Courthézon's B-24 Liberator, Vaucluse, France
Pilot : Second Lieutenant Rodes S. Parrish
Mission Date May 27 1944, MACR 5417 Base Target Bombardment of Nîmes's train station Zone of crash District Saint-Laurent, Courthézon, Vaucluse, France PlaneType B-24G-5-NT Serial 42-78092 "Old Gran-Dad's Dream"Squadron 15th AF, 55th BW, 464th BG, 777th Squadron Crew
1 Pilot S/lt Rodes S. Parrish 0-687756 Killed, USA2 Copilot S/lt Ralph T. Baker 0-750312 Killed, Draguignan3 Navigator S/lt Frank J. Staron 0-698630 Killed, Draguignan4 Bomber S/lt Jesse D. Ward 0-694985 Killed, USA5 Radio T/sgt Robert L. Wise 15107423 Killed, Draguignan6 Gunner-mechanician S/sgt Paul L. Bunnell 3414888 Killed, USA7 Gunner S/sgt Edward J. Alfano 39326639 Killed, Draguignan8 Gunner S/sgt Louis Bugaisky 36718620 Killed, Draguignan9 Gunner S/sgt Hershel H. Hudgins 35652757 Killed, USA10 Gunner S/sgt James C. Johnston 36562984 Killed, Draguignan
At the end of saturday may 27, 1944's morning, as several formations of American bombers B-24 Liberator fly over the village of Courthézon, in the north of Avignon, in direction of their objective, Nimes's train station, a plane had a direct hit by Flak and was literally dislocated by the explosion which followed.A rain of incandescent wrecks fall on a broad perimeter of Saint-Laurenct district, located in the south-east of Courthézon, the ten young american aviators making his crew didn't survive.
In the six targets (communication complex) of the south France this day, was included Nimes's railway complex.The 15th USAAF's strategists directed for that one Bomber-Wing entirely made of B-24 Liberator, the 55th BG.
Order of organization by group :- 460th BG made up of 33 B-24 on the36 envisaged (3 planes had various technical troubles) which attack the extreme west of the station, is the repair shops and the rotunda at the altitude of 22000 feet.- 465th BG: presenting 29 planes on the of 35 envisaged (6 having had to give up the mission) which will bombard the east of the station, where the railways separate to join Avignon and/or Tarascon, at an altitude varying from 21000 to 21300 feet.- 464 BG: 28 planes (7 being u turned to the base) will have to destroy the center of sorting at altitudes of 20000 to 21600 feet.- 485 BG: with 37 planes as envisaged by the flight plan, which will have the responsibility of tackle the east quarter of the station at an altitude of 20000 feet.
For escort, the 55th Wing have at its sides P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang from the 306th Fighter Wing having to take place within the formation at sight of the Cape Roux, Estérel's French coasts.
Each planes carries 8 bombs of 500 pounds.
After having crossed the Mediterranean sea, the American planes exceed the French coasts, then penetrate the earths. The overflight of Avignon done, the Ventoux mount is left on starboard while the formation starts a large turn in direction south/west, towards their I.P (initial point).
At this moment the Flak enter in action.
Several four-engined planes of the 460 and 465 BG opening the way were already hit. That wants to say that the German artillerists calculated their aiming very well.
When the 464 BG is close the objective, Flak's shootings are nourished even.It is a little after 10h15, when B-24 is violently hit under its right wing, between engines 3 and 4. Immediately, the explosion causes to cut the right wing and to make subside the plane on the same side, bringing it to begin in a violent one barrel.
Liberator goes suddenly on the back while diving, whereas enormous flames in appears. A second explosion occurs then literally making burst the cell. Consequently, only from the burning remains and scattered in the sky of Provence will disperse on a perimeter of 2 miles, centered on the Saint Luwrenct district, in Courthézon.
Nine carbonized bodies will be found at ground, including one in thedining room of a farm... This last without life, having crossed the roof.Five of these nine aviators will be immediately identified, the four others being it only after the allied debarquement on the Provençales coasts.In the sky an aviator hung at his opened parachute goes down slowly, unfortunately, he was already deceased, as German will see.B-24 Liberator which had just fallen down in flames was B-24 G 5-NT serial 42-78092, baptized by its crew which flew it from the USA "Old Gran Dads' dream".October 5, 1996, and in accordance with the research task of our team, the MVCG of Courthézon made raise, not far from the site of the crash, a monument in the memory of this crew.During the ceremony, supply C-135 made a passage at low altitude followed by a Mirage 2000 which was him, escorted by two Alpha-Jet of the France's Patrol, while a U.2. bomber based in Istres, closed walk.
Bio by: Andy
SSGT, 464 AAF BOMB GP WORLD WAR II
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