1st Lt. Leighton "Danny" Charville
in the 445th Bombardment Squadron
This website is dedicated to my Grandfather, Leighton "Danny" Charville and all of the men of the 445th Bombardment Squadron of the 12th USAAF, 57th Bomb Wing, 321st Bombardment Group.
445th Bombardment Squadron Insignia
Danny Charville was a clerk for the Wheeling-Lake Erie Railroad in Northwest Ohio when he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as an enlisted man in August 1941. He became an air cadet in November 1942 and received his wings at Mariana, Florida in August 1943. On December 14, 1943 2nd Lt. Charville departed for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in a B-25 via the Southern Route. 2nd Lt. Charville arrived in Northern Africa around January 5, 1944, and flew his first mission on January 7, 1944 with the 445th Bombardment Squadron out of Amendola, Italy.
Leighton Charville, or Pop-pop as he was known to all of his grandchildren, passed away in 1977 without telling his family much about his time defending our Country during WWII. My Great-Uncle Chip Heyl spearheaded my family's research about Lt. Charville's military service. Uncle Chip visited the National Archives and combed through boxes of 50-plus year old records and found Operations and Mission Reports for many of his 33 missions.
In March 2007, I went to the National Archives and copied Operations and Mission Reports for some of the 321st Bomb Group's missions. The Mission Reports contain general information about the mission, including type of bombs dropped, results, enemy air and ground observations, weather observations, etc. The Operation Reports contain the aircraft number, and the names of the crewmen flying in their respective positions for the mission. I also copied other items when available such as hand written notes showing the makeup of the formation and bomb strike photos. I am in the process of making these available on the following page.
321st BG Mission Reports
Lt. Charville brought the following photos back from his training and combat days.
Ssgt. John "Phil" Wilson had saved the following photo of the bombing of a bridge at Orvieto. Lt. Charville suffered a serious flak wound that broke his leg on a mission to this target on April 12, 1944. Ssgt. Bill Hickey, who was the gunner on this mission, said that even though he was wounded Lt. Charville landed the plane back at Gaudo Airfield by himself. Upon landing, the medics cut Lt. Charville's pants off and they strapped a metal brace on his leg. Lt. Charville was then sent to a hospital in Naples to recover.
After a month and a half in Naples, Lt. Charville was sent back home to recuperate at Crile General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. It was here that Lt. Charville received the Air Medal for a mission flown in support of American Troops at the Anzio beachhead on February 19th, 1944. The Pilot on that mission, 2nd Lt. Arthur J. Tarmicheal's log book stated that their plane recieved major damage, due to heavy flak.
Lt. Charville receives the Air Medal. Click on picture above for additional pictures.
The following page provides information on one of the well know planes of the 445th Bomb Squadron, a B-25C named "Oh-7".
The following photos are from Kenneth Terhune, Senior Supply Sergeant for the 445th.
S/Sgt. Warren Wimmer, who was a 446th Radio Mechanic, brought home a large collection of photos from his service.
Wimmer 446th BS Photos
Here is a list of many of the men who were in the 445th, which was in a publication called the "321st Headlines" which was mailed after the war to many of the men who served in the 321st BG. I also have lists for the 446th, 447th and 448th; if you are interested, please contact me.
445th Personnel List
The following photo is of the original 445th Flying Officers in Columbia S.C. Click on the photo to see an enlarged view, and known identities.
The following is a list of the 445th B-25s by USAAF numbers.
This is a mission list for the 33 missions that Danny took part in.
The following pictures were captured by Bombardier George Deane during his 50 missions with the 447th Bomb Squadron from October 1943 to May 1944.
George Deane Photos
If you have any questions and would like to contact me, my name is David Charville, and my email address is email@example.com
Below are some other web sites on the 57th Bomb Wing.
57th Bomb Wing Association Website
History of the 310th, 321st and 340th Medium Bombardment Groups 1944 to 1945
A History of the 57th Bomb Wing
The 321st Bombardment Group
If you are doing research on a Veteran who was in a B-25 Group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in WWII, I strongly suggest that you post a message to the 57th Bomb Wing Listserve. There are many 57th Bomb Wing Veterans and other knowledgable people who may be able to answer your questions.
57th Bomb Wing Research Listserve
If you are looking for information on an airman who was shot down or killed in action during a mission, it may be helpful to look up the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR). This is a report that records the facts of the last known circumstances regarding missing air crews. You can look up information on MACR's on the following website.
Army Air Forces: Missing Air Crew Reports
The Yankee Air Force in Ypsilanti, Michigan has an awesome B-25D that flew 8 combat missions with the 340th Bomb Group, 389th Bomb Squadron in Italy in April and May 1944. It had the noseart of "Ellen E. & Son" and now carries the noseart of the "Yankee Warrior". Please see the YAF web site at:
Yankee Air Museum
My Great Uncle Chip Heyl also did research on another WWII Veteran, and wrote a book called Crossen Combat Chronicles. The Crossen Combat Chronicles focuses on Captain John R. Crossen, and his advancement to Lieutenant Colonel and the position of 135th Field Artillery Battalion Commander.
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