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LT  Harold W. ESTILL

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BOM

 Bombardier 2nd Lt. Harold W. Estill of the Blohm Crew (100th Photo Archives) 

SERIAL #: STATUS: FEH
MACR:

Comments1: 5 APR 45 NURNBURG/ RETURNED WITH HEAVY FLAK DAMAGE

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Raymond E.Blohm           P  FEH
1st Lt Sammy S.Gunn              CP  FEH
F/0 Willis J.Magathan             NAV FEH
2nd Lt Harold W.Estill           BOM FEH
S/Sgt Rinaldo J.Principe          TTE FEH
   Cpl John W.Parascouly,Jr.    ROG FEH
   Cpl Albert J.Paulik               BTG FEH
   Cpl Walton R.Jennings          WG FEH
   Cpl John T.Redmon,Jr.          TG FEH

350th Sqdn. Thls crew,as above, joined the 100th Group on 4/3/45.

Raymond E. Blohn –  Army S.N. 16160605  (supplies by neighbor and good friend Richard J. Rozevink)


           I was sworn in December 10, 1942 at Detroit Mich. and ordered to report for duty at Detroit, Mich. On Feb 19 1943 at 0900 (received notice on Feb. 13).  Was shipped to Miami Beach Florida via troop train, arriving there 1500 on Feb 21, 1943. Stationed at the Shore heave Hotel (corner of 5th & Ocean Drive). Stayed here for indoctrination & pre-flight training.  Left Miami Beach on March 24, 1943 (2300) and arrived at Pittsburg, Pa. March 26 (2000).  Stationed at the University Of Pittsburg. (First put in Sec.22 Sqd A). After approximately one month was transferred to Sqd B.

I started dual instruction flying on July 14, 1943. Before this, we had a lot of class work on weather, theory of aerodynamics, etc. Received 10 hours of same. Acted as platoon Lieutant during the first week of July and Group Commander of group #1 for the remainder of the time. Left Pittsburg via troop train on August 7, 1943 (1900) and arrived at Nashville Tenn. August 8, 1943 (1230). It Was Very Hot!

After some tests, I was qualified as pilot or bombardier .On   August 24 was notified I would train as a pilot.  I was assigned the position of platoon Lieutant. I was classified too late to leave with my original   group which left on Sunday August 29, 194 (2130). Acting as Sqd. Commander of the men remaining.

 Our group left Nashville, Tenn. On Thursday September 30, 1943 (1700). Arrived at Maxwell Field Ala. (05500) Friday, October 1. We were warmly welcomed by student officers with sabers shinning, shouting,” You’re now at Maxwell, move on the double.” Jogged from the train station to our barracks carrying our duffle bags. We started classes on Tuesday October 5th.Left Maxwell Field (0730) Sunday morning  December 5th, 1943 and arrived at Dorr Field Arcadia, Florida Monday morning at (1100) December 6th, 1943.

 Started flying instructions in the PT – 17, a Stearmon double wing two-seat plane with a 225 Hp engine. First solo flight morning of Thursday December 30, 1943, made three take offs and landing, (Instructor Gordon S. Thon) time in  PT – 17 before solo 9 hours. Passed 25-hour check Friday January 14, 1944. Checking Officer, 1st Luietant Kahn gave the OK. I made my first cross-country flight January 21, 1944. Flew approximately 80 miles, time 01:25. Passed 45 hour check January 25, 1944 (Checking Office Capt. Abrozzo) Assistant Sqd Commander.  Passed 65-hour check ( final ) in O.T. – 17, January 31, 1944.  (Abrozzo check rider again)

 Left Dorr Field approximately noon Sunday February 13, 1944. Arrived at Bainbridge, Ga. February 14 (0600), Raining as usual! Stared training in BT - 13A planes “single wing, 400Hp engine”. First ride  in BI – 13-A with Lt, Kohout on Febuary 17th, soloed the BT – 13A on  March 9, 1944. Was than transferred to twin engine AT - 10 and had first  ride with Lt. Holland on March 28, 1844, soloed the At – 10 on April 4, 1944.

