AN EIGHTH BOMBER STATION, (UP) -- Returning at night from a routine trip to an English coast town, a gunless Flying Fortress unwittingly joined a formation of German bombers in the belief they were Americans, and flew alongside unnoticed despite bright flares and a brilliant moon.
The Fortress, a "hangar queen" whose guns had been dismounted, was piloted by 1/Lt. Warren F. Bacon, who was not aware that German planes were attacking a nearby town as he approached his blackout field and requested the control tower to fire a flare.
"Right after that I saw red and yellow flares popping all around." Bacon said. "I thought for a minute it was damned good service on the part of the tower, but I sort of wondered how they fired flares so fast.
"There was a plane above and ahead of us, and I figured it was another ship coming in for a landing. I was all set to tag behind him when I saw the so-and-so drop a flare -- and then a bomb. At that point we were a good distance from the field. I didn't waste any time losing him, and I circled the field again. A few moments later I saw a plane silhouetted against the moon. It was a JU88. It came our way dead level, passing us about 50 yards astern as though on urgent business. We saw about eight of those guys from various distances, but none of them seemed to know we were there.
"Sitting up there was some experience. There were all sorts of colors from flares and ack-ack. The night was beautifully clear, and the searchlights looked like the Northern Lights. We saw one of the enemy ships burst into flames over the town they were attacking and dive right into the earth."
Bacon came in for his landing with a German bomber flying close behind, control tower officers said, but night fighters drove the German off, subsequently shooting it down.