447th Bomb Group Association
Photos and information provided by Ed Maul
The Thornbury crew arrived at Rattlesden on March 16 and were assigned to the 710th Squadron on the following day (Special Order No. 67, 17 Mar 44; 447bg Ref B0558-0989). Within two weeks they had completed orientation and were flying combat missions.
The Thornbury crew, probably at Ardmore AAB
transit to England
Front L-R: 2Lt. George
Filush, B; 2Lt. Joseph (Ray) Thornbury, P; F/O Albert E. Cowey, CP; 2Lt.
Dominick Padula, N
Back L-R: Sgt Stanley Saviski, TG; Sgt Lloyd Roach, LWG; S/Sgt Harry Smith, ENG; Sgt Harold Kiehn, RWG;
S/Sgt George Stratos, ROG; Sgt Dante Rich, BTG
|2||42||4/1/44||LUDWIGSHAFEN (Recalled)||42-31154 Shack Happy|
|3||43||4/8/44||RHEINE||42-31144 Miss America|
On April 13, the group experienced intense flak en-route to the target, forcing some planes to abort and return to base. Over the target itself, a Messerschmitt factory in northern Germany, the formation again encountered heavy flak, and several more aircraft were severely damaged. Three of those, including Thornbury's 42-107021 -- less than a month old -- were able to make Dubendorf Airfield in Northern Switzerland.
The group's summary report of the mission gives little in the way of detail:
42-107021 with the Thornbury crew on board, photographed after
landing at Dubendorf, Switzerland on April 13, 1944.
Note left inboard engine feathered and shut down.
During their internment, the crew was quartered in and around Davos, Switzerland. Lts Joseph (Ray) Thornbury and George Filush escaped in September 1944. Dante Rich also escaped. The rest of the crew was repatriated in 1945.
Details of the internment and escapes are included in One Lucky Bastard by Elwyn "Stub" Warfle