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William E. Davis

Top from Left to Right: Genefke-Navigator, Capt. Burris-Pilot, Unknown-Bombadier
Front from Left to Right: Triplehorn-Radio, Smokey Hildebrand-Tail Gunner, and my Grandfather, William E. Davis- Flight Engineer.

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Name: William E. Davis
Bomb Group: 344th
Bomb Squadron:495th
Years in service: December 12, 1941 until June 1945
Graduation Class: UNKNOWN
Class Location: UNKNOWN
Comments:

My grandfather, William E. Davis, flew on a B-26 named, “Invictus”. I am sure he was on a couple other planes, but spoke mostly of “Invictus”. He passed away in 2009 keeping most of his war stories to himself. He did speak about bombing “buzz rockets” and bridges in Europe. He also told me of a time he was flying from a bombing mission he completed and could see German Fighters above him in the clouds going the other way as they passed by each other. Not a shot was fired.
I am not sure of the date, but my grandfather told me of a time they crash landed their plane and had to jump off the wings as it caught fire during the landing. I always thought that was a cool story to hear.
 B26_344th_Invictus_with_Bauers_Smith_and_Burris
The attached photo was taken around June 8, 1944 at the sub depot, located at Stanstad Airbase in England. At the time the picture was taken, the airplane had been terribly damaged such that it had to be towed in for the picture. When it was coming in to land on the last flight, the folks in the area thought it was going to a hit a quonset hut and catch fire. However, the pilot was able to get it there with no problem. After the picture, the plane was sent for repair and was transferred to another unit.
My grandfather said Captain Burris was one of the best pilots in the squadron. He was from Texas. He ended up with President Johnson as part of the Air Force Staff.
Their plane, “Invictus” was named my Captain Burris. He chose the name Invictus, which is Latin for Invincible. My grandfather had a leather flight jacket with his name located on the top left breast. The hand painted picture of the Invictus is on the back of the jacket. The artist’s name is, Hougland (Hogi). He wore his jacket on every mission that he flew. It has two pockets. In one pocket he carried sunglasses and in the other he carried a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a quarter and a dime. To check the clearances on the gun, he used the same quarter and dime to make adjustments throughout his tour.
The crew in the photo was in the 495th Squadron, 344th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force based in England. My grandfather was an Engineer, but also worked the top turret of the plane when in action.
The crew in the photos is as follows:
Top from Left to Right: Genefke-Navigator, Capt. Burris-Pilot, Unknown-Bombadier
Front from Left to Right: Triplehorn-Radio, Smokey Hildebrand-Tail Gunner, and my Grandfather, William E. Davis- Flight Engineer.
His plane’s serial number is 42-95908 Y5A and Y5C I believe. According to your website or another one, his plane’s serial number also belonged to “Empire State Express”. I have heard of nothing regarding that plane.  Any help with information on his planes or anything, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks again for your website, I love it.
Respectfully,
Bret S. Cortright Jr.
Grandson
Bcortright04@gmail.com
Bomber jacket. I believe the artwork was done by George Hoagland

 

 

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