Frank L. Donovan
I say my B-26, because that plane will be alive and well in my
memories until the day I leave this earth, even though it was salvaged and
probably destroyed in late 1945. Anytime I get a chance to have its picture
published or its short life story told, I’d be there.
I was an 18-year old draftee in April 1943. I requested the USAAC and got it. I went through basic training in June and July of 1943. My B-26 was accepted by AAF in June of 1943. I requested to be an aerial gunner but did not get that. I did get to be a clerk.
In January 1944, I ended up in the Caribbean and was assigned to air base operations at Coolidge Field, Antigua, BWI under the Antilles Air Command. I met many of the transient pilots and crewmembers who came through our base. When I arrived there, we had two planes assigned to us, an AC-78 and an aging B-18, on which I managed to paint some nose art.
The B-18 was soon transferred out, and was replaced by a Martin TB-26C, serial #4135208. Olive drab paint was soon removed and we had a beautiful silver bird. Our pilot was Gerald E. Brissette, who knew how to fly a B-26 and Ed Saylor was copilot. It was agreed that I should use my artistic abilities to dress up that naked nose section. It was also agreed by all that it should be a shark tooth design and a Latin phrase “Telum Imbele” was used; this meant “A Missile Unfit for War.”
I am still proud of how that plane looked. Whenever we would land at another base the guys at the base would be looking at it with admiration. It stayed at our base until 1945. It had one crash landing due to hydraulics as Batista Field, Cuba, but was repaired and returned to our base.
I was sent to the States on leave but never returned due the war ending with Japan. I never saw my B-26 again. I was discharged in March 1946 with the rank of sergeant and returned to civilian life. Long live TB-26C - “Telum Imbele.”