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Fire Over Stuttgart - March 1, 1945
By Robert Herr - 532nd BS, Waist Gunner

I am trying to remember some of the crazy goings on during WWII when on missions with the 381st BG. I cannot recall the date nor the target [editor's note: 381st msn #260 - Stuttgart, Germany], but I do remember this:

 

We had been over the target and were headed out when Ed Price (p) noticed problems with the right outboard engine pressure gauges. I looked out the waist window and saw a stream of fuel trailing from the trailing edge of the wing behind the point where the engine nacelle joins the wing. Called Ed and informed him. He decided to shut the engine down and feather the prop. As he did, the engine caught fire. That's when the whipped cream hit the fan. Ed gave the command " prepare to bail out". The bomb bay doors were opened, the emergency releases were activated on the nose and tail. Jack Thorp popped out of the ball turret like a true Jack-in-the-box and pulled the emergency release on the waist door. I was still trying to get the crotch straps of my parachute harness buckled when he went by. (waist gunners left them unbuckled for comfort) Getting Jack in and out of the ball turret was like stuffing a sausage, he, being chunkily built and faring very well on army chow. This time, he was a real Jack-be-nimble guy. Hawkins (flt eng) took one look and disappeared out the bomb bay. It was two weeks before we got him back. Fortunately we were over France when he decided to go. Ed did some miraculous thing and the fire blew itself out King (r.o.) and I stayed on intercom and were able by hand signals to convince Thorp (bt) Sorrell (tg) and Thompson (cp) to stay on board. I remember fire coming out of the open cowl flaps. Ed was the best and the origional "Mr Cool". When we got it together again we were able to get back to base with the aircraft. The crew chief said another 30 seconds would have put the fire through the firewall WOW! It seems humorous now, but it scared the daylights out of me at the time.

Robert Herr - Ed Price Crew, 532nd BS

Submitted February 3, 2001, by Stephen Herr for his father.