457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group Honor Roll
Mission No. 50
457th Bomb Group
457th Bomb Group 457th Bomb Group
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:17

Mission Narrative

Mission No. 50
Date - May 24, 1944
Target - Berlin
This mission, No 50 for the 457th, represented the tenth time our Group had been over Berlin. The Group put up only 16 aircraft. There was no fighter opposition but the flack was very heavy as expected. One plane piloted by Lt Harry Stafford was damaged by flak and eventually had to ditch in the North Sea.
Plane s/n 42-102965, piloted by Lt Harry Stafford, was hit by flak over Berlin after dropping their bombs on the bomb run. Engines #3 and #4 were knocked out and were windmilling. The pilot was injured and unconsious. The plane left the formation and considered going to Sweden but the crew elected to try and make it back. Near Helgoland they were hit again by flak and lost the third engine. The crew dumped everything overboard and the radioman contacted Air-Sea Rescue and The pilot proceeded to make a perfect landing in the North Sea. All the crew managed to get into dingys but by the time a PT boat arrived to rescue them the sea had become very heavy. They were all rescued and returned to Glatton where they finished their missions after spending two weeks in a rest home in Scotland. For a description of this incident by Sgt Walter Osika, tail gunner, see "Black Puff Polly" - Mission No 50.

......... Crew

The crew was as follows:
     Plane s/n 42-102965     
PilotLt Harry Stafford
CopilotLt Bernard Yavorsky
NavigatorLt Arthur Flach
BombardierLt Anthony G. Wodek
Aircraft EngineerSgt Douglas V. Naylor
Radio OperatorSgt Virgil R. Hook
Left Waist GunnerSgt Reginald Buxton
Right Waist GunnerSgt Frank Craven
Ball Turret GunnerSgt Robert Ridge
Tail GunnerSgt Walter H. Osika
                                         (457th Home) (Back)            Updated 12/03/2000, 19:17:18
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the Content:  Willard (Hap) Reese (Website Author)