1945 — Corsica, France, Italy
"Bill" Poole was born in Montgomery, Alabama to John N and Anne B Poole on the 1st of January, 1925.
From Bill; Quote... Forebears of these folks came from Laurens County, South Carolina to the Montgomery Area sometime between the 1790 and 1800 Census. James William Thomas Poole, a Great, Great Grandfather appears in the 1790 Laurens County South Carolina Report. Laurens County was just about the entire State at this time, There might have been a second County. The above Gentleman is probably buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery and Church in the community of Bethlehem a few miles West of Sellers, Alabama in the Southern area of Montgomery County. There is a very, very old Tombstone which was broken and repaired. This repair using Cement covers the Dating on the Stone, but the name is clearly present. (some small additions and corrections to come).
Lt Wm H Poole could be quite possible one of the youngest Bomber Pilots of WWII. He flew B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers in the 310th Bomb Group, the 379th Bomb Squadron and completed 70 Combat Missions out of Corsica and was only 20 years and 4 months when he completed that ! Bill Has stories of events and places that happened during WWII in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations that are amazing even now. (2010) How amazing to look back through the bright eyes of one that was there, and did all of that ! 70 Combat missions ! One Officer had ONE Mission (of the last of the war) and he said ONE was enough to last him a lifetime !
WWII Lt Bill Poole was a B-25 Pilot wo flew Combat Missions out of Corsica (France) in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. He completed 70 Missions ending up his War-career on 19 April, 1945 and was still in Naples waiting for an appropriate "ride" Home to the ZI. For one to get home to the ZI (USA /Zone of the Interior) each was given "10 sets of Orders" It was assumed that with 10 sets, no matter how you did it, you could make it back. Some only used one or two, many used all 10 ! Bill's STORY; My age was 20 years four months when I completed my 70 Missions, April 19, 1945. Graduated from Twin Engine Pilot School - Class of 43-K, the last class in 1943 when 18 years 11 months. Turned 19 years in B-25 Pilot Transition School, January 01, 1944. Some pilots were lucky enough to be assigned to attend Transition School where one learned to fly a Combat Type Aircraft. Attending Transition also meant that the Transition Pilot accrued additional flight hours and attended Overseas Training as First Pilot after being assigned a complete Crew upon arriving at Overseas Training School: Copilot, Bombardier-Navigator, Turret Gunner, Waist ( Radio Operator) Gunner, and Tail gunner. The Copilot comes directly from Graduation of Flight School to Overseas Training School and learns what knowledge that can be assembled during the two or three months of Overseas Training. I spent much time attempting to get my copilot up to speed where he could at least land the aircraft! We departed for overseas, flying the South Atlantic Ferry Route July 08, 1944 – I was 19 years and 7 months and really thought I was going to the Moon! Most of us were ” Ill Traveled” due the the Depression! Most of us had never been to the adjacent State. Dad was a Railroad Company Employee and thus had Rail Passes available for Family. I had been from my Home Town of Montgomery, Alabama to various parts of Florida! In any event We flew the following legs to reach Tunis, Tunisia. West Palm Beach, to Borinquin Field , P.R.; Georgetown, B.G., Belem, Brazil; Natal, Brazil; Ascension Island, South Atlantic; Liberia; Dakar,Senagal; Merakech, Morocco; Tunis, Tunisia. Ten long days at approx 150 MPH and eight hour flights at minimum Throttle to conserve Fuel!. Some very old Sergeant with Hash marks the full length of his sleeve joking Took our new airplanes and laughtingly announced that we kids would have to destroy all the airplanes we had on the front before we could have any of the aircraft stowed in the large fenced area at Tunis! Until this occurrence we thought that the 12 airplanes in our flight belonged to the respective crew – what a shock! A C-47 (Douglas DC 3) flew us to Ghisonaccia Gare, Corsica. (Gare, means Railroad Station in French in the event you know as much French as I)
In any event Norm Vance, John Jones, and I were in the lead Element of Three Aircraft; Bernard Peters, Alexander McStea, and Tewell were in the second element of three Aircraft. The two Elements of Three Aircraft comprise a Box of Six Aircraft. Our Formations were comprised of Boxes of Six Aircraft. The Boxes of Six Aircraft Dropped their Bombs Simultaneously – thus four each 1000 pound Bombs times six Aircraft dropped 24 x 1000# = 24,000#.
I have 8 x 10 inch photo of the first box with McStea breaking away turning left to keep the Engine Fire away from the Cockpit! I had no knowledge of the existence of this photo until about 1989 when Blair Burkhardt, The North American Aircraft Tech Representative (a Civilian) who served with us was showing me photos that the Photo people had given him from time to time!. I immediately recognized the 379TH Colors on the Tail; Then I recognized my aircraft since I was flying the last Painted Aircraft in the Squadron – OLIVE DRAB IN COLOR! I ASKED Blair if he knew what the Target was – He answered, Yes, it is Rovereto. Apparently a Photo Recon Aircraft flying much higher with a fine lense snapped the picture and to my knowledge no one in the Squadron ever had knowledge of the photo. Jones and I are the only ones living in the lead Element.
I see Bernard Peters frequently in the second element Tewell in the second Element Probably isn’t living since I talked to him about 1988 and He didn’t even know his own name or what Squadron he had served in.
Bill; "My memory is still reasonably good for a youngster of 85 years. My wife is Dorothy E. ( Pat ) Poole she is also age 85 (January 18, 1925)". Bill and Pat have lived a long time in New Mexico and travel well, visiting their son in Scottsdale AZ and to see other places. Bill has been up to Colo Springs to meet with and see Peterson AFB and Lt Col Mike Assid, the CO of the 380th Space Control Squadron and where the Legacy 379th Space Sauqd is nearing her time to be an active Space Unit in 2011. THis is one amazing Veteran, a pleasure to work with and he relates some awesome statistics. . . 70 Missions completed and only 20 years and 4 months of age !
More to come; Barbara Ennis Connolly 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher.