Boyd V. Hall 322 BG/452 BS
Lead Crew, third mission to Ijmuiden on the 26 of March 1944
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|L - R: Capt. G.H. Watson, Co.pilot; Lt. Col. Gove C. Celio, pilot; Capt. S.H. Past, navigator; Lt. H.C.Evans, bombardier; S/S. Oscar S. Currie, Radio gunner; S/S Boyd V. Hall, Engineer gunner; S/S.John T. Harvey, tail gunner. Missing from photo: S/Sgt. Longoneo, waist gunner.|
we hit the IP the Norton bomb sight took over and the pilot followed the PDI indicator and
he had to keep that arrow on zero till the bombs were dropped on one mission to the
railroad yards at Tergnier I swear that that bomb run had to be 10 minutes, I could never
tell you how we got through it we had some help from above.
But I did get a piece of flak in my right leg.
There was another time we went to hit a launching ramp down in Cherburgh and we got
the book threw at us there was an 88 went through the fuselage during the evasive action
and it went through the turret and cut all my wires off and the bonding on the wires stuck
in my gloves if I hadn't been facing forward I wouldn't be writing this. I was the only one who ever got hit in all 65
missions. But Sheldon Past our navigator did
get hit when he was flying with another pilot. All
"The 322 Bomb Group had 3 boxes of 18 planes to a box Col. Celio led the first box Col. Othel Turner led the second box and Maj. Louis Sibille led the third box. All three men were on the first Ijmuiden raid. With revenge in mind the 322 had long awaited the mission on the 26 March 1944 The objective was the harbor and Navel installations from which fast E boat harassed allied shipping. We were flying 41-311967 SS-H "Johnny Zero" We drew our first fire from the IP. Col Celio said that the left engine was loosing RPM and had to be shut down from the top turret I could see that the right engine had been hit and was smoking pretty bad but we managed to finish the bomb run and drop the bombs and fired a red flair to tell that we were dropping out of the lead and dropped down to about 5000 feet and headed west for England. The right Engine continued to operate but still smoked all the way back Capt Past said that it was 33 minutes till we got back. Many of the air craft were ripped by flak and had to crash land on return one was the our lead ship "Johnny Zero which was forced to belly land at a B17 base at Framlingham, as we made our approach the landing gear was left down and registered as locked but wasn'tt and collapsed when we hit the runway and we wound up on the grass fortunately no one was injured. I believe "Johnny Zero" was retired after that, this same crew on D Day at a little after 6AM we led the 322 to the beach at Caen we dropped 16 250-pound bombs on the gun emplacements. I was back again in the afternoon with Col. Nye to bomb a Highway bridge on the river Orn, it was in the Caen area and we were to get it at all cost. We flew the new "Ginger" 42-107689 PN-U as the first "Ginger" either was shot down or crash-landed. I flew my 65 missions and was rotated back to the states and was discharged under the point system, and was discharged on the 18th of May 1945." B.H.