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Purple Heart, etc. of William A. Hill 455th Bomb Group 740th Sq. Operation Halyard survivor.


Brad1
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Acquired this some time ago from a friend who acquired it from a family member. Originally got just the Purple Heart and wings, then about a week later he called and told me he had "something" for me. When I went to see him he handed me a packet with all of this paperwork, etc. that had been found when they were sorting stuff and said it needed to stay with the PH. It included the Western Union telegraphs and letters sent to his wife, pictures and even the Authorization for Issuance of Award and engraving for his Purple Heart. So then the research began.

 

William A. Hill was member of the 455th Bomb Group 740th Squadron (Vulgar Vultures) stationed at San Giovanni airfield at Foggia, Italy. He was a top turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator S.N. 42-52239 named "Lonesome Polecat." On 13 Sept 1944 they took off on Mission 116.

 

 

 

From "Flight of the Vulgar Vultures"  We loaded 30 B-24s with 500# RDX bombs to bomb the refinery at Odertal, Germany. This was another long mission. We bombed the target by pathfinder and dropped 68 tons of bombs. Flak at the target was moderate to intense and very accurate.  We lost three ships over the target. One pilot brought his plane back to allied territory and the crew bailed out successfully.  Nineteen crewman were missing in action.

 

Their plane was last seen going down near Val Mezirici, Czechoslovakia, but the crew all reported bailing out over Yugoslavia. All 9 crew members bailed out and evaded capture. Their escape was evidently made possible by Operation Halyard initiated by the OSS and the "Chetnicks". This operation was kept silent for several decades and is the subject of the book "Forgotten 500" by Gregory A. Freeman. This is evident from a statement from a letter from Bob Armstrong which is included in this grouping that states "Write to me about your 95 days with the Checknicks, etc. This turned out to be a very interesting acquisition. 

 

 

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Thank you all for your comments on this group,  certainly glad you enjoyed it.

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