Skip to main content
Edit entry 

42-40749

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D, 'Sack-Time Sally', flew on the Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Lt. Roy E. Braly, returning safely to Libya. Aug 1, 1943.

'Sack-Time Sally' was later shot down on a mission to Bremen, Nov. 26, 1943, by ME-109 fighters over Opeinde, Holland - 6 KIA / 4 POW. MACR 3493.

The men flying 'Sack-Time Sally' had "crewed up" at Biggs Field, Texas, in January, 1943. They named their personal B-24D after the girl friend, who was newly engaged to one of the crewmen. Their 389th Bomb Group was, at first, destined for Hethel in Norfolk, VA. But, even though the advance party was already in place, their orders were changed, and the Group diverted to Benghazi, North Africa, from where they were to operate until late August, 1943.

The 'Sack-Time Sally' crew flew their first six missions out of Benghazi, and were briefly sent back to Norfolk, VA, before being deployed once more back to North Africa, this time to Tunisia for six weeks.

The last flight for 'Sack-Time Sally''s crew came on that same year, on November 26, 1943. During a mission over Bremen, Germany, they lost an engine and, following their bomb run, they were unable to keep up with their formation. Some 20 miles into Holland, 'SACK-TIME SALLY' became a sitting duck for the three ME-109s that attacked them. The bombers' gunners quickly shot down one of the fighters, but 'Sack-Time Sally' was also hit, setting the bomb bay on fire. After a valiant attempt to put the fire out, the crew, some of whom were wounded in the attack, bailed out. Copilot, Lt. Dean Dalton, after helping several others to evacuate, failed to get out, himself, with four other crewmen, who didn't. Of the 10 man crew, only four survived the enemy gunfire and bail out.

Anxiously, the eyes of the residents of Opeinde, Netherlands, were drawn skyward to the air fight between the big B-24 Liberator bomber circling defensively, high above their heads, fighting off three determined German ME-109 fighters. The first casualty was one of the fighters, which was hit by the American gunners'.50 caliber machine guns, and came spiraling down. But, the two remaining fighters sent more shells ripping through 'Sack-Time Sally's bomb bay, setting the bomber on fire.

Within minutes, the flames became an inferno. The village residents counted five men jumping out of the burning plane. Seconds later, an explosion tore the tail off the bomber. Without it's tail, the big B-24 pitched up and stood vertically in the air momentarily, before nosing down into a dive, no longer being controlled by her pilot, Lt. Roy Braly. The big plane dove to the earth, engines screaming, and slammed into the meadow of Dutch farmer, Kees Van der Meulen.

By the end of the day, November 26, 1943, four of the American airmen were found dead under the wreck. One man was found in the tail section, and one of the men who had bailed out, was found dead in a meadow several miles away from the B-24, as his parachute had caught fire before he bailed out. Only four men were able to land their parachutes among the local villages. Pilot Roy Braly and Gunner John Filenger were captured immediately by German troops. Bombardier Merlin Verberg was picked up by the female Dutch Resistance member, Tiny Mulder, who hid him at her parents’ house.

The last man on the loose was navigator, James McGahee. His parachute had gotten tangled in a tree, and, with the help of a young man, he got free and ran. By the evening, he was safely in the hands of the friendly Dutch Resistance, who hid him in a church for three nights followed by three weeks on a farm.

Just before Christmas McGahee met his friend, Merlin Verberg, again. But, while they were well on their way to freedom, the German Gestapo found and arrested them and sent them to the Stalag Luft 1, prisoner of war camp, where they were confined until the end of the war.

As a young man, I knew the story of this giant bomber, because both of my parents were residents of Opeinde. Many years later, I learned from a village researcher, the name of the B-24D was, 'SACK-TIME SALLY', and the names of her crew members. I learned about Pilot Braly and John Filegar, who were caught straightaway. But James McGahee, aided by a local man, managed to hide in some bushes. Later, the Dutchman returned, took him to a church, and provided him with food, clothing, and blankets. He remained there for three days until taken by a woman in the Dutch Resistance (Tiny Mulder) to a farm where McGahee again stayed a few days and learned what had happened to the rest of his crewmen.

