Martin B-26B-20-MA Marauder
Squadron Code: FW-H
Crew Chief: T/Sgt. George Anthony
Asst. Crew Chief: Cpl. Edward F. Higgins
Roughernacob was one
of the original cadre of B-26s that formed the 556th Bomb. Squadron. The
crew to which the aircraft was originally assigned and that flew the aircraft
from the United States to England was:
|Samuelson S. Williamson, Jr.
William M.Chase III
John B. Neill
Harold M. McCorkle
Charles M. Jablonski
a total of 111 sorties. On August 12, 1944 the Group was dispatched
to Corbeil, France to attack a railroad siding. Roughernacob, piloted
by 1st Lt. William Moriarty, received damage to its fuel system from the
light flak put up over the target area. Its left engine started to cut
out as it neared the English Channel, forcing Lt. Moriarty to feather it
and seek an emergency landing site. He made a "wheels-down" landing in
a farmer's field short of the USAAF P-47 fighter strip at Tour-en-Bessin,
France (Station A-13). The landing gear sheared off when the bomber came
to the end of the field and went through a hedgerow. The crew escaped unharmed.
The crewmembers on Roughernacob's final flight were:
Vol. XIX, No. 1 (Dec. 1987)
| August 12, 1944. (A-13) USAAF Fighter Base near Tour-en-Bessin,
France. -- 1st Lieutenant Bill Moriarty landed his flak damaged B-26 in
an open field near this fighter base. His aircraft still retained its full
bomb load due to the overcast over the intended target of the formation;
the railroad siding at Corbeil, France.
Lt. Moriarty was at the controls of the B-26B Marauder named "Roughernacob" over Corbeil, when his bomber was struck by Flak that pierced his Marauder's fuel lines. The rapid loss of fuel forced Lt. Moriarty and his copilot, Lt. Jess Wilkes, to feather their left engine and call Emergency Control for a suitable airfield to make an emergency landing.
Lt. Moriarty describes his crew's tingling experience, "The weather was fairly good and the flight to Corbeil was uneventful. The overcast over our target prevented us from dropping our bombs. As we turned to leavewe encountered some light Flak, but at the time, we didn't believe we were hit."
"We must have received damage to our fuel system. Shortly before we headed out across the English Channel, we noticed that our fuel guages suddenly showed we were almost empty. We must have been losing fuel rapidly. I broke away from the formation and had Jess call emergency Flying Control for a heading to the nearest field suitable for a B-26 to land; which they supplied."
"As we turned and headed for the designated field, our left engine began to cut out...and come back in. We decided to feather it, and trimmed our plane for single engine operation. We were losing altitude because we still had our full payload of bombs. We were over friendly territory, so we did not salvo to lighten the ship. About this time, our right engine began to miss for lack of fuel--when we trimmed for single engine, it was necessary for both Jess and I to be at the controls when the engine would cut out.:
Moriarty continues, "I spotted a fighter field ahead and to the left, and thought that we could make it. The big mistake I made was in not getting Whitey, our bombardier, out of the nose compartment earlier. Now this was impossible since Jess had to man the controls with me."
| "As we turned toward the
fighter strip, I knew we would not make it. We were about forty-five degrees
to the runway, when I saw this farm field and without hesitation, called
Jess to put the landing gear down. I've thought about it many times and
to this day I don't know what, or who told me to do that."
"We landed in that small field. At the far end of this field was a hedge row, and as we went through it, all three of our landing gears were sheared off. We bellied to a stop in the next field. Jess and I went through the top hatches, then ran to the nose to check on Whitey. The plastic nose section was broken off and he was gone! We thought that possibly he had been thrown clear, but when we turned around there was Whitey running like hell across the field! He hurried to the rear of the plane to check on Schell, Gantt and Salas, but they were gone... Like our bombardier, they were running from the wreckage, and needless to add, Jess and I took off too."
"We were very fortunate we did not have any injuries. Thinking back, having the gear down probably saved our lives. It definitely saved Whitey's life."
"Roughernacob" was put down on the edge of Allied Landing Strip number A-13. The P-47 pilots, and personnel of the fighter squadron, treated the B-26 crew "royally" during the few days of their stay. When transportation was arranged, Lt. Moriarty, and his crew, were taken back across the English Channel to their home base at Stoney Cross, outside South Hampton...carrying their Norden bombsight. The crew members were: