William R. Davis

by William M. Davis
(Richmond, Va)

Part 1D
We started making the plane lighter as we moved out of the fighter territory. We had now come all the way down the Hungarian Plains, past Lake Balaton and were crossing the line into Yugoslavia. The navigator had to be especially alert now so as not to take us over any flak areas as we would be easy pickings at 14,000 ft. We had travelled that route many times before, and both he and I knew where every gun in Yugo and Hungary were placed. The enlisted men were busy in the waist jettisoning anything that would reduce our load. Our engines were still holding up and we were hobbling along toward the Adriatic Sea – had to be careful of coastal flak, though. Maybe we could pull a sneak play in between two areas.
We made the coast in due time, slipped thru the flak and started across the water in the direction that would bring us to the Italian mainland the quickest. We had let down to 13,000 ft. and our spirits brightened up, as it looked as though we might make it. If we could only make land we could bail out in safety if the engines quit. I noticed the sea as I always do; it was rather calm that day only waves about two feet high – very good condition if we had to ditch. Of course if we had to go into the water, we were in favor of ditching rather than bailing out as the chance of saving the whole crew is much better. A man who bails out, alone in a Mae West, is not likely to be found and will die.
But in ditching you have the dinghies and all the crew together a much better solution. Things were still going fairly well. I wanted more than ever to get that plane home, so I could see for myself just how much damage had been done. We must have had at least 200 flak holes in it. I wanted to get a good look at those engines too. Time passed; we had gone down to 10,000 ft. now and suddenly the coastline came into sight about 30 miles distant. I felt much better; looked like we’d made it. But wait – then it started – it was as we had tossed a coin and lost.
End Part 1D

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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.

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My Trip to San Pancrazio

October 2019


NOTE change in month !!!

DATES: Oct 26-29, 2023

CITY:Tucson, AZ

HOTEL: Double Tree Suites Airport hotel

7051 South Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85756


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

Bombardier's Diary

Lost Airmen

Langdon Liberando