This blog is part of a site named where you can find the stories of more than one hundred planes that during WWII landed or crashed in Portugal. Here I will announce the updates and also publish stories and information related with WWII in Portugal. All the stories will be in English and there another twin blog in Portuguese... forgive if sometimes the English is not always correct...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A dolar bill seeks its Portuguese history

This note is what the Americans call a "Short Snorter" and shows the signatures of the members of the team that in 1943/44 came to Portugal to teach the Portuguese aviators to fly, handle and repair the P-38, P-39s and B-24s that during the previous year had landed all over the country. Among the signatures is also a Portuguese who has been identified until now as (...)Lima Costa.

Front and back of the dolar Bill with all the signatuires of the american team, and also from the portuguese pilot.

This treasure belongs to Mike Allard who is trying to rebuilt the history of this note and this American mission to Portugal.

I met him in one of the various forums I usually survey and it was decided to move forward with an appeal also in Portugal, where I’m sure many people will be able to help.

The names that appear on both sides of the bill were identified by Mike as: Edward T. Gwarek , Richard R. Heddens, Gurden B. Swain, Luis C. dePineros, (??) Lima Costa (Portuguese Pilot), Willard W. Wilson, William A. Thompson, Eugene S. Brown, Lawrence Magliano, John E. Scott, Sherwood Fritzshall, John W. Carroll, John A. Stubs Jr. (signature on front)…

Signature of the portuguese officer that Mike wants to indetifie.

In the book "Landing in Portugal", I published an extract of an investigation by José Manuel Correia months before and that had been published in the Portuguese Air force journal “Mais Alto” . This extract is from the book:

"At December 19, 1943, arrives in Lisbon a mission commanded by Major Willard Wilson accompanied by four pilots and eight mechanics in order to put to fly half a dozen B-24 and two dozen fighters who were interned.

According to José Manuel Correia, who developed the theme in the journal of the Air Force, in early February 1944, Portugal had five Liberators, ready to operate in its fleet. Although there are no parts, cannibalization at least of one aircraft parked on Portela Airport allowed the others to stay in operation.

The first flight with a entirely Portuguese crew happened soon after, on February 5, with a course between Portela and Terceira island in the Azores.

As a passenger was Maj. Humberto Delgado, who had the task of preparing the expansion of the runway of Lages airfield, in order to respond to the requirements of the Allies.

The aircrafts received national enrollment L1 to L5 and in May, at a big military parade, the aircraft are presented to the President of the Republic and the President of the Minister Counsel.

Despite all the pomp, the life of the B-24s in Portugal seems to have been short. There were a few trips, including to Cape Verde Islands, but an accident with one of them, with deadly consequences for five crew members and two passengers, on July 27, 1944, appears to have cooled the interest in the aircraft.

The lack of spares may also be cited as reason for the fact that, from the summer of 1944 on, just a few months after its acquisition, the fleet was stopped at Portela Airport.

By the end of that year the Secretariat of Civil Aviation is created, led by Major Delgado, and the Liberators as the Hudsons and the the C-47’s were admitted as possible candidates to join the fleet in a embryonic TAP (future portuguese flight company).

The use of the B-24s would never happen. The costs of maintenance and their fuel consumptions made them not feasible for commercial exploitation. They stood forgotten in Portela, until they ere dismantled by the end of 1946 and early of 1947. "

(Landing in Portugal, Part 4 / Chapter 9)

Mike Allard’s Email is ...

He welcomes any information about the mission as much as about the Portuguese pilot that also signed th is "Short Snorter". By the way this is a term that defines a note that gathers the signatures of a number of people who made a trip together, usually by plane. It's an American tradition that began in the '20s ...

This "Short Snorter" is a time capsule that also is part of our aviation history...

Thanks Mike for sharing it with us...

Carlos Guerreiro

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