Real heroes - Joe Kennedy

Discussion in 'Stories' started by Rocketeer, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    One story that has captivated me since I was a young boy was the amazing bravery of Joseph Kennedy of the famous Kennedy clan.
    Joseph Patrick Kennedy was the eldest of the Kennedy brothers. He completed U.S. Navy pilot training at Jacksonville in 1942. He flew Mariner flying boats from Puerto Rico, Central America, before converting to the B24 Liberator and serving with VB110 squadron at Dunkeswell, Devon. He completed a normal tour of 30 missions before volunteering for an extra 10! Lt Kennedy volunteered for one further final mission - this mission was to be Top Secret as part of project Anvil, the target being the German secret weapon site in France. The mission used an explosive-laden war weary Liberator bomber under radio control from a Ventura mother ship. Lt Joe Kennedy (pilot), and Lt. Wilford John Willy (radio control technician/co-pilot), took off with the B24 loaded with 21,000 lbs of Torpex. The B24, Ventura and a motly formation of many types flew around Suffolk as the Ventura took radio control. The crew were to parachute out and then the Ventura would fly the B24 to France and crash it into the target. (The USAAC had a similar program - Aphrodite using B17's). Unfortunately just after the Ventura took control, the B24 blew up. Kennedy and Willy were never found.

    The details of this mission remained secret until 1966, although the identity of the crew was not released until 1970. Up until then. Joe was listed as lost over occupied Europe - not a corner of England - An incredibly brave team.

    I was given a fragment several years ago and recently acquired an engine gill
     

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  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I saw the History Channel show on this subject. Very interesting stuff. And you have a very cool piece of history there sir.
     
  3. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    A remarkable story indeed. A sad end for him but a great piece of history you have.

    :salute:
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome, never heard about it. :salute:
     
  5. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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  6. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Thanx for posting that link. An amazing story - the formation flying around the Lib were very lucky to get down in one piece with many being tossed around like toys...the formation had some amazing 'stars' in it such as Doolittle (IIRC).

    Joe was always expected to enter politics and being groomed for it. I first was drawn to the story when my Dad showed me his Kennedy Familiy history that was published just after JFK's tragic assassination. It was full of colour pix and claimed Joe was lost over Europe. As I have said before, he was a phenomenal hero (as was Lt Willy) and would doubtless have ended up in the White House. Such was his leadership that all of his PBY crew joined him on the 10 additional missions over the 30 (despite all being elligible to go home). Various bits of the aircraft turn up...the largest I saw was about 2.5ft long....I am hunting down another piece at the moment.
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Interesting that it was Project Anvil. I had heard it was Aphrodite, but the projects were inter-related.
     
  8. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    The USAAC had war weary B17s under Project Aphrodite and had intense rivalry with USN with Libs under Project Anvil
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It was an interesting idea, but the technology was a little immature for it. One of the Aphrodite planes crashed in England and left a huge crater. I remember hearing an old gentleman talking about it at the museum years ago.
     
  10. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    I agree that “Joe” (the forgotten Kennedy) was the WWII hero of the family. W.E.B Griffin writes about him, and the project, in some of his books.

    There are unanswered questions bout “Jack’s” actions during the war. After the wreck of PT-109 was found there were reports of many empty booze bottles in the boat and the family quickly quashed any more reports.
     
  11. SamPZLP.7

    SamPZLP.7 Member

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    That is very neat sir!
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    That very likely is just one of those maliscious rumors that people like to make up. Only the front half has been found, and that was in 2002, by Robert Ballard, at a 1200 ft depth, buried pretty solid in the sand. 1200 ft is far, far, below what any free divers can explore, that's RV depth. The interior, if any is left after almost 70 years in warm water, with wood borers, has never been explored.
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Good stuff Tony. I wonder if the explosion was due to 'finger trouble' with the radio control gear, or perhaps due to extraneous signal interference. I guess we'll probably never know.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Just a few bits of info on Joe and Jack Kennedy.

    Joe Kennedy was a "VB" (VP) sailor performing ASW missions at USN Dunkeswell with VPB-110, part of Fleet Air Wing 7. There were two other squadrons there VB-105 and VB-105. VPB-110 started out flying AAF B-24s and later converted to PB4Y1s. I found a publcation that mentions Joseph P. Kennedy on two occasions, one being his fateful mission, the other one about him and his crew being attacked by Me-210s on Nov. 8, 1943.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-vol2/chap4-5.pdf

    Here's some information about his squadron;

    VPNAVY - VP-110 Main Summary Page - VP Patrol Squadron

    [​IMG]

    I had an old neighbor who was a B-17 Flight Engineer and he claimed to had met Joe Kennedy prior to his death. "Mr. Yates" did not have very nice things to say about the elder Kennedy, but that's one man's opinion.

    Here's an old thread about PT-109, great info!

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww...-met-its-fate-ijn-destroyer-pt-1-a-14376.html
     
  15. Rocketeer

    Rocketeer Member

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    Cheers and thanx for the info!
     
  16. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    The Kennedy family was one big excercise in contradictions, starting with the old man and ending with Teddy. But nobody can take away the fact that the three oldest boys had guts!
     
  17. tvoipolet

    tvoipolet New Member

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    That's so cool
     
  18. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    If I recall correctly, the mission need not have taken place anyway.
    I believe the target had already been attacked by RAF Lancaster and the concrete cupola had been damaged.
    This meant that the complex had been abandoned!
    Had the left hand and right hand been talking thes brave men would not have been sent to undertake an already completed mission.
     
  19. R Pope

    R Pope Member

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    Hmmm. An Irishman that drinks.....Imagine that!!! And his daddy was a bootlegger, too. Whatever he was drinking they should have issued it to all the rest of the PT boat guys!
     
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