William P England was the flight engineer on the Mission Belle, a B-17 that ditched in the Rhine River on December 1, 1943. Seven of the ten airmen on board survived the German fighters, flak and crash. O.D. Tully the bombardier in his journal said this about England..."William P. (Hap) England had a busted ankle, chest wound and crease on the head. England was one of the most reckless, carefree, happy fellows I've ever met. Chatters like a monkey and made friends with everybody."
According to Tully, "Hap" was a true westerner from Des Moines, New Mexico. The entire crew suffered wounds from flak, fighters and the crash. England would be with fellow airmen Tully, Roger Christensen and James Sweaney at Stalag Luft 1 in Barth,Germany. The other three Steve Carano, Charles Culver and C.A. Josephson would suffer through the hard times of Stalag XV11.
The last of this crew from the Greatest Generation James Sweaney died in 2012.
England's fellow airmen that died in the air and at the site of the ditching were Harland V. Sunde, Doyle McCutchen and John Healy. Sunde and McCutchen are buried in the American Military Cemetery "Margraten in Holland. Healy is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands.
This additional information thoughtfully provided by Bill Yancy, #48057077
New Mexico TSGT Army Air Forces World War II PH
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