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 partisans.

1st. Lt. Darlington

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”

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Bulgaria
United Kingdom - 17 POW's Yugoslavia-10 POW's
South Africa - 4 POW's Canada - 2 POW's
Netherlands - 2 POW's Australia - 2 POW's
USA - 292 POW's

copyright © 2007 - Stanimir Stanev
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