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|Saturday, February 5, 1944
386th B.G. Great Dunmow, Essex, England - Station No. 164
A beautiful sunny day, the author and a few inhabitants were playing cards about noontime in our Nissen Hut. On the outside near the top of the door painted in large letters was: Section 8, (the military medical term referring to folks who are somewhat mentally deranged). About the middle of the door was painted: HUT- SUT" from the song of the times, "Hut Sut On The Riva Rah." Suddenly we heard a high speed whine followed by moaning engines in a very steep pull-upsomebody was giving our 552nd Squadron area a classic buzz-job! A few seconds later a sharp booming explosion shook our corrugated sheet metal hut. We ran outside to see what had happened! No aircraft was in sightonly tiny pieces of plywood and fabric shimmering like snow flakes could be seen falling from the clear blue sky.
The cockpit and forward fuselage section of a twin engine De Havillland Mosquito Bomber had crashed less than a quarter mile off our base in a farm field, approximately two miles west of Great Dunmow. As we approached the crash scene tracer ammunition was seen to arch up out of the burning wreckage, along with sounds of other exploding ammo. One man had bailed out of the Mosquito and was okay, the other crew member was killed. Later that day I saw a part of an orange colored fuel tank in the grass along side our briefing building. I was to learn some forty plus years later while doing research, the buzzing Mosquito Bomber during its steep pull-up had collided with a four engine Avro Lancaster Bomber flying over our field. Both of the RAF planes had exploded!
The main wreckage of the Lancaster had fallen a mile or so away from our base. There was an American Officer, First Lieutenant Charles A. Weber 0-672518 of the 74th Troop Carrier Squadron, 434 Troop Carrier Group; had been a passenger in the Lancaster. He and all the other occupants in that ship were killed. The lieutenants wife lived in the City of Evansville, Indiana.
Captain Edward T. Keating Medical Officer in the 554th Bomb Squadron was in charge of post-mortem examinations, and filed appropriate report with Headquarters. While at the crash site of the Mosquito Bomber I picked up a piece of the left wing tipwas a bit more than a square foot in area. I wrote on the fabric cover the date and location of the accident. I still have it to this day where it hangs on the wall of home office; along with a swastika I chopped off the fin of a Focke-Wulf 190 in France. Memorabilia of days gone by!
Chester P. Klier