Malden Army Air Field, Cadet Class 43K, Missouri, Aug.-Sept. 1943.
Place your cursor on the photo to see names.  "(Pgh)" indicates from Pittsburgh.

There are two prints of this photo in Cushing's collection.  Reverse side of one photo:

Reverse of other print of this photo: 




Lt. Cushing (back row, 2nd from right) and his crew, probably Dec. 1943.
There is no notation on the reverse of this photo, but the code at lower left (which appears only on the negative found in Cushing's collection) may mean "88th Bomber Group."  In which case, this photo was taken at the Avon Park AAB in December 1943 while Charles was assigned there.  Charles was assigned to Avon Park (3rd AF, 88th Bomb Group) from Stuttgart AAF on Dec. 5, 1943 after his graduation,  according to this Corrected Extract.  2nd Lt. Cushing's assignment there was terminated on Jan. 4, 1944, after which he was assigned to MacDill AAF.

The 88th Bombardment Group was last assigned to the 3rd AF, being stationed at Avon Park Army Airfield, Florida. It was inactivated on 1 May 1944.  Established in early 1942 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment group. Was assigned to II Bomber Command as a heavy bomber Operational Training Unit (OTU). The group was assigned primarily to airfields in the Pacific Northwest under II BC; performing training of new units, then becoming a Replacement Training Unit (RTU). Reassigned to 3rd AF  in November 1943 when the 2nd Second Air Force began to exclusively train B-29 Superfortress aircrews.  It continued as a B-17 RTU until the end of heavy bomber training of replacement aircrews in May 1944. 





B-17G bomber (tail number 337715) "Lassie Come Home" as seen from the front gunner dome of Lt. Cushing's plane.
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.


Lassie Come Home' was a long-serving B-17G of the 367th BS, and was badly damaged in August 1944 and then again in January 1945. The replacing rudder shows the patching done, and this photo was taken on hardstand No.20 looking east to the hanger line May 1945 two days before the wars end.

Information from World War II Color Archives.  Read more about this plane.


Same plane on the ground, from World War II Color Archives, The Jeffrey L. Ethell Collection






Lt. Cushing's tail gunner's view of squadron with surrounding enemy flak bursts. 
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.


The 88 mm gun (commonly called the eighty-eight) was a German anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery gun from World War II. It was widely used by Germany throughout the war, and was one of the most recognized German weapons of that conflict. Development of the original model led to a wide variety of guns. The name applies to a series of related guns, the first one officially called the 8.8 cm Flak 18, the improved 8.8 cm Flak 36, and later the 8.8 cm Flak. 

Flak is a contraction of German Flugzeugabwehrkanone meaning "aircraft-defense cannon", the original purpose of the eighty-eight. In English, "flak" became a generic term for ground anti-aircraft fire. In informal German use, the guns were universally known as the Acht-acht ("eight-eight").

Information from Wikipedia.


Pieces of flak


The tail gun armament and arrangement varied between countries. During World War II, most United States Army Air Forces heavy bomber designs such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress used a fixed gunner position with the guns themselves in a separate turret covering an approximately 90-degree rear arc. Typical armament was two 0.50 inch M2 Browning machine guns.


Tail gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress, 1943.  From Wikipedia.



Enemy flak exploding off the left wing of Lt. Cushing's plane.
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.




Other bombers flying alongside Lt. Cushing's plane.  No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.




B-17 bomber #337976 flying alongside Lt. Cushing's plane.   Notice the fighter escorts beyond and above the bomber.
White splotches on left side of photo are damage to the photo, dark spots are enemy flak.
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.




Fighter escort smoke trails in the sky.  Notice the B-17 at left side of photo.
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.





Other bombers flying ahead of Lt. Cushing's plane.  No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.




Aerial views of unknown ground areas.  Click photos to see larger, then use browser zoom to see full size.
No date, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945.




Above and below:  Ground crew putting out fire on B-17 #240053 damaged on landing.
No date or location, but probably June 1944 through Jan 1945, possibly Thurleigh Air Field, England.

Below: Close up of ground crew cropped from above photo.





B-17 flying low over unknown area.  No date or location.



German Junkers Ju88, #PJ876.   The plane in Lt. Cushing's photo above was a captured aircraft
converted for use by the British RAF, as indicated by the "P" on the side of the plane, which stood for "prototype."

