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T/Sgt Edward C Ennis
1943-1944 | Africa, Italy
The B-25s that endured, the men who flew them,and the missions that helped win the war.
T/Sgt. Edward C. Ennis
Info and photos provided by his daughter, Barbara Ennis Connolly
Edward C. Ennis entered the service on March 27, 1942 at Fort George Meade, Maryland. He was then sent to Biloxi, Mississippi where he scored so high that he was given his choice of anything. Skipping basic training, he went directly to the United States Army Air Corps Radio School at Scott Field, Illinois.
Ed Ennis, Charles O Brown, Jr. (Brownie) and Jack Best then went to "the Club" at Boca Raton in Florida to learn the new "Top-secret" Airborne RADAR (RAdioDetectingAndRanging). Ed Ennis said "The English gave it to us and we learned how to use it, without yet knowing how it worked." It was a Court Martial Offence to even say the word RADAR out loud ! Ed was there at "The Club" (Mizner's Exclusive LuxuryClub), now being converted for the AAC, Edward was one of the 1st there, and in the first "Class" BEFORE the 1st official Class, the BRAAF was not completed, or opened for teaching intil 15 Oct. Edward and Jack and "Brownie" arrived about the 22nd Sept. (FBI Certification before Graduation 12 Sept.1942 at the AAC Radio Academy at Scott Field, Ill.) and Graduated 22 Dec. 1942, having enough time to arrive at DeRidder AAB, LA for assignment to the 321stBG, 447thBS 1st Jan. 1943. They qualified with a single flight out into the Atlantic to pick-up on their RADAR screen a fishing boat... and in an old Hudson Bomber! . . . and Graduated 22 Dec. 1942, (another FBI Certification) having enough time to arrive at DeRidder AAB, LA for assignment to the 321stBG, 447thBS 1st Jan. 1943. (Ed and Brownie, Jack Best was sent elsewhere.)
Sergeant Ennis received his flying training at De Ridder Army Air Base, Louisiana, where he was selected for Officers Candidate School. He turned this down however, with the explanation that the work he was doing was so interesting that he did not want to give it up. At De Ridder, Walter Cantrell had been with Lt. Albert Duke and the crew for many months training and flying. Only days before departure from the States, Lt. Duke arrived with their "brand-spanking-new" B-25 (Trigger, #41-13171) that had been equipped with RADAR. This was to be a lead ship and Walter was replaced with Ed Ennis, newly graduated from radar school. Ennis said "there were only 5 radar men to each squadron." Walter Cantrell was assigned to Lt. R.Richardson's ship, the "Harp #41-31007", with whom he flew 49 of his 50 missions. Ed Ennis and Charles O. Brown, (Airborne RADAR/Radio/Aerial Gunner)and his soon-to-be new friend Walter Cantrell were all members of the original crew of the 447th Bomb Squad...and the 321st Bomb Group ...who flew in the "now famous" HOP across the Atlantic with CO Col. Knapp leading the formation. The 321st, commanded by Col. Knapp was the first group to fly from the United States to an overseas base in a single mass. From reports and photo's generously given to Ed's daughter, Barbara, we now know that Ed flew many missions...not only the flight over with Lt. Albert Duke, but with Lt. Henry Stephenson, Lt. Robert Spikes, Lt. James Bugbee, Lt. Charles Grantham, Lt. Hamilton Brinkley (Huckelberry Duck crash 41-12925 4 Oct. '43), Lt. Wilton Brinkley, Lt.Dan Mc Duff, Lt. Davies.....and others.
The above panel, excised from the February 14, 1943 Operations Order #56 instructing the 321st Bombardment Group's flight from Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida to their assignment overseas, shows Edward Ennis' crew on B-25 #41-13171 "Trigge
Morrison Field, Fla. Feb. 15, 1943 "Ennis Almost Left Behind"
OUTLINE HISTORY, 447th Bomb. Sq., Chap. II:
"Everyone had a good time at Morrison field for 2 days. On Feb. 15th, 1943 the Squadron took off on the first leg of the crossing. Everyone got up at 6 o'clock to get an early start. However, the mess hall at the field was not adequate to feed the entire group and it took about 3 hours to get breakfast. "SGT. ENNIS" was almost left when he was sent for sandwiches and did (not) come back until his plane was taxing out."
