George B. Fallon, Pilot
387th Bomb Group, 558th Bomb Squadron
Other tours will be to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and other monuments in the Washington Mall area. The Metro and the Pentagon Mall are nearby with some of the best sights to see in our country.
Because several Bomb Groups made similar request, a couple of golf outings are planned besides three sessions of bridge, both duplicate and party bridge. These will require very early registration and reservations prior to the MM99 reunion. So be prepared to make vour request a year in advance to join these activities.
In our 558th Bomb Squadron newsletter that will be mailed out in early May of 1998 further information will be printed on this reunion MM99. The tours, activities, meals, groups to attend, programs and hotel reservation information will be covered.
Remembering George B. Fallon, 1924 -1997
George was the 558th Squadron Secretary-Treasurer for 2 years. He did an excellent job! His computer skills were used to the maximum. He did the banking, updated the membership and mailing label list, compiled the 387th/558th Squadron Booklet and he sent monthly reports and statements to the president He accepted other special jobs requested in a friendly, positive and cooperative manner. In his retirement, he loved the Secretary-Treasurer job and the responsibility. He was always suggestive of doing it better, quicker or giving valuable help or recommendations. The 558th Bomb Squadron is the better for all his help. When you have someone that is good—you tell them that—and I did at every opportunity. Thank you, George for a job well done. You served all of us in the 558th B.S. Thank you, again!
Who was this man who did his job in a quiet, effective, efficient and unassuming manner? Many of our members don’t remember him as a co-pilot then as a pilot during the 1944-45 era. He was so unassuming that when we asked what do you remember about George, people just drew a blank! He certainly didn’t jump up and down to make himself noticeable at the 558th B.S. Reunions either. But ever since 1990 in Baltimore, he has been coming to our reunions.
George was bom August 4, 1924 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was the youngest of 4 boys. His father was a doctor working with Sir Wilfred Greenfell, who worked with the Eskimos. When George was 4 years of age, his family moved to Augusta, Maine where his father went into private practice. George joined the Army Air Force in August, 1942 after graduating from high school.
George joined the 558th B.S. on June 5, 1944 at Chipping Onger, England (Site #162) just before D-Day. He was a co-pilot on William Timersling’s crew. He flew 54 missions from Chipping Onger, England; Stoney Cross (A-452); Maupertus (A-15), France; Chateaudun (A-39); and Clashes (A-71), France.
On March 21,1945 the official 558th B.S. records read as follows:
“Captain Clyde Harkins and Lt. Warren Butterfield (Bombardier/Navigator) finished their illustrious tour by leading the group to the road junction town of Coesfeld, Germany. The object of the attack was to obstruct the main road through the town. This mission was the first of a series of missions to soften up the area north of the Rhur, preparatory to Field Marshall Montgomery’s crossing of the Rhine. Capt. Harkins and Lt. Butterfield dropped with excellent results as did Lts. Gaugh and Thompson who were in charge of Blue Flight. The formation was led to the target area by pathfinder aircraft who relinquished lead when it was apparent that the target could be bombed visually. On the way to the target the pathfinder wandered considerably off course and 23 aircraft were battle damaged by moderate and accurate flak over the town of Zuithea The aircraft flown by Lt. George B. Fallon on Capt Harkins right wing was seal to be severely hit, one engine knocked out. He went on single engine, salvoed the bombs and was last seen under control heading back to base. It was 20 minutes flying time to reach friendly lines, but Lt. Fallon never reached them. It is believed that his crippled airplane was probably an easy target for the German gunners on the way home. He and his crew are listed as M.I.A.”
The crew on the final mission were: 1st Lt. George B. Fallon, Pilot; 2nd Lt. George Skinner, Co-pilot; T/Sgt. Joseph M. Blaumer, Radio/Gun; Sgt. Samuel B. Jepsen, Toggler; Sgt. John Stankiewicz, Eng./Gun.
