Joseph A. Peachman
387th Bomb Group, 559th Bomb Squadron
Marauderman's Name: 2nd Lt. Joseph A. Peachman (1st Lieutenant as of January 1945)
Command Group: 9th Bomber Group
Bomb Group: 387th
Bomb Squadron: 559th
Years in service: 2
Graduation Class: Bombardier Class 43-7, May 8th 1943
Class Location: Roswell Army Air Field, Roswell, NM
(Papers show he was initially in the III Command, 55th Wing, 335th Group, 477th Squadron and transferred to the above December 12, 1943; he left the above squadron in August 1944 due to a breakdown of sorts.)
Hi! My father served in WWII as a Bombardier/Navigator on a B-26 Marauder. Sadly, my father was one of those souls who was deeply and badly affected by (and during) his service in Europe. He would rarely discuss it when I was growing up; on the rare occasions when he did it was so painful and upsetting to us to see him become so bitter and upset that the topic was avoided if at all possible. In fact, I never wanted to know anything more about WWII because of this. Very fortunately for me (and for my father, I might add), I married a fantastic guy (John Law) who we jokingly say knows more about WWII than even anyone who fought in it!! (John's father, Ralph Law, served in the Navy in Saipan during WWII.) John is an amazing fount of information about all aspects of the war, from aircraft, ships, and submarines (from all nations, not just the US) to very detailed information about battles fought throughout Europe, Asia, South Pacific, and No. Africa, to individual weaponry, etc. (Note that John LOVES to speak/correspond with anyone who served in WWII; feel free to contact us!!) Anyway, John managed to get my father to talk a little bit about his experiences, but it wasn't until my dad was already in his 70's. By then, Dad had forgotten most all of the details. John made him a wonderful model of the B-26 and wanted to put the plane name and number on it but Dad couldn't remember them. Dad was absolutely delighted with it. He died in March of 1998. Despite his bitterness regarding the war, my father was very, very proud of the fact that he had served, and I am proud of him as well.
Dad never mentioned any of his crew or friends by name and we have absolutely no pictures from that time except his graduation picture. (He was married to his 1st wife at this time; I suppose if there were photos, she might have gotten them. We have never had any contact with her - I didn't even know about her until I was 17 or 18!) I know he was stationed in England. On the B26.com website, it states the 387th was stationed in Chipping Ongar, England, from 25 Jun 1943 and then in Stony Cross, England, as of 18 Jul 1944. The only thing I know about the airfield in England is this: My father absolutely hated Brussels sprouts because the English airfield was right next to a farm that grew them, and the men were served Brussels sprouts all the time!! My mother was firmly discouraged to serve them because of this!
I have Dad's "training briefcase" for Dead Reckoning Navigation which is full of all sorts of wonderful things (except photos, alas!) It includes a few newspaper and magazine clippings, his graduation commencement program, his dead reckoning computer and other tools, along with numerous maps (sadly, none of Europe as I had hoped). It also contains his combat missions and the typed Individual Flight Records by month. My dad flew 64 active combat missions according to the handwritten missions list, but the Individual Flight Records for the months July and August 1944 stop noting the combat mission numbers. The planes listed were usually a B-26B but here and there it states B-26C or F in the records. It does not give any other details about the plane(s). His first combat mission was on February 15, 1944 over Cherbourg. His flight record shows that he flew over Cherbourg on D-Day as well.
Happily, we just found this site (I wish I had found it a few years ago!). We had pulled out Dad's briefcase to look through it because my nephew (Dad's grandson), Adam J. Peachman, is about to commission in the Air Force on June 2, 2007 as a 2nd Lieutenant. He has been in ROTC for the last 4 years; he graduates this Saturday, May 26th, and then commissions the following weekend. He has been accepted for Strike Navigation Training and reports to Pensacola, Florida in July. I know my Dad would be so incredibly proud of him, as we are. My Mom and I want to put together a framed picture/memorial commemorating Dad's service in the Army Air Corps as a Bombardier-Navigator in WWII for Adam's commissioning. Does anyone have any pictures? Know the name of his plane (if any) and crew? Know if any of his crew are still alive? Any information is appreciated.
Our grateful thanks to all Marauder Men both here and beyond!