Ferreira, Joseph




Staff Sargeant US Army
Unit –  2nd Bomb. Grp

Birth place – Dartmouth
Birth date –  1923

Death date – 
Father – 
Mother – 

fotografia do navio Serpa Pinto

Crew of B-17 G "Wanita"
(Photograph of Joseph Mahon, son of Lt James Mahon, navigator )

On August 3, 1944, on a mission to attack a factory manufacturing materials for V-2 rockets in Friedrichshafen, the American B-17 "Wanita" bomber suffered damage to one of the engines, facing difficulties later on its return. Joseph Ferreira, Sergeant, was on board as a tail gunner. Based in Amêndola, Italy and still substantially far from "home", with no time or room for maneuver, the crew decided to try to land in Switzerland. Already in Zurich airspace, they fire rockets indicating "friendship" and are greeted by a volley of Swiss artillery.

They miss the runway at the Dübendorf air base, landing in fields outside the military base. The entire crew escapes unharmed, including Portuguese-American Joseph Ferreira. After extensive interrogations by the local military authorities, the crew of the American aircraft are finally interned.

It is known that Joseph Ferreira and companions later managed to escape from Switzerland, quite possibly with the help of the French resistance.

António Fragoeiro

fotografia do navio Serpa Pinto

B-17 G "Wanita" after forced landing in Dübendorf military air base
(Photograph by B-17 Museum Utzenstorf-)

fotografia do navio Serpa Pinto

Swiss military elements inspect the "B-17 Wanita"
(Photograph by B-17 Museum Utzenstorf-)