Samuel D. Rose - Mission July 16, 1943

The next trip was to Bari Italy on the 16th of July. We bombed the air field north of town, the second time we'd been there. No trouble the first time. This time we flew up the boot over land and had fighters all the way. I flew on the left wing of Maj. Appold. We lost a plane as we crossed the coast and it blew up on fire. I lost an engine about ten minutes before the bomb drop. We were turning left so I could keep up with the formation. M.E. 109's were allover the sky and us. I could see those 20 MM canon shells burst coming closer and closer each pass they made. As we left the target the formation pulled away from me and the fighter took over. We were shot up pretty bad and my left wing was on fire so I signaled bailout. The top gunner killed the pilot of the last ship to come at us and he ran into our tail knocking off the stabilizer. All but one man got out and he just came along for the ride. Cap. Cladakis was an intelligence officer for the group, he got hit in the stomach with a cannon shell and blew him up. Another one hit the waist gunners gun near his hand and filled him full of flack but he got out and down OK. His name was Jack Hughins. He was a replacement that day, because I had two of my regular crew in the hospital from a previous mission. I held the plane steady as I could until everybody got out, then I jumped out the bomb bay. With all the fighters around I didn't want to be shot going down so I didn't pull my rip cord until I was about a couple of thousand feet from the ground. We bailed out about twenty thousand so I had a interesting trip down. I was falling face down and found I could stick out an arm and change my direction of spin, first one way then another. When I hit the ground I was first and quite a ways from the others. I counted the chutes coming down and had three more than was on my ship. As it turned out two ships were shot down together. I landed in a harvested grain field on top of a little hill with houses on three sides. A friendly farmer and his wife in a two wheel cart picked me up for short time and offered me a loaf of hard bread. When I landed all I had was my flying suit and a package of chewing gum. I gave the gum to the farmer but the black shirt police came then and took the gum and me away from him. I was taken to a little town of Potenza where I asked for a doctor because my back hurt from landing so hard that I could hardly walk. They got one but he said he could do nothing, it would just take time, and it has. They put me in the back seat of a small Italian car with two men and two in front. Each had a briefcase so the car was full especially the back. They took me to Bari where the others already were. The rest of the crew thought I had gone down with the ship because they didn't see my chute open. They put us in a barracks in a induction center near the harbor, also there was an antiaircraft battery on the other side of the tall brick wall surrounding us.


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My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


DATES: Sep ?->?, 2022





Click here to read about the reunion details.

previous reunions

For Sale

The Other Doolittle Raid

The Broken Wings of Zlatibor

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


Born in Battle