Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nose Art Update

I recently learned that Rip Bolinder flew Black Magic, a P-61-15.

My father, Lt. John E. Patterson (at the time) piloted the Old John Cornell, a British Beaufighter.

Anyone who can add to this is invited to post to this blog, or to call me, Randall W. Patterson, toll free at (800) 490-7434.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

414 NFS Dance

This is a photo of a dance. There is no date on the photo. I wonder who found the women?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Who is this pilot?

Can anyone supply me with information about this pilot? The caption on the back of the photo reads: "Pat 12-20-44"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What a landing!

Any landing that you can walk away from .....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

414 NFS Dispensary - Doc Blair's Hangout

The caption on the back of this photo reads:
"Doc Blair's Hangout"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lt. Landry

The caption on the back of this photo reads:
"Lt. Landry gives a demonstration of how a Night Fighter Pilot sleeps all day and flies all night."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas 1944?

Lt. Patterson is second from the left on the sofa. Can anyone identify any of the other people in the photo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My son asked me "What is the War Department?"

Not too long ago, I was going through my father's war memorabilia and found his World War II I.D. Card. I showed it to my oldest son, who is ex-military, and he was astonished. First, he wanted to know what the War Department was, and second, his grandfather held the rank of Major at the young age of 25. I had to remind him that over 8 million men and women served in the armed forces at that time, which means more opportunity for rank.

By the way, the War Department became the Department of Defense after the war on August 10, 1949.

Friday, September 19, 2008

May 1944 in Sardinia

Photo of members of the 414th in Sardinia during May 1944.
Left to Right:
Patten (navigator for John Patterson), Loveland, Berkowitz, Murphy, Penn, Ryan

Members of the 414th Patten, Loveland, Berkowitz, Murphy, Penn, Ryan

Please contact me, if you can provide additional information about the members of the 414th.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Living Quarters

In WWII these tents were probably considered luxury accomodations. This is my father, Lt. Col. John E. Patterson, beside his tent.

Living Quarters

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Romance in WWII

These photos of Lt. John E. Patterson, United States Army Air Corp. and Ruth Evelyn Cornell, soon to be Mrs. Patterson, reflect the romance of the time period. John and Ruth were married earlier than they planned because his orders to ship out were moved up.

Lt. Col. John E. and Ruth Patterson

Friday, August 29, 2008

Meet the Gang of the 414th

Left to Right:
Penn, Henry, Morrell, Burk, and Cotton.

Members of the 414th Penn, Henry, Morrell and Cotton

Please contact me, if you can provide additional information about the members of the 414th.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Airplane Nose Art of the 414th

These are a few examples of the nose art of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron. View larger photos of the airplane nose art.

P61 Black Widow Plane of John E Patterson

English Beaufighter Airplane

First Nighter Airplane

John Cornell Airplane

The Beautiful Ass airplane

First Nighter airplane with crew chief

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lt. Col. John E. Patterson

This is a photo of my father, Lt. Col. John E. Patterson.

Lt. Col. John E. Patterson

Friday, August 8, 2008

Burton Clark - Member of the 414th

Burton Clark in 1943 (I don't know the name of the donkey.)

Member of the 414th Burton Clark

Please contact me, if you can provide additional information about the members of the 414th.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Photos are working again

The photos on this blog were moved to a new server, and are now available for viewing. Please let me know if you have any problems with the photos or any of the links.

Friday, June 20, 2008

2007 WWII Night Fighters Reunion at MAAM

Recently, my oldest son went to this blog and clicked on the link for the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum (MAAM). The museum is rebuilding a P-61 Night Fighter.

He clicked on a link "2007 WWII Night Fighters Reunion at MAAM". At that location is a large selection of photographs. One photograph is a flight jacket with the 414 patch. The circular patch of a panther jumping through the night. There is also a name on the jacket, but the name was not legible in the photo.

My son called the Air Museum to inquire whose name was on the jacket and learned that it belonged to Rip Bolender, Commander of the 414th during WWII.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jacob Attone

My plan for this blog is to get the type of personnal information of individuals to make a docummentary about life in the 414th. How they lived and coped day to day or should I say night to night. But to do this I need the help from those of you that have this information, or better yet I would love to interview on-camera any surviving members of the 414th. Below is an example of the type of information that I am looking for. Any information would be a big help.

Jacob Attone's family had emigrated from Italy. The original family name was Altadonna, but it had been mangled at Ellis Island when his parents came to America. Over the years various members of the family changed the name back to Altadonna. Jacob's brothers, Anthony and Rosario, known as Russell, changed it when they went into the service. Jacob enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard on June 3, 1940 as Jacob Attone, and was called to active duty when the Guard was mobilized on September 16, 1940. Jacob Attone was planning on re-taking the Altadonna name but sadly, his time ran out.

Jacob Attone graduated from the Boca Raton Florida Army Air Field, after which he went overseas. His first flying mission was on September 24, 1944, as a radar observer.

Jacob was reported as missing in action on September 25, 1944. Presumably, the entire flight crew was reported missing in action, but their names are unknown at this time.

