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William George Godburn


I entered the service on February 6, 1943 and had my basic training in Atlantic City, NJ. After basic, I went to an Army Air Corp school at the University of Southern MS. Service followed at an air base in Dyersburg, TN and Brooklyn Field, Mobile, AL.

I went overseas to Scotland/England via the Queen Mary in October 1943 and was stationed outside Cambridge, England at Watsford Hert, England. I was a member of the Eighth Army Air Corp, 1st Bombardment Division (H),where I drafted air missions (including dummy missions designed to draw enemy fighters away from the actual air missions) I was then sent to Blackpool, England where I was trained for 50-cal. air gunnery.

I received battle stars for the Air Offensive over Europe, Normandy, and the Rhineland. Our unit also received the Presidential Citation for our air raid on the German aircraft factory located in Oschersleben, Germany.

I was then transferred to the 9th U.S. Army Air Corp, 716 Air Squadron, 474th Air Group. This group moved gasoline via C-47’s from Nancy, France to forward areas. We carried 14 fifty-gallon drums (700 gallons) at a time; these were tied and secured in the center of the C-47’s up forward in the plane. At the war’s end, we then flew POWs of all nationalities out of Germany.

Bill married his wife Mary in 1943, and they have three children (Gerald, Peter and David) and three grandchildren (Kevin, Lauren and Ryan). He worked for the Meriden Fire Department 1954-1982, with the position of Fire Marshall from 1960 until his retirement. Bill is also an accomplished artist.

See More Meriden Veteran's Hall of Fame

"I was stationed at Duxford strip in October of 1943. My first night there, I manned a 50cal machine gun on the strip. That night a German aircraft came over the field, dropped flares on parachutes to photograph the field. I did not fire as I was not instructed to do so. I later went to 50 cal school in Blackpool, England."


Units served with

  • 1st Bomb Division

    1st Bomb Division

    The groups under the command of the 1st Bomb Wing came under the command of the 1st Bomb Division in August 1943. In December 1944, the Division was redesginated the 1st Air Division.

Associated Place

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

  • Watford

    Military site : non-airfield


Event Location Date
Born 1925
Enlisted Hartford, CT, USA 17 February 1943


Date Contributor Update
16 December 2014 10:33:13 Emily Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, biography, events, unit associations and place associations

Meriden Veteran's Hall of Fame

Self, via American Air Museum Memory Book Correspondence.

Enlistment record