Harry R. Gillett mission March 31, 1944

Lt. Turner and crew lost No.2 engine after takeoff with fully loaded aircraft, and was unable to feather the propeller, the propeller continued to windmill. He made it around to final and crashed wheels down about a 1/2 mile short of the runway. Aircraft and bombs exploded. Lt. Turner received a skull fracture and other crew members broken arms and legs. Lt. Turner later recovered in the Hospital.

Yes, all the crew members got out of the aircraft before the bombs blew up. Ground personnel in the area had rushed to their assistance.

- Further Narrative-

I was not on this mission to Ploesti, but was in the 512th Squadron Area watching the takeoffs and assembly of the Group formation. During the assembly I went to my quarters on the 2nd floor of our Villa to get something and as I was leaving Lt. Gerald S. Brown my Squadron Operations Officer rushed up the stairs saying one of our 512th aircraft was in trouble and had crashed south of the runway.

We went out on the roof adjacent to our quarters and saw black smoke rising from the crashed aircraft. No one knew for sure if it was a 512th aircraft or which crew?

With this I jumped in my jeep and took off for the crash. The crashed aircraft was approximately 2 1/2 miles from our Squadron area. It took some time to get there because of the terrain and other obstacles. As I approached on a road running parallel to the accident, I could see through the grape vines and low brush that the aircraft had sustained major damage and was on fire. There were a couple ambulances and several other vehicles, of all types, and personnel rushing around the aircraft.

When still driving on the road and about 1000 ft. away one of the 500# bombs exploded. The concussion blew my jeep off the road and into a ditch. It didn’t tip over and I was not hurt.

Personnel begin to run from the aircraft and the ambulances proceeded to the Hospital at Mandura. Not being able to further help I returned to the 512th area and was informed it was Lt. Turner and crew. Upon getting this information I immediately drove to the Hospital at Mandura.

While there and present during the examination of the crew the Doctor told me Lt. Turner had a fractured skull, --he was really out of it--. Other crew members had broken legs, arms and other internal injuries, but no loss of life.

I returned to the hospital a few days later to check on Lt. Turner and the rest, al I were doing O.K. During these few days another of our Crew members Lt. Keller-Co-pilot lost an eye from flak over Vienna, Austria, also Lt. Gerald Brown my Squadron Ops Officer was there having an emergency appendectomy. Eventually Lt. Turner was shipped home and was doing O.K. Further disposition unknown.

376 ARCHIVES

At the 2017 reunion, the board approved the donation of our archives to the Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas - Austin campus.

Also, the board approved a $5,000 donation to add to Ed Clendenin's $20,000 donation in the memory of his father. Together, these funds begin an endowment for the preservation of the 376 archives.

Donate directly to the 376 Endowment

To read about other endowment donation options, click here.

2018 REUNION

DATES :  TBD

CITY : Dayton, Ohio

HOTEL: TBD

2018 reunion details


previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid


The Liberandos


Three Crawford Brothers


Liberando: Reflections of a Reluctant Warrior


376th Bomb Group Mission History


The Last Liberator


Full Circle


Shadows of Wings


Ten Men, A "Flying Boxcar," and A War


I Survived Ploesti


A Measure of Life


Shot Down In Yugoslavia


Stories of My Life


Attack


Born in Battle