The Department of War changed Jacob Attone's status to killed in action on April 11, 1945.

You can read more about Jacob's story at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Our Family is Expanding

I wanted to share a personal note.

My son and his wife had twin boys on March 18th.

Rip Bolender - Commander of the 414th

Rip Bolender was in charge of the 414th Night Fighter Squardon. He retired as a Major General.

Rip was one of my father's best friends. Rip passed away in 1995.

Rip Bolender circa 1944

Harold L. Price - Member of the 414th

Harold L. Price flew 67 combat missions with the 414th. He retired as a Major General in 1975.

Jack K. Gamble - Member of the 414th

Many of the 414th went on to make the airforce a career.

Jack K. Gamble was assigned in July of 1943 to the 414th and completed 93 combat missions. Jack retired as a Major General in 1975.

Jack Gamble in May 1944

Look at his patch

Jack Gamble after the war with my mother and father in California.

Left to right: Jack Gamble, John Patterson, and Ruth Patterson.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Dad in the War Years

When I was a young boy, I loved to watch the old black & white war movies about the air war in World War II. When I learned that my father was in the air war, I was constantly asking him which war movie was about his squadron. His answer: "None of them." Well, I asked what did you do? We bombed, strafed and harrassed the Germans. Then I came across the following picture:

The letter, dated August 1943, with this picture read:
"I am sure this is a picture only a mother would love so I am sending it to you. I hope you know which one is me."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Captain John Patterson in his plane, Flub Dub

Captain John Patterson in his plane Flub DubThis is Captain John E. Patterson in the cockpit of his P-61 Black Widow Airplane. Due to the number of missions indicated on the side of his plane, the photo was probably taken in late 1944. I never asked my father why he named his plane the Flub Dub, when other planes had more menacing names like Hell's Angels and Midnight Menace. To my way of thinking, Flub Dub didn't instill fear of any kind. If any member of the 414th can give an explanation, please add it as a comment on this blog or send me an email at

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quote by Theodore Roosevelt

"It is not the critic who counts . . . who points out how the strong man stumbled. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again . . . who, at the best, knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails . . . his place will never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, February 11, 2008


It is but fitting now to make mention of those, who but for the grace of God, would be here today to drink with us from the Cup of Victory.


ANDERSON, O. S. - 1st Lt. - KIA

ANDREWS, F. H. - 2nd Lt. - MIA


ATTONE, J. G. - 2nd Lt. - MIA

BARROWS, W. J. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

BEAM, L. M. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

CHEELY, L. M. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

CLEMENT, J. A. - 2nd Lt. - KIA


DANFORTH, S. G. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

DONALD, W. C. - 2nd Lt. - KIA


HATFIELD, R. E. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

HOPE, J. T. - 2nd Lt. - MIA

HOWARD, J. M. - Capt. - MIA

McGIRR, P. J. - F/O - KIA

MURPHY, J. F. - 2nd Lt. - MIA


POWNALL, W. F. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

PRESCOTT, J. A. - 1st Lt. - KIA

SHARP, H. E. - F/O - KIA

STRAW, S. S. - Sgt. - KILLED

SULLIVAN, G. S. - 2nd Lt. - KILLED


WEAVER, F. F. Jr. - 2nd Lt. - KIA

WELLIVER, R. C. - 1st Lt. - KIA


CHAPMAN, F. W. - Capt.

What the "Four One Four" will do next can not be told. Whatever their task may be, you may be sure that it shall be accomplished with the same skill and unit spirit as has been shown in the past. GOOD LUCK 414TH!

J. E. SWARTZ - 1st Lt., Air Corps.

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On 27 January 1945 twenty-six officers and fifty-two enlisted men left the squadron with six aircraft for Belgium. Here they were to work with the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron in the Campaign of Western Germany.

The remaining part of the squadron, here in Italy, under the direction of Lt. Col. Bolender was initiating yet another new night fighter technique: Night bombing with the P-61. With bombs at their disposal they pounded harder than ever before at enemy installations during the last days of the Italian war. The climax was reached when, at the height of the Po Valley Campaign, the squadron was called on one day to perform daylight bombing missions. With everyone in the squadron hard at work, (even some of the cooks were helping on the line) a maximum effort was put forth, and the first mission saw every one of the squadron's aircraft airborne on a mission.

In the meantime the crews in Belgium had been maintaining an excellent intruder record and had moved on to Euskirchen, Germany with the 422nd. There they added two more "firsts" to the squadron's list, being the first American Night Fighter to take off on an operational mission from German soil and getting credit for the first four victories over enemy aircraft by American Night Fighters based in Germany.

In summing up, let us say again, we have an outfit to be proud of. Perhaps, not the most famous there is, but one that has done a job and done it well. Let our record speak for itself:


MISCELLANEOUS: Buildings, factories, fuel dumps, German Destroyers, and etc. destroyed and damaged.

