Excerpt from “Chapter 10 – Natal”

The Jolly Roger: An Airman’s Tale of Survival in World War II by William C. Atkinson

Excerpt from “Chapter 10 – Natal”:

The Jolly Roger, with the Williams crew aboard, departed Lincoln AAF on December 7, 1943 as part of the last B-24s and crews of the 451st BG to leave Nebraska. The direct route distance to West Palm Beach equaled about 1185 statute miles and would just nip the northeast corner of Kansas, thence across Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and into Florida. At a cruising speed of about 165 mph, Lt. Johnson estimated a little better than seven hours en route.

Lt. Williams leveled off at 8,000 feet, and Lt. Fallon set the engines on cruise power. The weather was good along the route, and all indications suggested a routine, rather boring flight. About that time, Lt. Preston crawled up from the tunnel onto the flight deck and tapped Lt. Williams on the shoulder. Lt. Williams lifted his earphone off his ear and turned to look at Lt. Preston.