Combat Diary: Jay Ames

Lt Jay W. Ames (Standing, left) was Bombardier of the Altman crew.


WWII Service of Jay Walter Ames



AD Active Duty.
AUS Army of the United States.
B F T Sq   Basic Flying Training Squadron.
B T Sq Bombardier Training Squadron.
DP By Direction of the President.
TDN Travel Directed is Necessary in military service.
TO Transportation Officer.
TPA Travel by Private Automobile.


Jay Walter Ames enlisted in the US Army on October 2, 1942.  He departed his Mayport, PA home on February 1, 1943 and reported to Miami, FL where he was transferred to Huntington WV and stationed at Marshall College.  Subsequently he was transferred to pre-flight schooling at Santa Ana, California as part of the Aviation Cadet Program. During his pre-flight schooling, his fiancée, Julia Kathryn Helmheckel joined him and they were married on July 31, 1943 at Axton Chapel, Santa Ana, California.

SSgt Ames reporting for 12 weeks of Bombardier’s training at VAAF (Victorville Army Air Field), Victorville, California sometime between July 31, 1943 and September 6 Having received 69 hours and 40 minutes of training in the Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan, Bombing trainers, he received his Bombardier’s Wings on December 4, 1943. Also on that date, he was appointed and commissioned as a temporary Second Lieutenant by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was assigned to the Second Air Force, 18th Replacement Wing, Salt Lake City, Utah.  2nd Lt. Ames received 10 days leave and travel time and was ordered to report to the 18th Replacement Wing no later than December 22, 1943.

On January 6, 1944 2nd Lt. Ames was assigned as the Bombardier of Combat Crew number 2241.  Other crew members assigned were:

2nd Lt. Herbert S Altman  pilot
FO Leebert W McFarland  co-pilot
Sgt Charles W. Aldridge Jr.  Flight Engineer
Sgt William M Simington  Radio Operator
Pfc John J. Dow  Armr Gunner
Sgt Henry R. Finken  Career Gunner
Sgt Rex L Jones  Upper Gunner
Sgt Marvin H. Handley  Tail Gunner


The members of Combat Crew 2241 were transferred to 410th Base Headquarters & AB Squadron, Army Air Field, Pyote, Texas, and ordered to report to the Commanding Officer no later than 2400 o’clock, January 9, 1944. The trip from Salt Lake to Pyote, Texas was on a troop train.  Sgt Henry R. Finken was dropped from the crew and Navigator 2nd Lt. Frank T. Hockings and Cpl Malcom C. Campman joined the crew after it arrived at Pyote.  Combat Crew 2241 on Special Orders No. 87 dated 27 March 1944 was as follows:

2nd Lt. Herbert S Altman  pilot
FO Leebert W McFarland  co-pilot
2nd Lt. Frank T. Hockings  navigator
2nd Lt. Jay W. Ames  bombadier
Sgt Charles W. Aldridge Jr.  flight engineer
Sgt William M Simington  radio operator
Cpl John J. Dow  armr gunner
Cpl Malcom C. Campman  career gunner
Sgt Rex L Jones  upper gunner
Sgt Marvin H. Handley  tail gunner


Between January 28th and March 27th, 2nd Lt. Ames flew 26 flights and received 113 hours and 30 minutes of combat crew training in B-17F aircraft.

On March 30, 1944 Combat Crew 2241 was transferred to AAF Grand Island, Nebraska. While the crew was stationed at Grand Island, 2nd Lt. Ames flew 3 flight in B-17G aircraft for 5 hours and 25 minutes of airtime.

The Crew was assigned a B-17G serial number 42-107181 and ordered to England via the North Atlantic Route on orders dated 19 April 1944.  They departed Grenier Army Air Field, Manchester, NH on 21 April 1944 and arrived in the European Theater on 29 April 1944.  (Aircraft number 42-107181 was assigned to 398th 23 May 1945.)  On 10 May, 1944 the crew was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 3rd Division, 4th Wing, 447 Bomb Group, AAF Station 112 and then on the 12th the crew was assigned to the 710 Bomb Squadron, AAF Station 126.