----- to be continued -----

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On 1 June 1944, Lt. Col. C. H. Bolender, then a Major, took command of the squadron, replacing Major Smith, who was transferred to assume command of a Fighter Control Area. 8 June 1944 marked a new era: Night Intruder work over Southern france. The 414 was the first American N.F.S. to do night intruding. Better results than any other similar outfit.

The next three months was spent in moving, 22 June 1944 they moved from Elmas to Alghero, Sardinia; 4 September from Alghero to Borgo Airfield, Corsica; and finally to Pisa Airfield on the Italian mainland, 12 October 1944. Remaining operational during all these moves was not easy, what with intruder missions and patrols being flown in support of the invasion of Southern France, and additional intruders being flown over the Po Valley in Northern Italy, but it was done.

After moving to Pisa the squadron began to do more and more intruder work. This they handled in grand style, severely hampering the enemy's communications and transportation in the Po Valley. Patrols were limited mostly to "Nickelling" missions, (dropping of Psychological Warfare leaflets to German troops). Many of these "Nickels" have been instrumental in bringing about the surrender of "Jerry" soldiers.

On 28 November the squadron moved from Pisa to Pontedera Airfield, Italy, where they are at this writing. For a Christmas present they received their first P-61 "Black Widow". They continued operating in the Beaufighter while undergoing transitional flying in the "Widow", however, and on 20 January 1945 the last was seen of "Old Beau" as it was bid a fond good-by, and the squadron then went operational in the P-61. For many of the men there will always be a soft spot in their hearts for the "Beau", but with a newer and faster aircraft they were hoping to continue to put the fear and respect of their striking power into the hearts of the enemy that "Whispering Death", as the "Hun" called the Beaufighter, had given them.

----- to be continued -----

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008


In mid-June the Ground Echelon moved to Reghaia Airfield, Algeria, Africa, to set up the base in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the squadron. In the meantime the Air Echelon had completed its training in "Beau's", seen the sights of England, enjoyed the hospitality of the British airmen who trained them, and were getting ready to proceed to Reghaia.

At the tail-end of the Tunisian Campaign and just before the invasion of Sicily the 414th became operational in the early part of July 1943, being the first American N.F.S. to operate in this theatre. Most of their work consisted of long, tiring harbor patrols, or protecting shipping on the African Coast. However, in the latter part of July a detachment was sent to Protville, Tunisia, from whence aircraft of the squadron flew on offensive patrols for the period of about one week in an attempt to intercept enemy transports flying between Italy and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Two Italian transports were destroyed during these operations, in addition to an "assist" on another victory which was scored by 415 squadron.

Meanwhile, the routine work of protecting harbors and convoys was kept up, and after the opening of the Italian campaign in September, 1943, the squadron moved to Elmas, Sardinia, in the latter part of October, the island having been evacuated by the Germans a very short time before. The unit was then under the command of Major Earl T. Smith, who had replaced Major Cowgill in September.

By the time the Anzio beachhead was opened late in January, 1944, the squadron had four victories to its credit, all of them having been daylight encounters. With the new campaign under way, the job of protecting Anzio from attacks by aircraft based in Southern France was given to the squadron. This was carried out by detachments operating from advanced fields in Corsica, while normal operations were continued from the home base at Elmas, in addition to a considerable amount of Air-Sea-Rescue work. The success of the detachment in Corsica in stopping attacks on shipping at Anzio by the German Air Force in Southern France was the basis for the Presidential Citation which was later awarded the squadron.

----- to be continued -----

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Monday, February 4, 2008


This is the letter that my father received:

Postmarked: June 24, 1945
From: WAR DEPARTMENT - Public Relations - 414 Night Fighter Squadron APO#650

Perhaps twenty years from now, when our children study the history of World War II, they will know little about the 414 Night Fighter Squadron. To them this war, so real to us now, will be vague and unfamiliar. They will know only that it was over and victory was ours. Individual units will be lost in the maze of events before them. To us, the men in the 414, it is important. It is an organization that its members are proud of, one that takes pride in every man in it, now that one big job, the European War, is written off. We'd like to take time to reflect and sum up just what the "Four One Four" has accomplished during the twenty-eight months since January 26, 1943, when it was activated at Orlando, Florida.

Under the command of Major A. W. Cowgill, the newly-formed 414 N.F.S. spent its first month completing the complement of Officers and Enlisted Man in preparation for the jump across the "Big Pond". The Air Echelon departed from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 23 March 1943, sailing on the old Empress of Japan, now known as the Empress of Scotland. Debarking at Liverpool, England, they proceeded to Cranfield Airdrome. It was here that they first met the English Beaufighter, or "Bristol's Abortion", as someone so aptly dubbed it.

While the Air Echelon was undergoing operational training, the Ground Echelon left Kilmer and headed for Oran, Africa. It is doubtful if members of the original group arriving at Oran will ever forget it. Here is was that they learned the horrible truth that not all the travel folders about picturesque and sunny Africa were true. Living in pup tents, surrounded by mud up to their knees, and being introduced to that famous army delicacy, "C" Rations, left a lasting impression.

----- to be continued -----

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