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svatczech

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

please, could anybody tell me John Buterac´s crew members (+ fates), S/N 42-31752 crash in Yugo, 22nd August 1944 ?

Thanks.

Svatczech

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jdvos

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Reply with quote  #2 
I can't tell you the name of the crew, but 42-31752 was my the A/C my father (top turret gunner James J. Vos) was originally assigned to. The plane was nicknamed "The Simp" and as I understand it his crew flew a separate plane August '44 when 42-31752 went in for maintenance. They were flying in a separate ship went their old Fortress went down on the Odertal raid 22 August '44.
jdvos

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Reply with quote  #3 
oh, and a follow-up question. My father passed away this past Sunday, any chance you have a photo of 42-31752?

bkelly

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Reply with quote  #4 
I think my father was a waist gunner on a crew with John Buterac for some number of sorties.
Swindy

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Reply with quote  #5 
Svat,
The pilot ordered the crew to bail out over Yugoslavia while the navigator and bombardier were attending to the severely wounded co-pilot.  Shortly after the enlisted men had bailed out, the plane began responding to the flight controls better so the pilot decided to try to make it back to their base in Celone, which they did successfully, crash-landing the plane there.

The entire crew is as follows:
Pilot:  F/O John Butorac
Co-Pilot:  Lt Leslie Avery
Navigator/Bombardier:  Lt James McKittrick, Jr.
Top Turret:  S/Sgt Carl Mastromatta
Right Waist:  Sgt William Peveto
Radio Operator:  T/Sgt Fredric Bertrand
Left Waist:  Sgt William Daley
Ball Turret:  S/Sgt Silas Harland, Jr.
Tail Gunner:  S/Sgt Joseph Attanasio

To my knowledge, none of these men are still living.

P.S. And yes, the plane was named "The Simp"

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Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
PaulE

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Reply with quote  #6 
Joel,  Among the crew members listed as having flown on 42-31752 "the Simp" on the fateful day of Aug 22nd, 1944 when it left the formation with an engine on fire, was Sgt. William P. Daley.  He was left waist gunner and bailed out, captured and became a POW.  The MACR number is 8108.  As I recall, he told me it was his first combat mission.

I am happy to be able to tell you that he survived the war and is now living North of Philadelphia.
Bill became an artist and art teacher, and I was fortunate enough to have studied art with him for four years at the Philadelphia College of Art from 1959 through 1963.

Here is a list of the crew members taken from MACR 8108, their serial numbers and their fate after the plane went down:

Pilot:  F/O John Butorac   T-62668   Returned to base after crash landing 

Co-Pilot:  Lt Leslie Avery  O-819469   Wounded - Returned to base after crash landing

Navigator/Bombardier:  Lt James McKittrick, Jr.  O-712302   Returned to base after crash landing

Top Turret:  S/Sgt Carl Mastromatta  33491135  Bailed out, was not captured - Returned to base

Right Waist:  Sgt William Peveto  38419172   Bailed out, captured - Stalag-Luft 4

Radio Operator:  T/Sgt Fredric Bertrand  20909742  Bailed out, captured - Stalag-Luft 4

Left Waist:  Sgt William Daley  32893529  Bailed out, captured - Stalag-Luft 4.  He survived an infamous forced march West that began 6 Feb, 1945, lasted about three months and many hundreds of miles.

Ball Turret:  S/Sgt Silas Harland, Jr.  33539599   Bailed out, captured - Stalag-Luft 4

Tail Gunner:  S/Sgt Joseph Attanasio  111044823  Bailed out, captured - Stalag-Luft 4

Paul


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Paul
Swindy

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Reply with quote  #7 
Paul,
How would one get in touch with Mr. Daley?  Does he do email?  Or would a telephone call be a better route?  I would love to correspond with him if he is willing.

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Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
PaulE

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Reply with quote  #8 
The wounded co-pilot, Capt. Avery, said in his casualty questionnaire (included in MACR 8108) that the plane struck the ground in Yugoslavia North of Zagreb.  They did not crash land at the base in Celone.  The three men who were in the plane when it crash landed, plus one of the men who bailed out, all "made it back to base" but there is no mention how they managed that given that Zagreb is at least 350 miles from Celone as the crow flies, and the Adriatic must be crossed.

Does anyone know how they managed this?  

Paul

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Paul
Swindy

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Reply with quote  #9 

After checking my Escape and Evasion Reports on this group of men, it seems they were picked up by some partisans and turned over to a British officer who then turned them over to a U.S. officer who had helped build an airfield.  The E & E Report is pretty much lacking on details other than names but from that comment about the airfield, I would assume they were transported by air back to Italy.


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Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
PaulE

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks Joel,  It's amazing that so much information was recorded under such difficult conditions.  Do you have any sense of how long it took them to get back to Celone?

Also, did S/Sgt Mastromatta who had bailed out with the other four return by separate means our was he able to re-join the three men who crash landed the plane?

Paul

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Paul
Swindy

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Reply with quote  #11 
Paul,
The E & E Reports lists only three persons that were interrogated upon return to Celone.  They were F/O John Butorac (pilot), Lt James McKittrick, (bombardier) and Carl Mastromatta, (top turret gunner/engineer). The co-pilot, Lt Leslie Avery, was wounded in the leg and taken to a hospital in Yugoslavia for a couple of days after they came in contact and 'possession' of the partisans in the area.  The previously listed three others were taken to an airdrome by a British Major and evacuated to Bari, Italy from there.  I would assume that since that was the case, that Lt. Avery followed shortly thereafter because the report does state that they (the listed four men) were all picked up by Partisans and turned over to the British Major, who then saw to it that Avery was hospitalized and the others returned to Italy.

I do not have a record of the interrogation of Lt. Avery so I can't tell you anything about his experiences after being in the hospital.

I could type up the entire report if you wish.  It is only three pages long and a very brief account of the events after the crew was shot down.  It does not contain much drama but it does describe the actions of the Yugoslavians that helped the men.  It also mentions that Butorac spoke the Yugoslav language which made a difference in how quickly they were aided by the Yugoslavians.

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Joel
463rd BG Historian
Proud son of 1/Lt Leroy J. Swindlehurst (1921-1950)
Navigator, 772nd Squadron
Joel@463rd.org
PaulE

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Reply with quote  #12 
Joel,  Thanks for the update on the way these men managed to survive the nightmares of war.  It's amazing that such networks of others risking their lives to help others survive existed.  I would like to hear more about the saving of the flight crew but don't go to the trouble to retype the report.

Thanks, Paul

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Paul
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