B-24 BOMBARDIER

USAAF

784th Bomber Squadron / 466th Bomb Group

 
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First Leutnant Christ Mugianis in an official portrait, probably after his graduation from Bombardiers school, before posted for overseas duty. Chris Manners as he was usually known in the USAAF applied for pilot and accepted as an aviation cadet. He flew 10 hours with Piper Cub PT-1 and 15 hours with Fairchild PT-19 before he was rejected fro further flying training. He applied for Bombardier training and began his training on Sperry, Estopay D-8 and Norden bombsights, flying almost 150 hours on Beechcraft AT-11's which where advanced twin-engine trainers that were used to train Bombardiers, Gunners and Navigators during and after WWII. Over 90% of all of the Bombardiers in WWII trained in this glass-nosed version of the famous Twin Beech. After a 2 month period in the hospital because of an illness, he was posted to Westfield MA, for operational training on B-24's Liberators. He flew almost 60 hours in training between Aug. 9, 1944, and Sept. 21, 1944, and afterward he was posted to the 784th BS, 466th BG flying combat missions over Europe. He flew 19 missions, flying 150 combat hours. During a mission during the final days (on April 21, 1945) of the war, his bomber was shot down and he bailed out and arrested, becoming a POW. His had the distinction to be a crew member of the last heavy bomber shot down during the war. He was released a few days later, during April 29, 1945. (Catherine Manners)
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Crew #769/487 or Richard J. Farrington Crew. Standing Left to Right: John C. Murphy (RN), John A. Perella (N), John A. Regan (CP), Richard J. Farrington (P), George E. Noe (PN), Chris Manners (B) Kneeling Left to Right: Robert E. Peterson (TG), John C. Brennan (WG), Jerome Barrett (FE), Howard G. Goodner (R/O), Albert Seraydarian (G) This was the last 466th BG and indeed the last 8th AF B-24 crew shot down in WW2. Manners and Seraydarian were able to bail out. Everyone else in the photo above was KIA. (Cathrine Manners & http://www.americanairmuseum.com/)

1st Lt Christos Mugianis (aka Christ Manners) was born October 14, 1921, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Greek immigrants. His parents were Diamandis Mugianis and Mary Vassilaros who came to the USA in 1902 from the Greek island of Icaria in the Aegean Sea. The couple had also 2 more daughters, Mary, and Ann as well as two more sons, John and George. During September 1940, the family changed the name to Manners as it was easiest to pronounced by the Americans. Diamandis was an industrial paint contractor and he created a company named D. Mugianis and Sons Inc. The WW2 was the reason for Christ to enlist in the USAAF although it isn't known if he was an aviation enthusiast. It must be noted that the family had already a member with wartime experience. A cousin of Christ, although much older, with the same name, Christos Mugianis was born in Greece and fought at a very young age during the Asia Minor Greek campaign. He later immigrated to the United States and during the Spanish civil war, he volunteered and fought with the Republicans along with other American volunteers against General Franco forces.   

During the WW2, Lt Manners served as a B-24J bombardier and served with 466th Bomb Group. On June 15, 1942, Christ Manners enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserves (ASN 13086554). In the middle of 1943 selected for training as bombardier-gunner and in December had completed a course in flexible aerial gunnery school at Laredo Army Air Field, Laredo, TEXAS. His service number changed in O-723913 and now was the time for the bombardier’s training. In the early January of 1944 Manners arrived in Midland Army Air Field, TEXAS. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the need for bombardiers was evident. The Midland Army Air Field used exclusively to train bombardiers. The base pioneered the use of the highly secret Norden bombsight and at one time operated twenty-three bombing ranges across West Texas. Personnel from Midland AAF were instrumental in developing photographic and sonic methods of scoring bomb hits and analyzing bombing proficiency. The Aviation Cadet Christ Manners achieved high rating during his course and the May of 1944, after 18 weeks of training, graduated wearing proudly at his left chest the bombardier’s wings. Now, was one of the "Most dangerous men around the world" as the bombardiers of USAAF were nicknamed.

