T/SGT George L. Campbell Born Dec 22, 1921 - KIA Nov 26, 1943

T/SGT George L. CampbellTSgt George L .Campbell, Jr., Radio Operator of “Gregory the Great”, was born in 1921, the son of Irene Cunningham Campbell and George L. Campbell, Sr. The family lived in Brooklyn NY where Mrs. Campbell was presented George’s Air Medal shortly after his being reported missing in action on 26 Nov 1943. He was declared killed in action 25 Nov 1944, although his body was never recovered.(George and the pilot were the only two of the crew with this status.) Irene Campbell never saw George again after he left for training in Aug 1942. Mrs. Campbell stated in one of her letters that they would never move in case George should ever come home.
At age 21, 10 Aug 1942, George enlisted in the Army at Fort Jay on Governor’s Island. Prior to his enlistment, George graduated from high school and worked as a Shipping and Receiving Clerk. However, George is reported to have been a very talented artist and a somewhat successful cartoonist and fashion sketcher when he was called to serve. It is entirely possible that he created the cartoon representing “Gregory” for their B-24.
T/SGT George L. CampbellTSgt Campbell’s and 1Lt Bolick’s names are found on the Tablets of the Missing in The Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, NL. 
One of the last letters George wrote home reported that he had participated in “one of the greatest and *longest raids of the war.”  Although his primary position was that of radio operator; on this occasion, George served as a gunner. As he put it, “he got his first crack at the jerries.” This mission was #5 for the crew over Danzig and Gdynia.   
click on imageAs described in www.b-24.net, on 9 Oct, 1943, the primary target for the Second Bombardment Division was the submarine slips at Danzig with a secondary target being the shipyards at Gdynia. The two yards at Danzig accounted for 13.5 percent of total German U-boat production and it was expected they would produce even more in the next year. Gdynia was also an important target with the several German battle cruisers, battleships, and heavy and light cruisers in port.
With many aircraft and experienced crews still in Africa, the 14th Combat Wing could muster only 26 aircraft and the 2nd Combat Wing, 35 aircraft. Early returns reduced the number of effective aircraft to just 51 and, in effect, the two Wings flew as composite groups.
The 392nd BG's 14 planes got off 16 minutes late due to the difficulty experienced in a last-minute effort to install bomb-bay tanks. Four aborted (3 pre-target for mechanical and personnel problems and 1 over the target due to equipment malfunctions). The route to the I.P. was as briefed with no opposition. Cloud cover at the target was about 3/10 with good visibility except in the target areas where there were very effective smoke screens.  NewspaperJust prior to the I.P., 392nd BG commander Lt Col Irvine Rendle changed the bombing altitude from 22,000 to 21,000 feet due to prop wash of the 2nd Wing. As the altitude change was being effected, lead bombardier 1/Lt Joseph W. Westbrook was taking control of the aircraft. In his after-action report, he wrote, "I could not see the target, either through the bombsight, or out of the glass under the turret. I let the aircraft remain on the same course it was on at the I.P. The visibility was limited from where I was, and also poor due to haze. It was about 30 seconds before I could see the smoke screen over the target. At that time, I noticed that we were coming in at almost right angles to the coast, while we should have been coming in at quite an acute angle to it. Also it appeared that the smoke screen was too close to the edge of the water for where the primary target should have been. "
T/SGT Goerge Lawrence Campbell Jr.At that point, the bombsight failed to function, but being so close to what he thought was the target, he toggled the bombs with the rest of the 392nd and 44th BG planes dropping also.
The 392nd dropped (132) 500-pound General Purpose bombs which fell about four miles short of Gdynia in a wooded area. B-17 units (109 planes) had Gdynia as their primary target and their bombing was considered very good.
Slight to moderate, but accurate, heavy flak was encountered over Gdynia during the bombing run. Enemy fighter opposition was light, with 20-25 aircraft engaging the formation while over the islands and peninsula of Denmark on the way back from the target. The attacks began at 1430 hours at 5420N-1210E at 12,300 feet and continued until 1528 hours when the 392nd was out over the North Sea. The gunners had six claims. No B-24s were lost on this mission, but nine suffered battle damage.
*Due to the length of this mission, elaborate air-sea rescue procedures were promulgated in the event planes ran out of gas over water. 2BD ASR aircraft would fly parallel searches one-half mile apart. Per the 2BD teletype, "If dinghy is sighted one aircraft will immediately climb to 3000 ft and transmit their call sign and message 'dinghy sighted' and get radio fix. One plane will continue to circle dinghy until help arrives. Others may attempt to contact surface boats which will be in area and lead them to dinghy."
The Royal Navy would augment these ASR services with destroyers and corvettes and other ASR vessels; they would be prepared to search along a line running from Cromer to 5525-0820E. Per Annex No. 1 to the field order, "These ships will be at instant readiness awaiting to react SOS messages from ditching air craft." 

Missing in action telegram Finding of death document. Report of death. Battle casulty document. Letter of mother.

TSgt Campbell’s picture and much of the family information was provided by George’s cousin, Shirley Brendke, of Sarasota Florida. Shirley’s mother, Florence, was Irene Campbell’s sister. Shirley and her husband, Edwin, also honored George as part of the
WWII Memorial. That memorial to George may be found by going on-line to the WWII Memorial and searching the registry using George’s name. 
The miracle worker, Philippe Vanderdonckt, who continues to find us crew families against all odds found the Brendke name  through the WWII Memorial website. 
Other information about the family was provided by Mr. Ben Gocker of the Library of Brooklyn.   
The information about Mission #5 is located in www.b-24.net .

TSgt George Campbell's name is engraved on the Tablet of Missing on the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten, Netherland.

Special thanks to Judy Sparks for typing all this information and to Jim Pesnichak for helping his mother-in-law to scan the photo of George. Also thanks to Mr. Ben Gocker of the Library of Brooklyn for the friendly help.