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Original U.S. WWII British Made Embroidered 614th Bombardment Squadron, 401st Bombardment Group Flight Jacket Patch

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a British made, felt embroidered patch for the 614th Bomb Squadron who served a part of the 401st Bomb Group. The patch does not appear to have ever been worn on an article of clothing and is in excellent condition.

This insignia was approved on 15 November 1943. Description: Over and through a medium blue disc, wide border light turquoise blue, piped white, a winged horseshoe gold with light green aerial bomb crossing beneath the sinister heel and in front of dexter heel, all surmounted by the face and head of a red devil with highlight and shadow. According to Closway the design was originated by Mrs J. J. Casagrande, wife of a squadron navigator.

As stated the condition is quite nice but does have a few scattered areas of moth nips. The embroidery is still very well done with great, vibrant colors.

Comes more than ready for further research and display.

The 614th Bombardment Squadron was activated March 1943 at Ephrata Army Air Base, Washington, as one of the original squadrons of the 401st Bombardment Group. The initial cadre for the squadron was drawn from the 395th Bombardment Group at Ephrata and the 383d Bombardment Group at Rapid City Army Air Field, South Dakota. The cadre soon departed for Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, where they conducted simulated combat missions with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics out of Brooksville Army Air Field.

The ground echelon moved to Geiger Field, Washington, in May 1943 and to Great Falls Army Air Base, Montana, in July. At Great Falls the first combat crews were assigned to the squadron. In the final stage of training the squadrons dispersed with the 614th training at Glasgow Army Air Field.

After completing training the ground echelon left for overseas on 19 October 1943. After staging at Camp Shanks, New York, they embarked on the RMS Queen Mary and sailed on 27 October disembarking at Greenock on the Firth of Clyde on 3 November 1943. The air echelon staged for deployment at Scott Field, Illinois, then flew to England under the control of Air Transport Command via Newfoundland, Iceland and Scotland.

On arrival in England, half of the 401st Group's aircrews were immediately reassigned to the 351st Bombardment Group. The rest of the squadron became part of the Eighth Air Force at RAF Deenethorpe. The 614th became part of the 92d Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Triangle-S.

On 26 November the 614th flew its first combat mission against Bremen, Germany. The 401st Group did not suffer the combat loss of an airplane until its ninth mission on 30 December. The squadron operated chiefly against strategic targets, bombing industries, submarine facilities, shipyards, missile sites, marshalling yards, and airfields. On 11 January 1944 the squadron was in the lead group of the 1st Bombardment Division in an attack against aircraft manufacturing facilities at Oschersleben, Germany. Although the bombers were able to attack, poor weather conditions prevented the division from receiving effective fighter cover. For over three hours the bomber formation suffered more than 400 attacks by Luftwaffe fighters, including air-to-air rocket attacks. Despite these attacks the unit continued its attack and struck a telling blow against German aircraft production for which the squadron was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC).

A little over a month later, on 20 February, the squadron earned its second DUC for an attack on the Erla Maschinenwerke aircraft manufacturing facilities in Leipzig, Germany. Despite fighter attacks and battle damage to the 614th's planes, 100% of the unit's bombs fell within 1,000 feet of the aiming point. Beginning in October 1944, the unit concentrated its attacks on Axis oil reserves.

In addition to strategic missions, squadron operations included attacks on transportation, airfields, and fortifications to support Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion. On D-Day the 614th attacked Normandy beachhead areas dropping bombs five minutes before troops landed. The following month it provided close air support for Operation Cobra, the breakthrough at Saint-Lô, it also supported the siege of Brest in August and Operation Market Garden in September. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945, the unit attacked transportation and communications in the battle area. It supported airborne forces involved in Operation Varsity, the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The squadron flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945 against Brandenberg. It had flown 254 combat missions from Deenethorpe airfield. After V-E Day, the squadron flew missions to Linz, Austria, to evacuate British and French prisoners of war. It also flew Trolley sightseeing missions at low level, flying ground support personnel over the Ruhr and Frankfurt am Main to see the damage that had been done as a result of their efforts.

The unit was alerted for redeployment to the Pacific Theater and the last plane departed Deenethorpe in early June. The ground echelon sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth on the fifth. Upon arrival in the US, personnel were granted thirty days leave, reassembling at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, but plans had changed and personnel were either transferred to Boeing B-29 Superfortress units or processed for discharge and the squadron was inactivated.

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