War Diary, 447th Bombardment Squadron:
"The 321st, commanded by Col. Robert Knapp, was the first group to fly from the United States to an overseas base in a single mass flight. It was also the first to use tail and waist guns in the B-25s. During more than 18 months of Combat Operations in this theater, the unit bagged eight enemy fighters for every bomber it lost."
Technical Sergeant Edward C. Ennis: air medal with three oak leaf clusters, good conduct medal, Europe/Africa/Middle East service medal with five bronze stars, distinguished unit badge.
Tunisia, Sicily, Naples/Foggia, Rome/Arno, Air-Offensive Balkans.
Radio Technician 778, radar observer/waist-gunner.
Ennis said on his 90th birthday in 2004: "I only flew a few missions as a bombardier and in my 90 years, I never did do another thing that was more scary."
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 2009 321st BG Historian PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com
Edward Charles Ennis, 1914-2005
2009 | Lambertville NJ
It is 2009, and I am Ed's daughter, Barbi Ennis Connolly. In doing his life-story, I find there are 2 pages on him, (Courtesy of the U S Army Air Corp ;) so this page is dedicated to mostly what I can find frim when he was smaller. His Mother, Helen died when Ed was 2 1/2, his Dad worked in the Coal Mill on the Deleware River, and Ed attended school there. Ed said he never knew he was poor, everyone was the same there. His father worked very hard, but with the help of close family, Ed mostly raised himself. Swimming in the river, making a fire with the other boys and having a potato to cook (over a campfire in the enpty fields along the River) .....and eat was his favorite. His Dad had a massive stroke when Ed was about 11 and they moved to Germantown (Phila) to live with older brother, Henry and his family. His father passed and Ed attended the Little Flower School there, graduating with highest honors ever recordrd to that time. He turned down a full scholorship to LaSalle College-Prep. Ed worked every day at the local grocer for free, they liked him and as a reward, he got all the old fruit, veggies and once a week, the butcher gave Ed a big bone with some meat on it. Times were very hard, Ed lived with his brother Henry and his family, now had also brother Joe, 2 sisters, Chris and Rose living with them in Germantown, Phila.
After Graduating 8th Grade, Ed took his 1st full time job, 66 hours a week for $ 5.00.
Barbi Ennis Connolly, PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com
Ed Ennis "The Greatest Generation"
2005 | PA
.......... The "Greatest Generation" ...............
They came from all corners of our great country of America. From men, women, children, relatives, friends and complete strangers that had learned to exist at some point in their lives through the "Good Times" of 1910 through to the Stock Market Crash of 29 Oct. 1929... The "Great Crash" would put our Country in absolute and abject poverty as also the weather produced a drought that denied Americans of the most basic of items including adequate food.....
The "Great Depression". The drought caused entire communities to migrate to what seemed a better choice when in fact, none of the Country had been spared by the shortages, most especially the job market..... there simply was not one job to be had. The life span of a healthy male in the 1920's was just over 50 years, so many were already living with a household that listed the family, along with the nieces, nephews, aunts... as well as complete strangers that bedded down in the shed for a place to stay warm and worked for the meager food that they ate. TOUGH. . . the survivors learned to be tough. And durable. And inventive.
America did not believe she was ready to enter the War. WWII, a *new name* since WWI was the "Great War" and most thought there would not be another, we lost a lot of our fathers even though we were not in the Great War all that long.
School boys became patriotic and fired-up long before they were old enough and of those old enough, many did not even own a radio. Pearl Harbor .... Sunday 7 Dec. 1941, President Roosevelt would call it "A date which will live in infamy". The entire Country gathered around their radios to hear the news. Men and boys alike threw down their tools or papers or projects and joined up. . . . having to be aptitude tested for what position/job/duty they were best suited for.
