trip, August 17, 1943, our destination was North Africa, a ten hour, fourteen hundred mile trip. After bombing an aircraft factory in Regensburg, Germany, we were to go on to Africa, land and refuel, and then we were to bomb a location in France on the return trip to England a  couple of days later.

We were the final group in a tack force of seven groups, our altitude was 17,000 feet. We were supposed to have fighter escort, but for some reason they never showed. Enemy fighter appeared almost at once when we reached the French Coast, about an hour later, we took what appeared to be a 20 millimeter shell in the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. The rudder was vibrating so badly that it was difficult to keep my feet on the rudder pedals. Shortly after that, something, flak or machine gun fire, hit the latch on the port life raft door and out came the raft. It hit the horizontal stabilizer and  started into a dive. We were able to pull out and regain formation.

Fighter and flak attacks continued until we were about five minutes from the target, and when they quit, it was so  quiet…… The target, an aircraft plant, was successfully plastered and our group, following the other groups, made a right turn and headed for the Alps. Because so many of the planes were shot up, the formation leader, Col. (later he was a 4 star General) Curtis LeMay circled the formation over Lake Como in Switzerland, to let the stragglers catch up. Once more together, only diminished in numbers, our group had lost half of the original 21 planes, we headed for Africa. As we flew over the Alps, Italy and Sicily, things were relatively calm. Except for the vibration in the tail, it could have been another training mission.

Over the Mediterranean, the red lights began to blink on our fuel gauges. The extra drag caused by the tail damage was using too much of our fuel. Our plane was so badly damaged we could not make the designated field and we had to land at an emergency field at a place called Bone, on the North African coast in Tunisia. The field was made of metal mats laid on the desert sand, and as we made out approach, the tower advised that another plane had cracked up on landing and to 'please go around'. With the damage to our tail, the plane would not respond, so with all the fuel lights blinking, we landed anyway and avoided the damaged aircraft. We taxied off to one side and the engines stopped. I don't remember kissing the ground, but they tell me my face was sure dirty.

We spent the night under the plane's wings and were taken by transport to Marrekesch in Algeria the next day. We bought souvenirs, had ice cream and saw the sights. A few days later we took a military transport back to England. That was our third mission, we had four more, some good, some not so good, no serious damage or injuries, thank God.

On one mission, our fifth, a few days after my 22nd birthday, we were to bomb a target in France. I saw the Eiffel Tower, it looked so tiny from our altitude and with the wispy clouds, it all looked so peaceful - just before a plane blew up in front of us. We had to fly through the smoke and debris, looking back we could only see a large pear-shaped dark cloud.

After our seventh mission, we had leave in London, which was a welcome respite. We could see a show, enjoy some of the sights and in spite of the scenes of war damage in the city, we had a good time. Buzz White, our bombardier, told a funny story of his time in London. While walking through the blackout of Piccadilly Circus, he was accosted by a 'lady of the evening' who offered him her services for two pounds. Her hand was on his chest and she felt his wings. "Oh, an airman, that'll be FIVE pounds." No comment as to whether he took her up on it. On returning to base, we found we were assigned to fly the next day.

Our plane had been flown by another crew the day before and they brought it back with quite a few holes in it. Repairs were being made all night, but were not complete by takeoff time, so we were two hours late in taking off. It was no big problem as we were 'tail end Charlie', last and lowest plane in the formation, so it was easy to fit into the group when we finally caught up to them. It was the most dangerous spot in the formation and was our eighth mission. On our way to the target, which was in Southern France, the group flew very low to avoid German radar which covered most of England. At one time, over Wales, I believe, we were so low we had to go around a hill with a tall antennae on it.

As we approached our target, near La Rochelle, we turned inland at about 17,000 feet to find the target was obscured by clouds. As the group turned to the secondary target, we were attacked by fighters and flak. Our plane lost the number three engine and after getting it feathered we started to catch up to the group with three engines. At that point the number two engine got it and, as we found out later, we acquired a large hole in the tail.

With only two engines in operation, we could not maintain formation and were falling behind, so we dove toward the ground to get away from fighters and flak. However six German ME-109 fighters came after us, we got two, I saw one go down, smoking, behind some trees and, flying at a altitude of about 50 to 100 feet, we dodged a bridge and a church steeple, the town was Rochefort, I think, then we were over the eater and fighters had left.

