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Author Topic: Any stories from relatives?
Member # 572

posted 11-28-1999 04:07 PM     Profile for Majesty5   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I'm relatively new here, BTW... been lurking for a long time, only posting recently. I'm curious if anybody had relatives in WW2 who did any flying, or have told any flying-related stories... My grandfather and great-uncle were pilots on the German side (long-range reconnaisance and a short career in fighters), and I had another great-uncle who drove trucks for the Allies (U.S.). Here's what I've heard so far:

-On a photo-recon mission to Northern England, my Opa's recon Ju-88 got hit by AA, and shrapnel damaged an oil line; as my grandmother tells it, one of the crew left his station and held the oil line together with his fingers the whole way home. I heard this secondhand through my mother, so I don't know if it's accurate.

-At one point, Opa had actually kept some of the huge-format photos taken by the belly cam of the bomber. Supposedly the prints were a couple of feet long, with tons of detail, and the subject was a city in Russia (he flew a lot on the Eastern Front, from Norway). He wasn't supposed to have them, but years after the war my grandmother threw them out because "nobody was interested in them". (!) AAARGH!

-From the American side: My great uncle was out driving in a jeep on a road somewhere in France, not too long after D-Day. He's in a jeep with two other guys and they've got somewhere to go, but as they're driving they see a Focke-Wulf flying low. My G-U decides to fire at the FW with the .50 on the jeep, and just as he's about to... The FW opens up on a factory building down the valley. In one pass the firepower from the FW destroys the entire side of the factory. My Great-Uncle and his buddies calmly change their minds about firing on ze nasty flieger, get out of their jeep, and get into the ditch beside the road until the FW is gone.

Now I'm not even sure if the oil lines in recon Ju's were exposed, or if Jeeps had .50's on them, nor can I think of why a Focke-Wulf would be strafing a glass-sided building in France. I'm just repeating what I heard from my elders, but they're still fun to imagine. Unfortunately I never heard of any daring exploits in fighters, because my German great-uncle was shot down in his 109 and killed by a P-38 near Bruchsal, late in the war. None of the surviving relatives really know anything of his combat record. If I ever get the chance I'm going to go over to whatever city houses the records (Berlin? Bonn?) and look him up.

Any other stories floating around out there?

Posts: 789 | From: Dallas, TX, USA | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 965

posted 11-28-1999 04:52 PM     Profile for Collison   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Yup - one grandfather was a fighter pilot for the RCAF, flying Hurricanes first and then Spit IXs. No kills, as he was pretty young and it was mid '44 before he got overseas.

-Once he was taking off in a Hurricane, canopy open as the book says to do. Well, he reached back to close it once airborne, but neglected to take into account the fact he was wearing new, big, gauntlet type flying gloves. Well, the slipstream got up under the glove and his hand was stuck up over his head and he was flying the plane off the ground with one hand; he says people were laughing at him for quite a while after that. He always tucked the gloves under his jacket cuffs after that.

-Another time he was caught flying out late and there was a raid, and the base was socked in, so there was no light at all for him to land by. Low on fuel, he had no choice but to fly a compass course and lo and behold, he greased the thing in to the right field with no problem, right side up and everything. Which wiped out the gauntlet episode.

-He's also got some stories about running into Me262's, but I can't remember them exactly

My other granfather was a colonel in the RCArmy heading a unit specializing in camoflauge. He flew all over the place checking out various units, including American ones, advising them on the best use of camoflauge. To his dying day he shook his head over the Americans lack of concern for any sort of effective camoflauging, even the olive drab-over-grey stuff he said was useless. From him I've got in my possession a chunk of Do17 that was shot down during the BoB (about 1 sq. foot of fuselage), and a big chunk of 88mm flak shrapnel someone pulled out of their airplane - the tip of the shell, it has "88" stamped on it. Must weigh two or three pounds.

My contribution


[This message has been edited by Collison (edited 11-28-1999).]

