18 June, 1944 — Hamburg, Germany
Thomas Jeffers; 458th Bomb Group (Heavy) 754th Bomb Squadron, B-24 H "Rhapsody in Junk" #41-28773. Shot-down on 18 June, 1944 over Newminster, Germany. This B-24 was out of airfield, 'AAC 123' of the Mighty 8th Air Force in England. Lt Thomas Francis Jeffers was their Commissioned Bombardier. 9 of the 10 Combat Crew survived and became POW's. Thomas was in Stalag Luft III.
The MIA was sent to Mrs. Phyllis M Jeffers (wife) at 23 1/2 East Southern Avenue, Springfield, ILL
Pictures and stories from Thomas' proud daughter Marilyn Jeffers Walton/ Author /Historian
It is the story of a 23-year-old bombardier in a B-24 who was shot down over that village called Blick, in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, and taken prisoner by the Nazis. There is a rubber patch which came from the field where Thomas's parachute came down on June 18, 1944, as the young bombardier's B-24, nicknamed "Rhapsody in Junk'' by its 10-man crew, crashed in a ball of flames in the woods nearby. The rubber patch is an original piece of the B-24's tire!
One crew member was killed. The rest became prisoners.
Thomas had grown up in New York and Massachusetts, came to Ohio in the early 1940s as a young civilian engineer at Wright Field in Dayton.
There, he joined the Army Air Corps. After a year of training, he was sent to an air base in England. That's where, as a lieutenant and bombardier, he joined the 8th Air Force's 458th Bomb Group and was assigned to the crew of Rhapsody in Junk. He was on his third bombing mission when Rhapsody in Junk went down before it could hit its target in nearby Hamburg.
Links to Marilyn's book can be found on the left below the MAP.
Barbi Ennis Connolly, WWII Historical Researcher and Historian for the 319th and 321st Bomb Groups in the 57th Bomb Wing (B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com Additions / corrections?