Three miles out to sea, I heard a 'pop' and then a 'pop', 'pop' and the right outboard engine had blown three cylinder heads and caught fire. Pushing it too hard, I guess. We had no choice but to land in the water. It was a good landing, the water was smooth and we all got out and into the dinghies. The plane floated less than ten minutes, but we had a good chance to see the hole in the tail (which I hadn't felt when it happened), it then dove to the bottom. A French fishing boat picked us up in a short time, but a German patrol boat was right behind them, with a machine gun trained on us. The fishing boat was directed to a  dock on a small island not too far away where we were surrounded by the Germans. We were now  Prisoners of War. The date was September 16, 1943.

The German military, at that time, did not mistreat their prisoners, but we were not treated as heroes either. Our first night was in an old stone castle on the island, near La Rochelle, not too pleasant. We were in individual cells. About four by eight feet, a stone self with straw for a bed, a pit at one end for 'relief' and a covered hole in the heavy wood door through which we received food, a gruel with black bread. Someday I would like to go back and see the place again, as so much had happened and so fast, it's hard to recall everything.

The next day we were sent to a German airfield, which was also a hospital school. We had flown over it the day before while they were at dinner. Later they told us they dove under the tables to avoid possible bombs (we had dumped our bombs in an empty field on the way down). They told us we were losing the war and that Germany would triumph. The news they heard was what their leaders wanted them to hear.

The next two days, we were on a bus and a train to Frankfurt, Germany, for interrogation. We saw the Eiffel Tower again and many soldiers. In other circumstances, it might been a Warner Bros. movie. We also saw some of the 'Hitler Youth', brain washed boys of 12 to 16 who were arrogant little twerps. If Germany had not been defeated, they would have been a terrible scourge.

We were searched, but not very well. I had, in the toe of a sock, smuggled a map of Europe which was later used in our POW camp. The questioning, in Frankfurt, was not too bad, but they had fairly good information on our Army records (lots of spies and sympathizers in the USA, I guess), where we lived, where we trained. One thing they were not up date on, was my rank. I had made 1st Lt. a few days before, they had me down in their records as a 2nd Lt. The interrogator congratulated me. They wanted to know our target (we hadn't bombed it because of overcast) and other classified information. They got no information, and were so frustrated that one of our crew was placed in the 'cooler', sort of a prison cell, a couple of days. One German officer had been educated in the U.S. and told me he would be gong back to San Francisco after they won the war (Hah !).

A short note here, Jim Brady, our engineer, had a bout with pneumonia just before this flight and was not with us. His place was taken by Carl Simon, a good replacement, on this mission.

A few days lster the 4 officers of our crew left Frankfurt, by way of a boxcar, for Stalag Luft III, near Sagen in eastern Germany, in what is now Poland, we arrived Oct. 1st. The 6 enlisted men of the crew were sent to another camp, we did not see them again until long after the war.

Stalag Luft III was one of many camps for downed flyers, this one held about 10,000 men, Americans and British, in several compounds, that is, fenced and guarded areas. We were in the center compound, mostly Americans. Food and clothing were in short supply, but we were able to write one letter a week and receive mail and parcels. That is if the trains could get through after the bombs that were regularly dropped on most of the rail lines in Germany. Word reached home on October 16th (1943) that we were prisoners, a fact that brought much joy to Mom, Dad and Barbara, as all they had received was a 'missing in action' t telegram. I still have it. My first letter a arrived several weeks later and from then on, letters and parcels arrived more or less regularly, again, depending on how the German rail situation was.

Leadership of the prisoners within the camp compound, were the senior officers present, Col. Delmar Spivey was in charge of our compound, a pretty good leader. There was one U.S. Navy officer and several flyers from Australia, Britain, Canada and New  Zealand, but most in our compound were from the U.S. Other compounds were mostly Brits.

Life in our Kriegsgefangenenlager (literally "War Prisoners Camp') centered around food, its collection and distribution, preparation and consuming. Not because we were gourmets or expert chefs, but because it was quite limited and we did as much as we could to stretch it and divide it equally. We DID become pretty good cooks! WE made pans and dishes out of powered milk cans and even made some wine out of raisins. 

The prisoners were generally divided into groups of eight, called 'combines'. This made it easier to prepare food and there were 20 to 30 'combines' in each barracks. We got a dishpan full of cooked barley each morning, a loaf of gray bread (made from wood shavings, you could see them), a sort of blood sausage, some margarine and , rarely, meat of some kind. Each man got one Red Cross parcel once a week when the trains ran, sometimes it was every two weeks. These parcels had goodies such as coffee or tea, powdered milk, Spam and other delicious items, including a chocolate bar. This last item was GI bar of hard semi-sweet chocolate and was primary medium of exchange for cigarettes, clothing and anything that could be traded.

