CLOMAN D. BOGART|
World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
December 14, 1988
Dear Mr. Lundy:
Many thanks for the 44 Logbook which I received recently, which I enjoyed reading about the "Eight Balls." I appreciated Mr. Thomas telling about me.
I tried to visit Mr. Warren in Springfield, Ohio, but he was unable to have visitors at that time. I visited Arthur Schueler in 1946 but have not seen him since. Would like current address for Wayne Warren, Arthur Schueler, P. F. Scott and Lt. Robert McFarland.
Please overlook the misspelled names of the German towns. I do not have a map that shows the pre-war names of the towns.
Many thanks again.
Cloman D. Bogart "Bogie"
I enlisted in the Army Air Force in July 1942 at Fort Hayes, Ohio and was sent to Fort Benjamin in Harrison, Ind. for indoctrination. I was sent to Jefferson Barracks, MO, for basic training where I was assigned to the Autopilot-Bombsight School at Lowry Field, Colorado. After completing school, I was sent to a staging camp at Salt Lake City, Utah where I spent the Christmas holidays. In January, I was assigned to the 506-bomb squadron at Pueblo, Colorado. The squadron was in preparation for overseas duty, then we went by troop train to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
We were to leave New York in early February but some pipes froze on the ship SS Chantilly so departure was delayed until February 27, 1943. During the waiting period, we were transported to Fort Dix where we spent the day on the rifle range. Shortly after leaving New York harbor, we joined a ship convoy.
Then on March 10, 1943, we stood on deck ready to abandon ship from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning while under a German U-boat attack. The SS Chantilly lost two lifeboats during evasive maneuvers. The SS Chantilly failed to maintain convoy speed after the attack due to power failure. We docked in Glasgow, Scotland and then it was reported that 32 ships had been sunk during the attack. We boarded a troop train, which took us to Norwich, England, then arrived at Shipdham Airbase March 18, 1943.
The Germans greeted us that evening by bombing Norwich and vicinity. I was in the bombsight-autopilot maintenance where I worked with P. F. Scott, Arthur Schueler and Lt. McFarland. We worked with the bombardiers on the bombsight trainer. I often flew with the combat crews on training missions over England. I particularly enjoyed the low-level flights where we made use of a gunsight to replace the bombsight for low-level bomb delivery. This was all in the preparation for the low-level Ploesti Mission as we learned later. I was in the formation when Col. Johnson received the Congressional Medal. While the planes were in Africa, I was sent to Bristol, England to attend a school for maintenance of the Sperry ball turret gunsight. If I remember correctly, a B-24 by name of "Lemon Drop" flew its 50th mission.
In January 1944 I volunteered for combat and completed seven missions. The eighth mission to Fredrickshaven on March 18, 1944 proved to be the last as the pilot nursed the crippled Lib back to the French Coast where we could see the white cliffs of Dover before bailing out. The first man out of the plane delayed his chute opening sufficiently and was picked up by French underground but the rest of the crew was captured. From Abbeville, France, we were taken to Frankfort, Germany for interrogation. Wayne Warren and I were sent to a prison camp at Heydekrug, Lithuania. When the Russians got close, we were evacuated through Memel, Lithuania by ship through the Baltic Sea to Swindemunde, Germany, then by rail to Keifhyde, East Prussia.
When the Russians got close again, they marched us through Swindemunde to Hanover, Germany. Here, they put us in temporary compound while they changed guards before marching us through Luckenwald, Germany. Then on April 26, 1945, they marched us into American lines at Bitterfield, Germany.