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Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson
Air Corps 1942 - 1945

Click to view Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson's complete thirty five 
mission list and twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses flown between
March 27th thru August 26th, 1944 out of Horham Airfield, England.

A photo my father Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson snapped in August of 1944 at Tortorella Airfield (Foggia Satellite No. 2) in Italy. The sad sack JU-88 Luftwaffe bomber lays flat and abandoned by the Germans as they had grabbed what they could months before and began a hasty retreat north from Italy. The bomber sits in the farmer's field like a lost ship at sea and caught my father's eye as he and some crew members drove around Foggia in a jeep stopping occasionally at the Luthwaffe's leave-behinds.

My father spent time in early August of 1944 in Italy after completing four missions as part of shuttle bombing run. It was his longest assignment that began on August 1st, 1944, when the Lili of the Lamplight (44-6085) took off from Horham Airfield in England on the first in a series of five consecutive shuttle bombing missions which spanned the width of the European continent.

During that eleven-day run Ernest and his crew encountered barrages of deadly flak fire and some Luftwaffe fighter resistance. After flying missions over Rahmel and Trzebien in Poland, and Bazau in Romania, the squadron landed at Poltava Airfield in the Ukraine, where they refueled and rearmed. They carried out one final mission in Eastern Europe and then headed towards the Mediterranean.

They landed at the 15th Air Force base in Italy, formerly controlled by the Germans at Tortorella Airfield (Foggia Satellite No. 2). He spent the time in and around Foggia unwinding from the long week of flying. Soon enough he and some of the crew commandeered a jeep.

They visited the Mediterranean cities of Salerno & Naples and my father had a chance to photograph the allied ships which were moored in the harbor and scattered throughout the waterways. In Foggia, a crew member captured what I have always thought were classic photos of my father standing in front of various abandoned Luftwaffe bombers.

The photos were taken not long after the Allies had taken over the airfield. Abandoned equipment and airplanes were strewn across the countryside. The images in these photographs seem surreal. I look at them and imagine the chaotic retreat of the once highly disciplined and invincible German military. By mid August the ship and crew left Foggia and completed one more mission, their 34th, over Toulouse, France before heading home to Horham.

By late August my father and crew awaited the day they would complete their last and final 35th mission. The cards laid out for that mission on August 26th, 1944 took a very uncertain last minute diversion. You can read more on that with attached link to his biography.

Click to view
An Aviator's Dream: The Man From Painted Woods
Biography of Ernest Anders Erickson

Below the photo of the Luthwaffe JU-88 bomber find a couple photographs my father took looking off into the harbor in Salerno with allied ships scattered throughout the waterways.

Click to view a High Resolution image

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