1943 — North Africa /Italy
T/Sgt William C "BILL" Coursen was an original in the WWII General Bob Knapp's (now famous) Flight over the Atlantic with B-25 Mitchells in a single mass without loss". leaving from Morrison Field Fla. 12 Feb.1943 and flying the Southern Route "HOP" to Africa.
12 Feb 1943, SNAFU #41-12930 was one of the ships in the Knapp Flight Over. page 22, Bill flew Over in the Engineer's Position. http://57thbombwing.com/321stHistory/321_BG_1943-02.pdf
Bill's 1st Combat Mission, 16 Mar. 1943 to Ain Ghrasesia, N Africa. in the SNAFU, He is an Engineer.
Bill was so excellent at the Engineering Mechanics of the B-25 that he was promoted to Crew Chief in the 447th Bomb Squadron. He received a BRONZE STAR for Excellence.
21 May, 2006 Barbi to Terry; Hi Terry, just checking in. I am making progress, I have a question, please, Ed came back with 2 gold coins, from his survival pack. Walter Cantrell sold his in Africa, and Bernie Quilty still has his. Would you ask your Dad if he remembers ? Hoping all is well, I check-out your site now and then for new photo's of the kids ! Blessings, Barbara 23 May, 2006 from Bill's proud son Terry to Barbi Ennis Connolly; Dad said they received the survival pack before they left for Africa. Dad had 1 gold coin. He said it was a small gold coin, but could not remember how many francs it was. He said it was worth $13.00 in American money. In Tunis, there was a Jeweler who was buying them. Dad sold his for $72.00. He couldn't remember, but thought he used the money to buy candy & some other things. He said it was hard to get candy.
321st Bomb Group, 447th Bomb Squad HISTORY
Trip over: "Gen Bob Knapp's [now famous] Flight across the Atlantic in a single mass with out loss/ Southern Route"
A/C No. 41-12930 “SNAFU” P Brinkley, Hamilton M., 1Lt CP Brinkley, Wilton R., 2Lt N Hartis, John G., 2Lt B N/A E Coursen, William C., T/Sgt R Stanton, James E. “Jim”, T/Sgt G Gouvin, Henry J., S/Sgt F N/A
16 Mar 43:
A/C No. 41-12930 “SNAFU” P Brinkley, Hamilton M., 1Lt CP
Brinkley, Wilton R., 2Lt
N Hartis, John G., 2Lt B None listed – likely the navigator E Coursen, William C., T/Sgt R
Stanton, James E. “Jim”, T/Sgt G Gouvin, Henry J., S/Sgt F None
28 Dec 43 - 447th BS War Diary: About 8:30 this morning one of the tents in the area literally went down in flames. The fire was started by the wind blowing sparks from a near-by trash pile against the tent. The tent itself was a complete loss as well as the greater part of the personal equipment within. The members of the tent, none of whom were at home when the fire broke out, were: T/Sgt. Bruns, T/Sgt. Coursen, T/Sgt. Nieman, S/Sgt. Brandt, and Cpl. Holland. All the personal possessions of Cpl. Holland, who was in the hospital at the time, were totally burned. The following left for rest camp at Capri: 1st Lts. E.P. Mayben, R.P. Dunn, H.W. Stephenson, S/Sgts. W.P. Franklin, N.J. Batteiger, R.R. Fiorello, E.C. Ennis, and Sgt. A. Zacharya.
Batteiger, Norman J., S/Sgt, gunner Brandt, George F., S/Sgt, engineering
Bruns, Robert E., T/Sgt, engineering
*** Coursen, William C. T/SgtC. T/Sgt, engineer- ********
Dunn, Robert P., 2Lt, pilot Ennis, Edward C., T/Sgt, radio-gunner
Fiorello, Thomas R., S/Sgt, gunner Franklin, Willie P., S/Sgt, bombardier, gunner
Holland, Patrick H., Cpl, engineering Mayben, Ernest P., Jr., 1Lt, bombardier
Niemann, Harry C., T/Sgt, engineering
Stephenson, Henry W. “Steve”, 1Lt, pilot
Zacharya, Andrew, S/Sgt, gunner
PLEASE see Bill telling his own "War Story"...
He is best known as Crew Chief for Wiginton and the Paper Doll :)
http://57thbombwing.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=8113 BillCoursen, Gallery-Album in the 57th Bomb Wing! MTO - WWII
Barbi Ennis Coonnolly PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com 321st BG Historian