Portela Airport– Lisbon
USAAF 389TH BG/ 556TH BS
Consolidated B-24- 95-CO Liberator 42-40783
Portreath → North Africa
Cap David L. Willhite USA
Sgt Gleason USA
Sgt Max J. Snyder USA
Sgt Taylor USA
Sgt Robert H. Sweatt USA
Lt Harry USA
Sgt George R. Caplinger USA
Sgt Rudy Salties USA
Sgt Hammond USA
Lt James McConnel USA
Sgt William USA
Sgt Samuel W. Flatter USA
Sgt Harold L. Saunders USA
The B-24 landed in the Lisbon, in Portela Airport, at 18.01 hours.
Some of the men on board were ground crew following the squadron to North Africa, where they should have take part on the operation “Tidal Wave”, the Bombing of the Ploesti oil fields in Romenia.
The aircraft was in Portela Airport until July 26 when Willhite, Hammond and Lt. Figueiredo from the Portuguese Aeronáutica Militar took the plane to a Portuguese military base. In the following weeks there were several training flights with the participation of the Americans. The aircraft was latter bought by the Portuguese government for 100.000 dollars and became part of the Aeronáutica Militar.
Willhite, Flatter, McConnel, Salties, Saunders, Snyder and Capliger died on January 7, 1944, on board of B-24 “Trouble”. The objective of the mission was Ludwigshaffen, in Germany, and they where shot down by FW190 flown by the Luftwaffe ace Egon Mayer over Chartres, France. Sweatt was on the same flight but was able to parachute himself. He was hidden by the French resistance during two and a half months, returning to his squadron on March 1944.
* “Aviões da Cruz de Cristo” – Mário Cannongia Lopes
* "Home By Christmas" - Martin W. Bowman
* Arquivo ANA -Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea de Portugal - Lisboa
* Missing Aircraft Report - AFHRA, footnote.com