376th Heavy Bomb Group Patch
Home to the 376th HBG
Home to the Heavy Bomb Group
9th 12th 15th Air Force History
Aircraft Crews Men Air Strikes
Aircraft Crews Men Air Strikes
Aircraft Crews Men Air Strikes
History Diaries Join Us Reunions
 

COMRADE DIED ON RAFT IN 3-DAY ORDEAL AT SEA

The following article appeared in the Holyoke Transcript, May 12, 1945, Holyoke, Mass.

"Saved from a life-raft after he and fellow survivors of a wrecked bomber had buried a dead comrade in a grim ceremony at sea, 1st Lt. Philip Scott of this city is home on furlough.

On Monday, Jan.8, Lt. Scott and his B-24 crew dropped their bomb load over Lintz, Austria. A raid on Lintz always meant hell to the 15th AAF boys. When three hundred odd Jerry anti-aircraft guns pour out their concentrated barrage of flak, the odds aren't for you, they figured.

And the odds weren't for Scott. Two of his engines were knocked out. He headed back through heavy clouds hoping to crash-land on a tiny island of Vis in the Adriatic.

The remaining engines were eating up gas fast and the plane began to lose altitude. Five miles from the island, the gas gave out. Scott radioed home-base that he was going down.

It was 3:30 that Monday afternoon when the Liberator's nose plowed ten feet under the sea and the plane c racked in two, from belly to back. Pinned in the nose-end of the plane, Scott and the co-pilot got loose and worked their way out through the windshield which had been smashed in the crash.

Seconds after they freed themselves from the wreckage, the Liberator went down. The nose-gunner, tail-gunner, and radio-man went down with the plane. Eight survivors got in two rubber rafts which had been thrown clear. Five men in one raft, three in the other. Scott tied the rafts together with his necktie.

BURIED AT SEA

While the choppy sea tossed the rafts about, the assistant engineer, whose skull had been fractured, lay delirious in the raft with Scott and his co-pilot. For ten hours they cared for him. Early the following morning he died. The seven men said prayers and buried him at sea. All day Tuesday and all Tuesday night no help came. Scott's raft developed a leak and water had to be pumped continually. The life-boat rations and two cans of water went untouched by Scott. His buddies ate little. Wednesday noon, an air-sea rescue ship appeared two miles off. Scott sent up pistol flares and the ship sighted them, pulled alongside and picked up the survivors.

Returned to his base in Italy, Lt. Scott and his buddies were hospitalized. Scott was treated for burises, cuts and exposure. After six weeks, he was returned to duty.

With the collapse of German resistance in Europe, he was one of the group of 15th AAF men selected to be returned to this country. He is now spending a 30-day leave with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Scott of 43 Beacon Ave. His wife, the former Betty Stoutt of Nashville, Tenn.. is with him. A Holyoke high school graduate, Lt. Scott attended Kent University in Ohio and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before his enlistment in the Air Corps. He was commissioned at Stuttgart Field, Ark. Upon completion of his furlough, he is to report to Nebraska."


****Re- The entry "In Memory of Staff Sgt. Gerald Messing" I was a crew member on this mission (navigator). The documentation in Appendix IV of our Group History book is not correct in stating that A/C #42-95285 was lost due to mechanical failure. I think that "In Memory Of Staff Sgt. Gerald Messing, who we buried at sea should reflect that he died as a result of enemy action not B-24 mechanical failure.. Thank you for your conssideration.
Richard C. Doom
Colonel USAF- retired


As written up by Phillip Scott, our pilot in "Our Good Luck Story"-

"...then all of a sudden, we suffered a near miss burst that shook up our plane and the number one engine was knocked out. I feathered the prop but soon afterwards I noticed that the number two engine was losing power..."

"...then the crew reported that a fuel system leak was suspected because the fuel levels in our gages was dropping excessively...our fuel supply ran out. So I guided our powerless plane down towards the rough seas..."

"...we suffered considerable flak damage..."



Home | Aircraft | Crews | Men | Air Strikes | History | Memoirs | Scrapbook
In Memoriam | Wives
Join Us | Reunions | Store | Resources | Chat Room | Guest Book | Join the Email List | Search | Contact Us
On the Nose: A Special Feature On Aircraft Art | Requests for Info | Research Help

Copyright ©1998-2006, 376th Heavy Bombardment Group, Inc. Veterans Association
Original site by
Robert J. Giordano and Corinne M. Kroening. Web page design by Internet Navigating