m a r k e r i c k s o n p a i n t i n g s 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.
Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson 334th Squadron - 95th Bomb Group (Heavy) Tortorella Airfield, Italy - referred to as Foggia Satellite No. 2. - August 1944 Standing before an abandoned JU 88 Luftwaffe Bomber
In early August of 1944, Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson of the 334th Squadron and the 95th Bomb Group (Heavy) were in Italy with some time to kill and relax. He'd just completed three missions in four days and clocked the most continuous flight time of his four years in the Air Corps. In the photograph below he stands in front of an abandoned JU 88 Luftwaffe Bomber at Tortorella Airfield in Italy. Tortorella was referred to as Foggia Satellite No. 2. As my dad mentioned often, this was an unique period of his flying combat and with a smile he would say, "the most exciting days of my time in the Corps."
Just twenty four hours after his 22nd birthday, on August 6th, 1944, my dad, began a four mission shuttle run flying the 'Lili of the Lamplight' (44-6085) with the 334th Squadron. The ten days went by quickly in a flash of dozens of new experiences and emotions. He would actually get to visit Russia, a thought he could never have conceivably considered just months before.
The flights would take him and the crew on two missions over Poland, with landings at Poltava Airfield in the Ukraine in-between. A third mission was over Romania and then followed by a return to Poltava. After a night spent celebrating with the Russians, the ships of the 334th, along with the 'Lili of the Lamplight' were fueled and rearmed. After goodbyes to the Russian ground crews and female cooks the 334th were off to Foggia Airfield in Italy.
Following four days under their belts relaxing in Italy, the 334th departed for their final mission over Toulouse, France, before heading back to Horham Airfield in England. Those ten days were my father's longest assignment and spanned the width of the European continent. The Toulouse mission would be their 34th mission and once back in England they awaited their 35th and final combat assignment
While they were in Italy, some of the crew 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 these photographs today and imagine the chaotic retreat of the once highly disciplined and invincible German military. By mid August the 'Lili' 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 35th mission. The cards laid out for that mission on August 26th, 1944 took a very uncertain last minute diversion.
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