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Remembering Walliwall plane crash
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Remembering Walliwall plane crash

The contributor writes:
'
Remembering 60 years on!!!!!!!!! thought it would be nice if you added this pic to your album.

A B-24 Liberator with serial number 42-50331 of the 492nd Bombardment Group, 856th Bomb Squadron (The Carpetbaggers) crashed on 31 March 1945 at Walliwall. 7 crew members and 6 others on board died in the crash. The co pilot was the only survivor.

CREW

Pilot 2/Lt Henry L Polansky
Co-Pilot 1/Lt Peter C Pulrang (Survivor)
Navigator 2/Lt Charles J Alessio
Bombardier 2/Lt Frederick W Smickle
Radio Operator S/Sgt William E Lewis
Engineer Sgt William K Stevens
Gunner Sgt Edward W Kussman
Tail Gunner Sgt Eugene Graff Jr

NORSO GROUP PASSENGERS

T/Sgt Trygve Berge (K) B-USA Loc U/K
T5 Edward O Sondeno (K) B-Sauda, Norway
T5 Leif E Meland (K) B-Farsund, Norway
T5 Gerald Ottersland (K) B-Arendal, Norway
T5 Johannes S Rorvick (K) B-Kninnherad, Norway
Sgt Edward E Kjekness (K) B-Washington, USA '
Large Version View Large Version
Picture added on 13 April 2005
Comments:
my mother's uncle's name was Eddie O Sondeno, not Edward.
Added by Svein Arne Sondeno Dahl on 22 May 2005
My uncle was the pilot Henry Lee Polansky from Texas.

Hope to visit the site some day.
Added by Tom Bacak on 19 June 2005
This plane set off from Harrington Northhampshire on 30 March 1945. There were 19 B-24s involved in mission 919 to support Operation Rype forces in Norway. On board the plane were 6 Norwegian OSS agents who were to parachute into Norway. Bad weather forced several of the planes to turn back without being able to make their drop. This plane was one of ones forced to turn back.

The only survivor reported that there was a fuel problem on the return flight and 2 of the 4 engines stopped and could not be restarted. The pilot could no longer control the plane and gave the order to bail out, but he was the only one able to jump.

The plane finally crashed at Walliwall at 04:50 on 31 March 1945 killing the remaining 13 on board.

Added by s thomson on 02 October 2005
The survivor was Peter Purlang who was the co-pilot on the flight. He jumped from a height of about 800 feet and was lucky to survive.
Added by Tom Bacak on 02 October 2005
my mothers uncle was S/SGT Edward E Kjelness. want contact with Svein Arne and Tom.
Added by Kre Kjelness Schei on 03 April 2006
My uncles name was T5 Leif E Meland
Added by John Kristiansen on 11 December 2006
Member of the Norso group, T5 Gerald Ottersland, was my uncle. His firstname was Gjerulf, but in letters from the American army he was called Gerald.
Added by Per Kristian Ottersland on 10 January 2007
Click to View See picture #2086 for a photo of S/SGT Edward E. Kjelness

Added by S Tulloch on 10 January 2007
Johannes S. Rørvik was the fiance`of my aunt Magda and from my neighbour farm in Rørvik, Kvinnherad.
Added by Lars Jostein Rørvik on 01 May 2008
My father was Frederick W. Smickle, the bombardier. He died six weeks before I was born.
Death of Peter C. Pulrang- sole survivor