ALL of course, wanted to be Fighter Pilots! But what ever they all became, they all served and they all did their jobs for the good of overcoming EVIL. Much later we would discover that the Evil was a hundred times more than we could even have imagined.
Only months after Pearl Harbor, 18 April, 1942 the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders dropped their bombs on Japan in a daring and risky mission that practically guaranteed their not coming home.... the damage done was minimal but the effect was monumental..... it brought the enemy to their knees. They had thought they were invincible while the effect in America was that of immense Patriotism and goal oriented togetherness. Admiral Yamamoto would say that "they woke a sleeping giant and filled it with deadly resolve".
Henry Ford was famous for inventing the "car for every man". . . but the great invention was the assembly line with 'around the clock 8 hour shift system' that was brought back into our entire Country as the men prepared to serve and the women picked up the reigns and learned to plow while others babysat and cooked. Many became "Rosie, the Riveter" ... Yes, we also had some awesome Red Cross Nurses and plenty of private sector women who volunteered for dangerous duty... as well as our "USO Beauties" that traveled to the front line with Bob Hope and others to keep morale up.
**Our men learned the mechanics of War around the clock **. . . The Country was divided best for "ARMY Commands" and of course the Army Air Corps was born. The WAR is History now and there will always be debates on many events but the winning of that War brought Peace to the troubled world and safety to our minds.
The Federal Government actually made the 40 hour mandate in 1938 (Pre-war-production). Plenty of people would still work nearly around the clock throughout the war and after as our country needed almost everything from butter and nylons to nuts and bolts. America would never again return to a 66 + hour work week. OH, the "Week-end"? After 1938, Henry Ford pretty much invented "weekend trips" ...went on them and then wrote about it. (Quote) "But we can thank the Labor Movement AND Management Jews. And Gentiles. And you may as well throw in God, since He came up with the whole "day of rest thing" in the 1st place ". (End of quote)
It is 2011, 66 years after the end of WWII and we are still proudly honoring our "Greatest Generation". . . there is still time to glean the secrets and ideals of their wisdom and success. "For those who have served, Freedom has a taste - and a price - that the protected will never know" . (Author Unknown)
Written by Barbara Ennis Connolly, WWII 57th Bomb Wing Historical Researcher and Historian for the 319th and 321st Bomb Groups/ MTO, Oct. 2011
On a personal note, my Dad/Edward C Ennis (1914-2005) was a Tech/Sgt who learned the very first application of Airborne RADAR/Radio/Aerial Gunner (no, he did not own a radio) and flew across the Atlantic "The HOP" Southern Route with the General Bob Knapp's 321st Bomb Group in a single mass in the [already famous] B-25 Mitchell Medium Bomber. (No, he had never flown) Ed turned 15 on the very day the Stock Market Crashed on 29 Oct. 1929..... he was then working a 66 + hours a week for $5. He would be an 'old man' of 28 when he entered Combat in the Mediterranean Theatre.
WW II (statistics by Barbi Ennis Connolly)
2010 | Arizona
Written by Edward's daughter Barbi, 321st Bomb Group Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing. 2010;
57th Aircraft, Commanders, Men, Pets, Treasures and More !
It is August, almost September of 2010 and still 65 years after it's end WWII remains the biggest human tragedy, EVER.
WWII touched every family on every street and in every town and city in America. Every family on every farm, in every industry and in all geographical locations. Every story is unique and intensely personal. While all experienced the same war, all experienced it differently.
More than 50 million, some say up to 70 million fatalities world-wide - - - one harrowing statistic after another shows that the actual count will never be completely accurate. These estimates include at least 6 million Jews, 27 million Russians, 10 million Christians, thousands of Priests. . . countless innocent.
The 57th Bomb Wing is about the B-25 Mitchells that endured, the Men who flew them (and fixed them and flew them AGAIN) ......and the Missions that helped win the War.
Barbara Ennis Connolly, 57thBW Researcher, 321stBG Historian