How Arthur E Linrud became a crew member

This is Mr Ben Roberts’ account as told to Mrs JoAnn Linrud on 9 October 2018 how Arthur E Linrud - her father - became an crew member of A/C 42-3436.

“The crew of this plane when in it arrived in England consisted of the same crew members who were shot down on 14 October 1943 except for the engineer Art Linrud. The original engineer was Sgt Watts.

No bombardier on board

The first mission of the original crew was over Frankfurt. They flew this mission in the ‘Uncouth bastard’ (#42-29988).

At this time bombarder Manley had not completed all his training and was not scheduled to fly. However, he was present at the base, another bombardier decided not to fly with this crew on this mission, since Manley was present on the Chelveston base. Consequently the plane departed on the mission without a bombardier.

Problems with closing the bomb bay doors

As they approached the target, it became apparent that the navigator Martin did not know how to open the bomb bay doors and had to ask Bob Wells. The crew managed to open the doors, but then couldn’t get them closed. As it was occurring German fighters approached and fighting ensued. The plane got behind the rest of the formation. As well during the fighting, they had not transferred fuel from the wings back to the engines from the four valves on the bomb bay.

Sgt Watts becomes frost bite victim

Sgt Watts went back to close the doors and work the fuel valves. In doing so however his small air bottles did not contain sufficient oxygen for him to compete the tasks; he blacked out.

The radio operator (Sgt Crawford) went back to get Sgt Watts back in to the radio room. By this time Watts had suffered severe frostbite to his hand and ears.

The plane, though being badly shot up returned to base in England. Sgt Watts was sent to the hospital for treatment of his frostbite, which was so severe, Ben Roberts though he looked to be 200 years old.

Arthur Linrud replacing Sgt Watts

As punishment for embarking on a mission without a bombardier, the crew was ordered to get a new engineer and sustain several more weeks of training.

It was at this point that pilot McDarby ‘interviewed’ several crew replacement engineers; trying them out on training runs. Art Linrud was chosen.

This new crew spent several flying training missions before flying another bombing mission. The crew with Art then completed missions on 7, 8 and 9 October. Their 5th mission on 14 October 1943, the second Schweinfurt raid, would be their last.

Tail End Charly...

On this mission they didn’t make their rendez-vous and couldn’t catch up with the other planes in formation, crossing the Channel by themselves, a target for German fighters. The odds of making it back as an ‘Tail End Charly’ flying low, were not good.”

Scheme from book Ron Putz completed by Oswald Ortmanns.

Back to the biographies of all of the crew members of B-17 # 42-3436.

A story I started to find out why and how Donald Paul Breeden could get missing.