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My Uncle and his flight team in front of the plane, "Lassie Come Home." WWII

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    Posted 2 years ago

    (21 items)

    My uncle W.W. Cochran is the gentleman in the middle/front row. This was a B-24 (I think) of the 379th Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force. I'm not sure about the identification of the bomber group, because my uncle didn't write anything on the back of the photo. I've googled just about everything and discovered that there were 3 planes named, "Lassie Come Home." The picture of the B-24 matched this plane.

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    1. flashlarue flashlarue, 2 years ago
      Checkout this page:
      There is more info on this plane, another photo of it, and when it was shot down.
    2. flashlarue flashlarue, 2 years ago
      Also from the internet:

      If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
      Super Moderator
      Join: Jan 2006
      Posts: 10498
      Southeast TN.

      Oct 09, 2011 · #1
      Researching a WWII B-24 Crew
      I've spent several hours researching my Uncle's B-24 Crew and final mission. My Uncle Pete died in 1990 and other than knowing he was a gunner on a B-24, was shot down and spent the rest of the war as a POW,,,,,,we really did'nt know anything. I started digging and learned a lot.

      Peter Euggino was with the 456th Bombardment Group, 746th squadron assigned to the North African Theatre operating out of Stornara Italy. His B-24 serial # 42-64480 "Lassie Come Home II" was shot down over Opava Czechoslavia on 08-22-1944.

      I happened upon a couple Czech articles about the incident;

      Article Author: Paul Bezecný

      J. Rajlich - Mustangs over the Protectorate
      Website 456th Bomb Group -
      Website village Vrsovice -
      Article passes over. chronicler of the city Hradec nad Moravici Mr. L. Sonnka the way by J. Quick

      On 08/22 1944, the village near Opava Vrsovice crashed American bomber B-24H Liberator, who attended that day raid on a chemical plant in Heidebrücku in Upper Silesia (now in Poland Kedierzin)

      I personally know this story through newspaper article Mr. Ladislav Sonnka, now deceased chronicler of the city Hradec nad Moravici, who years ago searching for details of this air disaster. The article contains lots of information on the fate of the crew and is also supplemented by eyewitness testimony sv?dk?.V article actually missing the "personal information" Liberator bomber crashed.

      Recently I have our regular meeting KPM Opava (which are irregularly attending), noted that the Liberator is Vršovice even after years of somewhat anonymous. A colleague Milan "Helicopter" Matušek just noticed that on this machine with Mr. J. Rajlich mentions in the book "a protectorate over the Mustangs," and that there are some "personal data" Liberator of the (serial number and unit).

      Lent me a book, which greatly helped to clarify what I have for years considered secret. And even though I own a book about 10 years ago read. Sorry about me is that the internet was at that time only some of the excesses of affluent citizens, or passionate collectors pornography. :-D

      With the help of Mr. J. Rajlich books and the internet was incredibly easy to track down these details: B-24H Liberator sn.: 42-64480 belonging to the 746th assembly Sqdn, 456th BG, 304 BW, 15 USAF, named his crew "Lassie Come Home II" is at 12:30 am, on August 22, 1944 crashed into the ground at a field near Vršovice (okr.Opava).

      Shoot down the B-24H Vršovice near the claimed Ofw. Otto Köhler from 300th 9/JG Köhler attacked by flak damaged B-24H in the Square 15 East S/RQ-6 at an altitude of 1300 m at 12:20 h.

      The crew consisted of:

      Pilot 2ndLT (Pilot-captain) William H. Smith captured
      CO-Pilot F / O (Copilot) Robert J. Foley killed, cop shot radu?ským
      Navig. F / O (Navigator) Gustave J. Levine killed, died in a jump
      Bomb. 2nd LT (Bomber) Philip R. Cahil captured
      L / W G SGT (Left side shooter) Frank V. Mikaitis killed, died in a jump
      R / W G SGT (Right side shooter) Peter Euggino captured
      N G CPL (Leading scorer) Joseph W. Turnage missing
      T / TG ??SGT (Upper gunner, radio operator) Elmer M. Mehlmauer captured
      B / TG ??SGT (Lower shooter) William T. Smedley captured
      T G CPL (Rear gunner) William S. Gamble killed, died in a jump
    3. Carlie Carlie, 2 years ago
      Thanks!!! My aunt knows that he was in Italy, but she doesn't remember anymore about him. Apparently, the "Lassie Come Home" plane that he was on wasn't this one.
    4. flashlarue flashlarue, 2 years ago
      The crews for the individual aircraft could and did vary from day to day. The eight or so individuals on any given day could have included you uncle just not that fateful day.
    5. flashlarue flashlarue, 2 years ago
      The photo of the aircraft with your uncle is the same aircraft in the photo identified as the one which crashed.
    6. flashlarue flashlarue, 2 years ago
      Your photo shows 24 men and a B-24 only flew with a crew of 10. Less than half of the men in your photo could have been on the plane for any one mission. You uncle got lucky.
    7. Carlie Carlie, 2 years ago
      Thanks, flashlarue! My aunt said that he had had a problem with his ears and wasn't allowed to go on a mission. I'm not sure if that was the one when they plane eventually crashed or not. He was the radio man, most of the time, but, on his last mission, was the navigator. She said that it took him weeks to talk about what he had seen and experienced and then he didn't say much.
    8. TimTomsMom, 9 months ago
      This is amazing! I am a great grand daughter of on of the men in this photo it was their Captain Allen Duff

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