20 Oct. 1944 — Italy
Dec. 2012 Mrs Wm Mabbutt is at her summer home until April when she returns she will be sending pictures and other stories;
For now, Anita has said that Bill could not get past the slip-stream and finally fought his way out the tail, only to swing only once and he shattered his ankle when he hit the ground. Since he was so long in getting out, the others thought he perished in the ship. Luckily the Partisans found him first, carried him a short distance, stabelized his ankle, put old peasant clothes and a cloak on him, placed him on a donkey and was told to just be still and look down. He was walked this was through many villiages until they arrived at a "safe" house where there was an English Dr. who repaired his foot as best as possible. The donkey was led by a Priest and it was explained he was a deaf-mute crippled person and they made it over to his VERY SURPRISED 'mates', who had escaped their captors. This incredibly KIND English Dr. stopped and delivered a local baby, catching back up with them in a few days!
Anita remembers that one time (during the 3 months evading) they were in a local barn and surprised by the Germans. Only thing was to dive into the hay where they spent a miserable night taking turns punching the shoulder of one of the 3 who SNORED. Bill said he was never so scared in his life...and cold! The Germans had used the pitchfork to get their own hay beds and never once touched the men.
Upon return to their unit, Bill said that someone was wearing his BOOTS, he sat directly down and took them off and handed them to Bill before they hugged! (as told to Barbi Connolly on the telephone :)
#43-3403 Incendiary Blonde B-25 Lost on 20 Oct. 1944.
11 Dec. 2012 from Professor Agostini Alberti;
Have received the attached file by Mr. Bottacin from Pieve Albignola,
the small village where did crashed the B-25 "Incendiary Blonde" on Oct
He was able to find Mr. Battista Fasce, the partisan (now he is 87 years
old) who hid and assisted Sgt Mabbutt after the "landing" in enemy held
It sounds an interesting story... With Friendship, Ago
(Prof. Agostini Alberti, AirCrashPO Team Leader, Italy) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WAR-DIARY; 321st Bomb Group (Medium), 447th BS; 20 Oct. 1944
Friday, 20 October 1944
447th BS Mission Summary (Ops Order 594/mission 594) Group Mission # 594:
Eleven of our ships participated in a raid on the Galliate Road Bridge, in
Northern Italy, with Lt Rice leading our Squadron. Excellent concentration
of bombs on target, scoring direct hits on the center and west end knocking
two spans down in the center and one span at the west end. Strings also hit
both approaches. Bombing accuracy, 100%. Mission efficiency, 62%. 1 plane
failed to return. 1st Lt Richard L. Willis (MIA), 2nd Lt Edmund R. Harvey
(MIA), F/O James I. Wentz (MIA), S/Sgt Anthony J. Abbondanza (MIA), S/Sgt
William T. Mabbutt (MIA).
A/C No. 43-3403 “Incendiary Blonde” (MACR-9442 – hit by flak - crashed)
P Willis, Richard L., 1Lt – remained in plane – KIA – buried 21 Oct 44,
Piave Albignola Field 2, Row 9, Grave 6
CP Wentz, James I. “Jim”, F/O – MIA – POW returned
B Harvey, Edmund R., 2Lt – remained in plane – KIA – buried 21 Oct 44,
Piave Albignola Field 2, Row 9, Grave 7
E Mabbutt, William T., S/Sgt – MIA - evaded enemy - returned to USA
Intelligence Service, Army Service Forces, New York Port of Embarkation,
Brooklyn, New York on 16 Dec 44)
G Abbondanza, Anthony J., S/Sgt – MIA – POW returned
Abbondanza, Anthony J., S/Sgt., Aerial-Gunner, Enlistment Service # :
MISSING IN ACTION on 20 October 1944 on Bombing Mission on Galliate Road
Bridge in Northern Italy. Flak Damaged and Losing Altitude, Bail Orders Were
Given. Plane Crashed and Exploded. Abbondanza EVADED ENEMY CAPTURE~
RETURNED AND INTERROGATED on 30 November 1944~Three Crew Members Survived.
447th BS: Extracts from Missing Air Crew Report # 9442: Craft received flak in right wing near engine; left engine began throwing oil, and attempts to feather it failed. Loss of altitude was indicated and at 6,000’ bail-out orders were given. Abbondanza, who believes he was first to bail, left craft at 3500’ closely followed by Wentz; neither saw any other chutes while descending. Both members state none of the crew had been injured in the craft. Difficulty was encountered with flak-damaged escape hatches and only the rear hatch was successfully forced open. Abbondanza’s last view of the plane was at its point of fall into a dive; then an explosion was felt. Wreckage was never seen by sources.
A/C No. 43-3403 “Incendiary Blonde” (MACR-9442 – hit by flak - crashed) P
Willis, Richard L., 1Lt – remained in plane – KIA – buried 21 Oct 44, Cemetery Piave Albignola Field 2, Row 9, Grave 6
CP Wentz, James I., F/O – MIA – POW returned N None B Harvey, Edmund R., 2Lt – remained in plane – KIA – buried 21 Oct 44, Cemetery Piave Albignola Field 2, Row 9, Grave 7 E Mabbutt, William T., S/Sgt – MIA - returned R None G Abbondanza, Anthony J., S/Sgt – MIA – POW returned F None
Barbi Ennis Connolly PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com 321st Bomb Group Historical Research Team; John T Fitzgerald, Patti Johnson and Barbi Connolly.