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Crash of B-24 Liberator 42-78224 MACR 12490
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Mission to Nurnburg, Germany
The 484th Bomb Group of the Fifteenth Air Force was stationed at Torretto Airfield, Italy in the winter of 1945. Torretto was located on the Foggia plain in Southern Italy. The field was located approximately 8 miles from the town of Cerignola. The runway was constructed of compacted clay gravel with pierced steel planking at the touchdown points. The taxiways and hardstands were also compacted gravel. There were no hangers and the control tower was a temporary scaffold structure. Most of operational facilities were in tents. The crew also lived in tents with officers four to a tent and enlisted men six to a tent. The tent floors were dirt with no electricity or running water. Meals were taken in the mess tent, but airmen were required to provide their own mess kit and cutlery. This was a much harder life than the other bomb crew facilities of the Eighth Air Force in England. At times the area was sunny and dry, but when it rained the living areas could become a muddy quagmire.
The 484th combat color was insignia red painted on the upper half of the rudder and a red bowtie painted on the lower half of the rudder. The original insignia was to be an hourglass to signify that time was running out of the Axis Powers, but had to be turned on its side to fix the bottom of the rudder. With four squadrons, the 824th, 825th, 826th and 827th, the identification for each squadron was a two digit number painted at the nose and rear waist section of each aircraft. ID numbers were painted white for olive drab aircraft and later red on the bright metal aircraft.
From the 826th Bomb Squadron, the B-24 G Marauder 42-78224 with pilot 2nd Lt. George H. Mason and crew were shot down by Osoppo anti-aircraft artillery on 16 February 1945 on a bombing mission to Nurnburg, Germany. The aircraft crashed at Maseriis near Osoppo, Italy at about 12:30 hours after suffering engine failure. Eight parachutes were seen and three were taken prisoner. Most landed in an area of the resistance movement and evaded capture. From Missing Air Crew Report 12490, an eyewitness account states:
I saw an airplane at 11:59 approximately 15 miles south of Zell An Zee jettison its bombs after losing #3 engine. We were at 23,000 feet at the time on a course of 325. The ship in question was about 4,000 feet below us aborting on a homeward course.
- Osoppo, Itlay
- 16 February 1945
George Richard McSween
Sgt. George Richard McSween (35927473) was a gunner. He was born on 4 December 1926 in Appalachia, VA, son of William James and Violet Chambers McSween who lived in Gates Mills, OH in 1945. He graduated from high school and on 7 March 1944, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Ft. Thomas, Newport, KY. He received a Purple Heart for his service. McSween later became a doctor of chiropractic medicine. His first practice was located in Franklin, NC. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, president of Rotary Club, Boy Scout leader and member of VFW Post 7339 and American Legion Post 108. Dr. McSween died at age 73 from complications of a cerebral hemorrhage on 14 May 1999 in Franklin, NC and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Franklin, NC.