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2nd Lt. Hillard Johnmeyer

R.A.F. War
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ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITIAN
(Aeronautical Map) R.A.F. (WAR)
SPECIAL ORDERS #73 dd 14 Mar 1945
SPECIAL ORDERS NUMBER 73 dd 14 Mar 1945
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There were 6 crews assigned to the 389th, 6 to the 466th and 6 to the 491st on this order.

The local paper

This English airfield lies just to the east of Wymondham, which is about seven miles south-west of Norwich in the eastern portion of England in Norfolk County. (East Anglia: Norfolk and Suffolk) The first USAAF use was in Mid September 1942 by the 320th Bomb Group (M). Hethel is a small village in Norfolk, England. It is located near the historic market town of Wymondham, and is approximately 10 miles south of the city of Norwich. The village gave its name to the former RAF Hethel airbase. 2nd Lt. Hillard Johnmeyer and crew were stationed at Hethel Airbase - Station 114.

Stations are the official Air Ministry names. In most instances the name is that of the parish in which the airfield was situated, but it often happened that the complete station took in parts of two or three villages and in such cases the name of the station was usually that of the most important place. Another factor was the avoidance of similar sounding names that might lead to confusion. New bomber groups from the USA were sometimes preceded by a small advance party, then air and ground echelons would arrive, usually on different dates, often weeks apart.

The 2nd Air Division (in Norfolk and northeast Suffolk) was mainly in Norfolk and was predominantly flying B24 Liberators. The Headquarters of the 2nd were located at Ketteringham Hall, some 3 miles north east of Wymondham, six miles south-west of Norwich. The Second Air Division evolved out of the reorganization of the VIII Bomber Command in to the Eighth Air Force. Starting as the Second Bomb Wing, it became the Second Bomb Division and when the fighter wing was assigned, in September 1944, it was redesignated the Second Air Division in January of 1945. Second Air Division planes carried a circle on the tail.

The fighter contingent of the 2nd Air Division was the 65th Fighter Wing controlling five fighter groups based at airfields in Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. A fighter group was composed of three fighter squadrons with approximately 30 aircraft each. Fighter types in the 2nd Air Division were mostly North American P-51 Mustangs, but a single group flew Republic P-47 Thunderbolts.

A cluster of three airfield groups (but sometimes two or four) made up a Combat Wing and the groups of a wing usually operated in support of one another. Hethel was the Headquarters for the 2nd Bombardment Wing made up of the 445th Bomb Group based at Tibenham, Norfolk, just to the east of Tibenham Village itself which is about 13 miles south-southwest of Norwich, the 453rd Bomb Group at Old Buckenham, Norfolk, approximately two miles south-east of Attleborough between Norwich and Thetford, and the 389th. It was also the HQ for the 2nd Bomb Division Provisional Squadron attached to the 48th Station Complement Squadron.

Bombardment Groups were popularly termed Bomb Groups. The Group was the basic operational unit of the air force and each had a numerical designation. Each airfield was occupied by a single Bombardment Group consisting of four flying Bombardment Squadrons. Total personnel on a bomber station varied between two and three thousand.

Squadrons activated with a group usually remained as components of that group throughout hostilities. The exceptions were chiefly in special organisations and reconnaissance groups. The squadrons beside the 567th, were the 564th, 565th, and 566th. A squadron had an average complement of 12 to 16 B-24s and 200 combat airmen. For every man in the air there were another three on the ground. The following units were attached to the bomb group, and its men performed a wide variety of duties essential to running the Hethel airdrome and keeping 'em flying.

5th Station Complement Squadron Detail A18th Weather Squadron, Weather Detachment 114
19th Station Gas Defense Detail24th Mobile Training Unit
48th Station Complement Squadron209th Finance Section
255th Medical Dispensary Company1215th Quartermaster Company Service Group
1200th Military Police Company (Aviation) 1080th Signal Company Detail A
1750th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company  463rd Sub Depot Class I
2032nd Engineer Aviation Fire Fighting Platoon874th Chemical Company
79th Service Squadron of the 327th Service Group Detachment A

The crews were not to know it, but as the B-24s touched down on April 21, 1945, the 389th had flown its last operational mission. They had completed 307 missions from their Norfolk home out of the group's total of 351 and had lost 153 Liberators in combat. On May 30, the B-24s left, leaving behind silent, vacant runways.

In April 1945 the following units were disbanded: 48th Station Complement, 255th Medical Dispensary Company, 463rd Sub Depot, 1200th MP Company, 1215th Quartermaster Corp Service Group, and 1750th Ordnance Company, and its personnel were transferred into one of these units: 832nd Air Engineering Squadron, 656th Air Material Squadron, and 406th HQ & Base Service Squadron, Air Service Group.


