Eugene Beville the Sep 3, 1943 mission.

Eugene Beville notes on the Sep 3, 1943 mission.

I had hoped to hear some encouraging news about the fellows on the crew when I returned to the states, but I found only disappointment…  While a prisoner, I checked all available sources for information, but found nothing in regard to any of them…. (Editor's note: All the other crew members are listed as KIA.)

We had been attacked by a strong force of German fighters - Messerschmitt 109’s – off the Italian coast, near Pescara, on the Adriatic Sea.  We were crippled early in the flight, but fought on for approximately fifteen minutes with just one engine knocked out and then, a second, …

 At that time we realized that we could never make it back – or even to the coast, as we knew the ship would be entirely out of control and over on her back in a very short time.  I gave the signal to abandon the ship, which was acknowledged by everyone.  Walt waited until the others on the flight deck had cleared then waved to me and bailed out.  Several minutes after I had given the order to abandon, the plane began to roll over on one wingtip, going over on her back, so I jumped.  I had remained at the controls as long as possible in order to give everyone time to clear as it sometimes takes the tail gunner some time to get out of his position.

 I have never known a finer group of fellows than the boys of the crew.   We often mentioned how lucky we were to be together.   Considering the way in which the crews are thrown together, it was miraculous that each man of our crew should be so expert at his particular duty, cooperative with all of the others, and that all of us could be such fine and close friends as well as working mates.  We four officers, in particular, were very close.  Everything we did after first meeting was done together.  The only time we were ever separated was on our final leave before going overseas.  We all thought so much of Walt – he was such a splendid fellow in every respect.