Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

Bill Toombs | 8th Air Force - Army Air Corps

4:53   |   B-24 flight engineer Bill Toombs was just getting acclimated to the English weather and formation flying when it was time for his first mission. At the briefing, the curtain came up and, it was official, D-day was on.

More From Bill Toombs

Keywords   :     flight engineer    Consolidated B-24 Liberator    England    D-Day    gun turret    Laxou    France    Germany    Luftwaffe    Bill Toombs

Videos ( 8 )
WWII
  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  4:42

    For four summers in a row, Bill Toombs attended the Citizens Military Training Camp, where he got the same instruction as army recruits. This convinced him he wanted no part of the infantry. Despite having no knowledge of aircraft, he followed his brother into the Army Air Corps.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  4:55

    After his brother was killed in an air crash, Bill Toombs told his mother he would get a ground job in the Air Corps, and he did, at first. He completed several mechanic schools, but then he found himself at gunnery school.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  5:32

    He had never been in a plane, but Bill Toombs was an aircraft mechanic who was on a track to be a flight engineer, which meant he also had to be a gunner. At gunnery school, there were a couple of hot shot pilots who were redheaded cousins and, of course, he drew one for his first flight.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  5:50

    Once the B-24 crews were formed, flight engineer Bill Toombs didn't think he could have hand picked a better crew. He nearly missed shipping out with them when he got sick at a crucial time. He managed to recover in time to ride a new B-24 to England.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  8:15

    B-24 flight engineer Bill Toombs was over Germany when bad went to worse. One engine was shot out. Then an 88 round went right through the number four wing tank. It didn't blow up the plane, but they lost all the fuel for that engine, so now they had two engines out. They made a desperate run for Brussels, which had been liberated.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  4:49

    The previous day began with the plane getting shot up and ended with dancing in the streets with Belgian girls. Bill Toombs was at an old German air field in Brussels, so he gathered up some souvenirs from the gear laying around. He didn't make it out with those, but after a few more missions, he was back in the states.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  5:30

    Keesler Field was not a desirable post to Bill Toombs. It was so bad, he volunteered for a school in Buffalo, where there was a couple of feet of snow. His second day there, they handed him a piece of paper to sign. What is it? It's so you can go to China and fly the hump. Ahh...no, not going to do that.

  • Bill Toombs  |  WWII  |  8th Air Force  |  7:11

    It was a great post. The barracks were nice and the duty wasn't bad, training B-24 crews. But, flight engineer Bill Toombs recalls that some of those pilots would scare you. One particular flight nearly led to his demise and that's when he decided he'd had enough of flying.

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