B-17G serial number 42-107003 “Bouncin’ Baby” manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company (construction number 21918) at their Long Beach plant. 42-107003 was delivered to Tulsa, OK 23 January 1943; Kearney, NE 16 February 1943; Grenier, NH 12

February 1944; and Rattlesden, Suffolk, UK.

Assigned 710 Bomb Squadron/447 Bomb Group, Rattlesden, UK 12/3/44.   Hit by debris from another aircraft on a non-operational flight 21/2/45 and salvaged.

On 21 June 1944, Bouncin’ Baby was one of 37 aircraft dispatched to attach Berlin. Takeoff was at 0525 and bombing altitude was 25,000 feet.  Bouncin’ Baby was hit by flak after the bomb run.  A piece of flak ½ inch by ¾ inch by 3 ¼ inch tore through 2nd Lt. Ames’ upper left thigh and knocked him unconscious.  Ames was hospitalized for several weeks recovering from the flak wound.

While Ames was recovering, his crew continued flying missions.  On 11 July 1944, the Altman crew with Bombardier replacement James Walker Davidson from Ohio and Tail Gunner Fritz Jost from South Dakota took off on a mission to Munich in aircraft 42-102651, Piccadilly Ann II.  They were hit by flak and subsequently landed at Dubendorf, Switzerland.  Landing time was 1223 hours.  The 10 member crew and aircraft were interned for the remainder of the war in Europe.

2nd Lt Ames was returned to flying status in August, and flew his next mission on 27 August, 1944.  On that day, as luck would have it the target was also Berlin.


Station 126, Rattlesden AAF, Suffolk, England

Operational Missions

Target Date Duration  
Konigsburg, Oil depot, Germany 28 May, 1944 8:30 P
St. Pol-Siracourt, Gun emplacements, France 30 May, 1944 4:45 P
Hamm, Marshalling Yards, Germany 31 May, 1944 6:45  
Wissant, three 150mm Coastal guns, France 4 June, 1944 5:00  
D-Day, Targets north of Caen, France 6 June, 1944 7:00  
D-Day, Argentan, France 6 June, 1944 6:30  
Nantes, France 7 June, 1944 9:30 P
Le Touquet, Airfield, France 11 June, 1944 5:15 P
Conches, Railroad targets, France 12 June, 1944 6:00 P
Misburg, Oil refinery, Germany 18 June, 1944 8:00  
Berlin, Germany 21 June, 1944 9:30 P
Berlin, Germany – weather recall 27 August 1944 6:20  
Bremen, Germany 30 August 1944 6:55 P
Mainz, Germany – Recall 1 September 1944 7:20  
Brest, Costal Defense, France 3 September 1944 6:40  
Kassel, Vehicle factory, Germany 22 September 1944 7:10  
Ludwigshafen, Synthetic oil plant, Germany 25 September 1944 6:45  
Bremen, Armoured veichle factory, Germany 26 September 1944 6:55 P
Ludwigshafen, Industrial plant, Germany 27 September 1944 6:20  
Merseburg, Synthetic oil plant, Germany 28 September 1944 7:25 P
Kassel, Truck factory, Germany 2 October 1944 6:50  
Gilberstadt, Airfield, Germany 3 October 1944 8:00 P
Berlin, Strategic target, Germany 6 October 1944 7:05 P
Merseburg, Oil refinery, Germany 7 October 1944 7:45  
Bremen, Aircraft plant, Germany 12 October 1944 6:15 P
Cologne, Rail targets, Germany 15 October 1944 5:40 P
Harburg, Oil plant, Germany 25 October 1944 6:15  
Hanover, Industrial plant, Germany 26 October 1944 6:00  
Merseburg, Germany, Recall due to bad weather 30 October 1944 6:05  
Merseburg, Synthetic oil plant, Germany 2 November 1944 7:30  


October 25, 1944, Jay was promoted to 1st LT.  On November 10th 1944, Ames was transferred to 70th Replacement DEP AAF STA 591