SPECIAL ORDERS #54 dd 17 Mar 1945
SPECIAL ORDERS #54 dd 17 Mar 1945
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NEW PILOT AND CO-PILOTS CHECK LIST
NEW PILOT AND CO-PILOTS CHECK LIST dd 22 March 1945
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Penworthy Note Book

no.1 on my 21st birthday   31 March 1945

Stars and Stripes
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1st Mission 31 March 1945
1st mission target at Brunswick took off about day break with a 6-800' ceiling. We encountered some fighters and picked up 2 flack holes. The first time I ever saw enemy territory a B-24 got hit, caught fire just over the Holland coast. I saw 10 parachutes open and she went into a tight spin. It spun from about 8,000 ft and hit with a terrific explosion shooting flames 1000-1500' into the air, we were carrying 12 - 500 pounders. It looked as if 3-4 men drifted out into the Cold North Sea. A fine way to see enemy territory for the first time.

2nd attempted mission on 6th April. We took off with 1 mile visibility 400 ft. Ceiling climbed on instruments to 20,000 over France? Never found our formation!! Got shot at with very accurate flak - still on instruments. Let down to 400' over Enemy territory and came back with the 12 - 500 pounders
Fine Navigation

2nd mission
7 April 1945 (as if I would or could forget)

Stars and Stripes
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2nd Mission 7 April 1945
2nd mission completed We owe our life to the protection of God and our 50 Cal. Gunners. We took off with a 600' ft. ceiling. We had briefing at 2:45 A.M. but took off at 8:30 climbed through over cast and formed normally. Everything went swell until about an hour before the target, when fighters hit us. They fought us until after we hit the target a M.E. 109 pressed an attack on our individual plane. he poured 20 M.M. into our tail, waist, & halfdeck and martin upper turret. at the same time he was shot up by our gunners and made a suicide collision with our lead. (Col. Herboth) & deputy lead. They both exploded less than 100 yards in front of us spraying shrapnel and flames all over us knocking a big hole in our left wing. almost throwing us out of control. It split up our formation so we fell in on a wing of another airplane for. . .(end 1st page)

Duneburg ammunition Supply was our Target

protection. all radio ecquipment was shot out, all oxygen was shot out except for three positions. 2 men were wounded and our martin upper was shot up. The Navigator took the martin upper while the radio operator gave first aid to the Eng. We used oxygen out of walk around bottles and our good positions until it ran out. We fell back and down in the bomber stream to get lower because of no oxygen. We were at 12,000 for about 45 - to 1 hr. without oxygen. not having radio contact we guessed at the altimeter setting & let down through the overcast and landed. It just came over the radio that altogether we got 104 Enemy fighters. our pictures show we got 100% in 2,000' of the target and 90% in 1,000'.

our Bombardier will not be with us again he was Pilotage Navigator on the Lead Airplane which Exploded in our face. We were leading the 8th Air Force. In God I trust

3rd Mission
9 April, Monday

Stars and Stripes
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3rd Mission 9 April 1945
our First "Milk Run". We briefed 3:30 but it was foggy so we stood by until 12:45 before we took off. Capt Gillow brought us a sandwich each. We went to a Jet airfield at Memmingen in the South Eastern part of Germany. There was no flak or fighters which raised the moral of our crew considerably. Pottle my Engineer is still grounded from the wounds he got Saturday the 7th. We enjoyed the sites over Belgium, Luxemberg, France & Germany. There were a lot of Fires at the Front Lines. We saw a ship sinking in the Channel. and on the way back a B-17 went down in the Channel. Air Sea Rescue was there before it sunk. E. J. our Radio operator watched the bombs hit and he said they were perfect. We landed a little after 21:00 (9 P.M.) - Really hungry and tired. I took my shot of licquor which I never miss and turned in.

4th mission
11 April Wednesday 1945

Stars and Stripes
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4th Mission 11 April 1945
Another "Milk Run" "Thank God." We had briefing at 6:45. Pottle is still Grounded. We took off at 9:00. Good weather over the Continent so we formed over there at 5,000' We flew low and looked the Countryside over. Some Cities are flattened. There are Bomb Graters around every place of importance. We saw several airplanes that had crash landed in the flat country. We went to the Marshalling yards at Amberg and dropped our 5 - 1000 pounders. on our way back we saw our artillery shell several towns along the line close to Munnberg. We flew low all the way back over conquered territory and gazed at the battle damage which is almost unbelieved in places, such as Frankfurt Cobleny, and along the Coast where they flooded miles and miles of land and villages. We land about 17:10 (5:10 P.M.)

5th mission
16 April Monday 1945

Stars and Stripes
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5th Mission 16 April 1945
Today we hit Landshot. a railroad yard. We took off about 10:30 it was clear. Everything went O.K. except for a bad blazing fire in the tail turret just before we hit France. I enjoyed looking at France & Germany on the way over. We were Monitoring the Fighters and some bandits were reported in the area We saw flak get a couple other B-24's in a wing ahead. It must have been over Munich.

Today was the first time "Judge" Pottle could go along since our Second Mission. We were in the air 8: hrs 30 minutes and got back sooner than we expected.

8th May 1945

VE day ends our combat missions. I was in London on VE day a very happy occasion.

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