B-24 'Bat outa Hell' (41-23806) Plaque
On the east side of the junction.
A rectangular metal plaque inset in the center of a low curved stone wall. The plaque contains an English inscription in incised lettering with 3 image depictions of the 44th Bomb Group insignia, a B-24 airplane, and the 8th Air Force insignia. The plaque honors and lists the names of the B-24 plane, named ‘Bat Outa Hell,’ which crash-landed at New House Farm on January 3, 1943. The memorial was erected on June 6, 1994.
On January 3, 1943, a flight of thirteen Consolidated Liberators from the 67th Bomber Squadron, 44th Bomber Group, Heavy, 8th USAAF were dispatched from Shipdham, Norfolk to join another flight of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, in a daylight raid on the Nazi U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire. Eight of the Liberators reached the target before heading home, following the B-17’s. During the return flight, the B-17’s mistakenly headed for the Pembrokeshire coast. Unfortunately, each of the Liberators was running low on fuel, and the aircraft began looking for somewhere to land.
With the port fuel tanks empty, and both port engines stalled, Liberator 41-23806 attempted a forced landing near Dreenhill, just west of Haverfordwest, but a third engine failed, and the stricken aircraft crashed about 200 yards north of New House Farm. One of the crewmen was killed instantly, while the others, all injured, were taken to the War Memorial Hospital at Haverfordwest. Two of these men were returned to hospitals in the USA where they died within days.
The crew of Liberator 41-23806 were:
Pilot, 1st Lieutenant Roy B. Erwin (Died 5 January in Louisiana)
Co-Pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Clark Everett Swanson (Killed)
Navigator, 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Deavonport (Died 8 January in Texas)
Bombardier, 2nd Lieutenant John Gavin
Engineer, Staff Sergeant Hylan Simmons
Radioman, Staff Sergeant Thomas Laskowski
A Radio, Staff Sergeant George Kelsey
Gunner, Sergeant Lanville McCarty
Gunner, Sergeant Robert Reasoner
Gunner, Sergeant Delbert Perry
Source of information: www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk, ww1.wales
Source of photos: aviation-safety.net
IN HONOR OF
THE CREW OF BAT OUTA HELL,
B-24-D LIBERATOR OF THE
67TH BOMBER SQUADRON
44 BOMB GROUP,
8TH ARMY AIR FORCE.
PILOT 1LT ROY ERWIN CO-PILOT 2LT CLARK SWANSON NAVIGATOR 2LT THOMAS DEAVENPORT BOMBARDIER 2LT JOHN GAVIN
ENGINEER S/SGT HYLAN SIMMONS RADIOMAN S/SGT THOMAS LASKOWSKI A RADIO S/SGT GEORGE KELSEY
GUNNER SGT LANVILLE McCARTY GUNNER SGT ROBERT REASONER GUNNER SGT DELBERT PERRY
ON 3 JANUARY 1943 THE BAT UTA HELL CRASHED, RETURNING FROM A DAYLIGHT RAID
ON THE U-BOAT PENS AT ST. NAZAIRE, FRANCE.
THE PLANE CAME TO REST 200M TO THE RIGHT, AT THE GATE.
ERECTED ON 6 JUNE 1994 BY THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE US NAVAL FACILITY
BRAWDY AND RAF BRAWDY AS A TOKEN OF THEIR APPRECIATION OF THE
PEOPLE OF PEMBROKESHIRE AND THE CARE EXTENDED TO THESE MEN,
AND ALL ALLIED SERVICE PERSONNEL
44th Bomb Group
67th Bomber Squadron, 44th Bomber Group, Heavy
8th Air Force
US Army Air Corps