The next detachment sent him to Westover Field near Springfield, Massachusetts for the meeting with his future crew. Manners met the pilot and co-pilot first, in the squadron dayroom on a hot, airless afternoon. Both were tall, lanky men, strong, soft-spoken, and easygoing. The pilot’s name was Richard Farrington from St Louis. Well over six feet tall, Farrington was an athletic powerful man who exuded self-confidence. Jack Reagan the co-pilot was from Queens, New York City, and like Farrington, he was a powerful man who carried himself with the easy gait of a natural athlete. The two men greeted Manners smiling and shaking hands with him did. Manners was a squat bearish man, 23 years old, and wore a thick, down-ward arching mustache that gave his round, swarthy face, a misleadingly savage appearance! A full head shorter than Farrington and Reagan, Manners was completely bald on top and Farrington instantly christened him 'Curly'. The rest of the crew was the Mel Rossman the navigator, and the crew’s six enlisted men. They were Howard Goodner radio-gunner, Jack Brennan waist gunner, Bob Peterson gunner, Jerome Barret flight engineer & top turret gunner, Albert Seraydarian tail gunner, and Harry Gregorian nose gunner. The two Armenians became good friends because of their common parentage. The training schedule was intensive. The crew was flying some time every day at least four hours, seven days a week. Sometimes during the flights over the Atlantic Ocean or the mainland, the radio carried the soft strains of dance music and they would hear the gunner, Sgt Peterson, humming or singing along. Over and over again he sang them his voice slowing into his version of a heavy Texas drawl belting out verse after verse of songs like 'Deep in the heart of Texas' 'Pistol-Packin Mama', 'Don’t fence me in' etc. There training was full of humorous incidents. There was Manners his voice crackling over the interphone from the nose always asking Farrington to set the plane down in Pittsburgh so he could get a decent Greek meal!

-“A little souvlaki, moussaka, and taramasalata” he rattled on and on!

-“Translate that for Howard back here, will you,” Barrett would pipe up.

-“He thinks it’s cornbread and beans.”

-“Manners doesn’t sound like a Greek name to me,” Seraydarian called out from the tail.

-“The family name is Mugianis,” Manners volunteered.

-“Changed it just before I enlisted. We came to the States from the Greek island of Icarus”.

-“Icarus! Not a good omen for a flyer,” Barrett muttered. Manners didn’t seem too worried.

In early September the crew had completed its combat training and was prepared for movement to a port of embarkation. On October 4, 1944, the crew arrived in the New York and embarked in a passenger's vessel. After a long travel of two weeks disembarked in the port of Greenock, Scotland. At the end of October, the crew arrived in the village of Weston-Longville at the Air Base of Attlebridge, (Station 120) 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Norwich, Norfolk, England. The first mission of the crew was on November 5, 1944. Their first time in combat was a frightening experience, with heavy flak and bad weather circumstances, but returned back safely. On 26 November the Lt Farrington’s crew participated in his fifth mission. According to the briefing:

"Your target for today is Bielefeld specifically, a railroad viaduct approximately two and one-half miles from the town. The bridge is 384 yards long and 72 feet high.”

The Farrington crew was flying in the low element of the high right squadron, and as they convened at the hardstand the pilot seemed confident and upbeat. Arriving late from the bombardiers’ briefing Lt Manners grumbled that whoever dreamed up trying to hit a narrow railroad bridge, from twenty thousand feet, should have his friggin’ head examined. This was a job for light bombers flying at low altitudes, or even fighters.

“P-47s could dive-bomb the damned thing,” Manners groused as they stood beneath the wing of the plane.

"Hey Curly” Jack Reagan said, one long, lean arm draped over Manner’s burly shoulder, “we’re sending you as our representative to Eight Bomber command to express our objections to this mission. You have my permission to commandeer that jeep over there on the double. We’ll wait here.”

"Ah, screw you, Jack”, Manners mumbled as he squatted to climb into the plane.

"Curly, you look like a bear trying to waddle into a cave", Farrington laughed, as Manners squirmed awkwardly into the nose wheel well.