 Mac (Maxine Yager) arrived at Bainbridge on March 17, 1944, was able to see her on March 18 “HAPPY DAY”. We were married on March 31 1944 (2000 hrs), in the parsonage of the local Methodist Church. The Rev Heisler, Pastor held the service, his wife was the witness. Mac stayed at the Dixie Pines Courts. We shipped out of B.A.A.F. Base on April 24th, 1944 and arrived at Turner Field, Albany, GA. April 25th (0200)

 Started training in AT – 24’s (Which was a stripped B -25 Mitchell Bomber) on April 27. My instructor was Lt. Boys. Mac arrived on April 28,1944 and stayed at 701 Park Place for a week, then moved to the B.L.Strickland home at 430 – 3rd St. Albany, Ga.  I passed the final radio and instrument flying check with Capt. Birch our  C.O. on Wednesday June 14. Finished the required phases od training with 78 hours in an AT – 24.

 I was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the A.A.F. “Officer Ser Nu 0 -835129” on June 27 1944, at Turner Field. Had a delay en route furlough. So left for Saginaw on June 28, 1944 (0300) and arrived at Saginaw on June 29, 1944 (1200), was due to report at Hendricks Field, Florida on July 9. We drove down leaving Saginaw on July 6 and arrived in Serbing, Florida July 9, 1944 (2400). Used approximately 80 Gals of gas for the 1500 miles.

My first flight in a B-17 was on July 12, the instructor was Major Redman (Recently returned from a tour of duty in Alaska). Left Hendricks on July 18 with orders to report to Lincoln Nebraska on July 28. I was assigned a crew, except a navigator and bombardier and shipped out on October 11 to Ardmore, Oak. Arriving there on Oct 13. I was assigned a nav., & bomb., one week later & given crew #108. We (Mac & I) are living in Ardmore at the home of W. I. Akers. We departed Ardmore on Febuary 1st and arrived at Lincoln, Neb. Febuary 3rd. We  stayed in a hotel until restricted to the base. Mac left for home on Febuary 12th.

 My Co –Polit Bill Larson did not have to go overseas again and decided to stay in the U.S., so I was assigned 1st Lt. Summy Gunn to replace him, I was assigned a new B – 17 Plane # 44 – 8896, and left Lincoln, Neb at 0315 Febuary 17. Flew the “light line” and arrived at Grenier Field Manchester, N. H. at 1030 (7hrs 15min trip).  We left Grinier Field 1335 G.M.T on Febuary 18th, and arrived at Goose Bay, Labrador 1800 (4hr 25min trip) temperature -15.

We Left Goose Bay 1240 G.M.T. 19th Febuary, arriving at Bluey West#1 (Greenland) 1720 (4hr Trip). We flew up Tuna Fjord and circled the lake to land at the airstrip, we left B.W.#1 (Temp -35) at 0225 G.M.T.  24 Febuary. (Storms low temperature. & High winds delayed our departure for the 4 days) arrived at Valley Wales 1025 (8hr trip). “Flying out of B.W. #1 down Tuna Fjord we hit a patch of fog and hoped the wings didn’t hit the sides of the Fjord, broke out of the fog, and luckily we had stayed in the center of the Fjord and hadn’t scrapped the sides. After we cleared the end of the Fjord we climbed to elevation to fly over the glacier & headed toward Wales, flying at approximately 7000’ and we started to ice-up. We started the wing de-icers, but the props’ were icing up, and throwing pieces of ice that were hitting the fuselage & windows. Had to drop down to 2500’ to get out of the icing conditions. The top of the glacier looked mighty cold & forbidding.

 We were taken by truck from Wales to England. We were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group, 350th Squadron, arrived at the Base (Station #139, Thopre Abbotts, Near Diss, County of Norfolk, England) on March 3, 1945.  Flew 13 regular (Combat) missions with the squadron and 5 mercy missions dropping food into Holland.

                                                                                              
AIRPLANE COMMANDER’S CREW LOG, CREW & DIARY

Lt RAYMOND E. BLOHM    AIRPLANE COMMANDER 108

 
PILOT- RAYMOND E. BLOHM

Co – PILOT- SAMMY S. GUNN

NAVIGATOR - WILLIS J. MAGATHAN

BOMBARDIER - HAROLD W. ESTILL

FLIGHT ENGINEER -  RINALDO J. PRINCIPE

RADIO OPERATOR - JOHN W. PARASCOULY

ARMORER GUNNER - WALTON R. JENNINGS

TAIL GUNNER – JOHN T. REDMON

GUNNER – ALBERT J. PAULIK 

 

COMBAT MISSIONS

 

1. 22 March, 45 Hit Jet Airfield near Sage (Alhorn AF Base).  Flew at 18000’ 9S.E. Bermen)  Bombing Results Very Good

 

2. 28 March, 45 Marshaling Yard at Hanover, Flew at 24000’ 1 Ship lost to flak.

