Roger the Lodger flew 16 high-altitude missions out of San Giovanni airfield (just outside of Cerignola, Italy) to targets in northern Italy and Austria. She was lost to intense enemy flak on April 25, 1945 while on a mission to the railroad marshalling yards at Linz, Austria. All of the crew were able to parachute out of the aircraft and survived; one crew member had been wounded by the flak hit but reported over the intercom that he was able to jump. Two other members of the crew were wounded on the ground. Most were captured and interned in prisoner of war camps.
Her crew had picked up Roger the Lodger at Topeka, Kansas, where it had just arrived fresh off of the assembly line from the Willow Run plant. They then ferried the plane on an adventure across the north Atlantic, with stops at Goose Bay Labrador, and Rekjavik Iceland. Inbound to Rekjavik they encountered false navigation signals beamed from a Nazi U-Boat that would have led them past Iceland and further out to sea. Their navigator was not deceived however, and they made it safely into Rekjavik. A B-17 travelling on the route that day was not so lucky. They held over in England for Christmas 1944, awaiting orders to either jump into the Battle of the Bulge or head on to Italy. When the fog lifted the orders came to again head over the Atlantic, southbound to Marrakesh Morocco, then Tunisia, and finally to their new base in Cerignola Italy. Ironically, Roger the Lodger was the one aircraft from the 455th lost on April 25th, 1945, on mission 253, the last mission of the 455th bomb group.
Roger the Lodger may be aircraft #42 455018 which is reported to have crashed near Gmunden in Upper Austria.
These pages are dedicted to honor the crew of Roger the Lodger, in appreciation of their contribution, dedication, and sacrifice:
|Now about that name... As I recall, it was attributed to Greenman, derived from a Limerick that went something like this:|
A matron from down in Cape Cod
Espoused her babe was sired by God
But .. 'twas not the Almighty
Who lifted her nightie
But Roger, the Lodger by God!
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