Rawchuck - #69-1
Courtesy of Matt Gaydos
Standing L-R: Samensansky, Jack (G); Cook, Leo G. Jr. (G); Groves, Harry E. (G); Kincel, Bernard E. (RO/G); Webster, Herbert N. (E/G); Webster, Wayne E. (E/G)
Squatting L-R: Berkman, Jason M. (B); Rawchuck, Nicholas (P); Cameron, Charles W. (CP); Scott, Warren A. (N)
Standing L-R: Herbert Webster (G); Nicholas Rawchuck (P); Charles Cameron (CP)
Squatting: Bernard Kincel (G)
Wayne E. Webster - Italy
Wayne Webster Claims He Was First in Vichy
S/Sgt. Wayne Webster, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Webster, who is a nose gunner on a B-24 somewhere in Italy believes he may have been the first American to enter Vichy, France, in spite of claims of the infantry it was the first into the city.
Sgt. Webster, who left for overseas on 7 August, in the letter described how he happened to be in Vichy on 10 September, several days before it was officially entered by the Allies.
"We took up a load on the first day, which was 10 September. The weather was real bad, and of course we got lost. We couldn't climb above the weather as we would run out of fuel, and we couldn't let down because of the mountains. Anyway when we did break through we didn't know where we were," Wayne said.
"We kept wandering all over France looking for our destination, until we were just about out of gas. We finally sighted a small fighter strip so we had to set down, not knowing whether it was German or Allied occupied.
"The place turned out to be Vichy, France. The scat of the collaborationist. The worst of all was it was still occupied by the Germans.
"A Frenchman was the first man to our plane and told us that. You can guess what we did. We took a loaded Liberator off a 2,700 foot runway which is a feat that hasn't been done before. If we had had time we would have gotten rid of our load but when he told us the Nazi was all about us all we had time to do was ask the length of the runway, hand the Frenchman a pack of cigarettes and sprout wings. We even had to take off downwind and then we really decided our pilot could fly.
"An infantryman claims to have been the first Allied man in Vichy which was 11 days later. I was the first off of our ship so I claim the honor, if you call it that. Anyway eight men beat him there. Around these parts we are known as the 'Liberators of Vichy' and the navigator goes by the name also.
"Vichy is only 80 miles from Lyons so we borrowed enough gas from a B-24 that had better luck than us and took off for Italy. I'm sure glad the Allies have air superiority all over Europe," Webster said.