The Story of Captain Charles Reed Grosh. This is some information I am putting together about my dad for my grandson who has asked about his great grandfather.
Charles graduated high school, worked in a bakery and attended the Ohio Institute of Aeronautics. He wanted to be and aircraft mechanic like his father.
When World War II broke out he and his older brother joined the Army. Charles qualified for the Army Air Corps and learned to fly.
|0020 Airman First Class|
The allies were trying to free Italy from Germany. Charles was sent to North Africa. As a fighter pilot, he would escort allied bombers into Italy.
|0040 North Africa|
After the bomber dropped their loads on the german supply lines, the American fighters would drop down to tree level and search for more german trucks and trains that were supplying the German soldiers who had invaded Italy.
Charles took this photo of Italy while searching for German supply lines.
Back in Camp
After a mission across the Mediterranean, Charles would try to catch some sleep before dark. During the night the germans would bomb the allied bases in North Africa. The Allied anti-aircraft guns defending the base would make it impossible to sleep at night.
|060 Camp Life|
In the morning the desert around camp would be littered with busted up German bombers. Having learned about aircraft mechanics, Charles and other pilots along with their flight crews began salvaging parts from the German bombers, together they were able to build a complete German plane. Their commander would not let then try to fly it because all the instruments were in German and he was afraid they would crash it. He didn't want to lose any pilots, or waste any fuel, on such a foolish adventure.
Meanwhile - Back In Italy
An Italian mayor wanted to get his family out of Italy because of all the bombing. He convinced a German pilot defector to fly him and his family out of Italy to North Africa. They landed at Charles's base. Now Charles had a german pilot that knew how to fly a german bomber. The squadron convinced the base commander to let them fly a reconnaissance mission over Germany in the rebuilt bomber. Together with the german pilot, they flew over Germany taking photos. The german defector even convinced the german ground control to let them land and refuel the bomber so they could extend the spying activity.
Charles's Flight crew.
|0080 Fellow Pilots|