Peter Curran Pulrang, M.D., died peacefully at his home in Tallahassee, Florida on September 23, 2008, at the age of 83. He was born November 16, 1924 in Montreal, Canada, where his father, Stanford Pulrang, Sr., was attending medical school. Peter grew up in Yonkers, New York. He served in the Army Air Corps in England during the Second World War, co-piloting a B-24 Liberator on missions over occupied Europe for the Office of Special Services. He was wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart, as well as the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. Peter was discharged at the rank of First Lieutenant in 1945. In 1947 Peter received his B.A. from Princeton University. He married Claire Anne Fearon of Scarsdale, New York in 1950. Claire passed away in 1996. Peter received his M.D. from McGill University in Montreal in 1951, Interned at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, and was a Resident at the Montreal Children's Hospital and St. Christopher's Hospital for Sick Children in Philadelphia. Dr. Pulrang was a pediatrician in private practice in Plattsburgh from 1954 to 1975. He was the Director of the City of Plattsburgh School Health Program from 1955 to 1975, and an attending physician and Chief of Department at the Physician's Hospital, the Champlain Valley Hospital, and after their merger in 1967, the CVPH Medical Center. A familiar sight on the side lines of Bailey Avenue Park on fall Friday nights, with his cowboy hat and rubber boots, "Doc" was always there for the PHS Hornets. From 1975 to 1980, Dr. Pulrang was the Clinton County Health Commissioner. From 1980 to 1990, he was the Head of the Child Health services division of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. He was later an inspector for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHCO). In retirement, Peter lived in Cedar Key, Florida, and later in Tallahassee, Florida, with his long time companion Myra Campbell, who passed away in 2005. Peter was a lifelong lover of opera, Lake Champlain, and more than anything else, enjoyed gathering, splitting, and storing wood for the winter. Peter is survived by his sons, Peter Ian Pulrang, of Sydney, Australia and Andrew Dana Pulrang, of Plattsburgh, New York; as well as a grandson, Sean Peter Pulrang of Fitchburg, Massachusetts; his sister, Patricia Ambler of Ambler, Pennsylvania; and his brother, Stanford Pulrang, of Caroga Lake, New York. There will be no local services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Planned Parenthood.

Added by Maurica on 29 September 2008
Thank you to those who keep and maintain this site. Thank you also to those who have posted other information. Grandpa never really talked about what happened that day; in fact it wasn't until my father and uncle were going through his papers that we knew for example that he had flown a mission for the OSS.
We knew that his plane had crashed, and he'd had to make his way back to safety, but he didn't like to talk about the details.
Again, thank you to those who keep and maintain this site, and those who have posted information here.
Added by Sean on 29 September 2008
The pilot, Henry Polansky was my mother, Rita Polansky (Threlkeld)'s brother. We recently sold our house, and today I began packing. I started with the boxes in the crawl space and couldn't resist the temptation to peek into my parents old trunk stashed there after my dad passed away a few years ago. Needless to say, that was the end of packing. I found Henry's yearbook from graduation from flight school, class 44-D, at Goodfellow Field. None of my sibs remember the details of Henry's death other than that he died in a bomber while serving in England. I was so touched to find this site today, and thought you all would like to see his picture. Thank you to all who have written here to preserve the memories of our lost love ones. See picture #15086.
Added by Robert Threlkeld on 05 November 2008
Hi to all the families of those who were on this aircraft, I have been in touch with many of you over the years and have now put a small account of events up on my website: click here

Yesterday as you all know was the 64th anniversary of the crash. Please leave a note in the guestbook if you visit. Kind Regards. David W.Earl.
Added by David W.Earl on 02 April 2009
This site is wonderful! As an Air Force veteran myself, I am the sole trustee of documents on my grandfather's death - Sgt Eugene J. Graf, Jr. (one 'f' in the last name). My mother and my siblings knew that he was a -24 tailgunner and died in 1945 over or near the Channel. Until today, we haven't known much more about his death (and his life). Thank you to the Orkney Communities and David Earl for this excellent archival information.

