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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Burris, Paul Laverne

Date: May 5, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211312

Biographical sketch: Paul Burris inducted into the Army Air Force on July 29, 1942, at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and was sent to Amarillo, Texas for basic training. From there, he was shipped to Harlington, Texas on Thanksgiving Day, 1942, for gunnery school. From Harlington, he went to Salt Lake City, Utah for reassignment, and was assigned to Casper, Wyoming, as a replacement tail gunner on a B24. In May 1943 they were transported to Forbes Air Base in Topeka, Kansas, where they picked up a new B24 airplane, and flew to England by way of Goose Bay, Labrador, and Iceland. They were assigned to the 446th Bomb Group in Bungay, England, and started flying missions into Germany and France. He flew in the first bomb flight over the Normandy coast on D-Day. On June 20, 1944, they lost an engine en route to bomb the Politz Oil Field in northern Germany, and dropped down out of formation over the North Sea. The pilot, Paul J. Pincus, elected to drop the bomb load in the ocean and to land in Malmo, Sweden, and the crew was interned until November 1944, when they were flown back to England from Stockholm for debriefing. Their combat days were declared over, and Burris describes how he traveled back to the States through the Azore Islands, Newfoundland, Presque Isle in Maine, Boston, and home to Emporia, Kansas. After a two week leave, Burris was sent to San Diego, California for reassignment to aircraft mechanics school in Amarillo, Texas. V-E Day occurred while he was stationed there. After graduation, he was reassigned to A-26 Specialist School at Long Beach, California, where he was trained to work on the A-26 dual engine, light bomber/fighter airplane, and was then reassigned to work on B32s at Forbes Air Base in Topeka, Kansas. The war ended with Japan's surrender, and Burris was discharged November 15, 1945 at Lincoln, Nebraska and returned home to Emporia.
Burris's interview is especially interesting for his discussion of American bomber activities flying out of England, particularly on D-Day, and for his description of his B-24 crew's internment in Sweden after his airplane made a forced landing there. This interview ranges from a description of Burris's family background, education, and pre-war life, through his years of combat service, to his post-war life. The transcript's cover sheet provides a clear guide to the contents of the interview.

Summary: Staff Sergeant Burris entered the Army (Air Force) in 1943 and served until 1945 in the 446th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. Interviewed by George Walters on May 5, 2006, Burris talked about military experiences in the Second World War. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original audio copy of the interview is available through the Emporia State University (Flint Hills) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Audio

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-04-03  Cassette Audio Tape 

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