Everyone seemed surprisingly loose. The mission passed without incident. For the Farrington crew, the trip was uneventful! The bombing was to have been visual - radar assisted, if necessary – but a 5/10 cloud cover at Bielefeld threw a patchy haze over the narrow viaduct. The group dropped 245 1.000-pound general-purpose bombs through the haze, but at interrogation, nobody seemed sure about the results. Strike photos later revealed that 'Curly' Manners was right! The closest bomb fell three thousand feet from the bridge, and three days later the 466th was ordered back to Bielefeld. They would go without the Farrington crew. The November 26 mission to Bielefeld was the crew’s fifth and qualified them not only for the Air Medal but also, according to the group practice, for their first pass. They were now officially a veteran crew!

In the early days of January 1945, the Farrington’s crew had completed 11 combat missions without a scratch. They knew their jobs performed them well. The crew had earned a good reputation around the squadron, attracting the attention of both the Group and the Squadron commanders. As result, they selected as Lead Crew. In their first mission as lead crew on 15 February 1945, Lt Richard Farrington discovered that he would fly lead on the third squadron. The 784th Squadron commander would be riding with them as a command pilot! Everybody was excited! They had not flown combat in a month and now they would be flying lead! 

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On 21 April 1945 at around 0630 local time 137 B-24 bombers from the 466th Bombardment Group departed from their air force base near Norfolk, England to bomb a railway bridge in Salzburg, Austria. Within the formation, Black Cat led the third squadron. However once the target was reached four hours later, the mission had to be abandoned due to the heavy cloud and thunderstorms covering the area. The lead aircraft flew a return course over Regensburg. This decision was queried by several navigators in the formation because Regensburg was a heavily bombed and defended city: it was home to the Messerschmitt factory which had been the Eighth Air Force's first major bombing target of the war in August 1943. At 20,000 feet above Regensburg, the formation received eight bursts of flak. Black Cat was the only casualty. It was struck by a shell on the left wing causing the aircraft to crash. Ten of the crew were killed including the pilot, Richard Farrington. The tail gunner, Albert Seraydarian, and the bombardier, Chris Manners, survived and were liberated from German POW camps within a few weeks. The photos above show details and markings from the unlucky bomber, like the tail section and the noseart. The profile below is an example of how this specific Liberator looked like in color. The absence of camouflage was a typical issue for the USAAF fighters and bombers. The weight saved by the colors gave the pilots that extra little speed which could be decisive in life and death situations. Needless to say that such situations were very often over the dangerous European skies. (http://www.americanairmuseum.com & http://www.b24bestweb.com)
'Black Cat', 'T9-U', # 42-95592 was a B-24J-1-FO Liberator. The B-24J variant was very similar to the B-24H, but shortages of the Emerson nose turret required use of a modified, hydraulically powered Consolidated A-6 turret in most J model aircraft built at Consolidated's San Diego and Fort Worth factories. The B-24J featured an improved autopilot (type C-1) and a bombsight of the M-1 series. B-24H sub-assemblies made by Ford and constructed by other companies and any model with a C-1 or M-1 retrofit, were all designated B-24J. The J model was the only version to be built by all five factories involved in B-24 production. Total bombers of that variant build: 6,678. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_B-24_Liberator)
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Christos Mugianis or Christ Manners as he was known after he legally changed his name, was "A very competent and extremely conscientious officer" as reported by his evaluators in USAAF. After the war, he was assigned for training to the Engine Overhaul Branch, Maintenance Division. The report concerning his abilities stated that: "He showed great interest in jet engine overhaul, studied all available data, and attempted to cover the entire overhaul operation in a minimum of time. Major Manners has a pleasing personality a mature and assured appearance, a good sense of humor, and a rather serious attitude in all matters pertaining to his training. He gives the impression of thoroughness, ability to handle His assignments, and has an excellent knowledge of his duties as an officer." (Katherine Manners)
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The Black Cat was immortalized on a U.S. postage stamp. Part of a series of 10 commemorative aviation stamps, this one shows the Black Cat still intact, still in flight, over the pastoral fields where it would crash. Nothing on the stamp denotes the plane's tragic end. More than 60 million of the stamps went on sale at post offices all over the US, but only a few customers know its true story of heartbreak, and how it has continued to reverberate in the lives of a few for so long. The lives of the relatives of the two of the 12 crewmen on board who survived as well as the lives of the families of the ten men who died upon impact. (US Postal Service)