In some correspondence with Warren Butterfield, George wrote on January 6, 1997 (just a few weeks away from his passing on January 24, 1997). “Yours was the first explanation of what happened the day I was shot down. I always felt the PFF plane screwed up because we flew near the target area for too long a time without changing course and of course the flak guns could take an accurate aim on us. Because I was flying so far forward of the flight, I never felt the explosion of the shell and fragments that got my right engine. When I turned away, and dropped my bombs I though I could get back to our lines. No such luck! Within a few short minutes, the left engine overheated (probably due to loss of oil) and I had to shut it down. At 6,000 feet, I bailed out the back crew and at 4,000 feet, I bailed out my engineer and co-pilot and then I finally bailed out. We landed in a field in Holland with a few German troops waiting to greet us. One of the gunners got picked up by the Dutch underground and, we were told the rest of the crew were captured. From there I finally got to StagLag Luft 1. The Russians liberated the POW camp about 6 days before the end of WWII. My co-pilot, a P51 pilot (from my hometown), a friend of his and myself left the POW camp and came across Germany with the Russian Army until we got to the Canadian lines. From there, the Canadians flew us to an American Hospital in Northern England. After a check up, we were assigned to London (Red Cross Hotel) to await transportation back to the States. Since we were on a very low priority list back to the States, we signed on as gunners on an Esso Oil Tanker (Esso Bayonne) going to New York (courtesy of a Naval officer we helped out one night in London who told us of the empty gun crews since the war was over). We finally got home in mid-June (once die Army Air Force realized we were ex-POWS).”
After release from the service, George went back to Helena, Arkansas to marry Helen who he had met while in flight training at nearby Thompson-Robbins Field. They moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where George received a degree in Aero-Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He worked for Glen L. Martin in Baltimore for 10 years then joined I.B.M. where he retired after 25 years. They have two sons. As George once stated, “Life has been a ball since I left the service!” -Ben Hicks, England, Arkansas
George and Helen Fallon visited us twice in England, Arkansas. On their first visit I gave him a photograph I took of him overseas. A picture of “Kid’Tallon (as we called him) with a cigarette poking from his mischievous grin while he was fashioning a snowball to pelt the photographer. It was taken along about the time that he was shooting landings and cracked up “Secksma Sheen,” Operations Officer Lewis Sheens famous airplane. Famous because of the precious artwork on the sides of the fuselage. Of course, we ragged him unmercifully, but as I remember Sheen was not all that perturbed. That, plus the snowball fights we had every time the snow was packable, is all I can readily recall about “Kid” Fallon during this tenure.
George impressed me, during his visits to our England-town, with his computer expertise...I am forever amazed at people such as George for their “Guri” wisdom. -Dick Ainsworth, Lompoc, California
I flew as Co-pilot for George Fallon when he checked out as First Pilot. On another day (December 26,1944) while we were located at Clastres, France (near St Quentin) someone landed Major Sheens ship “Secksma Sheen” and blew a tire which crashed and washed out the aircraft. Dick Gunn and I had flown many missions in this aircraft. (Editors Note: The aircraft blew a tire, careened off the runway which collapsed the landing gear and the aircraft was seriously damaged. It was salvaged for its parts and Dick Ainsworth didn’t know who dit it?). -Stan P. Janek (aka Stworzvianek) Union, New Jersey
I was a Co-pilot and flew a couple of missions with George. “He was a good pilot!” He was the youngest pilot in the squadron, probably the youngest in the group. When he joined the 558th in Chipping Onger he was only 19 years of age. He had a very young face. We called him “Jr.”—not “Kid” Fallon. -Clyde Harkins, Escondido, California
There were two mission where George Fallon was flying on my wing when I was the lead aircraft. The first on March 9, 1945,1 remember as being a very frustrating mission because of cloud cover and I made two runs over the target with the entire group, but could not find the target through the small breaks in the overcast. We then made two GEE bomb runs on the secondary target and dropped the bombs on the second run.
(L-R) 1st. Lt. George B.”Kid” Fallon The late (397) Capt. Dick Gunn 2nd. Lt.
Stan Stworzyjanek (later legalized to just Janek)
(Left) LT. GEORGE B. FALLON (A Brand new 2nd Lt.)
(Below) Operation Officer Major Sheens’ aircraft “Secksma Sheen” after George Fallon as pilot blew a tire, veered off the runway which collapsed the landing gears and put wrinkles in the fuselage on December 26, 1944 at Clastres, France (near St. Quentin). The aircraft was salvaged for its parts. It had flown 110 missions. Crew Chief T/Sgt. Hendrickson was awarded the Bronze Star because the aircraft had flown it’s first 50 missions without an abort.
The second time when I was leading the group and George Fallon was on my wing was March 21,1945. This was also a frustrating mission because the pathfinder took us over a heavily defended position and, off course, besides. We were able to get the formation into position for bombing when the clouds cleared up. However, the ship on my right flown by George Fallon received extensive flak damage and dropped out of the formation. We did not see any “chutes” before he was out of sight and since he did not return to the field, we assumed he went down somewhere. -Bob Keller, San Rafael, California (former C.O.)
