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yuuppers
09-27-2009, 06:15 AM
NH WWII Pilot Gets Wish for Final B-24 Flight

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 25, 2009
Filed at 2:46 p.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- World War II pilot Bernerd Harding feels he has finally completed his mission -- 65 years after his B-24, nicknamed Georgette, was shot down over Germany.

Harding, now 90, flew 30 minutes Friday from Laconia to Manchester aboard the Witchcraft -- the last B-24 still flying. He sat in the cockpit.

''It was fun. It was worth it. It's history,'' he said after landing.

The last time Harding flew a B-24, he was a 25-year-old first lieutenant piloting a bombing run to Bernburgh, Germany. On the way back, fighters crippled his plane, forcing him and his crew to bail out. Harding spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.

Harding said he felt his mission -- his 14th -- was incomplete without one more landing and Friday's was ''close enough,'' he said.

Harding is just back from Germany where he searched unsuccessfully for the pilot's wings he buried in a cellar after his capture.

Harding's B-24 was shot down a month after the D-Day invasion of Normandy on July 7, 1944. One member of Harding's crew was killed. The others -- including Harding -- were taken prisoner.

Harding landed in a freshly cut wheat field, barely missing a barbed wire fence. Three farmers, two with pitchforks and one with a gun, captured him and herded him into a cellar in Klein Quenstedt (klyn KWEN' -shted). Fearing reprisals from villagers for being a bomber pilot, Harding buried his pilot's wings in the cellar floor.

Two weeks ago, Harding returned to Klein Quenstedt to search for the wings with villagers' help. He didn't find his wings but a villager gave him a silver bracelet recovered from the body of a dead American airman that day. The bracelet belonged to Jack H. Glenn and is being returned to his sister in Anchorage, Alaska. She plans to send it to a museum in Texas where Glenn grew up.

Harding, who is being treated for prostate cancer, had another quest besides the wings: a final flight in a B-24.

Friday wasn't Harding's first time inside the Witchcraft. He toured the bomber about 10 years ago with his grandchildren but didn't fly in it, so this time it was a treat.

''He says, 'I'm making my last landing in light of the cancer,''' said his wife, Ruth, 84, a passenger during the ride. ''What a gift.''

yuuppers
09-27-2009, 06:15 AM
NH WWII Pilot Gets Wish for Final B-24 Flight

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 25, 2009
Filed at 2:46 p.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- World War II pilot Bernerd Harding feels he has finally completed his mission -- 65 years after his B-24, nicknamed Georgette, was shot down over Germany.

Harding, now 90, flew 30 minutes Friday from Laconia to Manchester aboard the Witchcraft -- the last B-24 still flying. He sat in the cockpit.

''It was fun. It was worth it. It's history,'' he said after landing.

The last time Harding flew a B-24, he was a 25-year-old first lieutenant piloting a bombing run to Bernburgh, Germany. On the way back, fighters crippled his plane, forcing him and his crew to bail out. Harding spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.

Harding said he felt his mission -- his 14th -- was incomplete without one more landing and Friday's was ''close enough,'' he said.

Harding is just back from Germany where he searched unsuccessfully for the pilot's wings he buried in a cellar after his capture.

Harding's B-24 was shot down a month after the D-Day invasion of Normandy on July 7, 1944. One member of Harding's crew was killed. The others -- including Harding -- were taken prisoner.

Harding landed in a freshly cut wheat field, barely missing a barbed wire fence. Three farmers, two with pitchforks and one with a gun, captured him and herded him into a cellar in Klein Quenstedt (klyn KWEN' -shted). Fearing reprisals from villagers for being a bomber pilot, Harding buried his pilot's wings in the cellar floor.

Two weeks ago, Harding returned to Klein Quenstedt to search for the wings with villagers' help. He didn't find his wings but a villager gave him a silver bracelet recovered from the body of a dead American airman that day. The bracelet belonged to Jack H. Glenn and is being returned to his sister in Anchorage, Alaska. She plans to send it to a museum in Texas where Glenn grew up.

Harding, who is being treated for prostate cancer, had another quest besides the wings: a final flight in a B-24.

Friday wasn't Harding's first time inside the Witchcraft. He toured the bomber about 10 years ago with his grandchildren but didn't fly in it, so this time it was a treat.

''He says, 'I'm making my last landing in light of the cancer,''' said his wife, Ruth, 84, a passenger during the ride. ''What a gift.''

Phil_C
09-27-2009, 06:40 AM
Laconia is a small airport to have a B24 at... cool story- i wish i was still up there instead of back to work on LI (only missed it by 4 days too!)

i would have definately been there to watch that - it sure must have been a sight to see and hear that monster take off

Waldo.Pepper
09-27-2009, 03:15 PM
The group that operates the B-24, used to and I believe still does, makes it a practice of taking up Veterans B-24 crew members and putting their names on the aircraft.

I recently posted "Quiet Heroes" to abma which is the story of Jim Bagley RCAF. (though he flew with 354 Squadron RAF).

Here he is with his Daughter, and his name on the aircraft.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/WaldoPepper/book/Clipboardjb.jpg

Nice story.