- His Notice of Induction dated October 5, 1942.
- His Diploma from the Air Forces Technical School dated January 23, 1943. He completed training as an "Aircraft Armorer."
- A copy of a Christmas Card from the 44th Bombardment Group cryptically sent from "Somewhere in England."
- A few photos of him on the base, including one with his brother, Bob.
With the few clues I had, I found out that the internet has far more information than what I was able to find a few years ago. For one thing, there is a website devoted to the 44th Bomb Group. It has a wealth of information including video clips, newsletters, photos and biographies. The site includes a history of the unit with this important information:
On July 25,1942 the 44th was assigned to Will Rogers Field, OK in preparation for deployment to an overseas theatre of operations. At this time the 44th was manned by 77 officers and 900 enlisted men. The group consisted of four squadrons, Headquarters and headquarters squadron (506th), the 66th squadron, the 67th squadron and the 68th squadron. The stay at Will Rogers field was brief.
On August 25, 1942 the ground echelon left Will Rogers Field, by troop train, for Ft. Dix, NJ to prepare for overseas shipment. On September 4, 1942 the 44th ground echelon, consisting of 62 officers and 819 enlisted men boarded HMS Queen Mary for transport to Greenock, Scotland and duty in the United Kingdom for "the duration" of World War II. They disembarked on September 11. 1942.
Initially the ground echelon was housed at the British air base of Cheddington, Bucks. On October 10 they moved to Shipdham, Norfolk. This new "lend-lease" base, Officially AAF Station 115, was to be the home of the 44th until the end of the war in Europe.
I was able to find a job description for an "Aircraft Armorer."
The more I read the more I realized what a critical role this group played in the war in Europe. You can read a summary of their major accomplishments here. The link contains exerpts from a book that was written about the 44th Bomb Group.
I've already made contact with a woman whose father was a pilot with this group who was killed nine days before her birth. The successes this group experienced did not come without cost. Many planes, pilots and crew were lost following their many missions. My new contact told me that I may be able to get specific information about Dad's service through the National Archives and/or members of this group. I'm hooked -- so stay tuned.
|Photo Credit: nationalmuseum.af.mil|