The target was a small synthetic oil refinery at Bottrop, lay on the northern fringe of the Ruhr. The weather was terrible, cold and foggy! A 9/10 cloud cover blanketed the continent, stretching like a vast, tattered cloak from the Dutch coast to the Ruhr, Germany. Lt Perella stood in the cramped nose compartment poring over the charts on his small worktable. It was impossible to sit on the tiny fold-up seat on his left, and so he worked in a perpetual crouch, facing backward. He had to be careful not to step on 'Curly'.  Lt Manners was stretched out, peering through the Plexiglas at the slab of cloud below them. Just before the IP, the bomb bay doors rolled open. The formation shifted into position for the bomb run, and over the static of the interphone, they could hear Manners and Murphy, their voices oddly calm, detached, lining up the target. With the automatic pilot tied to the bombsight, Manners was flying the plane! Curled over the bombsight he knew that all through the squadron the bombardiers were peering intently at him, straining to see the bombs spill from the lead ship before toggling their own. Squinting through the sight, he could see nothing below him but a coarse carpet of white, but his instruments told him they were over the target, and Murphy’s voice confirmed that they were on course."Bombs away!” Manners whispered hoarsely, the ship heaved suddenly upward, and they began a long, banking turn. They had dropped their bombs through the clouds, never actually seen the target, never actually seen the earth! But Manners and Murphy were confident about their position, confident that the bombs were on target, confident that they had done their job! During the return to their base, the weather conditions were terrible and the landing was a nightmare but finally, they landed safely. At the hardstand, the crew climbed shakily from the ship. As they stood stiffy under the wing of the plane, waiting for the truck to carry them to interrogation, the Μajor patted the Farrington on the shoulder. It was an impressive beginning for a lead crew, he said, nodding at Perella and Manners! The crew had performed coolly under adverse circumstances. They had taken off in the soup, located and bombed the target using radar, and landed in the fog on instruments! In fact, the whole mission was a success! The Major was impressed, Good work, he said, smiling grimly at them all.

On April 4, 1945, the target for the day was a fighter base at Perleberg in northern Germany. The Farrington’s crew was again flying lead of the second squadron. During the flight they had seen no flak but spotted more than a dozen FW-190 and Me-262, all staying out of range, just trailing along ominously. Near to the target, the flak was not intense but unfortunately, was accurate and the number two engine was hit by exploding shells that shook the plane! Quickly Farrington feathered number two cutting the fuel supply and turning the prop blades outward to prevent the propeller from windmilling and tearing free of the wind. The thin oily smoke stopped but the plane was losing altitude. The Group continued his flight but Farrington could not keep up. They began to slide back through the formation. Suddenly far off to the right and above them, Sgt Brennan spotted a black dot that approached rapidly. "Bandit at three o’ clock! It’s a Me-262, he’s coming around.” "Anybody see any friendlies?” Farrington asked. "Nothing", Sgt Barrett said, swiveling his turret.

The German jet, most probably from III./JG7, was turned toward them but remained still out of range, and the gunners fired some bursts until he broke off. The following minutes he continued coming around again and again but finally, the Me-262 simply vanished. As the damaged B-24J continued his flight to return to his base, new problems began. The rough droning of the engines changed pitch, and the plane seemed to stutter. The crew could hear number one and number two engines choke, then roar, a wild sputtering whine that sent a ripple of terror through them! The plane was erratically. It’s left wing dropped! The co-pilot said to Farrington that number four turbo running away! They were losing power in three engines! Dropping faster now, the plane slid into the clouds. As they emerged from the clouds Farrington somehow righted the plane, leveled it out, and held it steady! “We’ve got some power again in the number two,” the engineer Sgt Barrett said briskly. "Navigator”, Farrington said calmly, “find me someplace to put this thing down.” Lt Murphy studied his map and said: "We should be able to reach a field in Belgium.” Lt Perella said: "We might just make it to B-58. It’s an air service command base near Brussels.”

