Bill Heath was barely 21 back in the fall of 1943 when he arrived at Thorpe Abbots airfield in southeastern England, a second lieutenant reporting for duty as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier.
It was the early days of the U.S. Army’s controversial daylight bombing campaign over Nazi-occupied Europe. The Newport, Wash., kid was among the fresh crews sent to help replenish the rapidly depleting ranks of the 100th Bombardment Group, which took such heavy losses it became known as “The Bloody Hundredth.”
Five weeks later, Heath and his fellow crew members were dead. It was their seventh mission.
For the complete story by David Wasson of The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review, click here.