B-24 "The Witch" (pilot 1st Lt. J. T. Darlington)
On the 1 of August 1943 Bulgarian
fighters climbed to intercept the south-bound American convoys, crossing
western Bulgaria on the planned withdrawal course from Ploesti, after “Tidal
Wave”. 1st Lt. Stoyan Stoyanov destroyed engines 2 and 3 of B-24 “The Witch”
( pilot J.T. Darlington). Another fighters fatally damaged her
mechanisms.1st Lt. Darlington rang the emergency bell and looked for a place
to crash-land. Three of his sergeants bailed out on the way down .
Darlington skidded THE WITCH into a mountain wheat field without injuring
anyone. Bulgarian border guards seized Darlington and navigator Joseph
Quigly while they were lifted the wounded engineer Lloyd Brisbi from the
plane. Darlington’s 4 men ran for the woods, later they joined Yugoslav
Darlington’s trio was decently
treated and taken to Sofia Military hospital . Bulgarian doctors after
successful operations saved the life of two of the crew- Brisbi and Howard.
All 10 men from “Tidal Wave” shot down over Bulgaria remained in the
hospital , then till 24 November 1943 in Sofia garrison prison. On the 26 of
November 1943 they were transferred to Shumen, and became the first POW in
this camp. J.T. Darlington was elected by prisoners , and was their
representative from January till July 1944. All were liberated on September
8, 1944, after the Red Army crossed the Bulgarian border. They stayed 288
days in Shumen camp.
Bulgarian ace 1st Lt. Stoyan Stoyanov, who
shot down the bomber, by the wing of B-24 “The Witch”