The engines whined and sputtered and the ship swung awkwardly across the brown landscape. In the back, the men still stood poised over the escape hatch and in the nose Lt Manners sat with his feet extended into the wheel well, prepared to slide out when the bell rang. But Farrington did not push the bail-out button. The engines miraculously held and they prepared for an emergency landing at Brussels. On their approach, they dropped down over the river Scheldt and jettisoned their bombs. The visibility was good the field was clear and the wheels bounced on the tarmac of B-58. At last, the Farrington’s crew was safe after sweating out for two hours! They had come in, Jack sighed, on a wing and a prayer. They spent the night in Brussels wandering around the city. When they climbed in a C-47 the next morning, leaving their B-24 behind, their flight bags bulged with bottles of champagne and ashtrays and pairs of brightly painted wooden shoes-souvenirs for the folks at home.

In the middle of April 1945 the Farrington’s crew fad flown twenty-one missions, and over half the targets they had hit were now in Allied hands. In the 22nd mission of 18 April 1945, Lt Farrington again led the 466th Bomb Group. The marshaling yards at Passau, a small city on the Danube, close to the prewar Austrian and Czech borders, were the target. The weather cooperated, and they bombed visually. Lt Christ Manners did a superb job! Strike photos showed that all three squadrons in the group had placed at least 70 percent of their bombs within five hundred feet of the aiming point at 100 percent within one thousand feet! That represented, they were later told, the most accurate bombing in the history of the Second Air Division!!! It was an excellent mission, but the crew, after almost nine hours in the air, staggered back to their bunks bone weary and ready for their pass. In the briefing for another mission on 21 April 1945 the group intelligence officer said: “GH5530 is our first priority target.” GH5530, as the maps and aerial photographs revealed, was a railroad bridge at Salzburg. Lt Manners groaned aloud when he heard this! Another railroad bridge, a viaduct like the one at Bielefeld that the group had tried repeatedly to hit! For all, he knew it was still there. Now they wanted a formation of heavy bombers flying at 20.000 feet to hit a span of bridge less than fifteen yards wide. Mustang and Thunderbolts were swarming all over Germany roaring in over airfields and railroads and bridges. This was a job for them. Who the hell thought these things up anyway? Bombing would have to be visual – no radar - and the weather didn’t look promising. The weather report didn’t sound very encouraging to Manners or the others bombardiers, who were surprised to hear the conclusion from the division that “the possibility of visual targets is good.”

Farrington would not be flying Group Lead this morning. The 466th was leading the 96th Combat Wing, on this mission, and the wing would be broken in three groups, A, B, and C. Farrington would be flying lead of B group. The crew was standing in front of their aircraft, for this mission, the B-24J “Black Cat” s/n 42-95592, and Lt Perella conferred with Lt Manners, who was still complaining about the target. A visual target on a day like today, he grumbled, and a railway bridge at that. He was still grousing as he and Noe climbed up into the nose wheel and took their positions. Three minutes later the “Black Cat” was airborne. The Farrington crew was on its twenty-third mission and they had flown in the past with this B-24 in a Berlin raid. They carried six 1.000-pounders bombs. The weather was abysmal and deteriorating by the moment. The meteorological boys had missed this one. The command pilot quickly examined the situation. Speaking in the clear on the command frequency, the command pilot ordered a recall and a turn to the right for a return to base.

In the nose of “Black Cat” Lt Christ “Curly” Manners, turned away from the bombsight. No worrying now about speed and wind, no concern that the weather had made a hash on the figures fed into the sight before take-off. In this aircraft, the navigator sat on the flight deck, just behind the co-pilot and so Manners had more leg room in the cramped nose than usual. He relaxed, stretching his feet into the closed wheel well. Out in front of the formation rushing rapidly toward them was the city of Regensburg. Suddenly the first burst of flak appeared just as the lead elements of the formation made the run. Farrington saw it clearly. Four shells exploded about one-half mile in front. The next salvo cut the distance in half. Four bursts. A thunderous roar ripped through the ship. The impact was terrible! Out of the corner of his eye, Lt Farrington saw the fire not ten feet from him. A jet of bright orange flame shot back from the left wing from a spot between number one and number two engines. A wave of stark terror swept through him. “Oh God, the fuel tanks!” The ship vibrated wildly! Sprawled on the floor in the nose, his legs resting in the wheel well, Manners heard Noe call out the first burst.

