Oscar Sinibaldi

I was part of the 549th Squadron in the 385th Bomb Group. We flew our food drop mission on May 2, 1945. We flew over Schiphol airport at a height of about 100 feet. Even though a temporary armistice had been declared, our group was fired upon by anti aircraft gunners. I believe the plane behind us received some slight damage.

Artist impression of the 385th over Schiphol on May 2The day before the mission, the bomb bays were jury rigged with plywood to contain and drop, the sacks of food. Well, after the drop I tried to close the bomb bay doors. The idiot light told me that the doors had not been closed, so I made my way back to the bomb bay area to see what was wrong. To my horror, I saw our Flight Engineer, Gearld Shaull, hanging head down in the open bomb bay doors! Two crew members were, each holding one leg, while he was busily trying to cut some snagged ropes, which were part of the jury rigged system. By that time, we were up to about 5,000 feet and there was nothing between Shaull and Holland, except 5,000 feet of air! I signaled, frantically, to the two crew members who were hanging on to his legs, to pull him up out fo there. They did, and I went back up front and somehow got the doors closed, kind of crunching them in the process.

The Crew: Front row, left to right
Gerald D. Shaull-Engineer, William, M. Cain- Radio, Edward J. Simpson-Tail Gunner, Billie M. Gideon- Armor Gunner, James D. Miller- Ball Turret Gunner.
Back row left to right
Lee R. Marcussen- Pilot, Ellis B. Norwood- Co-pilot, Donal H. Phillies- Navigator, Oscar G. Sinibaldi- Bombadier.Our pilot, Lee Marcussen who was the only member of the crew who was older that I was, let his hair down and buzzed Holland. He was quite conservative, and would not do anything of that type, ordinarily. At any rate, it was the only time I had seen cows gallop -- headlong into the canals at that!


The crew picture was send to me by Jan Waddell, the daughter of Flight Engineer Gerald D. Shaull.



The Manna Monument at Terbregge

At the exact spot of one of the dropzones overlooking the freeway at Terbregge is the Manna monument located. It symbolizes the belly of an allied bomber filled with food parcels. The monument has been the central location of the Manna / Chowhound commemorations since its unveilling in 2006. One year later the Air Commodore Geddes footpath was opened next to the memorial.

Diary of Norman Coats

May 3 - "Another mercy mission to Holland. We went deeper into Holland today. Very low altitude. I believe I must have waved at everyone in Holland. It is really a shame the ocean being turned into Holland. The great fields of tulips are beautiful. They had, "Thank You" spelled out with rocks. They could see me waving at them because they would point each others attention to it. Some of them had American flags waving them."