We had books, some musical instruments, gardens, a large exercise yard and other amenities. We had showers once a week, toilets were the 'outhouse' type (ten holers, I recall). The Red Cross, YMCA and other international agencies supplied as much as the Germans would allow (again, depending on train availability).

It was not a life of ease and fun, we were counted two or more times a day. The guards, we called them 'Goons', inside the camp would search our personal items while we were assembled outside in the cold. They rarely took anything unless it could be used for escape. If a guard came through the barracks on a causal inspection, someone near the door would shout 'Goon-up' or 'Tally-Ho' to alert us. Some guards were strict and would not talk with us, some would, and there was one who had lost an eye while fighting on the Russian front. We called him 'Popeye', which he liked after hearing that was the name of a famous strong man in the U.S. He was a nice guy, for a guard.

We were sometimes hungry and most of all there was the uncertainty of the future - tomorrow, next week or next year, what would happen? There was a high, double barbed wire fence around the compound with a guard tower at each corner, machine guns at hand. One step into the 'no mans land' between the wire and guardrail at the edge of the walking area, and the guns would speak. Escape was something most of us thought of, but the Germans were very alert to that possibility. However, there were several attempts to escape, mostly tunnels, most failed, but there were some individuals who made it in other ways. There were a couple of movies, "Stalag 17" and the "The Great Escape", that gave a realistic view of war prisoners life in Germany. In prison camp we heard many stories of how some of the some of the men got shot down, too many to discuss here, except for one………..

I received a letter from home with a picture of Jim Brady in a civilian suit, and no explanation. After the way, we found out that Jim had recovered from pneumonia and a few weeks later had been assigned to another crew. This crew was shot down in 1944, but the plane managed to crash land in Sweden. That's were the picture was taken. The crew was interned and it appears Jim had the run of the country, met the Royal Family, saw the sights and met a girl. It wasn't until many years after the war that he knew of his son. He and the lady were unable to make contact after the war, she had passed on and eventually the son, as a married adult, with children, made contact. Jim is quite a guy.

In camp, we did have something that the Germans knew about, but could not find. It was a radio with which we could listen to the BBC and get the latest news of the war. At various times, we would post guards and someone would read us the latest of what was happening on the outside. We knew of bombing raids and other military action that the Germans said were not significant or claimed that never happened and we knew of D-Day and other important events. Where the radio came from or was kept, we were never told, the fewer that knew the better. We would get copies of German newspapers, once in a while, and those were translated by those among us what could read the language. There were obvious differences between our radio and their newspaper reports.

There's a book that the YMCA gave us (it was all blank pages), that has some drawing and notes I made that may be of interest of our life in camp. There is a copy of a German newspaper, a notice about not attempting to escape, letters and pictures. Mom and Dad had kept a scrapbook of their view of my wartime experiences that may have details I've left out. There are also quite a few books that I have gathered over the years since, that tell more of this war from different viewpoints, some of them are much more detailed than the above.

We stayed in that camp until January 28, 1945, when the approaching Russians, forced the Germans to move us, as we were the 'bargaining chips' that the Germans hoped would ease their terms of surrender. By this time they knew they would not win the war. Actually no one wins a war, we all lose.

We were marched through the snow for almost eight days. One night we were in church, then a barn, another night in brick factory where we appreciated the warmth. One night we were in some kind of barracks and a number of us became ill, we were moved out early the next morning and did not have to clean it up. Going through some small towns, the people were mostly silent as we walked by, dew were hostile, I guess they saw the writing on the wall.

The end of the march was in rail yard at Spremberg, then by train (about 40 men to a boxcar) to a  camp, Stalag VIIA (the 'Snake Pit'), in Moosburg, about 30 miles northeast of Munich. We were crowded into an old barrack and a tent and deloused. Life was a little tougher, but we knew the end of the war was near.

On April 29, 1945, the 3rd Army set us free, a tank knocked down the gate. The U.S. Army took us to Igolstadt nearby. We were flown to La Harve on May 9th, the day of the German's surrender, had a chance to clean up, get debriefed and get acquainted with the free world. A few days later, we were placed on a ship for New York by way of the Caribbean.

Processing by the Army took a few days at Camp Yaphank and while there I got a message from Archie and Barbara Mayo who were in New York. We had dinner at the Copacabana, one of the fanciest nightclubs in the city. What a contrast to the last twenty months.