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An exceptional book about the story of the 'Black Cat' was published in 1996 by historian Thomas Childers. Childers was the nephew of the Black Cat's radio operator, has reconstructed the lives and tragic deaths of these men through their letters home and through in-depth interviews, both with their families and with German villagers who lived near the crash site. In so doing he unearths confusion about the exact number of crash survivors and ugly rumors of their fate at the hands of the German villagers. His search to determine what really happened leads him to the crash site outside of Regensburg to lay the mystery to rest. The Greeks in Foreign Cockpits team suggest this book as a top-notch aviation history book, a great, thrilling story to read, for every aviation enthusiast.
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The map above shows the position where the #42-95592 was shot down. Black Cat was a Consolidated B-24J-1-FO Liberator aircraft and the last American bomber to be shot down over Germany in World War II. For his participation over enemy territory, Christ Manners was awarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters the citation of which read: "For meritorious achievement, in accomplishing with distinction several aerial missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe The courage, coolness, and skill displayed by each of these individuals in the face of determined opposition materially aided in the successful completion of these missions. Their actions reflect great credit upon themselves and the Armed Forces of the United States." The Greek American bombardier was also awarded the Good Conduct Medal and several Campaign Ribbons and Battle Stars. (National Archives)
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Christ Manners memorabilia collection gathered by her daughter Katherine. Between them, there are the dog tag, the Stalag Luft tag and the cross which always carry through his missions. (Katherine Manners)

He sat bolt upright. His first instinct was to swing around and face forward, but before he could turn, the plane seemed to lurch upward and to the right, throwing him into the navigator’s vacant fold-up stool. His head was rigging and he could hear nothing on the interphone. He could not turn around, could not move. “Jesus” he realized “I’m pinned to the floor!” Lying almost flat on his back, the centrifugal force pressing on his chest like an anvil, he could see through the Plexiglas of the astrodome above him a blur of clouds streamers of blue patches of brown swirling by. In a flash, he realized that he did not have on his chute, but it hardly seemed to matter. He was not going to be able to get out of the plane. Finally, Christ Manners was dragged to the wheel’s well and bailed out at about 20.000 feet. His parachute wasn’t on properly and didn’t open until he was very close to the ground. He was afraid his chute wouldn’t open at all, and he went down in a spiral!

In the missing aircrew report is attached a statement, Lt Manners wrote on October 18, 1945. It was his account of what he saw on April 1945.

“Our plane was hit by flak over Regensburg, Germany on April 21st, 1945. Within 10 seconds the plane was on fire and starting into a spin. The left wing was torn off by the shell. All interphone communications failed, and I was unable to determine the disposition of my fellow crew members. Due to the fact that I was seated on the floor with my legs extended into the nose wheel well, I was able to drag myself out. After escaping from the ship I dropped several thousand feet in a free fall. I opened my chute at ten thousand feet. I saw the wings and rudders of the ship floating down to earth. I saw the wreckage burning on the ground about three miles from my position. I saw one chute beside mine, that was the chute of S/Sgt Albert Seraydarian, my tail gunner. No other chutes were seen. Sgt Seraydarian and I were taken prisoner immediately after reaching the ground. It is my belief that all other crew members were killed in the crash. Sgt Seraydarian was caught in the spin and remained motionless in the ship. Only when the fuselage broke behind the camera hatch was he able to fall out. He later told me that he had seen Sergeants Brennan and Peterson the waist gunners, making a futile effort to reach the rear hatch exit. At the time of the above incident, Capt. Wieser was in the co-pilot seat, which in my estimation made his chances for escape almost impossible. The above statement contains the facts of the incident as I saw and lived them.”

