The Dallas Journal, Volume 51, 2005 Page: 3
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Remembrance Ceremony for Staff Sgt.Thomas J. Morrow
Melvin E. Brewer
On the morning of October 7, 1944, Aircraft
No. 364, a B-24 Liberator bomber with ten men
aboard, lifted off from its airfield headed for a
bomb run on Magdeburg, Germany. This
bomber was part of the 466th Bomb Group, 8t
U. S. Army Air Force, based in Attlebridge,
England, and this was its 13t mission. By about
noon, the plane was over its target and taking a
beating from anti-aircraft fire from the ground.
The plane sustained several direct hits, killing
Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Morrow instantly, and
wounding Staff Sgt. William J. McElfrish and
Staff Sgt. Harold K. Braun.
The airplane was damaged almost beyond the
ability to fly, and the pilot ordered all its bombs
dropped at once. The navigator, Lt. Robert D.
Stone, set a course for Belgium, which had
already been liberated by the Allied Forces.
Over the small town of Ramsel, east-northeast
of Brussels, the pilot could no longer keep the
plane in the air and ordered all the men to
abandon ship. One by one, and with much
difficulty, all those alive were able to parachute
to safety. The body of S/Sgt Thomas J. Morrow
went down with the plane. The two injured men
were cared for in hospitals in Belgium, and the
remainder of the crew were transported back to
Years later-about 1980-two teenage boys in
Belgium were very interested in flying and
especially in the planes of World War II. They
learned of the site of this B-24 crash and began
to dig up pieces of the plane in a farmer's field.
They also tried to learn more about the plane, as
they did not know exactly what kind of plane it
was. This small town had seen several plane
crashes during the war: two British Spitfire
fighter planes, a Canadian Halifax bomber, and
a British Lancaster bomber, as well as the B-24.
The elder of these boys, Peter Celis, had wanted
to be a flier since he was about six years old.
Furthermore, an elementary school teacher
generated in him a strong interest in history, and
this created a passion to learn more about these
airplanes. After he grew to manhood, he joined
the Belgian air force and became a fighter pilot,
flying F-16 jet planes and realizing his boyhood
dream. He also became president of a group of
citizens of Ramsel who were determined to
honor the memories of the Allied soldiers who
had died helping to liberate Belgium from the
Over the years, he was able to hold memorial
celebrations with survivors of each of the
airplanes that had crashed in Ramsel except for
the B-24 bomber. His determination finally paid
off in 1994 when he learned that a couple in
Ramsel, celebrating their 50 h wedding
anniversary, were married on the day of this
plane crash. This gave him the date of the crash,
and he found others who remembered seeing the
plane crash, and learned what kind of plane it
was. He then spent several years searching
records until 1999 when he made contact with
Lt. Robert Stone, the navigator.
Bob Stone remembered that Thomas J. Morrow
(called T.J. by his family) came from Dallas. In
April 2000, Bob and his wife made a trip from
Illinois to Dallas and found information about
T.J. in the Genealogy Section of the J. Erik
Jonsson Central Library. Through that
information he was able to make contact with
Mrs. Lillian Bierner, T.J.'s sister. Lillian
contacted the author, whose deceased wife,
Winkie, was also T.J.'s sister. We met that
evening for dinner, and the Morrow family
learned of the research that Peter Celis had done
related to this plane.
Dallas Journal 2005 3
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 51, 2005, periodical, October 2005; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186864/m1/7/: accessed October 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.