This is page one of a letter from Tony Mininni to Rose and Oscar Dobler, the parents of John Dobler, pilot of a B-24 from 828th Bombardment Squadron, 485th Bombardment Group of the 15th Air Force that had been forced to ditch near Vis island on the Croatian coast, while returning from a mission to bomb Linz, Austria on 20 January 1945. John hadn't survived the crash, but his parents struggled to accept this, and asked for more details from Tony, one of four survivors from the aircraft.
Dear Mrs Dobbs
I received your letter and I will
try to answer all your questions as
truthfully as possible. As you already
know the disaster happened while
John was attempting to make an
emergency landing field. He
was unable to do so and was
compelled to ‘ditch’ the aircraft
near an island. The ditching
happened about three oclock in
the afternoon on return from the
target. As we hit the water the
airplane broke in two and Sgt.
Poling and I were thrown clear of
the wreckage. I saw the two others,
Sgts. Dalley and Kiefes? Jump free
from the wreckage. I saw no
other person at all.
The three Sgts.
were picked up by one boat and I
by another a very short time
later. I want back to the wreckage
which was sinking steadily and could
Many thanks to Julie Harrison, John Dobler's niece, for sending us this letter.