Wilbur Mayhew Mission January 31, 1943

Post mission

The next morning we walked back to the "Pink Lady", and I think that walk was the most wonderful one I have ever taken. Of course, we did not walk very well, but at least we still were able to walk. When we looked over the old girl that morning, we patted the ground again. She was more damaged than we had realized the night before. A British intelligence officer was counting the holes in her when we arrived on the scene, and his total was above 700 ( the belly was caved in so no count could be made there ), so one can see she was considerably beaten up. Even the propellers had several holes apiece in them. I checked my ammunition supply and found I had only five rounds left. I'm glad I did not know that while I was in the air. The last we saw of the "Pink Lady" she was being readied to be pushed into the stone quarry.

About noon the same day we began loading what was left of our equipment into one of the planes that had covered our tail the day before. This plane had only two holes in it from the fight. We had to leave Pat behind in the hospital (he eventually lost both feet). We took off for our base at Abu Sueir about 1 :00 P.M. ( 1300). Our crew was still rather shaky when we took off Although Malta was controlled by the British, it was located approximately 200 hundred miles behind the German lines in North Africa. Thus, we easily could have encountered German fighter planes on our way home. Consequently, we were quite nervous all the way back to our base. It was a most glorious sight that night when we circled over the friendly lights of Abu Sueir to make our landing. We were very sorry we had to leave Pat on Malta. The thing that hurt us most, though, was the fact that Joe Taulbee and the rest of the crew he was flying with that day had not been able to get back.