Former WWII pilot returns for the final time to Tibenham Airfield (UK)

Former WWII pilot returns for the final time

For the past 17 years, Chuck Walker found himself traveling over 150,000 miles to see for the last time the Tibenham Airfield and remember those he loved and who died during WWII. He is the only one remaining pilot from the B-24 Liberators.

Chuck, who’s all time dream was to become a pilot, enlisted into the United States Army Air Force just a day after the Pearl Harbor attack. On June 7, 1944, Walker joined the 445th Bomb Group. He remembers that summer as being terribly cold and the food he had to eat was the worst he’s ever had, while the good food was being sold by officers on the black market.

The former WWII pilot didn’t always used to say no to a night out. Whenever he would have the chance, Chuck Walker and his pals would stop at pubs for more quiet evenings and attend the Samson and Hercules Dance hall when in the mood for a smokey army night, the EDP 24 reports.

The 445th group was responsible for helping out on the nocturnal activity of the Royal Air Force by carrying out bombings in Germany during the day. Walker’s group – 445th, completed 280 missions in which 576 of his comrades lost their lives and 138 machines were destroyed.

“It was just your job. It was what you would expect to do and have to do. You tried not to worry about coming back. You just thought to yourself if anything happened, it would always be to the other guy. Fortunately the other guy was never me,” said Walker who remembers a day during his service that could never be forgotten.

On September 27, 1944, only four aircraft out of thirty-six sent on a mission, returned home. It was the day he was freed from service. Returning to the front, Chuck sensed there was something wrong. He will never forget the friends he lost in that mission.

But one of his most emotional and striking experiences was going back to that territory, to finish what his dead comrades started the day before.

A year later, in 1945, Captain Charles Walker would return home to marry his first wife Maxine. They had a son and a daughter together – Charles Junior and Susan-Lee. He also became a grandfather and a great grandfather. Five years ago and ten years since Maxine died, he married Dede.

During his final visit to Tibenham Airfield, Captain Charles indulged himself to a homemade tomato soup.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE