Herbert - #70-2
Back L-R: Hook, Brevitt (E); Spencer, Raymond B. (TG); Shaw, John L. (NG); Ryan, John T. (RO); Ferrara, Angelo L. (BG); Poturalski, Harry E. (TT)
Front L-R: Dean, Charles R. (CP); Hanley, Hampton A. (B); Herbert, Donald J. (P); Shaw, Morgan A. (N)
Angelo Ferrara explains the gaping hole in the aircraft behind the crew...
On 9 March 1945 over Germany we were hit by a 105mm anti-aircraft shell at 17,000 feet. We were at 29,000 feet when the Bombardier said "No anti-aircraft flak here', so we dropped - Result as shown... No one was hurt.
Upon landing at Cerignola, the Pilot stated - No Brakes.
We rolled until stopping in a field. Again, no one was hurt.
We completed 50 missions.
Greg A. Hanley has identified his father, Hampton A. Hanley (B), and Morgan A. Shaw (N) in the above photo. Thanks, Greg.
The following is from Lisa Numbers, granddaughter of Raymond Spencer. Thanks Lisa.
Raymond Spencer Has Close Escape When Flak Hits Bomber
Fifteenth AAF in Italy—Peering through the wreckage and twisted cables of a B-24 Liberator waist-section, S/Sgt. Raymond B. Spencer 638 West 48th South, tail-gunner, surveys the damage done by 105-millimeter shell in a mission he recently flew to the Graz rail yards, Austria. (Official AAF photo by T/Sgt. Herman Muhlmann.)
Fifteenth AAF in Italy—A split second after the load of high explosive 500-pound bombs left a Fifteenth AAF B-24 Liberator group's lead plane over the rail yards at Graz, a highly explosive 105-millimeter shell whistled in thru the open bomb bay, giving S/Sgt. Raymond B. Spencer, 23, of 658 West 48th South, Murray, Utah, tail turret gunner, his closest escape of the war.
The shell exploded in the radio room, directly above the rear bomb bay, blowing a yard-wide hole in the fuselage and throwing fragments throughout the waist section. Most of the blast, however, shot back through the open bomb bay, cutting the rudder control cables, knocking out the interphone and oxygen systems and causing a gas leak.
Luckily, the radio operator was back by the waist windows and was just starting up to send the "bombs away" message when the shell hit, making the room a shambles. Oddly enough, the only thing to escape damage was the radio receiver, and it continued to work all the way back to the base. There were no casualties.
"It sure sounded close, but it wasn't," he said. "I figured that either I had left the ship or else everyone back in the waist was finished, but when I looked around and saw all of them safe . . ."
It was his 31st mission with the group commanded by Col. B. A. Lawhon, Tacoma, Wash. Since he arrived overseas and began flying combat in early August he has participated in attacks on key targets throughout southern and central Europe. He wears the air medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters.
A 1939 graduate of Salt Lake City high school, he was attending the Utah State Agricultural college when he entered the AAF on June 27, 1943.
His father, Raymond Spencer, lives in Murray.
Courtesy of Chuck Parsonson
Damage to the left side of #70 as a result of the flak.
Courtesy of Chuck Parsonson
Damage to the right side of #70 as a result of the flak.