A Navigator's Viewpoint

WORLD WAR II
as experienced by
AN ARMY AIR FORCE NAVIGATOR

I first met John McClane on a chilly spring afternoon at Craig Airfield in Jacksonville, Florida. The local newspaper had printed an article earlier in the week indicating that a series of restored World War II aircraft would be on display at Craig Field on the upcoming Saturday. Included in the display were to be two bombers: a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator.

Burr Palmer, Bayside, L.I., N.Y. Charles Peritti, St. Louis, Mo. John McClane, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Officers of the B-24 Liberator, "Lili Marlene"

John McClane on the right at age 21 in 1944,
pictured with Burr Palmer (co-pilot) and Charles Peritti (pilot).

 

 

I had arrived in the early afternoon and had just finished viewing the B-17 and was walking toward the B-24 when I noticed an elderly man, holding audience near the Liberator. Wearing his leather flying jacket that fit him as well in 1996 as it had in 1944, this gentleman was telling his stories to young and old alike. He was standing next to a card table filled with photos and old newspaper clippings. One could not help but admire him - he had served his country with bravery and integrity and been fortunate enough to survive.

Later, after the crowd dispersed, I had a chance to talk to him on a personal level. To our mutual surprise, he had gone to high school in the town where I grew up, although he had enlisted and left before I was born. I learned that he had, as a young man in World War II, kept a journal of his daily activities and experiences. Some years later, he decided to review the journals and put pen to paper and tell his story so that his grandchildren might better know their grandfather.

As our discussions progressed, Mr. McClane told me he had one extra copy of his Navigator's Viewpoint, and if I were seriously interested he would let me have it. Of course I was interested. He offered to autograph it and I am pleased to tell you the inscription reads, "To my new friend, Chuck Allan - John W. McClane, Jr. 3-9-96."

I am pleased and honored to dedicate this portion of my web site to
John W. McClane, Jr.
March 18, 1923 - April 25, 2001

What follows is his story.


THE WAR YEARS
WORLD WAR II
as experienced by

AN ARMY AIR FORCE NAVIGATOR
December 7, 1941 through October 17, 1945

31 MISSIONS FROM A NAVIGATOR'S VIEWPOINT


8TH AIR FORCE
44TH BOMB GROUP
68TH SQUADRON

April 14, 1944 to October 16, 1944

BY
John W. McClane, Jr.
May 1985


Mission Index

Arrival in the E.T.O. (European Theater of Operations)
Assignment to the 44th Bomb Group
A Brief History of the 44th Bomb Group
My First Mission: 4/22/44, Hamm, Germany
Incident Between Mission Number 1 and Number 2
Mission Number 2: 4/27/44, Chalons-Sur-Marne, France
Mission Number 3: 4/29/44, Berlin, Germany
Mission Number 4: 5/1/44, Liege, Belgium
Mission Number 5: 5/3/44, Wizerness, France
Mission Number 6: 5/4/44, Turnback from Brunswick, Germany
Mission Number 7: 5/7/44, Osnabruck, Germany
Mission Number 8: 5/8/44, Brunswick, Germany
Mission Number 9: 5/9/44, St. Troud Air Field, Belgium
Flak: The Insidious Enemy
Mission Number 10: 5/12/44, Zeitz, Germany
Warmth, Beauty and the Gee Box
Mission Number 11: 5/13/44, Tutow, Germany
Mission Number 12: 5/15/44, St. Pol, France
Mission Number 13: 5/19/44, Brunswick, Germany
Mission Number 14: 5/24/44, Melun, France
Appointment to 1st Lieutenant - History of 260P "Lili Marlene"
The Song -" Lili Marlene"
Mission Number 15: 5/28/44, Zeitz, Germany
Mission Number 16: 5/31/44, Brussels, Belgium
Mission Number 17 and 18: 6/6/44, D-Day
Mission Number 19: 6/11/44, Monfort, France
Mission Number 20: 6/14/44, Chateaudun, France
Mission Number 21: 6/21/44, Berlin (Genshagen), Germany
Mission Number 22: 6/25/44, Amiens, France
Mission Number 23: 7/12/44, Munich, Germany
Bomb Dump at Metfield Blows Up
Mission Number 24: 7/18/44, Caen, France
Mission Number 25: 7/24/44, St. Lo, France
Mission Number 26: 7/25/44, St. Lo, France
Mission Number 27: 8/5/44, Brunswick, Germany
Mission Number 28: 8/13/44, Rouen, France
Mission Number 29: 8/18/44, Nancy, France
200th Mission Party: 8/11/44
Appointed Squadron Navigator: 8/30/44
Mission Number 30: 9/26/44, Hamm, Germany
Mission Number 31: 10/2/44, Hamm, Germany

Mission Map - Click on map to see full size (greater detail)
(Will open in a separate window.)

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