After we were cleared to go home, we left on a passenger train for the West Coast (no boxcar this time). The train wound it's way West, dropping off at various stations, former POWs, many of whom I haven't seen since. You know, it's sort of funny, you spend days, weeks, months and years with  someone in life and death situations, the way is over and you go back to where you came from. Names and faces sort of disappear in time, but I can still see, and hear a lot of them, some from training, the air battles, the POW camps and mostly, the people - the British, the aircrews, the Germans. Some were good, some were so-so, some not so good. All in all, looking back fifty years, it was an interesting adventure, and marked a major change in my life and the way I looked at it.

Anyway, back to the train winding it's way West. At one stop in St; Louis, some U.S.O. girls were passing out candy bars to all of us and I got a Snicker Bar. I had never really enjoyed them before, but this was wonderful. I still think they are great. The train could not go fast enough for us and took 6 days to get to our destination of Camp Beale in California, near Marysville.

Ira F. Bardman left us on Feb.18, 2009, he was 87. Ira was my radio/gunner and a fine one at that. If something didn't work right he fixed it and it stayed fixed. He was a good man and liked by our crew. After the war, he became a meat cutter and later a house painter. He enjoyed his hobbies of bowling and model trains. He will be missed by his wife Betty and children and grand children.
Bob Wolff

Taps :James D. Brady-13 September 1994

..................From Second Issue 1994 - Splasher Six

James D. Brady, Top turret Gunner/ Engineer, 418th, 13 September, 1994. At 33, he was the oldest member of his crew and had experience in the compliant department of Macys' in New York. "Jim was quite a guy. He, more than anyone, brought our crew together and made it a team," writes his pilot Bob Wolff (Richard H. Wolff). A bout with pneumonia kept Jim from flying with his crew when were shot down on 16 September 1943. Later, he went down in Sweden where he "was interned, had the run of the country, met the royal family, saw the sights and met a girl. It wasn't until many years after the war that he knew of is "son" who, "as a married adult with children, made contact. They visited each other frequently."
As a steward on a cruise ship after the war, Jim met his wife of twenty-seven years, Gisela, in Hamburg, and they attended many 100th reunions. "He was one of the good guys, and if I know Jim, he's helping St. Pete keep things in order." )Bob Wolff)


1st Lt Samuel L.Barrick            P  6 MAR 44  BERLIN    (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)
2nd Lt Ira A.Munn                CP  6 MAR 44  BERLIN    (INTERENED IN SWEDEN) 
2nd Lt James G.Guerrini      NAV  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN) 
T/Sgt James D.Brady         TOG  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)    from the original Lt Robert H. Wolff Crew
T/Sgt Walfred J.Johnson     TTE  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)      
S/Sgt Edward J.Marlen        BTG  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)
S/Sgt William D.Sapp          RWG  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN) (changed name to William Sapp Dixon after the war)
S/Sgt Frederick C.Thorpe     LWG   6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)
S/Sgt Hugh F.Fantone,Jr.        TG  6 MAR 44  BERLIN     (INTERENED IN SWEDEN)

418th Sqdn. Assigned to 100th BG on Dec 1, 1943
MACR #3031 Micro fiche #1028
A/C #42 39994.  "SNORT STUFF"
Crew landed Sweden - severe damage by fighters. All crew members repatriated by Nov.1944. Lt. James M. Henry was the regular bombardier on this crew. According to Lt Barrick, Lt Henry was sick in Base Hospital for March 6th Mission to Berlin.  He CPT. 29/1/45. 15/03/44 BRUNSWICK (LT JAS M. HENRY BECOMES BOMBARDIER FOR LT WILLIAM THOMAS CREW FROM CREW OF LT SAMUEL BARRICK).   He CPT. HIS TOUR ON KASSEL MISSION  29/1/45.  See Note below on his time with Lt Thomas Crew. 

Letter to Colonel Bill E. Thompson dated 18 Feb 1996 and forwarded to Paul West 26 Feb 1996…

Olympia, WA
18 February 1996

Dear Bill,
On 7 March 1945 I was released as an internee and flew as a passenger in a C-87 (converted B-24 to   
Scotland and was assigned to a Casual Pool in a Replacement Depot at Stone, England. We were informed   
that we internees would be returned to the United States but would first go back to our Groups for   
debriefing. I was ordered back to the 100th Bomb Group for ten days temporary duty. The debriefing   
consisted of describing what had happened on the mission, and signing a bunch of Security papers so I   
couldn't talk about being interned or what we did there. I then went to London to buy a new uniform and   
other gear, then back to the Replacement Depot for shipment to the States.

You didn't ask for the following information, but I thought you might find it a bit interesting. Do with it what   
you will.

On about 1 July 1944 I was summoned to the American Legation in Stockholm to meet with Colonel   
Hardison I had been "volunteered", along with some other Pilots to form a maintenance unit to recover,   
repair and fly interned aircraft to a storage site in Sweden. On June 20 and 21 twenty four B-17s and B-24s   
had landed at Bulltofta airfield at Malmo. Ten aircraft had previously landed there, and were in process of   
repair by a small contingent of one Officer and nine enlisted men.  

The air field was a mess. Airplanes were scattered all over the small field, some had belly landed, others had   
landed on one gear, two had crashed head on into a sheer bluff, one had smashed its right wing into a   
building, and another had gone over an embankment, and nosed down into a police pistol range. Others were   
erect, on three wheels. Two B-24s had crashed and burned.

We had no special tools or maintenance equipment at the start, but with the assistance of the Swedish fighter   
unit and ABA airline facility, we were able begin work. A Major Joe Filkins arrived from the UK on June 19   
on an inspection trip, and remained to oversee our operation, and was successful in obtaining Kennedy type   
tool boxes, and special tools from the UK. Later, he was successful in getting a Jeep and Trailer. We had an   
operation going!

We looked at every airplane to determine if they could be repaired, if not, they would be used for   
salvageable parts and scrapped.

Most of these airplanes had landed in southern Sweden, in places other than Malmo. It was necessary to   
send teams to these locations to retrieve them. One B-17 had belly landed in a peat bog, the team even laid a   
short narrow-gauge railroad to salvage the parts.

The most complex repair accomplishment was on my own B-17G 42-39994. We replaced the entire left   
wing and landing gear, with parts from another aircraft. The feat was described, with fair accuracy, in a July   
1945 issue of Air Force magazine.

This was a "salve to my wounds in that there were several magazine articles at the time that described the   
"life Or Riley" we internees in Sweden and Switzerland had enjoyed. Implications were made that we had   
shirked our combat duties, and ran away.   

Too bad these writers could not have been there to attend the funerals in Sweden, visit the wounded in the   
hospital, and see the extensive battle damage most of the airplanes had received.

Too bad they didn't know about the long hours spent under field conditions, repairing aircraft and some that   
would have been junked back in the UK. We really had a balll

While at Malmo, I was called back to Stockholm to sit on an evaluation board to determine whether the   
crews were justified in the landings in Sweden. Only one was found to be questionable. No action was taken   
against the Aircraft Commander.

During the period I was there, One hundred and thirty two B-17s and B-24s came to Sweden. Of that   
number, we repaired, flight tested, ferried and maintained in flyable storage eighty eight of them and   
scrapped the rest. At the end of the war, they were flown back to the UK and scrapped.  

The crew were released and flown in a C-87 to the UK on September 30, 1944, returned to the 100th BG   
and were then sent to the States in November.

Sam Barrick
9315 Tri Lake Ct SE
Olympia, WA 98513

To Sweden (this was written in response to questions from a 16 year old high school student)

My name is Bill (Sapp) Dixon.  I was a right waist gunner/armorer in the B 17 named
Snort Stuff (but misreported in several publications as Barrick’s Bag), aircraft 42 39994, 
assigned to the 418th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, 13th Bomb Wing, 3rd Bomb Division, 
8th Air Force, United States Army Air Force.  (Isn't that a mouthful?!?!)
The 100th BG was located at Station 139, Thorpe Abbotts, on the line between Norfolk
and Suffolk counties, East Anglia, England.

My pilot was named Samuel L. Barrick, copilot Ira A. Munn, navigator James
Guerrini, toggelier James Brady, engineer/top turret Walfred Johnson, radio
operator Clifton Barton, ball turret Edward (Shorty) Marlin, left waist
Frederick Thorpe, tail Hugh Fantone.  We were a comparatively old crew  
Munn was the youngest at 20, Johnson, Thorpe, and Brady all were 33 or 34 in
1944.  I was 24 at that time.  (You can figure out how old I am now.)

