Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5, 1944

Today is the anniversary of the final flight of Dad's B-24. Here are the pictures that Dominique sent to me:

The beach at Argentella

A wider view of the beach, with added B-24.

Propellers in a picnic area near the beach, presumably from 42-78127.

Dominique sent me the e-mail address of Judi, the daughter of Korkuc, the tail gunner on 42-78127. She had this to say:

I'm so happy to hear from someone who's father survived that day. No need for thanks, I'm sure your father would have done the same, they were brothers at arms. My father didn't give a lot of detail about that day, except that the mission was to bomb the torpedo pens in Toulon France. They did make, and they did deploy their bombs and from what I understand they took some flack which started their decent. They threw as much stuff out the plane as possible it order to lighten it up so that perhaps they could make it back or at the every least get out over the water. My father said that he wanted to shoot the at the bases of the other guns on board the plane so that they could push those out too but the rest of the crew didn't like that idea. My father mostly suffered head and facial injuries, along with a few other bumps, bruises and lacerations. I don't know if you've been in touch with Frank Allegrini, he's a historian on Corsica, who found the wreckage of our fathers plane his email is I'll attache the pictures he sent to me of the wreckage along with the story about my father that was in the local paper at the time and the pictures that were taken of the bomb drop that day.

My father's post war life was a good one. He married and had four daughters (I'm the youngest of the four). When he died on August 11, 2005 he was survived by wife Jean who died only three months later on November 1, 2005, his daughters and 8 grandchildren. 3 grandsons and 5 granddaughters. Since his death three great granddaughters have joined the family.

It's wonderful that you're going to Corsica. It's a dream of mine to be able to make that trip one day.

Do you have any pictures of our fathers? I've looked everywhere for a crew picture but so far I've had no success.

Safe travels and I'll look forward to hear from you.

She attached this clipping:

Click to enlarge

I guess I owe a lot to David Korkuc. His heroics explain how Dad survived with his severe injuries when the plane was in the water.

Judi also forwarded the following photos of the wreckage sent to her by Frank Allegrini:

Dominique says that storms have moved or hidden the wreckage, so I feel less bad about not knowing how to dive.

Not everyone made it off the plane. It's worth remembering the crew members who died in that wreck 66 years ago today:

• Vaessen H William 1st Lt 0-536855 829th BS 485th BG Pilot
• Sipes R William 2nd Lt 0-705827 829th 485th BG Copilot
• Wittenbrink E George S/Sgt 36446168 829th BS 485th BG Radio Operater
• Duer N Richard 2nd Lt 0-703456 829th BS 485th BG Bombardier
• Witham L Harris Sgt 35753847 829th BS 485th BG Nose Gunner
• McGregor W Jack Sgt 35613832 829th BS 485th BG Ball gunner


  1. Very interesting Joe. I stopped by the local Veteran's Memorial on my morning walk and thought about Dad and the crew.

  2. Have you contacted Jerry Whiting? He is a historian for the 485th bomber group. He is also active in the annual reunions.