06 Oct 1944 — Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands
2nd Lt. Edward Sadula was a Bombardier/Navigator on a B-26. Other members of his crew were: 1st Lt. Herbert Holbrook Moore, Jr- pilot; 2nd Lt. Frank Pollak-co-pilot; S/Sgt. Bernard A. Bielinski- engineer/ turret gunner; Sgt. Einar H. Nielsen-radio/waist gunner; and Sgt.Robert P. Stout- tail gunner. On October 6, 1944 they were sent to bomb the infamous, "Bridge Too Far" at Arnhem. That day Lt. Moore was breaking in a new co-pilot 2nd Lt. Albert J. Allen and new tail-gunner, Sgt. George M. Boyer. Also on the plane, "Nick's Chick" 42-95918 was the radio operator for that specific plane, S/Sgt. Norman H. Truax. They were flying in position 5 of a 5 plane Flight. Their Box II, Flight 3 leader failed to drop bombs on the 1st pass and asked permission to go around of the of Box I Leader/Commander Capt. Tom Johnson. His reply was, "you were at the briefing. We've done the job. Let's get the hell out of here before it's too late." Ignoring the the instructions, their Flight leader circled back around for 2nd pass. Nick's Chick was "Tail End Charlie"- the last plane in the flight.
They dropped their bombs but were hit by flak through the back bomb bay. Lt. Moore ordered the crew to bail out. Sgt. Einar Nielsen, waist gunner, was first out followed by S/Sgt Bielinski, turret gunner. Sgt.Boyer, tail gunner, made a hand signal that he was OK while running forward snapping on his parachute. Meanwhile in the front, Lt. Moore ordered Lt. Sadula out of the nose. The B-26 was a small plane as bombers go and the only way for the bombardier/navigator to get out was to crawl out once the co-pilot moved his seat all of the way back. Lt. Sadula bravely stayed and refused a direct order, until he had plotted a course back over enemy lines. Needless to say the area was too cramped for him to wear a parachute. Lt. Moore ordered S/Sgt Truax to open the door to the bomb bay, the fastest way out. He was forced back by the smoke of the flaming plane and shut the door. At that point the tail broke off and the plane went into a dive. It exploded throwing the pilot and co-pilot out still buckled in their seats. Luckily, they had on seat parachutes. Unfortunately, neither Lt. Sadula nor S/Sgt. Truax had theirs on and they fell out without them. S/Sgt Boyer made it forward of where the tail broke off and landed with the cockpit crew. Sadly, he was killed when the exploding plane engine collapsed his parachute.
Sgt. Einar Nielsen landed on the front lines but near the 101st Airborne and was rescued fairly quickly. S/Sgt Bielinski was found that night with back injuries and burns also by the 101st. Lt.'s Moore and Allen were rescued and hidden by the Dutch Resistance. Both had severe leg injuries either from schrapnel or machine-gun fire.
Lt. Sadula and Sgt. Boyer were buried near where they fell by Dutch citizens. It was a very dangerous front-line area so they couldn't be buried for a few days. S/Sgt. Truax wasn't immediately found and was buried later.
Sources: MACR 9219; Booklet: "Marauders a Arnhem: The Destruction of the Arnhem Road Bridge" by Philip Reinders, Arnhem Battle Research Group; Eyewitness, first person accounts and interviews with: Sgt. Einar H. Nielsen and Lt. Frank R. Pollak of the 344BG, 495th BS, USAAF; Lt. Oliver Perks, Dorset's 50th Division Infantry, 1st Battalion, 231 Brigade, British Armed Forces who saw the plane hit, break in two, explode and four parachutes emerge; and Gys van Beek the Dutch citizen who helped bury the dead; Ton van Bon who with his friend Martin has found "Nick's Chick," and who put me in touch with Gys van Beek. I am eternally grateful.