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USAAF

Without Nose Section - Crash-Landed (Burned) 20 Jun 44 - Salvaged

Contributor - Al Blue
On 20 June 1944 a burst of flak blew the nose turret off this un-named B-24, taking the Navigator and Bombardier with it. Pilot Charles Stevens brought the ship back across the Channel where it crashed-landed near Dungeness, a few miles from the English coast.

Info Contributor - John (from the UK)
The crash at Greatstone was from 491 Bomb Group, Medfield in Suffolk. It was part of a force bombing V1 launching sites in the Pas-de-Calais area. Flown by Lt Charles Stevens, it took a direct hit from a 88mm shell which blew away most of the nose section. Both the Navigator, Lt Harold R Meng, and the Bombardier, Lt William F Weck, were killed instantly, Meng's body being blown out of the aircraft by the explosion. Only two of the four engines were working as the B24 left the target area, and a third failed over the channel. The remaining engine began to lose power as the B24 neared the Kent coast and so the pilot decided to try for a crash landing on the beach at Greatsone. Two crewmen, Fulbright and Peak both elected to bale out before the forced landing, delayed opening their parachutes, and were killed instantly when they fell onto the sands.
The following is from http://www.greatstone.net/ :
A young RAF doctor, Sqn Ldr D D Morrell, saw the bomber crash and attempted to wade out to it, but was driven back by the force of the waves and the strong current. A Mr J Frost of the local Civil Defence unit, took control of the situation.
An Army amphibious 'dukw' was commandeered to ferry Sqn Ldr Morrell to the aircraft and the other surviving crew were taken ashore. An officer was trapped in his seat by his legs and the rising tide, already up to his shoulders, threatened to drown him. Sqn Ldr Morrell repeatedly dived underwater to free him, succeeding in the nick of time.
Before he was taken ashore Sqn Ldr Morrell gave him morphia because of the appalling injuries to his legs. Sqn Ldr Morrell was later awarded the OBE for his 'outstanding courage and initiative'.
The aircraft could be seen on the sand at very low tides for a number of years, but has now disappeared buried under the sand.

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B-24 Best Web. Published on Veterans Day 11/11/97. Last modified: October 09, 2016