John B. Payne
558th Bomb Squadron, 387th Bomb Group
Payne, John B., POW, Stalag Luft I (Barth) Flew first five missions in B-17s, 381st BG, 555th BS then transferred to B-26s and flew four missions. "I was real upset being transferred. I hadn't done anything wrong. But everything worked fine. I'm still here. I'm the only one left from my original B-17 crew, they only had to fly 35 missions and I am the only one left from my B-26 crew, we would have had to fly 65 missions before we could go home. I was shot down, went to the hospital and then Stalag Luft. I got a letter from Lauren L Cowallis's mother and I had to write her back to tell her that I did not know what happened to her son. At the time, we didn't know what had happened to him. I was a tail-gunner when we got shot and we started to spin. I was in the tail. The plane eventually broke in half. I had to reach around me, grab the parachute and snap it on. It was the old English type. John Dragan was the waist gunner and he froze at the window on the side. He was in front of me so I had to push him out. Then I jump out and pulled the cord and it would not open. I had to pull the chute out by hand. I made it and so did Dragan. We kept in touch until he died in the late 1950s. I did not know Winsor, Nulsey or Miller were buried in Belgium and France."
John B Payne POW picture
Crew of Pugnacious Peggy
Sgt. Smith on gun mount, Sgt. John Payne outside
Taken September 25, 1944. John B Payne on left, Sgt. McFall on right in front of his tent.
Darrell J High, Bombardier
Alexander "Duke" Winsor Jr., pilot on the fateful mission December 6, 1944. He was killed with the co-pilot Erskine L. Nulsey
"Duke" Winsor at controls
Erskine Nulsey and "Duke" Winsor
Erskine Nulsey, Co-Pilot, 387th Bomb Group, 558th Bomb Squadron
Winsor, Pilot, 387th Bomb Group, 558th Bomb Squadron
Front Row left to right: Gerald Heelesuan, Henry Meier, Richard Miner
Back Row left to right: John Payne, George Robben, Joe Stobaugh
581st Bomb Group, 555th Squadron, 8th Air Force
Egg Haid, a grimy B-17G-15-VE from the 535th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group, based at Ridgewell in Essex. The aircraft on the left is a red-tailed Fortress from the 398th Bomb Group, with her codes N7-G closely grouped aft of the national insignia. The "bulging' of the enclosed waist windows can be clearly seen in this photograph.
Miller, Radio Operator/Waist Gunner; Davis, Turret Gunner
King, Pilot; Hutchinson, Co-Pilot; Lewis, Navigator; Eubanks, Bombardier
"Somewhere in Australia, 1942"