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Old 18th March 2013, 23:37
James A Pratt III James A Pratt III is offline
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Medivac C-47 shoot down

I believe i read somewhere that in late 1944 a USAAF medivac C-47 got lost in bad weather flew over German lines and was shot down by flak. The crew was all taken POW. Included in the crew was a female flight nurse who was possibly the only US female POW of the ETO. Is this accurate?
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Old 18th March 2013, 23:41
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

You may be referring to Reba Whittle.

http://www.military.com/Content/More...ML_whittle_bkp


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reba_Z._Whittle
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Old 18th March 2013, 23:42
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

This is what I have in my database:

Reba Zitella Whittle was born on August 19, 1919 in Rocksprings, Edwards County, Texas, and studied at North Texas State College, before attending the Medical and Surgical Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in San Antonio. After graduating Whittle enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps on 10 June 1941 at Fort Sam Houston. With the rank of second lieutenant, she was assigned the Station Hospital at Albuquerque Army Air Base, New Mexico, where she served as a general duty ward nurse, later being transferred to Mather Field, Sacramento, California.

On August 6, 1943, Whittle was accepted by the Army Air Forces School of Air Evacuation to train as a flight nurse. She arrived at the school at Bowman Field, Kentucky, in September. The six-week course was designed to make the nurses largely self-sufficient during the flight, and they were trained to treat pain, bleeding and shock, attending to patients in the absence of a physician. Whittle graduated with excellent grades on November 26, 1943, and on January 22, 1944, she departed for England aboard the RMS Queen Mary with 25 other flight nurses of the 813th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron. The 813th MAETS was initially based in RAF Balderton, Nottinghamshire, and later at RAF Grove, Oxfordshire. Between January and September 1944 Whittle flew on 40 missions logging over 500 hours flight time.

On September 27, 1944, Whittle left England on a mission to collect casualties from Advanced Landing Ground A-92 at St. Trond, Belgium, aboard the C-47B 43-48395 of 310th Ferry Squadron 27th Air Transport Group. However, her C-47 was hit by German flak and crashed about 4 km outside Aachen, Germany, having apparently strayed far from its intended route, as Aachen and St. Trond are 70 km apart. The aircraft usually carried military supplies and sometimes troops on the outward flight, and then casualties on the return, so were not marked with the red cross.

In her diary as reported by LTC Mary E.V. Frank in the book "The Forgotten POW: Second Lieutenant Reba Z. Whittle, AN" (1990), the following appears:
"(I) was sleeping soundly in the back of our hospital plane until suddenly awakened by terrific sounds of guns and cracklings of the plane as if it had gone into bits … Suddenly looked at my Surgical Tech opposite me with blood flowing from his left leg … But to see the left engine blazing away – is simply more than I can express …" (Frank, 1990, p. 10)

In the crash, Sgt Jonathan Hill, her surgical technician, was wounded in the arm and leg, one of the crew, Cpl Chester D Bright, was killed, and the other (1st Lt Ralph T Parker (pilot), Sgt Harold R Bonser and 2nd Lt David L Forbes) were badly hurt, and Whittle herself suffered from concussion, and injuries and lacerations to her face and back.

The crew crawled from the wrecked and burning aircraft and spotted what they believed to be British soldiers; they were in fact German soldiers who immediately captured them. They were taken to a nearby village and treated for their immediate injuries, then driven to a hospital nearby where a German doctor asked Whittle questions about her occupation. In her diary -- now in the possession of her husband, Stanley Tobiason, and researched by Lt. Col. Mark Clark, a military historian -- Whittle wrote that the German doctor "at last shook his head and said, ’Too bad having a woman, as you are the first and no one knows exactly what to do.’ "She became the first and only American military female prisoner of war in the European Theater.

At the time of Whittle’s capture, she and Tobiason, an USAAF officer, were engaged. When he learned of the C-47’s disappearance, Tobiason talked his general into allowing him to use an aircraft, gathered a volunteer crew, and flew his own search-and-rescue mission for his fiancee, without success.

The crew was then taken to Auswertestelle West ("Evaluation Office West"), the main Luftwaffe interrogation center at Oberursel, just to the north of Frankfurt. Whittle was separated from the rest of her crew and lodged at the nearby Hohemark Hospital, part of Auswertestelle West designed to provide immediate aid for wounded prisoners.

On October 6, she was transferred to Reserve Lazarett IX-C(a) at Obermaßfeld. This was a military hospital run by British medical staff for Allied POWs, part of Stalag IX-C. On October 19, she was moved to another POW hospital, IX-C(b), at nearby Meiningen, where she worked with burns patients and at the rehabilitation center for amputees. After several weeks she was seen by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who notified the State Department, and began to negotiate her release. Whittle was eventually repatriated, leaving Stalag IX-C on January 25, 1945. She was transported by train to Switzerland along with other prisoners who were being returned on medical or psychiatric grounds, then flew back to the United States.

