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The Suburbanite
  • WWII: Then and Now: Harry Humrighouse served with his brother, Roy, on a B-24 bomber

  • A two-part “World War II: Then and Now” features Harry and Roy Humrighouse, twin brother who flew missions over Europe together in the same B-24 bomber crew. Today we look at the military career of Harry Humrighouse.

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  • When Harry Humrighouse enlisted in the Army in March 1943, he wanted to serve with his twin brother Roy, who was working with him at Westinghouse Electric Co. in Canton before the war.
    But, Harry was assigned to the Army Air Corps and his sibling was sent to a ground combat unit.
    “We wanted to be put together; we both asked,” Humrighouse said, who with his brother was originally from Uhrichsville. “Then our mother wrote to the adjutant general (in Washington) and asked for us to serve together. My brother was all set to go overseas, but he was transferred to the Army Air Corps.”
    That’s how the Humrighouse brothers wound up on the same B-23 Liberator bomber, flying missions out of Italy for the 484th Bomb Group. Roy was a nose turret gunner and Harry was a gunner in the ball turret.
    “I don’t know what she wrote,” said Harry Humrighouse. “He was just taken out of the infantry and sent to (the Army Air Corps base in) Idaho.”
    FLYING MISSIONS
    Humrighouse served “in the latter part of the war,” he said.
    “We went over in October of 1944 and came back in May of 1945, when the war (in Europe) was over.”
    On each of the 25 missions that Humrighouse flew, he was lowered and raised — his parachute in a backpack — in the ball turret beneath the fuselage of his plane. From his position, sitting almost in a fetal position, Humrighouse could see the bombs drop.
    “We got hit by flak a few times,” he said. “There were a lot of that little stuff flying around up there.”
    The view was frightening — it allowed Humrighouse to see such things as two planes colliding — but the work Humrighouse did allowed him little time for fear.
    “I’d have to say you were concerned,” he said. “You saw what happened to other personnel. But, were you afraid? No.”
    Perhaps, the Humrighouse brothers’ safety was in part due to their proximity to men making flight history. The 484th was escorted by the fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. These African-American pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group, originally barred from flying in combat because of their color — but who later had one of the best combat records during World War II — flew more than 300 missions with the bombers of the 15th Air Force.
    “They were always around us,” said Humrighouse. “And we were glad they were there. They gave us protection.”
    BACK HOME
    Humrighouse returned to the war to work at the Timken Roller Bearing Co., retiring early in the 1980s after 38 years of employment.
    He and his wife, Florence, who worked as a volunteer at the military transfer depot in Dennison during World War II, have been married for nearly 65 years. They had three children: Kay, Rick (who is deceased), and Mike.
    Page 2 of 2 - Humrighouse said he hasn’t thought much about the war through the years. But, one memory has stuck in Humrighouse’s mind.
    “Before my brother and I got together, I was assigned to another (B-24) crew,” recalled Humrighouse. “Then due to the fact that we had to stay on the same crew, I was taken off that crew and put on a crew with Roy.
    “My original crew was lost somewhere in the Pacific.”

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