 

3. 30 March, 45 Docks Sub Pens at Hamburg, Flew at 25000’ Intense Flak 

 

4. 3 April 45 Sub Pens and Boats at Kiel, Flew at 25000’ 2 Ships lost Heavy Flak, Bombing Results Excellent

 

5. 4 April, 45 Sub Pens & Docks in Kiel Estuary, Flew at 23000’, Bombing Results Missed

 

6. 5 April 45 Marshaling yards at Nurnberg, Bad weather, lost sqd. on the return came back alone, Picked up flak coast of Holland, Lost #2 engine, landed okay with one flat tire. Flew at 25000’, One ship lost, Bombing results excellent. *

 One thing first Lt. R.E. Blohm, 28 of Saginaw, Mich learned during an 8th A.A.F. mission to Nurnberg marshalling yard and that you cannot count a mission as a milk run until it is over. Piloting his B-17 Flying Fortress, Lt. Blohm ran into unexpected trouble on returning alone to his base, the 100th Bomb Group and here he tells his story: Lt Blohm a graduate of Arthur Hill Trade School was a draftsman for the Saginaw Machine GM Plant before entering the A.A.F... His wife, Mrs. Maxine M. Blohm, lives at 8518 Hermanran St. Saginaw and his parents Mr. & Mrs. Fred J. Blohm reside at rural route #4 Saginaw.

·                     An 8th A.A.F. Bomber Station, England – When you can’t see the wing tips of the next plane while flying close formation, its time to leave, I figured as we were coming back from a fairly uneventful bombing of the marshalling yards at Nurnberg, preparing the way for the ground forces. That is how thick the soup was. Ducking under the clouds to 1500’ all alone we set our course straight for home, but little did we know that course, took us between two large concentrations of German troops at a point on the Dutch coast called Hellwoetsluts, approximately 20 miles S.W. of Rotterdam.

·                     Batteries on both sides of us, 88’s, machineguns, and rifles opened up on us – it sounded like a hailstorm, “Only thing to do is try to go between those batteries and get down on the deck.” I told the boys!  Someone just a moment before had said over the interphone “just another milk run.” By the deck, we mean flying down on the treetops and that is the way to minimize the danger of being knocked down be flak when you come over batteries at a low altitude. “Open fire” I told my gunners, when we got within range of the well-cancelled German position and they did. Our top turret man raked the gun installations and he must have done some damage. Meanwhile I was rocking the Fort from side one side to another – that is twisting & turning to avoid the flak burst, and once there was a burst just where my wing had been a second before.

                    The Germans certainly were persistent. But inspite of the heavy hail of fire not a  man aboard my fort was hurt and our worst damage was a flak burst, which knocked out one inboard engine and flattened a tire. I saw tracers coming close and yelled to my co-pilot “ Get behind the armor plate”. Just then the flak got the engine and it shock us, but none of us were hurt. Meanwhile our gunners kept raining down their slugs in to the Germans and we were skimming along just over treetops.  We were in the fire of the German guns for seven minutes – even after we were well out over the water, the 88’s were still taking potshots at us and coming to close for comfort. My boys agreed afterwards, that if the Jerries had held their fire and surprised us when we were directly over them, they undoubtedly would have knocked us down, as it was, they gave us warning, and we saved ourselves by evasive action and hugging the earth. Coming over the channel, our boys tossed out their ammunition, guns and flak suits and equipment to lighten the plane because our gas supply was low. One of my gunners was so earnest about it he threw out his bag with $100, he had in it. I guess we were pretty low coming over those flak batteries, I told my navigator. Low!  He said, Gosh I could see the ducks walking around there!

 
7. 6 April, 45 Marshalling yards at Leipzig, Aborteds at I,P, Due to run away props, came back alone okay.

 

8. 10 April, 45 Airfield near Bur-bei S.E. of Magdeburg, Intercepted by Jets, Bombing excellent, Lost two ships.

 

9.  11 April 45 Ordinance plant at Landshut (37 miles N.E. of Munich), Bombing results excellent.

 

10.  14 April, 45 Gun emplacements at Royan (45 miles N.N.W. Bordeaux, France), Bombing results missed.