We were shot down on 6 March 1944 on our way to Berlin on the first big
Berlin raid.  We had been to Berlin two days earlier when only 31 of us got
there   the rest of the Air Force had been recalled but we missed the
recall.  I was on my 13th mission when we were shot down.
However, we were lucky in several ways.  We had been flying in the high
squadron until, at 11 o'clock, we switched to the low squadron to replace 
planes that had aborted.  When the fighters hit us at noon, I saw the whole
high squadron go down before I saw an enemy fighter.  We had two engines hit
in the initial attack and would not have been able to keep up with the
formation except that there was no formation to keep up with   we had lost
14 planes and, including our plane, this left seven planes flying.  We had
one engine on fire when we turned off to try to make it back over the North
Sea.  Fortunately, the fire went out after a couple of minutes but the prop
was windmilling and couldn't be feathered.  The prop actually fell off after
we landed because only the wind pressure was holding it on.  The navigator
said we didn't have enough fuel to make the North Sea, which was
understandable to me because I could see right through one of the wing
tanks.  As a result, we headed for the Baltic Sea and Sweden.  While we were
still over the last little spit of land in Germany, we passed directly over
a German airfield, no planes came up but a warship of some variety which was
moored in the bay next to the airfield fired some flak at us and did hit us
with shrapnel from two rounds.

We were doubly lucky because we had an excellent pilot and navigator who,
between them, got us to Sweden.  Sweden was a neutral country.   While we
were still over the Baltic, two Swedish fighter planes came out and escorted
us to their airfield.  One of them nearly caused us to crash because he kept
crossing in front of us which made us go through his propwash and we were
just barely hanging onto flying speed as it was.  We lowered the gear and
were going in for a landing when it suddenly dawned on us that we didn't
know whether we had tires or shredded rubber to land on.  Also there was a
small hill at the edge of the landing field, a sod field, i.e., no runways,
and we just barely cleared the hill.  I kissed the ground when I got out of
the plane.
A Swedish soldier with a submachine gun came running up as I got out and
said, in English, "Welcome to Sweden.  Does anybody speak Swedish?"
I said, "Yes.  Skol. And jag alskar dig."  The only Swedish I knew at the
time.  "Skol" means the same as "Cheers" when you have a drink with someone
and "jag alskar dig" means I love you (I had learned that from a young lady
when I was attending the University of Chicago before the war.)

This is the way my seven month vacation began.  If you want to learn more
about skiing lessons, sailboating, canoeing, drinking French champagne, etc,
you will have but to ask me!

Bill (Sapp) Dixon response on the act of Buzzing the tower and haystacks:

Low enough to mow hay…One of our forbidden, but often practice stunts was to come in low and fast; pull up immediately after crossing the hay pile resulting in a gross redistribution of said hay pile. The maneuver, not always successful, cost a few lives…..Gene Carson

Rank amateurs!  One of our pilots took out a barn and the farmer's prize bull while buzzing the control tower.  He was showing off for a couple of Red Cross girls he was taking for a sightseeing ride in his B-17 and lost an engine as he started to pull out.  His name was Frank Valesh and he went through at least five planes before completing his missions.  They quit counting the holes in his planes; they just counted the number of parts missing after every mission.  He was transferred to flying a Mickey lead plane because he could do everything with a 17 except fly it backward --- and I'm not sure he hasn't done that.

We came damn close to doing that on a mission to Regensberg in Feb. 1944 because of the strength of the headwinds.  I was told that at times our ground speed was ~35 mph.  Of course on the way back, we were really rocketing along.  
That was the mission on which we caught an 88mm in the bomb bay where we were carrying incendiaries.  There was a big hole in the bomb bay doors and stuff was leaking out, you could smell it in the waist and tail, and the front office was having a discussion about whether we should drop the load or not.  Finally the tail gunner called to the ball gunner and asked, "Shorty is that stuff sorta yellowish green?"  Shorty answered in the affirmative and the tail called back, "Well, it is floating by here in chunks!"  
That ended the discussion in the front and we salvoed….Bill (Sapp) Dixon

Hi Mike,
I was having a casual e-mail conversation with William "Bill" Dixon from the 100th BG (Sam Barrick crew) about the gunnery school at Las Vegas and his time before going to England and one thing led to another. Below is what he sent me.  Perhaps you have seen it before because he remembers sending you a lot of stuff in the past.  Anyway's, it closes another small gap in my fathers history I didn't know about and I thought you might like to see it.  The Queen Mary story sounds familiar.  
Ray Cary
 I was in the same group with your father from Aug 1943 until I was shot down on 6 March 1944.  I even recognized him in the picture you sent. 
Your father was assigned to an air crew in August 1943 in Moses Lake, Washington.  The others on the crew were Raymond V. Monrad, pilot; Arthur E. Dehn, bombardier; George L. Lewis, assistant engineer; Talbert E. Spenhoff, radio operator; Nicholas Perovich, armorer gunner; and, of course, your father, engineer.  The rest of the crew was assigned in Kearney, Nebraska. (I will scan the portions of the orders moving us from Moses Lake to Kearney that include your father's crew and send them to you separately.)  On 11 August, we went by train to Kearney.
We took overseas training in Kearney from mid August until mid October when we were given overseas leave.  We did get several hours of flight time in B-17s in Kearney, but not enough was formation flying and there was only one practice bomb and gunnery flight.  There was no practice for gunners in looking for, tracking, or leading fighter planes.  We did not, however, realize just how untrained we were.
 (A personal note: The girl to whom I was engaged and my parents came out to Kearney on 20 August and she and I were married on 21 August in the rectory of the Catholic Church there.  Still married in our 64th year.) 
On returning to Kearney, we were put aboard a train and taken to Fort Dix, New Jersey.  We were processed there, shots checked, physicals again, paperwork in re insurance, deductions, bond purchases, etc.  We were allowed to go into New York City twice while in Dix.
(The following is a true account that I wrote some years ago about our trip in the Queen Mary.  Your father was in the same room with me so he, too, experienced this.)  
The Black Hole

