Day 15 – Maidwell to Knipton

The final run home

The Crew of the Worry Bird

I’ve headed north today closer and closer to Bomber County – Lincolnshire.

But first, and really close to my bed for the night in Maidwell is the  Carpetbaggers Museum in Harrington. A brisk 3-mile climb on the bike, while my legs are still fresh, is not too much of a problem.

Why here? Well, the B24 Liberator, the Worry Bird that crashed in St Cyr de Valorges originated from here, and I wanted to find out more. I had arranged to meet the secretary of the Carpetbaggers Museum, Fred West who had kindly agreed to open up for me.

Today's Route

Pictured above

Back Row, left to right:
George W. Ambrose     –  Pilot        0-802693  (KIA)
Peter     Roccia      – Bombardier   0-679657  (KIA)
Robert H. Redhair     – Copilot      0-682897  (KIA)

Front Row, left to right:
Eddy    Dwyer         – Gunner       39089058  (Orphaned)
George  Henderson     – Gunner       39255460  (Evader)
Wilford Bollinger     –  Dispatcher   36350846
Charles M. Wilson     – Engineer     13108714  (KIA)
Donald  Dubois        – Gunner       11106596  (Orphaned >453rd BG)
James   Heddleson     – R.O.         15324873  (Evader)

Not pictured:
Arthur  Pope          – Navigator    0-808135  (KIA)
James   Mooney        – Gunner       12086824  (POW)

 

Quite simply I do not have the time to do justice to the story of the Worry Bird. The staff from The Carpetbaggers Museum have provided me with copies of flight logs, a letter from James Heddleson to the author Ben Parnel describing his escape, copies of casualty questionnaires and forms completed when Heddleson returned, a roll of honour and copy photographs.

I am so grateful for this information and it would not be doing justice to the story to try and précis it all here.

I will complete a page on all this documentation upon my return to France. In the meantime, I will leave you with a small quote directly from Jim Heddleson’s letter…

Sgt James Mooney is over the Joe Hole. He volunteered for this mission (his first) we only met him just before take off … suddenly the planes shakes violently we hit of clipped something. I hit my forehead and was thrown back towards the Joe Hole .. Sgt Mooney is gone.

View from the Handlebars

Statistics and Route

Progress

Distance -1609km
Climbing 12659 metres
97 hours in the Saddle
  • Completed
  • To do

Where to Tomorrow?

Woodhall Spa

Tomorrow we enter Bomber County for the penultimate day, with visits to RAF Syerston, Conningbury, Tattershall Thorpe and finishing at the Petwood Hotel.

Hey - What about you?

Join the conversation.

The escapades of the survivors of crash of the Worry Bird are really “Boy’s own” adventures. My visit to Harrington was far too short and any further information would be gratefully received.

Don’t forget that if you are around and about at the IBCC on Thursday Lunchtime I would love to see you. And of course – It’s never too late to make a donation.

SOURCES:

The Carpetbaggers Museum

Original letter from Jim Heddleson

Declassified US War Documents

We're exceeding the target!

  • £196 Donated over target!
  • Old Target of £2000

Please Help

See how much we can raise in the last full day!

With just one FULL day left – a last-minute donation would really help motivate me as I climb up Steep Hill for a quick visit to Lincoln Cathedral on the last day. 

Thank you to Jan, Roger, Sam, Caroline and Phil for their generous contributions today!

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