Contenting himself with the claim of being “the first Harvard man over the line,’’ Navigator Lieut Ralph H. Nutter 22, of Norwood returned safely with other members of the crew of a Flying Fortress to their base in England yesterday, after assisting in the first American air raid on Germany proper since the outbreak of the war.
Lieut. Nutter is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph E. Nutter, 64 Elm st., Norwood. He is a graduate of Norwood High School, where he was an outstanding athlete, being captain of the track team and holder of many running records.
After his graduation from high school in 1938, Lieut. Nutter entered Syracuse University, and later attended Harvard Law School. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January, 1942. and after receiving the commission in October was sent to Europe.
Another Massachusetts man, gunner Sergt. Donald Bevan of Springfield, received a minor setback before the takeoff. He had labeled all the bombs with the name of his fiancee but due to a mechanical defect in the bomb release, the Fortress was sent to the shop and the crew assigned to another ship.
Norwood Man on Raid
Typical of minor casualties was the bombardier of the fortress “Blitzbuster,” Lieut. Robert L. Edwards. Boston, who was hit by a piece of spent flak, and got a black eye.
Among those who took part was navigator Lieut. R. H. Nutter of Norwood. Mass.. Harvard ’42, who said he was the first Harvard man to go over the line.
One of the minor disappointments of the raid came to waist gunner Sergt. Donald Bevan. 23, of Springfield, Mass., former New York News artist who before the take-off had carefully labelled all the bombs, “Yours Always—Teddy,” the nickname of his fiancee, Gloria Naiswald of Tenafly, N. J. Then something went wrong with the bomb release mechanism, the fortress was sent to the shop and the crew assigned to another ship.
The raid brought from the RAF Bomber Command Chief, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, a special message of congratulations to the Eighth Bomber Command for “this well-planned, gallantly-executed operation which opens a campaign the Germans have long dreaded. . . . To them it is yet another sentence in the writing on the wall. Between us we can and will bust Germany wide open.”
The commander of one group of Flying Fortresses, Col. Curtis Lemay, Columbus, O., said: “It went pretty well except that it was rather dull compared with some we’ve had. Given a bit of better weather we’ll give ’em a show next time that will really mean something. As it was, we managed to get a large number of bombs on the target and near the vicinity.” Lieut. Nutter of Norwood was in Lemay’s group.
The flyers included the first British soldier to go on an American raid. Maj. Errol R. T. Holmes. Royal artillerv flak expert doing liaison with the United States Eighth Air Force. He said he was astonished by the precision of American formation flying. “It was absolutely tiptop; the Hun wouldn’t come near us.”
The main hindrance the crews encountered was extreme cold at high altitude over Germany, running tc an estimated 35 below zero. One waist gunner froze his face sc badly that his lips were bleeding.