Posts: 50 | From: Williams Lake, BC, Canada | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 39

posted 11-28-1999 10:53 PM     Profile for VonBroam   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Cool, Keepem roling these are neat!!

VonBroam out

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Member # 1076

posted 11-29-1999 01:40 AM     Profile for JG5_Jerry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I have a story that indirectly features aircraft - my grandamother made Spitfires at the Westland plant in Yeovil (Somerset, UK) during WW2. I think it was attacked several times, and she did mention once that the only 'casualty' she can remember was of a bloke who got blown off his bike by the blast from a stray bomb ! There is a book called 'Angriff Westland' about the attack(s), but it's out of print and very hard to track down .
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Member # 1076

posted 11-29-1999 03:54 AM     Profile for JG5_Jerry   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Another thing I remember is the things that happened to my grandfather in WW2 - he was a artilleryman who fought in Italy. He remebered being bombed several times by USAF bombers, and saw Mussolini's corpse. He also received a commendation for saving a group of men in his company from being machine-gunned by some trigger-happy Americans in a pill-box. No, he didn't bung a grenade in there - he crawled up under fire and called them every name under the sun, and had to stop himself kicking the sh*t out of 'em ! I seem to remember him saying that he was more in fear for his life from the Americans than any enemy action...
Posts: 702 | From: Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 169

posted 11-29-1999 05:11 AM     Profile for Stanley99     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Hmmm... let me think....

A brother of my grandfather died in Stalingrad...

Another uncle was in an artillery unit on the Eastern Front - when I asked him if they knew anything about the mass executions of Ukrainian civilians, that was the last time I ever saw him...

The husband of an aunt was a Sturmbannfuehrer in the SS, a Nazi through-and-through, and died somewhere in the east...

My dad's father didn't serve in the war, he was neede on the "Heimatfront" as a caterpillar-driver - at least that is what he says...

No clue about my other grandfather, he died when I was a small kid...

On second thought I'd rather have some relatives in the resistance, but hindsight makes us all wiser...


Every man dies, not every man really lives.

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Member # 384

posted 11-29-1999 10:29 AM     Profile for Slickster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My Pop was a fighter pilot for 30 years. He joined the AAC (Army Air Corps) after Pearl Harbor. Apparently he did rather well in flight school, as the powers that be made him an instructor (top 10% were done this way). This upset him greatly, as he spent a year training newbies rather than fighting in Europe. Finally, he began transitioning into the P-47N model, which he felt was the best high altitude plane the USAAf had, due to the tremendous supercharger.
He talks of practice dogfights with Corsairs, which had basically the same engine. Below 15k it was a dead heat, above 15k, after the N model's supercharger kicked in, it was a wipe-out in favor of the Jug. His squadrone was slated to operate off of a little island off the coast of Okinawa, Ie Shima, to escort B-29's to Japan. The war ended with them in California, awaiting shipping.
I must say, in the arguments about the justification of the Atomic Bombs, my attitude has a bit of bias. There was a VERY good chance that 1st Lt Land would have not returned from one of those endless, long, overwater flights.

Rick "Slick" Land

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posted 11-29-1999 04:58 PM     Profile for Tailspin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My dad's short career in the AAF was very similar. He was trained as a bombardier in B-24's. He talks a lot about training in Texas. He washed out of flight school, got lost over the Gulf of Mexico during navigator training, ended up in bombardier school,which he passed. I remember him saying during gunnery school each man would paint the tips of the bullets in their ammo belts a different color. They had various types of .50cal mounts-some single stationary, mounted on trucks, even had a twin turrett setup on a duece and a half. Back to the bullet tips, when the target tow flew by they fired at a "sock" and you could tell who hit by the colored smudge left by the bullet tips. He was also in California when the war ended.
My mother's uncle (married my grandmother's sister) was Brig.Gen. Oscar W. Koch. As a Col. during WWII he was George Patton's Chief Intelligence Officer from North Africa thru the Battle of the Buldge. They lived in nearby Carbondale, Ill. during the 60's (He died in 1970). I remember visiting a few times and standing mesmerized in his bedroom looking at all the war memorabilia on display. If only I had been older, it would have been fascinating talking to him.

Posts: 1895 | From: Metropolis USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 83

posted 11-29-1999 06:59 PM     Profile for AxA   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My Grandfather passed away back in 1989 but I do remember some of the stories he would tell. He didn't like talking about the war but once in a blue-moon we would get a story out of him. Details are sketchy:

He did flight training in several bases in Texas (I remember he mentioned "Waco" once).
He flew B-25 Mitchell Bombers as well as other aircraft.

Got assigned to the Pacific Theatre. Remember a story where they were clearing up some land for use as a forward airstrip. There was some type of native hut/building smack-dab in the middle of the proposed strip. They had a bulldozer try flattening the thing but it wouldn't budge. Eventually, they rammed the building and one side of a wall fell over like a toppling dominoe, exposing several human skeletons which had been "inside" the wall! They quickly pulled the wall back up and moved the location of the airstrip....

In another story, he was now assigned somewhere in the Caribbean. He and a fellow pilot were driving a jeep and began receiving strange transmissions on their radio. Using some kind of triangulation technique, they pinpointed the source of the transmissions: a German U-boot secretly surfaced and receiving supplies from a Kriegmarine sympathizer. The location of sub was radio'd in and (sketchy details here) some American aircraft straffed the sub. (haven't had a chance to confirm this story with actual war records).

Last story: He was an instructor late in the war in an open cockpit aircraft (Stearman?) and the student froze at the controls, forcing the plane into a power dive. No amount of reason would shake the student from his death grip on the stick. Grandpa gragged a fire-extinguisher and knocked the student unconscious, pulled out of the dive and landed the plane. Student had to be carried off of the plane.

After he passed away, I spoke with my dad and he mentioned that my Grandfather had been wounded in the Pacific, with several bullet wounds on his torso. Also mentioned the "war prizes" that were brought back from the Pacific (Japanese swords, pistols and a "meatball" flag, among other items).

Thank you,

Posts: 380 | From: Miami, FL | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 873

posted 11-29-1999 11:38 PM     Profile for Casey   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My father joined the Marines as soon as he was old enough. Japan surrendered while he was in boot camp.

He was shiped to China and served there until the Communists took over. He was not a pilot but, ironically, he was assigned to an F4U-4 squadron there. If only he had known he would have a son who loves fighters in general and the Corsair in particular.

My uncle served in the Navy during Vietnam. He was a Wizzo (WSO - think they called it RIO back then) in an F-4. He confirms what many have written about the air war in Southeast Asia; arbitrary political restrictions made it harder to kill MiGs at times.

A friend of my family was a radio operator on a B-24. His plane was shot down and he, along with several of his crewmates survived.

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posted 11-30-1999 12:44 AM     Profile for BobM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My great-uncle (whom I was named for) was a waist gunner on a B-24. (9th air force I THINK) His plane was shot down on a raid over Ploesti. (I'm not sure if it was THE famous Ploesti raid or another subsequent raid.)

He said that he and his crewmates bailed and ended up hiding in a barn in, I assume Yugoslavia. I'm assuming Yugoslavia because he said that he learned sometime later, (after the war maybe??) that Tito's partisans came to the barn they were hiding in the next night to rescue them.

Unfortunately for them the Germans found them first and he spent a couple years in a Luftstalag in either Eastern Germany or Poland. Someplace east anyways because he said that the Soviets released the POW's from his camp.

He told me that he weighed about 170 lbs. when he bailed out of the plane and about 90 lbs. when the Russians freed him in 1945.

Everything I've written here is all the detail he would go into with the exception of, and I will quote him directly, "It was nothing like Hogan's Heroes".

I always found it an interesting story hope ya'll don't mind me sharing it with you.


The only thing new in the world is the history we don't know
-Harry S. Truman

Posts: 135 | From: Lafayette, Indiana | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 420

posted 11-30-1999 04:14 AM     Profile for Tobiwan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My mom's family has been pure Swedish since viking times so they hav'nt participated in any recent wars. I know my mom's great grandfather shot the last wolf in some Swedish village, but thats it.

My dad's side is more interesting. Two of his uncles fought in the war. One was a Lt in the Royal Army and was killed by a German granade thrown by some jerries who had surrendered. My granma is still upset about that one.
The other was in the RAF, dunno what rank, I think either Flight Lt or Sqd Leader, and he flew Mosquito fighter-bombers including some raids on Norway, flying at 50ft down the Fjords with A-A shooting DOWN at him. I heard all these stories via my dad, not sure how accurate thay are as he was small when he heard them. He also managed to shoot down a Me-262 which made the mistake of taking the Mossie on in a headon pass. The few 30mm shells that hit the Mossie when though, while the Mossie got a few lucky shots in that blew the Me-262 to hell and gone.

Posts: 893 | From: Amanzimtoti, KWA-Zulu, South Africa | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
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posted 11-30-1999 07:23 AM     Profile for TonyH   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My Great Uncles and my Grand father were in the First War and my father was in the second one. My great Uncle Charles fought with the Connaught Rangers and John fought with the Kings Liverpool Regiment in France and Belgium. John died in the Somme in 1916 and I think Charles died in Ypes in 1915. My grandfather fought over in Galipoli I think with the 10th Irish Division, although I'm not to sure, it could have been France.Anyway he used to tell a story to my father who in turn told it to me. It was about going 'over the top' and advancing towards the enemy. His friend got shot and he bent down to help him, when an officer came running over to him shouting 'What the **** do you think your doing???, get back in the line...'
Granddad said he was helping his friend and started to lift him when the oddicer put his pistol to my granddad's head and said something like' move or I'll shoot you where you stand, you little F$%&er'
Granddad used to say he was never as afraid as he was then, he thought...."this Gobshite's going to kill me and I'm on his bloody side!!!"
So he had to let his mate lie back down and said he'd come back for him later. The attack failed and they had to fall back. Later they went to get the wounded, but my granddad couldn't find his friend anywhere. He thought he must have crawled back to the lines, but when he asked he found that his friend never reported back. He said he never found out what happened to him.........
My Dad wanted to join the Artillery in '42 or '43. He was only young, but Artillery was FULL!!!!so he had to go to the Royal Engineers instead. He used to make Bailey Bridges and other stuff. He was set to be shipped over seas in '44 but was recalled, so he stayed in England. In the final months of the war he joined the transport corps of the R.A.F. moving vehicles and aircraft between the Airfields in 12 group in the midlands. He discharged in '46 or '47 I believe.

[This message has been edited by TonyH (edited 11-30-1999).]

Posts: 287 | From: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
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posted 11-30-1999 07:35 PM     Profile for markgos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
My father (still living) served with RNZAF Squadron 75 as a pilot officer from 43-45.

The last raid he was on was a daylight job on Hitlers Bavarian Alps hideaway (EaglesNest?) The reason they attacked it - they had run out of targets. By then Bomber Command was sending daylight raids because the allies had air superiority.

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Member # 873

posted 11-30-1999 07:58 PM     Profile for Casey   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
To all my fellow sim jocks:

Fascinating, all the vivid history we can share, just by drawing upon the stories our loved ones have told us over a cup of tea or a cold beer.

A hardy Huzzah for all of 'em!

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posted 12-01-1999 02:06 AM     Profile for MadWallaby   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Unfortunately, three of my grandparents passed away before I was born, and my one remaining Grandma Wallaby is quite insane... so I don't have any war stories from my family. I'll borrow one from the father of one of my friends at work instead. It doesn't involve enemy action, but hell... I thought it was enthralling when I heard it!

My friend's father was actually a test pilot in the RAF during WWII. At time this story occurred, his unit was testing the newly designed Tempest, over the farmlands of Cornwall. The problem with doing flight tests over the Cornish countryside is that the local farmers have a habit of delineating their property boundaries with low stone walls. Very effective at keeping the cattle in... but also very effective at killing those pilots trying to bring a stricken bird in for a field landing! And at this stage, so the story goes, the designers of the Tempests were having some problems with the engine...

So here's my mate Paul's dad, flying along on a test flight, when his bird develops engine problems. Before long, he realises that he's not going to be able to get back to base and that he's either going to have to set her down, or bail out. Due to the stone wall problem I mentioned earlier, he decided on hitting the silk.

So finds a clear field, gets the canopy open, noses the Tempest over into a dive and unbuckles. Then kicks the stick forward hard as he can, and uses negative Gs (or rather, the relative change in trajectories) to 'eject' himself from the cockpit.

He gets out safely, parachute opens as it should, Paul's dad survives the ordeal (and subsequently sires Paul).

The plane ended up plummeting into some big pile of dirt... the locals salvaged it a bit later, and, apparently, this plane is in a little town museum now, somewhere in Cornwall.

Anyway, I'd never heard of the negative Gs eject before... has anyone else ever heard of a prop driver using that method? It sure would get around the problem of hitting the tail assembly.

Office Historian.

[This message has been edited by MadWallaby (edited 12-01-1999).]

Posts: 139 | From: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 666

posted 12-01-1999 04:22 AM     Profile for Tannethal     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Stumbled over this kind of leaving a plane a lot of times when reading some german war stories. It was obviously by the book, and in general a "save" method to leave a plane, minimizing the chance to hit the tail.
Unfortunately it required a plane still able to fly level.

Posts: 537 | From: Olbernhau Germany | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 572

posted 12-01-1999 05:05 AM     Profile for Majesty5   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
I've heard that before, it sounds feasible too... I'm thinking it was the German side's technique also.

I've also heard of the stone wall problem, that it happened to Robert Stanford-Tuck; his Spitfire got hit and he thought about leaving it, but after it crossed Dover he decided to stay with it. He went to belly the plane in on what looked like a nice soft field with a hedge in it, but the hedge wasn't a hedge: it was a stone wall. He hit the thing at about 70 or 80 MPH, if I remember right, and came out of unconsciousness wedged underneath the instrument panel butt-first. He had unbuckled his seat belt before he landed, too, for ease of getting out. Now that's an Excedrin headache...

Posts: 789 | From: Dallas, TX, USA | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Capitan Manduca
Member # 918

posted 12-01-1999 05:36 AM     Profile for Capitan Manduca   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
Very interesting stories, guys.

As a good spanish none of my known family fought in neither WWI or WWII (We were neutrals). I know that my grandmother's brother died in the Spanish Civil War when fighting against fascist in Andalucia (Infantry). As she said he died when he was hit in his throat. My other grandparents they lived in Madrid so they had told me about the air raids they suffered (Ju-52 primary) and some air combats in which fought Pavas (He-51 or Cr-32 I suppose) vs Chatos (I-15) and Moscas (I-16)

"Roll over, spin round and come in behind them. Move to their blindsides and firing again"
Iron Maiden - Aces High

Posts: 888 | From: Madrid, España | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 1039

posted 12-01-1999 06:28 AM     Profile for JG5_WrangleWolf   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post
S! all

Only my grand father fought in a war, but was in the spanish civil war, with the republican side. He liked to talk about his career, except for explain how he was wounded 3 times. One of them was a bf109! the plane straffed my Gfather unit and hit his left arm and his back!

Posts: 54 | From: Cunit, Tarragona (Spain) | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged

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