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