The Ju88 was the most versatile German combat aircraft in World War II. It began life as a bomber, became a night fighter and intruder; undertook anti-shipping operations and flew long-range reconnaissance missions. It is one of the truly great multi-role combat aircraft. Deliveries of the first production aircraft took place in September 1939 and on the 26th it undertook its first operational mission against British shipping in the Firth of Forth. It was not until the Battle of Britain, however, that the Ju88A played a major role in German operations. Ju88s took part in a number of daylight actions against British radar stations, airfields and ports in the opening phases of the Battle of Britain. The Ju88A-1 was the main variant used and possessed a good performance, was reasonably maneuverable for its size, and could take a great deal of punishment. However its lack of armored protection and insufficient defensive armament meant that it was relatively easy prey for British fighters.

Photo from Wikipedia


At the time of the Battle of Britain the Ju88 was at the beginning of its service career and its remarkable adaptability, particularly as a night fighter, had still to be exploited by the Luftwaffe.  (The preceding information was provided by the Royal Air Force Museum.)

The story on how it got here: 

On Sunday 9 May 1943 this German plane took off from Aalborg, Westerland, Denmark at 1503 hours and landed at Kristiansand, Norway for refueling at 1603. It took off again at 1650 for a mission over the Skaageraak. The Ju 88's crew consisted of pilot Heinrich Schmitt, flight engineer Erich Kantwill, and wireless operator/gunner Paul Rosenberger. 

At 1710 hours Rosenberger sent a bogus message to Night fighter HQ at Grove, Denmark, saying the aircraft's starboard engine was on fire. Schmitt took the aircraft down to sea level to get below German radar and dropped three life rafts to make the Germans think the plane and crew were lost at sea, then headed for Scotland.  Two Spitfire VBs of No.165 Squadron were scrambled from Dyce with orders to intercept Schmitt's Ju 88 near Peterhead.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur Roscoe was flying as 'Blue 1' and Sergeant Ben Scamen was 'Blue 2'. The Spitfire pilots made contact with the Junkers at about 1805 hours 13 miles north west of Aberdeen.   No.165's Squadron Diary recorded the following about what happened next:

"Arthur Roscoe and Ben Scamen were scrambled today to investigate a raider plotted due east of Peterhead. The raider turned south and eventually started to orbit as though lost. The section identified the raider as a Ju88 and when Arthur approached, the Hun dropped his undercart, shot off very lights and waggled his wings. Blue 1 waggled his wings in turn and positioned himself in front of the enemy aircraft - Ben Scamen flew above and behind and the procession moved off to Dyce aerodrome where all landed safely causing a major sensation."

Schmitt landed his aircraft at Dyce at 1820 hours. He had delivered the Ju88 (that was fitted with the latest FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar, as well as associated signals documents) into British hands. It is thought that both Schmitt and Rosenberger had been working with British Intelligence for some time. Further details surrounding this incident can be found by clicking HERE Schmitt's Ju 88 was soon flown from Dyce to RAE Farnborough by Squadron Leader R A Kalpas, escorted by Beaufighters. Once at Farnborough the aircraft was given RAF markings and the serial number PJ876. It was thoroughly tested making 83 flights, totaling 66 hours 55 minutes with the RAE, mostly from Farnborough.   (Information from Christopher Yeoman's "Into the Swarm.")


Read the details about what happened to this plane next, in this PDF, provided by the Royal Air Force Museum, where it is now on display.

See more information about this event, conversion of the plane, and the truth behind the background of its German crew, at the Ferenc Varga Collection where the photo at right is from.

Junkers PJ876 photographed in the UK, courtesy of Lester A. Lovelock.





Focke-Wulf 190A-4
This captured German aircraft landed at RAF West Malling on April 16, 1943, flown by Uzz. Otto Bechtolder, short of fuel and pilot disorientated.  It was converted for use by the Royal Air Force as PE882.  On a test flight from Collyweston air field it caught fire in the air and crashed, killing RAF pilot F/Lt Ernest Richards Lewenden on Oct. 13, 1944.  The plane was damaged beyond repair.  Ernest Lewenden is buried in Aperthorpe (St Leonards) Churchyard.







1. Big Ben in London as seen from in front of the Oliver Cromwell statue (far right) and the House of Lords (on right).
No date, but probably June 1944 to Feb. 1945.



2.  The towers of Westminster Abbey in the distance with St. Margaret's Church on the left, as seen from Parliament Square.





I.D. photo Charles E. Cushing, date & location unknown Charles E. Cushing, date & location unknown





Photos of unknown airman, possibly basic training. 


Marine Sgt. James J. Kelly


All of Lt. Cushing's photos were cleared and approved by the Army and have a  stamp like this on the back.

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