Early in the morning of November 14, 1943, we were taken from Ft. Dix, across to New York harbor, and marched through a hole in the side of the Queen Mary for our trip to Jolly Old England.  

After entering the ship, we walked as far forward as it was possible to go and then down as far as it was possible to go.  At that point we reached a room that had a sign over the door “Max. Occupants 13”.  

We entered, all 63 of us, and found hammocks slung in every available inch of the room.  Another door stood open even farther forward, but it was the head, (toilet) an open trough through which a continuous stream of water flowed.  Oh joy!  Oh my!  

We later learned that there were over 15,000 troops aboard.   

I was the last one to enter the (what should I call it?  I know – the floating dungeon) and so I had to take the last of the hammocks.  The only hammock left was over the only way into the head.  

I learned, in the next few days, exactly what is meant by a head butt.  Every time someone went in the head, his head met my  -- well, you get the idea.  

We did have one recreational device in the dungeon and that was a small metal table that was bolted to the floor.  There were hammocks swung over it.  But that didn’t stop some of our brave soldiers from shooting dice on that table – 24 hours a day.  

If you have never heard the constant sound of dice hitting a metal table for 24 hours a day, you haven’t lived!

After the three fellows who had the hammocks over the table threatened vile and hurtful actions to the dice players, they persuaded three of the dice players to switch hammocks with them.  Fortunately, it took only four and one-half days to get to Scotland or some of those dice players may have had to swim part of the way.

Food or ----- What?

Our first meal aboard the Queen Mary was served Army mess style in the Grand Dining Room and consisted of kidney stew  with real beef kidneys (at least I think they were beef) and stewed apricots that had to be scraped off the serving spoon onto our trays.  Now, my grandmother had been born in England and raised in Wales and so I was not unfamiliar with both stewed apricots and kidney stew.  But my grandmother always soaked the kidneys well before preparing them to eat.  And, she knew when to stop cooking the apricots, too.  This was not the case with those who, on the Queen Mary, prepared both of these dishes.  

The routine followed by most of the soldiers was the routine I followed.  I went through the line received my food(?), kept moving until I reached the garbage cans, scraped both apricots and kidneys into the cans, placed my tray in the used tray pile, and departed as hastily as possible because the odor  was beginning to penetrate my pores. 

Early on the second day we had what would normally be called a lifeboat drill but they certainly didn’t have enough lifeboats for 15,000 people and so they called it a submarine drill.  I called it “The prepare to drown drill” if there really was a submarine around.  

Upon leaving the Queen Mary, we boarded a train for a destination unknown.  Our trip south ended somewhere on Salisbury Plains.  (My father had encamped on Salisbury Plains during World War I before being sent to France.)  It was at this camp that we were assigned to our 8th Air Force Group, the 100th Bomb Group.    When others at the Camp heard that we were going to the 100th, we heard for the first time the reputation of the Bloody Hundredth.  It was supposed to be the hard luck outfit of the 8th AF.  The story was that one of the planes of the 100th had lowered its wheels, a sign of surrender similar to waving a white flag, and, when German fighters came up to lead the B-17 to a landing, the gunners had shot the fighters down.  After that, the story goes, the Luftwaffe sought out the 100th in revenge.  We later learned that the story was apocryphal although it is still brought up every once in a while by someone who served in another Group.  And, at least one German Luftwaffe General has said that if he had ever heard of one of his pilots picking out a particular Group, he would have shot him himself because they didn’t have time to waste looking for specific targets – any old U.S. bomber would do!

We reported to the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts in East Anglia on December 1, 1943.