 

11.  15 April, 45 Gun emplacements at Royan with experimental fire bomb, jell leaked in the bomb bay, Passed over the Eiffel Tower on the way down and over London (1000’ bad weather) on the way back. 

 

12.  18 April, 45 Rail junction & marshaling yard at  Strauring Germany, 20 miles S.W. of Regensburg.

 

13.  20 April, 45 marshaling yard at Orenienburg, 20 miles North of Berlin. Bombing results good. Promoted to 1st Lt.

 
Mercy Missions

 
1. 1 May, 45  Dropped food in occupied Holland on airfield near Lenient north of Hauge, Very bad weather, down to 500’ on bomb run (Flew at 130 M.P.H.)

 

2.  2 May, 45 Airfield near Amsterdam, Very bad weather.

 

3.   3 May, 45 Airfield near Alkmaar, Bad weather.

 

4.   5 May, 45 Same as above, except separate plane runs.

 

5.   6 May, 45 Same as #4 dropped near Hilverson, Holland, Liberated flags flying all over.

 

 

May 7th, 1945 Germany surrenders

 

May 8th,  1945 Official V.E. Day

 

May 20th Went to Hersching,  Austria (10 mile S.W. Line). Where we picked up 30 French P.W.  Flew in some supplies, and than loaded the P.W. and flew them to Laon, France (A-70) returned to base, hit thunderstorm over channel, pretty rough. Lost 5000’ elev. With power on full before pulling out approximately 1000’ above the water.

 

June 3rd  P.W. Run – Hersching to a base (A-48) 3 miles South of Paris, French civilians. Nearly hit a man on take off at Hersching, as he ran across the runway.

 

June 9 -10 Ferry trip to Horsching to pick up American P.W. and ferry them to Casablanca, lost #3 engine over Spain, but cleared the mountains okay, P.W.s in bomb bay got very excited when we feathered #3 prop about one hour out of Casablanca #2 engine started to smoke so we feathered it also. Had plenty of altitude to descend gradually to the airport, landed okay, had to leave plane #7514 at Casablanca (Stayed at Fort Lyautey over and flew another plane back to base).

 

August 14th, 1945 Midnight Japan surrenders, peace treaty signed September 2, by Gen McArthur & Japanese.

 

       Most of my crew left for home from England some by plane, some by ships. I left the 100th base on October 27th for a five day trip to Paris, were I assigned to the 302nd Sqd., 314th T.G.C. on November 1st, 1945. Will be Co-pilot flying C-47’s with a pilot who flew gas to the front lines when Gen. G. Patton was making his tank run deep into Germany.

      Left the 100th Base on October 27, by truck to London, Took a train to South Hanpton. Boat across the channel to LeHarve. Truck to Twenty Grand. (Stayed two Days). Than a train to Pairs and a truck to Villacoublay, France. Lived at Cheville until December 1, 1945, and then moved to Butte Rouge Apts.. Was ground safety officer after I stopped flying. Transferred to Furstenfeld-Bruck for processing to be returned to the States March 5, 1946.

      Started for LeHarve the 13th arrived on the 16th March, Left LeHarve at 1430 hours March 29th aboard the S.S. Smith Victory ship, Arrived N.Y. Harbor 1030 hours April 7th, docked an hour later and disembarked 1730 hours was taken to Camp Kilmer N.Y.. Left E.K. by train for Fort Sheridan April 8th  1500 hours. Arrived at F.S. 9th 1930 hours was processed & released from service April 11, 1946. Reached home Friday April 12 1230 hours.

     Entered service February 19, 1943 – Released April 11, 1946 – 3 years 2 months. Promoted to Captain in the Officers’ Reserve Corps A.A.F., 10 December 1946.

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Lt. Raymond E. Blohm Crew
Standing L to R: Harold Estill (BOM), Raymond Blohm (P), Bill Larson (CP), Willis Magathan (NAV).
Kneeling L to R: Albert Paulik (BTG), John Parascouly, Jr. (ROG), Rinaldo Principe (TTE), John Redmon, Jr. (TG), Walton Jennings (WG). 

The copilot pictured is not Sammy Gunn.  It is Bill Larson.  I think the photo was taken either in Ardmore, Oklahoma or Lincoln, Nebraska, prior to having Lt. Sammy Gunn assigned to replace Bill Larson. 

Sincerely,
Willis Jack Magathan
(Navigator)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 1531