I have searched my feeble memory for George Fallon in 1944-45. I do recall very vividly what he looked like, a young pilot of 19 or 20 years of age. Handsome. I also reviewed my diary for any information and came up empty handed. March 9, 1945, entry is as follows. “Today we went out twice again—both on PPF. On the afternoon mission, the formation was attacked by fighters and for the first time they got ‘the short end of the stick.’ We had no losses but quite a few claims of aircraft shot down.”
The entry for March 21,1945 reads, ‘Two more missions today, making a total of
26 so far this month. This will no doubt be the record month in the history of
the IX Bomber Division.”
Memorial Exhibit in the Town Hall at Hoog-Keppel, Holland, 1995
George Fallon was contacted in 1991 by Karl Lusnik, a 29 year old Dutchman, since George had bailed out over his father’s farm in March 21, 1945. Karl was an Air War Researcher and the city of Hoog-Keppel wanted a display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland from the German Army. George sent him photographs, material on the B-26, his crew, what happened, etc. Karl and his brother put together an exhibit of all of this material, a model of the B-26 aircraft and surprise of all surprises included various pieces of the wreckage of George’s B-26 aircraft that were rescued and hidden on his father’s farm. The whole story was told of George’s last mission, the bailout and capture by the Germans, POW camp except for one crew member who was saved and escaped via the Dutch Underground.
After 50 years the memories reappear!
Empire State Aerosciences Museum (ESAM1 Schenectady Co. Airport. NY
A B-26 restoration project underway at ESAM which is located at 130 Schenectady Road, Scotia, New York
During the year, the fifty or so volunteers mated the nose section with the bomb bay section and installed the nose gear. The body patchwork has been riveted together on both section—great progress in one year. Our highly motivated B-26 restoration crew are very enthusiastic about the project and again encouraged ESAM to contact all B-26 organization’s and keep them updated.
The project is going to take several years to complete, and limited exhibit material is needed to help display and tell the B-26 story. Some B-26 organizations have given a contribution to help us, and we hope your organization will join them in financial support of this request. We are trying our best to restore the non-flyable aircraft so the world will have another Martin B-26 Marauder to view and appreciate. Please let your membership know about this restoration, and if any of them get to the northeast, they are more than welcome to stop by the Schenectady County Airport to see it in our growing museum.
President Robert L. Borroughs
From the History of the 387th Bomb Group/558th Bomb Squadron Booklet [compiled by George Fallon (new material added 1997)]
“On June 7, 1944, the afternoon mission proved to be one of the roughest and most remarkable ever flown by the group. Captain Rollin D. Childress was to lead eighteen aircraft to a fuel dump in the Foret De Grimbusq, sout of Caen. At the take off at 1958 hours the ceiling was 900 feet. The formation assembled without difficulty; but on going up through the solid overcast it became widely dispersed. Eleven of the planes returned to the base; one crash-landed at Gravesend; and one, piloted by First Lieutenant Raymond V. Morin, crashed while attempting to land at Briston in ceiling zero weather. Captain Childress gathered three aircraft with his own and continued on, sometimes at deck level in quarter of a mile visibility. He managed to find the target, and his bombardier, First Lieutenant Wilson J. Cushing, bombed it with great accuracy from 6,000 feet. As the formation of four turned off the target, moderate extremely accurate heavy flak shot down the fourth airplane piloted by Charles D. Schober. The airplane exploded in mid-air and no parachutes were observed. Included in Captain Schober’s crew was Captain John D. Root, group weather officer.
The remaining three aircraft, proceeding homeward, braved the horrible weather conditions over England and landed at the base at 2230 hours. Captain Childress was congratulated on his tenacity and perseverance by Colonial Willard Lewis, commander of the 98th Combat Wing, and by group commander Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Seymour.
Captain Rollin D. Childress was also awarded the Silver Star. The effectiveness of the bombing was attended to by a congratulatory telegram from the ground forces which stated that the important fuel dump, the immediate supply for an entire panzer division, was destroyed.”
(Editor’s Note: The above is from the History of the 387th Bomb Group / 558th Bomb Squadron Booklet compiled by George Fallon, see Sales Item 3 on last page of this newsletter or the separate supplement offer for the History Only (57 pages) on page 11 for the S4.00 cost plus $2.00 shipping/handling for a total of $6.00.)
Latest Membership List of 558th Bomb Squadron
Included in this current newsletter envelope is the latest up to date membership list. It will be a separate section so you can correspond with your fellow members...so don’t forget the Holidays are coming and you can telephone them or send them a Christmas card!!
Please check over your name, zip code, (and the new 4 digit extension), telephone number with correct area code and current wife’s name. If you have any corrections please write to your president, editor, publisher and correction copy boy (Earl). We shall be happy to make the necessary changes.