DEDICATED TO 93rd BG (H) 330th BS

B-24 Flight Engineer

Staff Sergeant John D. Purvis


[WWII  European Theater England 1945]


Submissions of J.D. Purvis material from his son John Purvis

Site edited and maintained by Doug Cook


Last Update June 1, 2010




EIGHTH AIR FORCE                  93RD BOMB GROUP (H)           330th BOMB SQUADRON


330th BOMB SQUADRON  “The Traveling Circus”







(A must read!)


       AIR MEDAL

S. Sgt. John D. Purvis


B-24 LIBERATOR  330th BS  ‘D’


John Purvis:


I talked with Mr. Heller yesterday and he advised me that they trained as a crew with a bombardier and arrived in England with a bombardier. When they reached Hardwick, their navigator, bombardier and ball turret gunner were moved to other crews. He also stated that most of the B-24 aircraft that they flew had their ball turrets removed. Mr. Heller informed me that they flew bombing missions with groups of 18 planes, each group had two leads, a primary and a secondary in case something happened to the primary. When they reached their IP (Initial Point) then these groups of 18 planes began to tighten up to the point of over lapping wings, this is when they became very nervous because of their proximity to each other. They held this position on their approach to the target, upon target acquisition the lead plane opened its bomb bay doors and as they all had a visual on the lead they did likewise, when the first bomb left the lead plane the rest of the group released theirs. He stated that this was call Pattern Bombing. Another thing that was interesting is that he stated that they never talked from plane to plane on the radios, just inter plane via the intercom.



Here is a revised break down on the crew:


PILOT                                    Robert H. "Bob" Heller     Penn Yan, NY                      Living

CO-PILOT                             John S. "Luke" Lucas      Greensboro, NC                 Deceased

NAVIGATOR                        Mario J. Rota                       New York, NY                      Deceased

FLIGHT ENGINEER           John D. "Jack" Purvis      Belzoni, Mississippi          Deceased

LEFT WAIST GUNNER     Cecil D. Kenny                    Cumberland, Maryland     Deceased

RIGHT WAIST GUNNER   Joseph R. Davis                 Saint Louis, Missouri        Deceased

NOSE GUNNER                  George R. Light                  Baltimore, Maryland          Deceased

RADIO OPERATOR            Leonard B. Bartchak         Cleveland, Ohio                  Deceased

TAIL GUNNER                     Michael J. Gentile               Worcester, MA                     Deceased


(Navigator probably had a dual role as Bombardier)




L-R Bartchak, Heller, and Lucas



Gentile, Lucas, Light, Purvis

Gentile, Kenny, Lucas, Purvis


S. Sgt. John D. Purvis, Flight Engineer


S. Sgt. John D. Purvis, Flight Engineer


S. Sgt. John D. Purvis, Flight Engineer


John Purvis (Rear) and Cecil D. Kenny- L Waist Gunner


John S. Lucas- Co-Pilot


Crew returns home in B-24 “Misschief” and interviewed by CBS




L-R Robert H. Heller, John Gerber (CBS), John D. Purvis, Mario J. Rota



John D. “Jack” Purvis

Born 13 September 1921

Enlisted 14 July 1943

Basic Training Miami, FL

Graduated Gunnery School 26 August 1944 Harlingen, Texas

Consolidated Factory School San Diego, CA

Formed with the rest of the crew 2 October 1944 at Westover Field, MA

27 January 1944 deployed to Europe

27 May 1945 Returned to the USA the war in Europe was over

30 October 1945 Enlisted in the United States Air Force Reserve

18 October 1948 Discharged

 January 1950 Recalled to active duty with the 8th Air Force 2nd Bomb Group 96th Bomb Squadron

30 November 1950 Discharged

John D. Purvis returned to his wife and two sons in Belzoni, Mississippi, where he was a farm equipment dealer.

He also served two terms as Sheriff and Tax Collector of Humphreys County Mississippi.

John D. “Jack” Purvis died 9 September 1991, he is buried in the Belzoni City Cemetery, Belzoni, MS





B-24 LIBERATOR Bomber (Heavy)