P.S. Ironically, I was assigned to the Air Force in the UK, near Thetford and Norwich where his unit, the 492nd Bombardment Grp, operated. I wish I knew that when I was over there!!!
Added by Chris Cost on 06 June 2009
Was very glad to have been able to read about Peter Pulrang's amazing survival when the plane he was copiloting during World WarII crashed. Sorry to hear about his recent death, but glad it was peaceful. My condolences to his sister Patricia Ambler of Ambler, PA.
Added by Elting H. Smith on 18 June 2009
I met Peter Pulrang in 1946 in Yonkers, NY, but at the time did not know of his remarkable survival when the B-24 of which he hd been the co-pilot crashed. Am very glad to now know the story of the ill fated flight and his subsequent life as pediatrician in Plattsburgh, NY. Now aware of his peaceful death last September in Florida, I hasten to send my condolences to the members of his family, particularly to his sister, Patricia Ambler, whom I knew quite well in 1946, and to his younger brother, Stanford, of whom I have only the vaguest memory.
Added by Elting H. Smith on 19 June 2009
T5 Gerald Ottersland (K) B-Arendal, Norway was my uncle. I used to work for a B-24 Liberator pilot, when I told him about what happened to my uncle he said one possible accident scenario could have been that they had fuel transfer problems. He told me when they had to transfer fuel from one tank to another they had to open the bomb bay doors and slip the aircraft sideways to vent the fuel fumes, because the transfer pumps where located in the bomb bay and was operated electrically and could cause sparks that could ignite the fuel vapors. In fact his name was Richard (Big Dick) Azar and he passed away last year, he was quite certain that the above described scenario was the most likely explanation to the accident.
Added by Nils Bjorn Ottersland on 22 May 2010
Hi All, Progression with a book relating to the tragic events of the B-24 at Walliwall is going well, I am now at a point where I am writing the biographies of the crew & passengers, I know many of you have helped me with information over the years and I am most grateful. I tried to contact two of you on the board here without any success, perhaps e-mails are no longer the same, I would therefore like to ask if Lt Smickle`s daughter Fredericka or Chris Cost`s Grandson see`s this message, could they please contact me on here so I can get in touch to complete their relatives biographies. Thank You. Dave.
Added by David W.Earl on 12 February 2011
The book is now printed and entitled `ALMOST HOME - The story of the B-24 Crash at Walliwall,Orkney, 31 March 1945`. Anyone wishing to order a copy can do so by contacting me via e-mail. Thank you! Dave.

[You can get Dave'e emaill address by clicking on his name following his previous comment - Steven]
Added by David W.Earl on 16 June 2011
Almost Home. An amazing book and a fantastic job done by David Earl. Thank You Dave.
Added by Svein Arne Sondeno Dahl on 28 June 2011
Thank you for this wonderful site. I would like to share one on the OSS team.

http://www.99battalion.org/index_files/rype.htm

This link has some information on the OSS mission that these men were on. The OSS had recruited close to 100 men from the US 99th Infantry Battalion (Seperate) that was composed of Norwegians and Norwegian speaking Americans in 1943.
Added by Erik Brun on 28 February 2013
I saw these posts on the Orkney Crash Site web page. I am so sorry for your families loss on that day of the airmen and soldiers. I was very touched by the site and your comments.

I just wanted to invite you all to visit our web site that commemorates the RYPE mission and the Battalion these soldiers belonged to before they joined the OSS:

www.99battalion.org/index_files/rype.htm

Erik Brun
Son of Christian Brun, C Company, 99th Infantry Bn (Sep)

Added by Erik Brun on 28 February 2013
Today marked the 70th anniversary since the Liberator Aircraft crashed at Walliwall and there was a short memorial service held near the site at 11am.

A permanent memorial to mark the event is being planned as part of the housing development which is taking place in the field that was the crash site
Added by Kirkwallian on 31 March 2015
My mum, granny & grandad lived at Peedie Corse, which was the cottaage across from Walliwall the day the plane crashed.
Added by Agnes Millar on 14 April 2015
Hello, today July 11, 2015, I was looking up Eddie O Sondeno. His father was Ole T. Sondeno, the brother of my grandmother, Elen M. Sondeno. I would like to know more information on Eddie.
Added by Patricia L. Holland on 12 July 2015
Patricia, Eddie was living in Meager County, Montana and enlisted at Butte on December 12th 1942. He was listed as a carpenter by trade and was listed as a single man. He was born in 1911 in Sweden. He had graduated from elementary school.

He was a member of the 99th before he was recruited by the OSS in 1943.

He parachuted into France as part of Percy Red operation in the Fall on 1944 before he was killed in the crash after trying to jump into Norway.
Added by Erik Brun on 08 January 2016
I am sorry for the loss of your relatives and glad to see he is remembered. I am very pleased to see the community support for remembrance.

I am with the 99th Infantry Battalion Foundation and I would like to invite you to visit our website page on the Rype Mission and visit our Facebook Group for the 99th Infantry Battalion. Most of the men of NORSO and Rype came from the 99th Battalion.

www.99battalion.org/index_files/rype.htm

www.facebook.com/groups/99768827050/

I also have started a private Facebook Group for NORSO descendants and friends . If you are interested in joining, please let me know. We have 40 members now.


Sincerely,
Added by Erik Brun on 08 January 2016
Can someone help me find the family for Frederick Smickle? I have letters he wrote back home to family between 1943-1945. I’d love to get these back with his family.
Added by Amanda Colwell on 10 May 2018
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