B-24 Liberator (42-40783) landed in Lisbon Airport










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