The link you sent me of the 98th Bomb Group, 343rd Bomb Sq forum, was very helpful. In fact, one of the fellows on there is requesting any information anyone might have on the fate of a family member of his, Lt. Arthur W. Loder, and my dad knows what happened to him and is writing it all down right now for me to type in response to his question. My grandfather told my dad the story of how Lt. Loder was killed instantly from shrapnel and went down with the plane. My pappy saw Loder’s last few minutes of life. It won’t be good news for this man to hear but we may be the only people who really know what happened to his family member and the man can finally have closure. Oh, my grandfather passed away a few years ago … so that is why this puzzle is a bit more challenging for my pop and I. We’d just ask my pappy about what happened, but unfortunately, we cannot.
We do have the official enemy evasion aid report (dated July 22, 1944) that includes the crew names and pilot, chronology of what happened, witness statement from another pilot (Sidney Paisner, 1st Lt., Air Corps.), routes and assaults, results, and an account of the enemy resistance. I am going to scan these and offer them to anyone who is interested in that forum, including you if you like.
The seriel number, 42-78343, (tail number 07054) is correct and here is a little bit more information of my grandfather’s experience:
Pilot: Francis Putteney, My grandfather, Sgt. Charles A. Schultz was the nose gunner.
Plane shot down July 22, 1944, 10:15 am. Fire hit aircraft, which broke out in flame in fusslage (wing, left side)
My grandfather was wounded in back with shrapnel when plane was hit from, my dad is pretty sure, a German 109 Fighter, and became a POW, prison camp # 247, at Camp Shuman. He was freed by the Russians who sent him back by train and he received a purple heart. My grandfather told my dad that on the low level raid Tidal Wave, the planes returned with corn stalks in the wheel wells.
1. Of the five planes they flew, my dad would like to know if there is any information on the nose art from any of them. My pappy told my dad the name of one of the planes he flew in, but my dad cannot remember what it was.
2. Are there are any patches available from this squadron?
3. Any crew photos in existence?
4. Finally, are there any books available on this high level raid?
We are more than happy to share any information that we have with anyone interested. My father would be more than happy to answer any questions as well, as he recalls the stories my grandfather told him about the Ploesti Air Raids.
Again, thank you for your time. Oh, my dad said he will be looking forward to reading your article on the high level raids. :) … Not a bad idea actually.
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Aside from the attached links, I don’t know how else we can answer those remaining questions at this time. I can say, however, that I was unable to find any name or nose art that was applied to that particular B-24H.
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