A Conversation for The Memphis Belle
Surrendermonkey Started conversation Dec 1, 2003
Eugene Adkins - 2nd Top Turret Gunner (flew six missions. Hands froze on 6th mission)
I don't get it - does this mean he choked his shots, suffered a paralysing injury, or a paralysing mental episode, or that he succumbed to frost-bite or what?
Farlander Posted Dec 2, 2003
re: adkins - his hands froze literally. at altitudes of 30,000 ft, the temperature outside the aircraft could make hell freeze over. and the leather gear they wore barely kept them alive. adkins' gloves were certainly not thick enough for him!
Surrendermonkey Posted Dec 2, 2003
So, did they un-freeze when he got back into the warm, or did he lack the use of them for ever?
Farlander Posted Dec 3, 2003
well, as i understand it, he eventually recovered and became a hotshot gunner on board another bomber. he was lucky he didn't lose those fingers!
Surrendermonkey Posted Dec 3, 2003
Good for him.
Thanks for that, Farlander.
tkmwilliams Posted Nov 6, 2014
Eugene Adkins was my Uncle on my fathers side of the family. He was my favorite uncle and a great man. The true story of his frostbitten hands is this. He was the top turret gunner on the Belle. The turret guns would jam from time to time due to the constant use. The crewmen could not correct the jam with their flight gloves on so they would have to remove them to correct this. It was during a bombing run that my Uncle Gene's gun jammed. Due to the time it took to fix this, his hands were severely frostbit as a result. The damage was permanent. The pinky fingers on both hands were forever bent at a 90 degree angle at the second appendage. However, this did not hinder him in any way. My 11 year old daughter is in 6th grade and World History is her favorite subject. She has asked many things about my Uncle Gene and I am proud father to be able to share with her all I know. I found this website during a search on the Belle, so I wanted to set the record straight on what happened. My most prized treasure that I will always own is his flight jacket that he wore during the war. My Aunt Irene (his wife) presented me with this most precious gift when he passed.
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