Trimble survived air attacks over Germany

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2009

While Veterans Day is just another holiday on the calendar for many Americans, for Adrian Trimble it is a day to reflect and give thanks that he made it through his military service safely.

Trimble’s bombing unit in World War II flew 135 missions over the course of only six months, many of them with enemy fire flying all around them.

And in all that time, Trimble, who was a radio operator and waste gunner, was not harmed.

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“We were just lucky, that’s all,” Trimble said.

Trimble was a part of the 490 Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force in World War II.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1943 and served until 1945.

His unit was stationed in Eye, England, about 20 miles north of London, and engaged in strategic bombings of bomb-making factories in Germany, many of them in Munich and Berlin.

“We were told we had to complete 65 bombing missions before we could go home, but we did 50 and they let us go,” Trimble said. “And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.”

Trimble said a bombing mission began early in the morning and many times included enemy gunfire going off all around them.

“It was summertime in England, so it would get daylight at 2 in the morning,” Trimble said.

“We took off right after that in our flying group heading for Munich or Berlin or other places.”

Trimble’s job on the B-17 bomber was radio operator and waste gunner, which meant it was his job to try to ward off gunfire from German fighter pilots that would try and knock the big plane out of the sky.

“We had machine guns at the two waste windows on the plane,” Trimble said. “When the German fighters would attack us, we returned fire. And that happened often.”

Another danger the bomber group experienced was German flak bombs.

“They would shoot flak in the air, which exploded and threw shrapnel all over the sky,” Trimble said.

“We had several holes in our plane from those bombs, but we always managed to escape.”

Trimble’s bomb group began its missions on D-Day, June, 6, 1944, and finished its final mission on Dec. 23 of that same year.

Needless to say, it was a merry Christmas for Trimble and his mates.

“Oh, we were extremely happy,” Trimble said. “We were headed back home the first part of January the following year.”

Trimble, now 85, has his World War II mementoes in a frame hanging on his wall.

He is proud of the job he and his bombing group did in helping the United States win the war.

“It makes you proud,” Trimble said. “I was proud to be a solder and an airman in World War II.”