At least at one point during her captivity Whittle was provided with an overcoat for warmth (Frank, 1990, p. 15), and according to Whittle “My room was very comfortable with a large down comforter, curtains and spotless…” (Frank, 1990, p. 20). This experience is very different than the one had by the women held by the Japanese.

On February 7, 1945, Whittle received the Purple Heart for the injuries she received during the crash, and on the 17th was awarded the Air Medal, "For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights...in unarmed and unarmored aircraft." On March 2, she was promoted to first lieutenant.

After a medical assessment and treatment at the Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C., and Brooke General Hospital, San Antonio, she was given 21 days convalescent leave. On May 11 she returned to duty, and a week later was sent to the Army Air Forces Redistribution Station No.2, at Miami Beach, Florida, where after another medical assessment her flying status was suspended on the grounds of recurrent headaches. Whittle served as a ward nurse at the AAF Regional and Air Debarkation Hospital, Hamilton Field, California, from June 15, 1945. On August 3, 1945 she married then Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley W. Tobiason at Hamilton Field, and then applied to be released from active duty. On August 31, 1945, she appeared before a Disposition Board which determined her to be fully qualified for military service. Her orders stated, "Relief from Active Duty is not by reason of physical disability." She was discharged on January 13, 1946.

Whittle continued to suffer from an assortment of physical and psychiatric problems. She sought compensation from the Veterans Administration, and in 1950 began a series of appeals for military medical retirement. Despite diagnoses of post-traumatic encephalopathy, chronic severe anxiety reaction, and early lumbosacral arthritis, her appeals were denied. Finally, in January 1954 the Army Physical Disability Appeal Board agreed that she was relieved from active duty by reason of physical disability, and thus eligible for retirement pay benefits, but as her disability was not "combat incurred", it was backdated only to the time of her application, April 1952. Her retroactive pay amounted to $3,780. After another review of her case an additional $999 was added. Had she received retroactive pay from the date of her discharge in 1946 it would have totaled $13,760. In 1960 she appealed for the full amount of retroactive pay, but this was rejected. Whittle made no further attempts to pursue her case. However, Tobiason says his wife was never bitter over her anonymity. She had been ordered by the Army not to talk about her experiences -- a common wartime regulation to protect military personnel still held by the enemy. She never did talk about those experiences, even to her family.

Reba and Stanley Tobiason had two sons, one of whom became a naval aviator and served in Vietnam. Reba Whittle Tobiason died of cancer on January 26, 1981.

In April 1983, Colonel Tobiason wrote to the Department of the Army following the announcement of the honoring of the Army and Navy nurses captured and imprisoned by the Japanese, which stated that the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration knew of no other American military women to have been taken prisoner. On September 2, 1983, Reba Z. Whittle was finally given official prisoner of war status. When that acknowledgment finally came, her husband said, "She would have been very delighted."

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reba_Z._Whittle
http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent/1,12044,ML_whittle_bkp,00.html
https://digital.lib.washington.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1773/20875/Hillius_washington_0250O_10499.pdf?sequence=1
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=11668
Annotations made on MACR 9621 (http://www.fold3.com/document/38218832/)
http://www.usaafdata.com/search
http://aad.archives.gov/aad/fielded-search.jsp?dt=466&tf=F&cat=WR26&bc=sl
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aachen
http://www.maplandia.com/germany/nordrhein-westfalen/koln/aachen/kreisfreie-stadt-aachen/
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Old 19th March 2013, 02:08
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Hi James,
This event was in a thread from 2008:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showth...hlight=Whittle

Hope this helps,
Bruce
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Old 19th March 2013, 18:13
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Hi guys

Most interesting.

Is there a wartime photograph of Reba available?

Cheers
Brian
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  #6  
Old 20th March 2013, 09:21
alieneyes1 alieneyes1 is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Hi Brian,

I shall send you my bill

http://legendsofflightnurses.org/Fli...ord.asp?ID=283

All the best,

Dave
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Old 20th March 2013, 12:01
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Thanks Dave

If you should send me your Bill, I'll send you my wife in exchange!!

Cheers
Brian
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Old 21st March 2013, 14:46
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

OK, Dave, not interested then!

Did any British (or other nationality) female medics lose their lives on such flights??

Cheers
Brian
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Old 21st March 2013, 17:51
alieneyes1 alieneyes1 is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Well, it's a very generous offer, Brian. Don't get me wrong

LACW Margaret Campbell:

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2214004/

As an aside, I happen to have the service file of Sgt Douglas Schneider, the RCAF pilot on this Dakota where LACW Campbell was killed. As there are extremely distressing parts of the story, especially post-crash and post-war, I hesitate to post them here.

Can you PM me your email address, Brian?

Regards,

Dave
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Old 21st March 2013, 18:18
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: Medivac C-47 shoot down

Many thanks, Dave

My e-mail address is briancullauthor@fsmail.net

I've posted it publically previously.

Cheers
Brian
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