– Birthplace: Drum, Pennsylvania, USA
– ASN: 13128349
– Birthdate: aug 29 1924
– Position in plane: Radio operator
– Rank: T/ Sgt
– Returned home, passed away april 11th 1998
– Burial: Calvary Cemetery, Drums Pennsylvania
– Medals: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal
“After dropping our bombs, we were hit by approximately fifteen fighters, and the aircraft then went into a spin. The pilot was able to get the aircraft under control at about 15000 feet. At that time, the aircraft was on fire and the engines were running away. We were then hit by fighters again. The plane was still under partial conrol, and we were heading back to Germany alone.”
The trip to Wahlen was Peters 16th mission and his last one.
Peter F Ferdinand jr was jumping on the bomb bay with Walter Eberly, after The King Size got hit. It was useless, they had to find another way out of the plane. Peter was fighting his way up to the cockpit, when he heard his pilot, Raymond Price, say that everybody had to bail out.
When he looked in the cockpit, he saw that co-pilot O’Rourke gave him the finger. O’Rourke wasn’t going anywhere.
John Tiedemann also refused to go.
Ferdinand and Eberly stumbled to the nose turrett compartment and saw that John Tiedemann helped one of the guys (Liscomb or Ball?) in his parachute and shoved him out the plane. Walter Eberly was terrified to get out and Peter talked to him to hurry. But Walter refused. Peter got through the nose wheel exit and jumped out, hoping that Walter would follow directly. But he did not…
On his way down, Peter could see what appeared to be both German and American troops moving about. Also he heard a “snicking sound” and realized that the Germans were shooting at him. He started swinging his parachute to foul up their aim. He landed in the mountains in a tree and jumped out of his chute. He started to ran to hide as German soldiers were shooting at him when he was on his way down. He scrambled in the snow under a tree.
From here the story is getting a bit confused. There is a story that he was picked up by someone from the resistance (Christian Manie) and brought to the farm of Forge a La Plez. But, there is nothing that confirms that story and the inhabitants of that farm, mother and daughter, were persistent in their story that Peter Ferdinand was not there.
Then there is the story that Peter was hiding in the woods for three days until he was found by an American patrol. The last version is that he was picked up pretty close after he landed, by an American patrol in a jeep. This must have been a patrol of the 75th Infantry Division and seems the most likely story.
Peter told his son thet he heard a vehicle scream to a stop and suddenly a rifle barrel poked into his hiding place. An obvious jank voice told him to come out. Pete wisely handed out his 45 and crawled out from under the tree to see two infantry soldiers. For identification they asked him where he was from and what the name was of the state capital. Then they hauled him back to a barn to spend the night until they could arrange transportation for him. The barn contained stacked bodies of dead soldiers.
During our weekend in march 2018 Victor and his brother Raymond came up with a simular story: Because the fightings in La Fosse became to intense, they had to flee with their most important goods and ended up in the hamlet of Fanzel. To Raymonds big shock they stayed in a farm, where the barn was stacked with dead French and German soldiers, an image both men never forgot.
At first the Infantry men thought Peter was a German dressed up as an American airman.
Given the cold and its impact on the ground troops Peter gave his flying gloves, boots and a large knitted scarf, that he had borrowed from Clarence E. “Skip” Pease for the mission, to the Infantry men.
“The following day it was confirmed that my father was shot down and reported missing. He was told there was another American flyer down the road who claimed to be on the same crew: it was Bob Ball. They were debriefed and after a few days sent back to England on a British medical transport plane. They were given Jeep to travel to an airfield outside of town to get the plane. On the way to the airfield they were spotted by a German fighter plane and attacked. They eventually made it to the field. Once in the plane the pilot found out that my father was on board and called him up to the cockpit. The pilot was complaining that he wanted to fly combat missions instead of this. At that point Peter laughed and said to stick with what you’re doing!”
Peter and Bob Ball did meet up again after the war. That was in New York City in “the China Doll“, wich was a fancy dining club/ nightclub. There is even a picture of that meeting. Oddly, while they were at that restaurant, Bob got up and excused himself to use the restroom and never returned to the table. According to Peter he had a difficult time dealing with issues after the war. Wich is confirmed in the documents we have.
This was not the first aircrash that Peter experienced.
A month before, on november 21 1944, B-24 44-10513 collided with another B-24 (42-50452 Earthquake McGoon, flown by Lt. Alfred Brooks) and both planes crashed in Carleton Rode, England.
In total 17 men were killed. Peter was one of the two who got out of his plane.
“Aircraft 44-10513, piloted by Lt. Rhine and flying number 4 position of the lead squadron was flying at 13000 feet. This aircraft was ceicling the forming buncher to the left when it was involved in a midair collision. Both aircraft involved in the accident were in a turn and concentrating on closing in on the lead squadron. As they continued their turns to the left their courses converged, causing the collision. The plane went into a violent spin to the right and crashed. Two crewmembers parachuted succesfully. The other crewmembers were killed in the crash. Members who survived were 2nd Lt. William T. Martin jr (bombardier) and T/Sgt Peter F. Ferdinand (radio operator).”
More details are described in MACR #15294
Because Peter Ferdinand survived two crashes, he became a member of the so called “Lucky Bastards Club” and got a certificate for that.
Peter was called to service in Nov, 1942 and recieved his gunnery training at Truax Field at Madison, Wis, and Tyndal Field, Fla. He embarked for overseas duty in june 1944, and returned home in March of 1945.
After the war, Peter Ferdinand was the owner of a café. He met his wife and married her. Together they raised three children: Peter jr, Kimberly and Deborah.
He passed away on april 11th 1998.