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U.S. 8th Air Force Aircraft Recovery Team

 

             2001

These members of a U. S. 8th Air Force aircraft recovery team (plus the one taking the photo) were beneficiaries of the hospitality of a Maldon Doctor, DR. and Mrs. Philip in November 1944.  Besides furnishing them lodging for almost two weeks.  Mrs. Philip wrote to the families of some of the them, and even took a few of their dress shoes to the shoe menders.

Dr. and Mrs. Philip provided lodging for members of our aircraft recovery team for a ten to twelve day period in November of 1944. Their hospitality went far beyond the providing of sleeping quarters. Mrs. Philip took my well worn dress shoes to the menders and had them resoled and heeled. She also wrote a very nice letter to my parents. Coming back to the house in the evenings and having a conversation with them was a welcome break from life on a big military base.

The reason for our extended stay in Maldon was because our work was not simply to gather wreckage, but rather to carefully dismantle planes that were moderately damaged to obtain parts for repairing other aircraft. The structure of the B-17 was made up of large interchangeable components. The nose section (bombardier and navigator’s compartment) of the one we took apart at Maldon was removed first and quickly taken away for installation on another aircraft. It is likely that it was flying again before we finished our job there.

Our otherwise pleasant visit to the area was marred by an incident that occurred on the last day. A short distance from the aircraft’s landing site was a very nice pub called the Bullocks. It's large sign, which was mounted on a tall stanchion near the highway, featured handsome paintings of two bulls. We visited there almost daily, and to celebrate our Thanksgiving Day, we took a bit of extra time off to play darts and heat our cans of "C" ration hash in the fireplace. Leaving Maldon on our day of departure, we planned to stop at the pub to leave some empty bottles. As our truck slowed and angled across the highway to enter the lot, a British Army truck that had been following us closely, attempted to pass, brushed against our truck, then went off the highway and crashed into the beautiful Bullocks sign, totally destroying it.

Fortunately no one was injured, but we were distressed by our involvement in the loss of the sign, especially considering that it might be difficult to replace in wartime.

Other than that, nothing but very happy memories of Maldon.

Joe Kendrick

Copyright of text and photo Joe Kendrick 2001
Copyright of  web graphics Joe Kendrick & maldon.info 2001

 


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