Several years later Albert Seraydarian sent a letter to the author Thomas Childers about this incident given more information.

“I was floating down in my chute. I didn’t see any other chutes or any smokeWhen I hit the ground I was at a very steep angle and hit hard. I hurt my back and my right ankle… I couldn’t move. The German soldiers grabbed me and searched me… They let me straddle my arms over their shoulders and they carried me toward this large building… They hurriedly carried me inside and to my astonishment, I saw Lt Manners there. He was already stripped of his flying clothes. He was soaking wet. I later learned that he had just missed the corner of the building that we were in and landed in the creek. I also learned that he had to put his chute on in midair because he fell through the nose wheel door. He grabbed his chute on the way out…”

The B-24J “Black Cat” s/n 42-95592 was the last American bomber shot down over Germany in World War II”. The rest crew members of Farrington’s crew were killed. Some of their relatives contacted with Manners and Seraydarian in 1945, a few months after their return home from the POW camp, trying to learn more about the fate of their beloved. In the summer of 1946, some other relatives tried to contacting again the two surviving members for more information. They drove to New York to talk to Albert Seraydarian. Albert was shy and obviously uncomfortable, he struggled with the questions they put to him. After only a few minutes the conversation stumbled to an awkward close… From New York, they drove west to Pittsburgh, but Christ Manners would speak with them only over the phone. He had nothing to tell them, he insisted, beyond what they already knew. Like Albert Seraydarian, he had recounted the story over and over again since coming home, to his own family and to the families of his crewmates who had phoned or visited. It was obvious that he did not feel like talking. He did not want to relive that day again, and they did not press him.

Unfortunately, Christ Manners died of a heart attack on January 20, 1963, he was 41 years old.

CHRISTOS MUGIANIS COMBAT MISSIONS

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MISSION
NUMBER
MISSION
DATE
GROUP MISSION
NUMBER
BOMBER
SERIAL & NOSEART
TARGET
126 - 11 - 1944145B-24JBielefeld Germany
210 - 12 - 1944146B-24JBingen Germany
327 - 12 - 1944150B-24JNeunkirchen Germany
428 - 12 - 1944151B-24JSt Wendel Germany
503 - 01 - 1945152B-24JZweibruken Germany
605 - 01 - 1945047B-24JKirn Germany
713 - 01 - 1945154B-24JRudesheim Germany
816 - 02 - 1945160B-24JOsnabruck Germany
921 - 02 - 1945166B-24JNuremberg Germany
1001 - 03 - 1945171B-24J Engelstat Germany
1107 - 03 - 1945172
B-24JSoest Germany
1211 - 03 - 1945173B-24JKiel Germany
1318 - 03 - 1945174B-24J-1-FO, #42-95592, 'T-9U', 'Black Cat' Berlin Germany
1421 - 03 - 1945178B-24JHesepe Germany
1531 - 03 - 1945182B-24JBrunswick Germany
1604 - 04 - 1945184B-24JPerlberg Germany
1716 - 04 - 1945186B-24JTraunstein Germany
1818 - 04 - 1945190B-24JPassau Germany
1921 - 04 - 1945196B-24J-1-FO, #42-95592, 'T-9U', 'Black Cat' Salzburg Austria

Sources:

 

Personal correspondence of George Chalkiadopoulos and Dimitris Vassilopoulos with Catherine Manners, daughter of Crist Manners

 

Christ Manners OMPF (Official Military Personnel File)

 

Wings Of Morning: The Story Of The Last American Bomber Shot Down Over Germany In World War II by
Thomas Childers, ISBN13: 9780201407228

 

466th Bomber Group Archives from AFHRA (Air Force History Research Agency)

 

784th Bomber Squadron Archives from AFHRA (Air Force History Research Agency)

 

http://www.466thbga.com

 

http://www.b24bestweb.com

 

Special Thanks to AFHRA officer, Tammy Horton Civ. USAF AFHRA/RSR and Donald Mounts of the Global Military Research, LLC