Bill (Sapp) Dixon


Mike - In my lexicon "anybody" means bombers.  I know there was at least one mid-air because I saw it but it was not one of the 100th planes.  We were not leading the force and so other Groups had apparently penetrated the front but, in effect, turned around to come out. The result was airplanes all over the sky.  Also, three days later I was living in Sweden so probably didn't know 100th losses were not from mid-airs. 
Barrick (entire entry for Mar. 3): "Group recalled on way in.  Three B-17s missing."

Mike - I believe I received official credit for a Berlin mission on the 4th and I still remember climbing out of clouds and seeing no other aircraft until we saw a bunch to our left and went over and joined them - it was the 95th, i.e., Square B. 
Barrick (entire entry for Mar. 4): "Force recalled, turned back near Kassel, Germany.  Couldn't find B group, went in with 95th.  Two FW-190s and one Me-109 passed at us.  P-47 escorts knocked them down.  Some flak, not bad.  Alt 27,000'.  Ten from 100th went over target.  Seaton down.  Takeoff in snow storm and landed in snow storm.  Richerdson flew with us as Bombardier, Henry, is in hospital.  A/C crashed and burned beyond runway after takeoff.  Was Lloyd Marks." …(this is incorrect, Lt Marks crashed on take off in Jan 1944)

Barrick added a note before he sent it to me.
"Note: Marks and Co-Pilot were only survivors.  Marks was severely burned while trying to get crew out of airplane.  He was returned to states, and was later divorced by his wife because of his disfigurement."  (this is incorrect, Lt Marks crashed on take off in Jan 1944)
Bill to Mike: I ran into Lloyd in San Jose, CA in 1959.  He was working at IBM at that time.  He loaned me his copy of Contrails and so I stopped by his house at least twice, once to pick it up and once to return it.  As I recall, I met his wife - although it could have been his second wife.  He was horribly scarred.  


William Sapp Dixon

 Taps : James D. Brady 13 September 1994

..................From Second Issue 1994 - Splasher Six

 James D. Brady, Top turret Gunner/ Engineer, 418th, 13 September, 1994. At 33, he was the oldest member of his crew and had experience in the compliant department of Macys' in New York. "Jim was quite a guy. He, more than anyone, brought our crew together and made it a team," writes his pilot Bob Wolff (Richard H. Wolff). A bout with pneumonia kept Jim from flying with his crew when were shot down on 16 September 1943. Later, he went down in Sweden where he "was interned, had the run of the country, met the royal family, saw the sights and met a girl. It wasn't until many years after the war that he knew of is "son" who, "as a married adult with children, made contact. They visited each other frequently."
As a steward on a cruise ship after the war, Jim met his wife of twenty-seven years, Gisela, in Hamburg, and they attended many 100th reunions. "He was one of the good guys, and if I know Jim, he's helping St. Pete keep things in order." )Bob Wolff)


Interned in Sweden


TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-03-06  
AIRCRAFT: "Snort Stuff" (42 39994) CAUSE: EAC-Interned in Sweden  




Jan-Olof Nilsson

“Jimmy” and vife holding the flag that always makes him remember his dad. "Jimmy" is one of the Swedish kids with an American dad I’ve met over the years when working on my American Internee books and films. Many years after the war “Jimmys” dad actually returned to Sweden to meet his son. Before passing he expressed his wish to rest in Swedish soil. His wish were fulfilled. It was such a touching moment listening to “Jimmy” telling his story

 From L to R: Frederick Thorpe-LW, Edward Marlen-BTG, and James Brady-Toggiler, all of the Samuel Barrick crew. Photo taken in Rattvik Sweden in late March or early April, 1944. (Photo courtesy of William Dixon) Barrick crew information 

The Sam Barrick crew in Sweden
(Starting at lower left and going around the table) - Hugh Fantone-tail gunner, James Brady-togglier, Frederick Thorpe-left waist gunner, Walfred Johnson-engineer/ttg, Samuel Barrick-pilot, Ira Munn-copilot, Edward Marlen-ball turret gunner, James Guerrini-navigator, Clifton Barton-radio operator.
(Photo courtesy of William Dixon)

Robert H. Wolff Crew (left to right)
Back Row: Ira Bardman, Alfred Clark, William 'Casey' Casebolt, James Brady
Arthur 'Eagle' Eggleston, Willis 'Browny' Brown
Front Row: Charles 'Stu' Stuart, Fredric 'Buzz' White, (He is aiming at the enemy)
Bob Wolff, Lawrence 'Mac' McDonell
This picture shows the original Bob Wolff crew, formed at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho in early 1943
The photo was taken after Regensburg for publicity purposes



Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 501