On the 20th of December, provided with fake ID, papers, and civilian clothing, McGahee was put on a train along with crew mate, Merlin Verberg, and two other escapees. In Rotterdam, they were fed and sheltered overnight, and, then, left for Amsterdam. Earlier, Verberg, after bailing out, had been taken to a safe house from where he was collected by a teenager in the Resistance, Tiny Mulder. She brought him a change of clothes and a bike, and they rode off, openly, hand in hand, past German soldiers to her home, where he stayed for some weeks. Sadly, on arrival in Amsterdam, the four men were collected by a 'red-headed' turncoat, who drove them straight to the enemy. Verberg kept in touch with Tiny Mulder after the war, and they exchanged several visits until Tiny's death in 1993, a very special, courageous, and brave woman !

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 565th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Roy Braly

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. B-24D, #42-40749, 'Sack Time Sally'. Shot down by fighters after mission to Bremen, Germany. Copilot Dean Dalton KIA. November 26, 1943.

  • Dean Dalton

    Military | Captain | Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Dean Dalton was assigned to the 8th Air force, the 389th Bomb Group (the Sky Scorpions), and the 525th Bomb Squadron, USAAF. ...

  • John Fileger

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Prisoner of War (POW).

  • Norbert Gebhard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot / Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Distinguished Unit Citation/ ETO Ribbon w/ 4 battle stars/ Asiatic Theater Medal/ DFC w/ Oak Leaf Cluster/ Air Medal w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster. ...

  • Edward Goodall

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1-Aug-43, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26-Nov-43 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Killed in Action (KIA). DFC, AM w/ Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Virgil Hoffman

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1-Aug-43, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26-Nov-43 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Killed in Action (KIA). Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), PH.

  • Essman Matthews

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator, Radio Operator Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Killed in Action (KIA).

  • James McGahee

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Prisoner of War (POW).

  • George Scott

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40749. Shot down 26 November 1943 in B-24 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally. ' Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Andrew Toth

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 Liberator 42-40749 'Sack Time Sally', flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya.

Show more

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B...

  • VIII Bomber Command 138

    26 November 1943
    The industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the target for this massive mission (largest to date) of 505 B-17s which included 14 B-17 Pathfinders from 482BG spread among the B-17 formations - 13 of these completed the mission and 7 were damaged. ...

Places

  • Hethel

    Military site : airfield
    Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...

Events

Event Location Date
Survived Ploesti Ploiești, Romania 1 August 1943

Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Roy E Braly, returning safely to Libya.

Failed to Return (FTR) 9218 Opeinde, Netherlands 26 November 1943

Shot down 26 Nov 43 in Opeinde, Holland, by Me 109 fighters - 6 KIA / 4 POW. MACR 3493.

Assigned Benghazi, Libya

565th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF. TDY 9th AF.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2021 04:17:34 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"To the Brave Men Of 'Sack-Time Sally" - Story by Johan Kuiper

Date Contributor Update
29 March 2021 08:45:42 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - ' SACK-TIME SALLY '

Date Contributor Update
29 March 2021 08:26:25 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - ' SACK-TIME SALLY '

Date Contributor Update
29 March 2021 08:20:45 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - ' SACK-TIME SALLY '

Date Contributor Update
29 March 2021 08:00:44 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August, 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
29 March 2021 07:49:29 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August, 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
14 March 2021 22:56:13 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

"To the Brave Men Of 'Sack-Time Sally" - Story by Johan Kuiper

Date Contributor Update
10 July 2019 12:02:21 general ira snapsorter Changes to description
Sources

Information compiled by historian Helen Millgate, sourced from The Heritage Herald, newsletter of the Heritage League of the 2nd Air Division. (Heritage Herald October 2009) - article by Siebe Overwijk

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2015 16:33:29 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, description, events, unit associations and mission associations
Sources

AAM Database

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:52 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 3493 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Share