Willie "Dub" Turner went overseas on the Dutch ship "Bosch Fonatren" and tells of his 54 day journey to join the 405th Squadron. The second article tells of the 90 days that it took Lew Pavel to join the 38th flying as a member of a crew flying a B-25 overseas to join the 38th BG.


   "Left Columbia, SC, 7/7/42, for Patterson Field for shots, briefings. At 6 pm 7/10 boarded air -conditioned troop train (nice berth) for St. Louis, Kansas City, El Paso, Tucson, Los Angeles and Pittsburg, CA, arriving Camp Stoneman 5 am, 7/14. Visited Frisco twice, and 7/21 boarded the "BOSCH FONATREN", a Dutch boat and crew. Overnight at the dock, into the bay early, anchored, and then under the Golden Gate at 4, 7/21. "

     "The boat had lots of guns and an American gun crew headed by Lts Matson and Parks. Boat drill at 10 am daily: several general alarms, but no danger. Shared a closet-size 5 bunk stateroom with Mike Murphy, Frank Thompson, Jack Thom and Gus Popper.. The one porthole for ventilation was closed and blacked out at night:made it pretty hot crossing the equator. Shower situation very bad-only salt water-did get a bit of fresh water to shave and wash faces, but no laundry after boarding."

     "In the canteen could get cold drinks, candy and cigarettes (stocked up at 70 cents a carton). Meals very good-Dutch menus all kinds of fancy-named foods, but fish every day got quite old. Bob Fuqua, Homer Varel, Lt. Mattson and I played dime-limit poker every evening-passed the time and couldn't lose much."

     "On 8/11 entered New Caledonia Harbor at 8 am; dropped anchor at Noumea that afternoon. Only two Navy Officers went ashore. Left the next am with only an Australian destroyer to accompany us. Later learned we we had stopped because three ships had been sunk in the area recently."

     "On 8/15 woke up and saw Australia-at least some mountains, but even that looked good. Landed in Brisbane at 2:47 pm 8/15, and were billeted at a race track, but got into town next day-old looking place chock full of sailer and soldiers; very few cars except for army and a few civilian charcoal-powered ones. Several nice buildings had been taken over by the General for Headquarters."

     "On 8/10 some of our planes had got in. Fuqua, Al Williamson, I and 60 mechanics went out to the field. nice quarters in Officer's barracks, and mostly just looked the planes over."

    "On 8/22 back to Brisbane, 3 days later at 9pm left for Charters Towers on a typical Australian train-narrow gauge and sorriest wooden cars I have ever seen. Had to sleep on hard wood seats, too short to stretch out-took 3 hours to get the kinks out. Stopped at a little station in middle of nowhere, for tea and a sandwich for breakfast and dinner, stopped again at another little place-same routine for three days, arriving the fourth night at 3am."

     "Breddons was a nice Field with a tarred runway 15 miles from Charters Towers. Our planes were there and I was assigned to the 405th under Major Harsh and named Transportation Officer, but an advance echelon was ready to move out and I was named CO of the unit scheduled for a new field (RORANA) 10 miles from the Japs and 30 miles from Port Morseby, with the only access by plane or a very small boat."

     "In a 9/8 meeting with Col Castle and Squadron CO. learned my advance party would move to Horn Island by air transport the next day. Took off at 10am . arriving at Horn Island about 3. We set up quarters in an old barracks with a thousand shrapnel holes in it, and I made arrangements to eat in the Aussie mess. Ten of our planes came in next day for my 10 mechanics to maintain." (Editors note: Turners surface trip took 54 days from Columbia, SC to Charters Towers and 10 days later he reached his first combat zone base)

Lew Pavel's going overseas as a member of the flight crew

3/7/43 - Columbia, SC to Hunters Field, Savannah, GA. for assignment as navigator, Lt. peebles crew

3/14-Hunter to Chatham Field (15 minutes) to pick up a B-25

3/19-Ordered to Hamilton Field, CA, RON Key AAB,Meridian, MS (4'45"); delayed by minor repairs.

3/21-RON Jackson AAB,MS (1'00")

3/22-Tinker AAB, Oklahoma City (7'15");major engine repair;6 day billet at hotel(no room on Base)

3/28-7'00" to Luke Field,Phoenix,AZ. Propellor malfunction, 2 day stay.

3/30-7'00" to Hamilton Field; on to McClelland Field (45") inspection/maintenance. Base billet; Sacramento available off duty.

4/8-3'30" fuel consumption test enroute back to Hamilton.

4/10-4'00" fuel consumption test.

4/11-4'00" fuel consumption test.

4/14-1'15"compass swing test. Scheduled flight to Honolulu canceled; ETF (estimated time of flight)exceeded B-25 fuel capacity safety margin.

4/15-4/25- ETF delays. Each days departures based on weather ship info and ATC planes reports. "No Go" decision by 3pm released crews till noon.

4/25-Despite high ETF, 18 B-25s cleared to depart. (Rumor: visiting congressman distrubed by number of B-25s doing nothing: safetey factors ignored) Our 13'25" flight left barely enough fuel to taxi to the revetment. No planes lost, but one hit dry tanks on Hickam runway.

4/29-(4 day delay,starter repair) 7'40" to Christmas Island. New generator ordered from Hickam.

4/30-Daybreak parts arrival, prompt repair expidited takeoff for Tutuila, Amer. Samoa-8'45" including circling to reduce fuel level because landing gear locking doubted. With Marine planes returning from advaced staging base, pilot ordered to to land on extreme edge of strip (2/3 of it in bay). Normal landing until right gear collapsed throwing plane towards 35' deep water; left gear failed just in time to grind plane to stop with right wing over water.

4/25-5-25-30 days of best chow in service(Marine cooks), while Air Corps decided what to do since wrenching of fuselage popped so many rivets; condemned to salvage.

5/25-5/26-1 hour notice to board overloaded ATC C-87, which barely cleared revetment at runway end; 5'15" to Noumea, New Caledonia (crossed International Date Line) 5'45" to Amberly Field, Ipswich, Australia.

5/28-Bordered trainTurner decribed-sandwich/tea meals, hard seat sleepers, 4 nights to Townsville to await assignment of an aircraft...6/3-Orientation flight to Charters Towers; back to Townsville to await assignment of an aircraft. (Editors note: Terrible blow to flyers egos-90days from Colunbia to Charters Towers; Turner made in 54 days by Boat)